Firstbase vs. Stripe Atlas: Which service should you use?

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As an entrepreneur, how can you access markets in the U.S.? Find the steps startups can follow in this Firstbase vs. Stripe Atlas comparison.

 
 
3.8
3.7
Pricing:
$399 one-time fee
Pricing:
$500 + $100/year
Best For:
Business owners looking to incorporate, aspiring agency owners, and professionals.
Best For:
Startups in the e-commerce and tech industry looking for a formation service with an integrated payment processor.
3.8
Pricing:
$399 one-time fee
Best For:
Business owners looking to incorporate, aspiring agency owners, and professionals.
3.7
Pricing:
$500 + $100/year
Best For:
Startups in the e-commerce and tech industry looking for a formation service with an integrated payment processor.

Do you live outside the US and plan to launch a business to access the market?

Then, you need a service that can help and guide you through the formation and incorporation of your startup.

Accessing complex markets like the U.S. demands startups to be careful during the application process.

Now, two services that can help any startup launch within 5 days are Firstbase and Stripe Atlas.

Firstbase will help you create an LLC or C-Corp within 7 days and choose from 32 states.

Stripe Atlas will assist in creating a C-Corp within 3 days in Delaware. However, each service has its perks that make it stand out.

So, how do they compare and which one offers value for money?

Find out in this Firstbase vs. Stripe Atlas comparison.

Firstbase vs. Stripe Atlas at a glance

FeatureFirstbaseStripe AtlasWinner
SMB Guide’s Rating7.7/107.5/10Firstbase
Business Formation ServicesLLC and C-CorpsLLC and C-CorpsFirstbase
Processing Time3-7 days1-3 daysStripe Atlas
Registered Agent Services and Costs1st year free, $99/yr$100/yearFirstbase
Name Availability SearchTie
Online Document AccessTie
Money-Back Guarantees7 daysNo money back guaranteeFirstbase
Platform User-FriendlinessCluttered and hard to navigateSimple interfaceStripe Atlas
Customization OptionsFirstbase
Compliance AssistanceFirstbase
Industry-Specific ExpertiseFounded in 2019Founded in 2010Stripe Atlas
Customer Education and ResourcesTie
Customer SupportLive chat, email, dedicated repEmail and support ticketsFirstbase
Pricing$399 one-time$500 + $100/yearFirstbase
ScalabilityNo scalableNo scalableTie

How we evaluate and test softwares

When testing softwares/apps, SMB Guide employs a dual approach based on free trial availability and demos. For platforms offering free trials, we test their functionalities, usability, navigation, and ease of use. In the case of tools lacking a free version or trial, we rely on in-depth research and user testimonials through software review platforms like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, Software Advice, and GetApp to gauge their performance and capabilities. Learn more about our ratings criteria for business formation services here.

Firstbase: Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

Firstbase homepage

Firstbase is an online service that helps entrepreneurs form, launch, and manage their startups in the US.

The service mainly focuses on incorporating a startup as an LLC or C-Corp in Wyoming and Delaware. 

Firstbase services go beyond formation. They help startups open a bank account with partner banks like Mercury.

Not only that, the service also offers incentives in the form of credits worth thousands of dollars through the service network.

If you aren’t a US citizen, Firstbase can also help in the formation and incorporation process.

Pros & Cons

Pros

One-time free

Quick processing

Hands-on customer support

Great for startups

Cons

Limited state availability

Not scalability

Pricing

As a new user, you will discover that Firstbase offers a single package with a one-time payment.

The plan comes with a free trial of 7 days, and all state filing fees are inclusive.

  • Firstbase Start: $399 one-time fee
Firstbase

Firstbase helps anyone to build a US business. Start a company, set up banking, payments, and payroll, and manage a business — online, from anywhere.

Get started
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Stripe Atlas: Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

stripe atlas homepage

It is an incorporation service that helps startups launch their business in Delaware. Businesses get to pick either a C-Corp or an LLC.

The service startups get from Stripe Atlas goes beyond formation, where they get an EIN from the IRS and a U.S. bank account.

Not only that, the service opens an online payment gateway through their native Stripe.

Startups also access exclusive Atlas partner benefits worth over 100k, such as tax and legal expertise and tech platforms.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Exclusive discounts

Stripe ecosystem

Built for founders

Automated process

Cons

Only LLC’s and C-Corps

Focus on Delaware incorporation

Pricing

With Stripe Atlas, you’ll find a single package that includes a setup fee of $500 and an annual payment of $100 for running the business.

  • Setup: $500 one-time payment
  • Annual: $100

Business Formation Services

Startups will find that Firstbase offers them the option of forming an LLC or C-Corp in over 30 states.

It gives them an edge over Stripe Atlas, where they can form a business outside Delaware.

Firstbase also allows startups to customize directors, company addresses and names. Not only that, entrepreneurs get to add EIN, mail forwarding, and more services.

firstbase business formation services

Unlike Stripe Atlas, Firstbase delivers greater value by offering a comprehensive package that includes IRS forms, incorporation, stock certificates, and more.

Startups also get lifetime expertise support and benefits worth 200K+ from partners.

Stripe Atlas, unlike Firstbase, allows startups to form a C-Corp in one state, Delaware.

The service focuses on Delaware because it is a tax haven and an ideal state for new ventures.

stripe atlas business formation

Now, Stripe Atlas’s customization options aren’t as advanced as Firstbase.

However, startups can tweak their company name, address, officers and more.

Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas doesn’t mention if they offer professional support or benefits from partners.

Winner: Firstbase

Processing Time

Startups will appreciate that Firstbase provides a processing time of 3-7 days for business formation.

The processing time comprises the preparation and filing of incorporation paperwork, including state government approval.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, MDs will also find that Firstbase offers EIN expedited services post-business formation.

Stripe Atlas has a faster processing time than Firstbase, with 1-3 days. The time comprises preparation and filing of incorporation paperwork, including state government approval.

It makes it a better option, especially for entrepreneurs looking to launch sooner. Stripe Atlas doesn’t expedite formation services.

Winner: Stripe Atlas

Registered Agent Services and Costs

Firstbase provides registered agent services to startups as part of its formation package.

You have the flexibility to select an ideal partner from their extensive list of collaborating services.

Should you find that the registered agent doesn’t meet your needs, Firstbase allows you to switch at no additional cost.

Startups will also find that Firstbase offers free registered agent services for the first year after formation.

However, unlike Stripe Atlas, the subsequent years’ charges are lower at $99 annually. You can also cancel the service without incurring charges.

The compliance support on Firstbase is basic post-incorporation. Entrepreneurs don’t get reminders when tax filing is nearing or due.

Stripe Atlas offers registered agent services to its customers in their formation package.

However, unlike Firstbase, startups don’t have control or choice for their agent. The service assigns an agent from one of its partners, Havard Business Services.

Not only that, startups don’t get to switch agents without their go-ahead.

Similar to Firstbase, startups pay $100 annually after the first year. However, when an entrepreneur chooses to cancel the service, they must contact customer support.

From there, they must find a new agent within 30 days, or the state penalizes them.

Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas provides templates, a Stripe account and filing tools for support.

Winner: Firstbase

Name Availability Search

Firstbase provides startups with a name availability search tool to check if their choice of business name is available in 30 states.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, entrepreneurs can key in their desired name, and a dropdown menu with states will show where the name is applicable.

In case the first-choice name isn’t available, the tool suggests alternate names.

Firstbase tool uses a state database to check a business name’s availability, making it fairly accurate.

However, the service recommends consulting an attorney on the name first to avoid trademark issues.

Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas doesn’t have a name availability search tool. Startups must first apply for the service, and Stripe Atlas will verify if the name is available.

One requirement is to put the desired name and an alternate in the application form.

From there, the service will send a notification if they will find the name available.

Stripe Atlas combines the Delaware state database with Harvard Business Services to conduct a thorough name check, ensuring accuracy.

However, this process may take a bit longer. Just like Firstbase, the service also advises consulting with an attorney to prevent any potential trademark issues.

Winner: Tie

Online Document Access

Firstbase provides startups with an online dashboard to get access to their documents.

Through the dashboard, you can view, print, or even download any paperwork like tax reports, certificates, and more.

Not only that, you can access services like mail forwarding and bank opening.

Firstbase provides self-serve tax forms that come pre-filled with business info.

You can then access the forms and file them by mail or the dashboard. Mostly, the forms available include the SS-4 (EIN), 8832 (ECE) and more.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, Firstbase offers a proactive approach by sending reminders to its clients regarding upcoming due dates.

These reminders can be received through SMS or email and cover a range of deadlines, including franchise tax payments, registered agent renewals, and more.

Stripe Atlas also offers an online dashboard, giving entrepreneurs access to their paperwork.

Just like Firstbase, this platform allows you to view, print, and download documents, including compliance records and certificates.

Additionally, the dashboard provides access to services such as tax consultation and opening a Stripe account, among others.

Additionally, users will appreciate that Stripe Atlas offers online filing tools for tax returns.

These tools enable access to a range of forms, including the 1120 for federal income tax and the 1100 for state income tax.

However, unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas does not provide compliance alerts to its clients.

As a result, you’ll need to keep track of your due dates independently or rely on other notification services.

Winner: Tie

Money-Back Guarantees

Firstbase provides a money-back guarantee of 7 days for the business formation services. However, the refund doesn’t include state or third-party fees.

To initiate a refund, you have the option to either engage in a live chat or send an email to their customer support.

The money-back guarantee offered by Firstbase provides entrepreneurs with peace of mind. It allows them to test the services without fear of losing their initial payment.

Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas doesn’t guarantee its business formation service with a money-back guarantee.

Once an entrepreneur submits their application and pays the setup fee, they cannot request a refund.

Your only available option is to cancel the service before submitting the application and making the payment.

Unlike Firstbase, the lack of a refund doesn’t give peace of mind. Startups have to commit themselves without knowing if their application will go through.

Winner: Firstbase

Platform User-Friendliness

The design of Firstbase may appear cluttered, and navigating the platform can be a bit complex.

However, the menu bar offers a coherent structure, presenting key features such as banking, virtual office, and more.

Additionally, there is an FAQ section that addresses many common queries, although it may lack in-depth information.

firstbase dashboard

The onboarding process on Firstbase is easier than Stripe Atlas, which offers a guide with steps in forming and incorporating a business.

New users get guided on choosing an entity, then picking a state out of 30, filling in business details and finally submitting the forms.

Completing the necessary steps is straightforward, as the online forms only request essential information.

Moreover, you have the option to upload documents, and the available payment method is through Stripe.

Unlike Firstbase, the design of Stripe Atlas is modern, with a simple menu showing the key features.

The menu comprises tax consulting, company formation, banking and more.

The onboarding process that Stripe Atlas provides is simple, with steps guiding entrepreneurs on business incorporation.

The steps guide new users through the application to Stripe Atlas, the payment of the setup fee, and the submission of the form.

Completing the necessary steps on Stripe Atlas is easy where the service provides a short form asking the most basic info about yourself and the business.

Not only that, there are more payment options than Firstbase, such as credit cards and Stripe accounts.

Winner: Stripe Atlas

Customization Options

Firstbase provides startups with more flexibility in picking between a C-Corp or an LLC, unlike Stripe Atlas.

Not only that, you can choose from 30 states where to form your business. 

You can customize your business details and choose optional services like mail forwarding.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, the service also provides a comprehensive formation package, including state fees.

Stripe Atlas, on the other hand, only provides entrepreneurs with C-Corp in Delaware as the only state and entity for their business formation.

It also doesn’t provide startups with much flexibility, such as lifetime support, like Firstbase.

However, the formation package is decent, with basic services like tax consultation and EIN registration.

Winner: Firstbase

Compliance Assistance

All new users will greatly appreciate that Firstbase sends compliance notifications to their clients regarding upcoming due dates and other obligations.

Entrepreneurs can choose to receive them through SMS or email, and often, they include tax filing, agent renewal, and more. 

You can also access the self-tax forms through the dashboard and file them online. Not only that but a lifetime of support and access to rewards from the partner companies.

Stripe Atlas doesn’t provide startups with compliance assistance like Firstbase.

You must use third-party services to track your due dates and other regulatory updates.

However, the service has filing tools that you can use to file annual returns. Not only that, unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas partners with leading accounting firms like PWC that provide free consultation with startups.

Winner: Firstbase

Industry-Specific Expertise

Firstbase approach is general, and they do not specialize in a specific industry.

So, unlike Stripe Atlas, their services don’t offer solutions to a specific business type.

Not only that, the services cater to non-US citizens who want to venture into the US.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, Firstbase doesn’t have experts who guide compliance. Startups must depend on themselves to find professionals who will guide them through the processes.

Stripe Atlas specializes in its services to tech businesses and startups. Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas provides expertise through partnerships with companies like PWC and Havard Business Services that offer solutions to startups.

Winner: Firstbase

Customer Education and Resources

You will discover that Firstbase offers guides that cover various business formation topics, including compliance, banking, and taxes.

The information is in chapters explaining the processes, but not in detail. One thing to note is that the content has links to other tools and resources that entrepreneurs can use.

Firstbase also has a blog where experts share their knowledge on marketing, funding, entrepreneurship and more.

However, unlike Stripe Atlas, the articles are general and don’t niche down. Not only that, users can access an FAQ section answering common queries, but it is shallow.

Stripe Atlas also provides guides to its clientele on compliance, banking and taxes. However, unlike Firstbase, the guides are in-depth and don’t link to other tools or sources.

Similar to Firstbase, Stripe Atlas has a blog where experts share their knowledge on funding, growth and more.

The articles are in-depth, niche-down, sharing insights on best practices of entrepreneurship.

Not only that, the service has an FAQ section that answers queries on different topics like compliance, banking and more.

Winner: Stripe Atlas

Customer Support

Firstbase provides a live chat and email as the channels to reach the support team. Live chat response times are 5-15 minutes, and email is up to 24 hours.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, Firstbase has a dedicated representative that guides entrepreneurs in their business formation.

Stripe Atlas provides entrepreneurs with tickets and email as the only form of reaching out.

The response times can take up to 24 hours, which can be inconvenient for emergencies.

Unlike Firstbase, Stripe Atlas doesn’t provide a dedicated representative. New users are required to work independently or rely on the available guides during the formation process.

Winner: Firstbase

Pricing

Firstbase charges a one-time fee of $399 and an annual $99 after the first year of formation.

Unlike Stripe Atlas, the plan is cheaper, which suits low-budget entrepreneurs. One thing to note is that the fee excludes state charges and other fees.

Stripe Atlas charges a setup fee of $500 and a recurring annual fee of $100 after one year of formation.

Unlike Firstbase, the charges are higher and do not include state fees or third-party services.

Winner: Firstbase

Scalability

Firstbase one plan isn’t scalable. However, it fits startups of varied sizes, niches, and stages.

It suits startups that want to form multiple entities (LLC, C-Corp, or partnerships) and need support in the incorporation processes.

Stripe Atlas also doesn’t provide scalable plans, so you only have the annual payment services.

It suits venture-backed startups that only need to form a C-Corp in Delaware and don’t require extensive support.

Winner: Tie

Standout Features of Firstbase

Besides business formation and incorporation, Firstbase offers features that are not available in Stripe Atlas. Two notable ones include:

Venture capital discovery

It is a feature built-in on the platform that allows startups to access a network of partners, opening funding opportunities.

One thing to note is that there is no guarantee of funding. It depends on market fit, team and more factors.

EIN bank account opening

Startups will find Firstbase helps them open a US bank account without EIN. It comes in handy for non-US citizens who often may face challenges.

Firstbase achieves this through its partnership with online banking services from Mercury Bank.

Online banking is accessible through the Firstbase dashboard, and the startup account gets approval instantly.

Standout Features of Stripe Atlas

Entrepreneurs will find that Stripe Atlas provides unique features besides incorporation. Here are two that Firstbase lacks.

Stripe network access

It is a feature that allows startups to access the Stripe network of expertise and other products like the payment gateway.

The platform opens opportunities for startups to get funding from investors or even get endorsements from Stripe partners.

PWC expert consultation

As a new user, you get access to Stripe partners like PWC, who provide free tax consultation.

Entrepreneurs get a dedicated representative who recommends the best strategies to use and also be tax compliant.

Firstbase vs. Stripe Atlas: SMB Guide’s Verdict

Our Firstbase vs Stripe Atlas comparison shows that both services provide decent services for business formation and incorporation in the US.

The processing times are fast and convenient even for non-US citizens without complex paperwork filing.

However, after the comparison, Firstbase is the winner and here is why. Firstbase services are broader than Stripe Atlas and come at an affordable price.

Startups also get the option to choose an entity they like, C-Corp or LLC, from over 30 states. 

The customization options are also extensive, where an entrepreneur can choose an optional service along with parameters that fit their business.

Not only that, startups get lifetime support and access to over 200K+ deals from Firstbase partners.

A combination of all these factors makes Firstbase win in this duel. Stripe Atlas is a decent alternative where startups can access the Stripe network.

Not only that, the service provides templates from top investors and free tax consultations from accounting firms like PWC.

However, the limitations to a C-Corp entity in one state, lack of a dedicated representative and no compliance notifications make it lose to Firstbase.

Choose Firstbase If

You are looking to form an LLC or C-Corp in any of the 32 states and need compliance assistance, even as a non-US citizen.

Choose Stripe Atlas If

You want to form a C-Corp in Delaware and need investors’ endorsements but are willing to pay a premium to access the Stripe network.

Firstbase

Firstbase helps anyone to build a US business. Start a company, set up banking, payments, and payroll, and manage a business — online, from anywhere.

Get started
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Jessica Pereira helps SaaS and digital marketing brands build long-lasting customer relationships with meaningful content. Her favorite topics include career development, productivity, and email marketing.