A co-founder of Kansas City-based Venture Legal is departing from Austin, Texas, on Wednesday with a little more coin in his pocket.
Chris Brown traveled to Austin to pitch his company Venture Legal as a finalist for WeWork’s Creator Awards’ South Regional on Tuesday and delivered the winning video pitch in the “Incubate” category. Beating out more than 2,000 applicants, Brown and Venture Legal earned an $18,000 grant.
Venture Legal works to make it easier for freelancers to create contracts with their clients by using cloud-based technology, digital file-sharing, electronic signatures. and online billing.
“It feels awesome to win a Creator Award,” Brown said. “The grant is going to be very helpful. But perhaps more important than the grant funding, the support from WeWork is what really excites me. They understand the freelancer economy so well and the fact that they thought our idea was worth a grant provides some validation for what we are working on.”
With the grant funding, Brown plans to move his firm’s product, Contract Canvas, out of Venture Legal and into its own company to help more freelancers. Brown’s co-founder, Chad Elliott, and he plan to hire developers and designers to create the initial product to test with freelancers. The goal, he said, is to prove the product-market fit and then hopefully grow from there.
Two other Kansas City-area firms — Bungii and Cambrian — were among the finalists in the competition. The local startups were competing for prizes varying in value. Placed in the “Incubate” category, Venture Legal is angled for a prize valued at $18,000 to $36,000. In the “Launch” category, Bungii competed for $72,000 to $180,000. And in the “Scale” category, Cambrian tried to nab a $180,000 to $360,000 award.
WeWork — which has offices in 37 cities and 15 countries around the globe — is building a 40,000-square-foot space in Kansas City. In March, WeWork made a splash in Kansas City when it announced that it’d be opening a huge space in the recently-restored Corrigan Station building in the Crossroads Arts District. New York-based WeWork aims to host more than 750 members — from freelancers to small businesses — at the Kansas City location.
Brown said he’s thrilled for the firm’s arrival.
“I’m really excited for WeWork to enter Kansas City,” he said. “After being around them the last few days, it is very apparent they put their money where their mouth is. They care about creatives and are doing great things to support them.”