AUSTIN, TX, ZenBusiness officially launched today with a $4.5 million round of venture capital funding.
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Led by Ross Buhrdorf, the founding CTO of HomeAway (acquired by Expedia for $3.9 billion), ZenBusiness makes it free for anyone to start a business as an LLC or Corporation and makes it easy and affordable to manage it year-round. Small business owners and entrepreneurs gain unprecedented support and peace of mind that they are meeting all legal requirements while eliminating the bureaucratic paperwork associated with creating and maintaining a business.
By erasing the barriers associated with establishing and maintaining a small business today, ZenBusiness stands to have unprecedented impact on Americans. The company aims to help start 1 million small businesses by 2023, with conservative data models showing this will result in an excess of 2.5 million new jobs and well over $100 billion in income for employees and their families.
"ZenBusiness democratizes entrepreneurship by making it easy to create, maintain and manage an LLC or other corporate entity," said Buhrdorf. "We've combined a disruptive platform with services and fair pricing to make sure every individual and small business owner has the ongoing resources and protection they need to turn their business dreams and ideas into reality. Our goal is clear: 1 million new businesses in the next 5 years that will translate into millions of jobs for all the employees of our customers and their families."
Lerer Hippeau led this $4.5 million seed round of funding with other leading technology venture capital firms including Greycroft, Slow Ventures, Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Founders Fund also making investments. ZenBusiness will use the funding for product development and marketing as it rapidly expands into new verticals to serve the growing number of Americans creating businesses in the small business and sharing economy.
"ZenBusiness is a disruptive entry into the long tail of American businesses that drive the economy forward," said Eric Hippeau, managing partner at Lerer Hippeau. "Ross created the 'vacation rental by owner' market at HomeAway, and his track record of building consumer products at massive scale makes this an extremely compelling investment. ZenBusiness will dramatically grow the number of Americans who start a business of their own and protect them in their business endeavors."
Entity Management Promise vs. Reality
The corporate entity (LLC, C-Corp, S-Corp) is the foundation of American business, offering legal protection to owners. However, only 32% of American businesses operate as corporate entities today, leaving 7 out of 10 business owners at personal risk. The problem becomes more profound as the movement toward small business grows, driven by generational preferences and the continued rise of the sharing economy.
Unfortunately, creating and maintaining a corporate entity is extremely difficult due to antiquated government processes and systems. Traditional entity management services are focused on larger businesses. Online legal services take a one and done approach to filing legal paperwork with hidden fees, and provide no support for managing a business on an ongoing basis once formed.
ZenBusiness modernizes entity management with a cutting-edge technology platform that uses the latest in machine learning and automation to replace people-based processes with software. The company brings powerful technical innovation, a relationship-based approach and a disruptive business model to a market desperately in need of innovation.
Introducing ZenBusiness: Fast, Free and Frictionless
ZenBusiness pulls everything together for the business owner with support, product, and services - and is the only company to offer FREE formation. They are the first to offer a robust technology platform to manage and maintain corporate entities alongside an inexpensive subscription-based pricing model so that owners never need to worry about the status of their business. With ZenBusiness, small businesses owners can now:
-48 Hour Guarantee: Entrepreneurs answer a few simple questions on any device. The ZenBusiness platform then creates and submits all documents quickly and accurately to the state - within 48 hours and completely free of charge except for state required fees.
-Worry Free Guarantee: The ZenBusiness platform continuously monitors and protects the status of a business - providing users with alerts and push button actions to resolve issues and get the right information and support.
-ZenBusiness will make sure business owners stay in good standing with the Secretary of State, or it will pay to fix it. Additionally, ZenBusiness takes all the headache out of managing legal entities and provides 2 filings per year less state fees: Name changes, Amendments, Stock changes, Address updates, Change in principals, Annual report, Good Standing report.
-Expand & Grow: ZenBusiness partners with owners from the beginning and provides support through the lifecycle of the business - with a monthly service fee that is a fraction of the cost of online legal service providers or traditional entity management services.
"ZenBusiness was a godsend for me," said Render Walker, owner of Render Your Paws pet care services in Smyrna, Georgia. "I previously used another service to set up my corporation, and they milked me for every penny by adding on unnecessary fees and services. ZenBusiness did exactly what I needed and allowed me to manage my business while they managed the paperwork!"
ZenBusiness supports entrepreneurs and makes it easy to create, grow and safely manage a small business year round. Built for the new generation, the company pulls everything together for the business owner with mobile and web-based products, support, services and 24x7 business protection. ZenBusiness is backed by some of the most trusted names in venture capital, including Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, Slow Ventures, Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Founders Fund, and has headquarters in Austin, Texas. Visit www.ZenBusiness.com for more information.