News

License123 launches as a one-stop shop for all new-business licenses

03/2012

Docstoc founder Jason Nazar wants to make it easier for anyone to start a business, any kind of business anywhere in the U.S. And to support those ambitions, he’s launched a new venture, called License123.com, which is focused on making all the licenses and permits one needs to start up and maintain a company easy to find.

The problem for new business owners is that, depending on the type of company they’re starting, there can be a number of different documents they need to file with various municipal organizations. And until now, there’s been no unified place for those business owners to find all that they need, all in one place.

So Nazar has hired researchers to go city-by-city and business-by-business to discover and obtain all the documents new business owners need to get off the ground. The result is a massive database of documents and instructions on what documents are necessary and where to file them.

It’s an ambitious project, and one that comes from Nazar’s interest in helping to support new businesses. In addition to his day job at Docstoc, Nazar has spent the last several years promoting entrepreneurship through Startups Uncensored, the largest tech meetup in Southern California. What he found was that many of the young companies faced the same challenge in trying to find all the necessary documentation to get off the ground.

But License123 goes beyond just the typical needs of tech startups in a certain region of the country. Whether a new business owner is opening a restaurant, opening a retail shop or running a new media operation, through License123 Nazar wants to facilitate the paperwork needed to do so. It’s also expanded well beyond just large metropolitan areas, hoping to provide coverage to all municipalities around the county.

At the outset, License123 is charging $9.99 for the service. But Nazar expects the venture could charge 10 times as much and still be extremely valuable to new business owners. Compare $100 to what it might cause in fines if necessary paperwork isn’t filed correctly, or at all.

But he also sees a larger opportunity, beyond just offering one-off reports to new business owners. There’s the possibility of providing a full-service offering; for instance, enabling new business owners to provide necessary information and then filing all necessary documents for them; also, the ability to receive recurring annual fees to support license renewals when necessary.

And then there’s the possibility of partnering with cities themselves. Nazar says he’s been in talks with some cities to offer License123’s database to their own municipal websites. That would be a win-win situation, he said, as it would encourage the creation of new businesses while also making it easier for business owners themselves.

For now, though, the site is still in beta, with about six states available. They currently cover about 60 to 80 percent of local cities, but Nazar hopes to have full coverage of cities and businesses throughout the country by the end of the year.