Austin-based company ZenBusiness recently secured $4.5 million in investor funding thanks to numerous angel investors. This startup is the brainchild of Ross Buhrdorf, who joined vacation rental marketplace HomeAway 5 months after its creation as founding CTO, and stayed until its acquisition by Expedia in 2015 for $3.9 billion.
Buhrdorf’s new venture, ZenBusiness, makes it free for anyone to start a business as an LLC or Corporation. Normally, businesses face a mountain of red tape when it comes to starting a corporate entity. In fact, only 32% of American businesses operate as corporate entities today, leaving 7 out of 10 business owners at personal risk.
“ZenBusiness democratizes entrepreneurship by making it easy to create, maintain, and manage an LLC or other corporate entity,” says 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.”
1 million businesses is a lofty goal that, if met, could generate 2.5 million new jobs and well over $100 billion in income. ZenBusiness plans to reach the goal by targeting a “niche in the small business market.”
This niche appeared due to an increasing number of employees becoming independent entrepreneurs. Thus, the need for creating single-member LLCs has increased. These solopreneurs have been crying out for legal help, and ZenBusiness has heard them.
In response, they developed a system to handle the initial filing of the incorporation documents for free. Then, businesses can choose to pay a $10 monthly fee to protect their privacy by allowing ZenBusiness to become the registered agent and shield the owner’s personal information from corporate databases.
“We handle your privacy, annual filings, franchise tax, all of the red tape around an entity, and provide a customer-facing dashboard where everything is there visually,” says Buhrdorf.
If everything goes according to plan, Buhrdorf will have successfully helped start 1 million businesses by 2023. We can only hope his lofty dreams become a reality.