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CEO Evan Schneyer shares why he started his latest company
As startups spring up and businesses flourish, contracts interrupt the fast pace of progress. Whether you hire a new team member, fundraise for your startup, sell your house, or enter into a non-disclosure agreement, you undergo the legal hassle of working out a contract.
Outlaw hopes to simplify this process.
Outlaw, based in Brooklyn, is a platform companies can use to generate cover letters, or overviews, for contracts, and send them to recipients to sign in real-time, bypassing the legalese and the frustration.
A contract is a relationship, said Outlaw co-founder Evan Schneyer, where a cover letter is the first impression that helps both sides to continue speaking one language.
Outlaw is Schneyer’s second startup. The first was Wanderfly – a web platform for sharing travel recommendations founded in 2009 and acquired by TripAdvisor in 2012. It was while he worked on Wanderfly that, feeling frustrated with legalese that slowed all transactions, he started thinking about a better, more human way to finalize a deal.
“Agreeing on the purchase price and the key terms took about four to five weeks. We met the founders and the team and then we had the key components hammered out. And then we spent another six to seven weeks translating the term sheet of five pages in English into a 150-page acquisition transaction document in legalese with all these disclosures and schedules that none of us really understands,” Schneyer recalled, discussing the acquisition of Wanderfly.
Outlaw is template-driven. Once a template is generated, the contract can be sent right away on the spot, while prospective partners discuss terms over lunch. What they see is a summary in English that they understand and can sign right away.
Last month, the team announced closing a $500,000 seed funding from Angel and private investors, as well as former investors in Wanderfly. The funds, Schneyer said, will be used for customer acquisition and engagement, as the product enters market mode.
Schneyer and Daniel Dalzotto did a soft launch of Outlaw in the spring of 2017, without hype and fanfare. Schneyer, a coder, said he was excited to immerse in creating the product rather than draw attention and financing. Then, Ricardo Lopez came onboard to lead sales and customer acquisition. Currently, the team continues to develop tailored features for new customers.
In the future, the team hopes the long-form of contracts will evolve and disappear completely. Using Outlaw templates does not eliminate the contract, but rather pulls the main information from the long document into a friendlier overview. A full contract is on the platform readily available for those who read the fine print.
Compared to companies like LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, online technology platforms for creating quick legal agreements, and DocuSign for signing documents digitally, Outlaw covers all the processes from the creation and customization of terms to the signing of a contract.
Creating a contract and its overview in Outlaw is simple. The platform prompts users to choose from various templates, like Terms of Service, Mutual NDA, or a Consulting Agreement. In a Consulting Agreement, for example, user fills in fields like Company, Vendor, Start Date, and Type of Service, then the terms of payment, description of services, and edits the basic elements. A full Consulting Agreement is then generated with the user’s information from the prompts. Signature boxes are at the bottom and are to be signed digitally.
“The sender has total control of the end-to-end experience of doing a deal,” said Schneyer.
Getting an account on Outlaw for a company currently costs $40 per month, or $30 for an annual subscription. Outlaw operates on a seat-based SaaS business model.
“I think a big part of our story,” said Schneyer, “is the idea that a contract is a relationship, and it doesn’t need to be this downer of doing business. There is a lot of excitement in the process of a partnership - whether you’re getting a job, or a new employee, or signing a business deal. That excitement drops when a dry, confusing and stressful contract comes into the picture.
“It is a human process, an agreement powerful because of the intent, not because of a document. That’s what we’re really excited about – putting enjoyment back into deal-making.”
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Outlaw is an end-to-end contract platform that reinvents the entire process, from legal authoring, to document generation, to negotiation and signing.
Negotiate and close deals faster using plain English.