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Courthouse Startup Raises $4.7 Million for Online Chat Software

by Heather Mongilio July 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm 0

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Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Brazen headquarters

An Arlington company may have the solution for scheduling meetings in different states or attracting more people to its workforce.

Brazen, located off of Wilson Boulevard by the Courthouse Metro, provides a digital real-time chat platform for companies and universities to host meetings or open houses.

Through the software, companies and universities can reach people — job prospects, college applicants, customers, etc. — around the country and the world, said Brazen founder Ryan Healy.

“Broadly speaking, we help companies create better engagement through our chat platforms,” Healy said.

By providing the online open houses and meetings, Brazen helps connect a “passive” workforce with employers. The company has found that some people will not attend an in-person job open house but will join one online.

“It’s a great way to attract top talent to come work for your team,” Healy said.

The company, which last month announced that it had raised $4.7 million in venture funding, works with clients both in and outside of the United States. And with clients all around the world, the company has to use a chat platform to connect with its clients, said CEO Ed Barrientos.

“It is ironic because our product is designed to bridge those gaps,” Barrientos said. “We drink our own Kool Aid.”

Brian Healy and Ed Barrientos

But using technology to schedule virtual meetings has its benefits, including saving on travel costs. And having more technological meetings and less in person seems to be a trend most companies are moving toward, Healy said.

“We don’t see it replacing face-to-face, physical contact, but it fills in the gaps,” Barrientos said.

Although the company uses its own chat platform to conduct business online, Barrientos and Healy still needed to find a physical location that would allow them to grow the company and hire more employees.

Healy and Barrientos started the company in Wisconsin and then moved to Tyson’s before coming to Arlington, they said, adding that Arlington provided the company with a great location to advance the startup.

Arlington is perfect for a tech startup, Barrientos said, and he can see Arlington becoming the next tech hub. One thing that helps is the caliber of people the county attracts with Washington, D.C. being so close.

“The area tends to attract a lot of ambitious people,” Barrientos said.

Among these people are millennials and those only a couple of years out of college. The strong workforce from Arlington and D.C. is necessary to help startups like Brazen expand.

“The startup culture, the startup ecosystem comes from the energy of that [workforce],” Healy said.

Brazen, formerly known as Brazen Careerist, is rapidly expanding and is hiring. The company is looking for people for sales, account management, job development and customer success and plans to go from 25 to 40 employees in the upcoming months, he said.

Brazen staff working

The company is also focusing on the work-life balance and having an attractive working environment. Brazen has an open office plan and while the openness can cause some problems from noise when making phone calls, the setup works for the company and encourages collaboration, Healy said.

Making up for some of the negatives, the open floor plan allows the company to have more open, collaborative space and more color around the office. The walls are decorated, and one of the back walls is a chalkboard. While employees are there to work, they seem more relaxed than one expects in a typical office cubicle.

“We’ve got an awesome team. We’ve got a team who knows how to have fun and not take things to seriously,” Healy said, with the caveat that his team also knows how to get work done.

The team’s hard work is helping Brazen expand rapidly. The company hasn’t made a lot of noise in the tech world, Barrientos said, but it is quietly on the way to becoming a great business.

“We’re cool. We’re growing fast,” Healy said. “We’ve got great technology.”

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