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- Post-incorporation services
- Network of experts
- Startups access equity
- CPAs get accounting tool
- Complex platform
- Integration limitations
Startups are complex, especially in the business formation stage. Why? An entrepreneur doesn’t know the suitable legal structure and documents to file.
Not only that, startups don’t know the best way to track finances and comply with state and federal law.
However, an equity management platform can streamline all these processes, relieving you of all the stress.
One platform that we have been evaluating for several weeks is Gust. It’s a platform built to empower startups with a suite of solutions to simplify business incorporation and the management of tasks.
So how does it work, and will it offer value for money?
Let us find out in this Gust review.
SMB Guide’s Evaluation Factors for Gust
We have a process that we follow when evaluating business formation software. The factors we consider are:
- Pricing & Plans
- Business Formation Services
- Processing Time
- Registered Agent Services and Costs
- Name Availability Search
- Online Document Access
- Money-Back Guarantees
- Customer Support
What is Gust?
Gust is an equity management platform that allows startup businesses to find, launch, manage, and grow their investment.
The platform offers entrepreneurs software tools like legal services and equity to help them fund their ventures faster.
Not only that, startups get access to an 800k network of experts, support, and guidance.
The audience that Gust targets are startups and first-time founders who want to grow their enterprises. The platform then provides custom solutions to help these startups throughout their journey.
Now, professionals like CPAs who work with startups will find that Gust provides accounting and tax compliance tools.
It can enable them to collaborate better with clients to streamline their processes on a secure platform.
Pricing & Plans
Gust structures its pricing into three plans that you pay annually and can upgrade anytime to access extra functionality.
One thing to note is that the platform has no free trial.
Here are the packages available:
It is the entry plan that startups can sign up for to get incorporated. The process of incorporation is simple and only takes less than two minutes.
- $300 annually
- Business banking
- Board actions
- Dedicated support
- Stock and cap table
- $5K in AWS activate credits
Who it’s for: The plan fits first-time founders with a tight budget looking for features to start and grow their startups.
It is the mid-level package offering more functionality than the Start plan. Startups can book a personal demo to explore the service.
- $1000 annually
- $50k in segment credits
- 90% off Hubspot
- Startup legal counsel
- Founder IP assignment
- Contractor agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements
Who it’s for: It is a package that suits businesses scaling their operations and needs more functionality than the Start plan.
It is the top-most premium package the platform provides. You can book a personal demo to explore the service.
- Equity management
- 409A Valuations
- Cap table modeling
- Option plan
- 20% off WeWork
Who it’s for: It is a package that fits established businesses and experts with complex workflows and needs to automate some processes.
Business Formation Services
The business formation services Gust provides to its clientele suit startups looking to incorporate as a Delaware C Corp.
The main reason is that it’s an entity type ideal for startups to raise capital from investors.
Given that Gust focuses on startup entities as its primary type, other entities like partnerships and LLCs aren’t available.
Not only that, businesses looking to customize their incorporation documents like shares par value will not get the service.
The goal of Gust is to provide the fundamental services a startup needs.
There are dozens of factors that can affect processing times for business formation. However, you can incorporate a new EIN and Delaware C Corp through the Gust platform in 3 days.
Not only that, the platform allows foreign qualification registration for startups to conduct business in their home state.
Now, there are some factors that can affect it, like the location of the state and more. However, the process can take between 2- 8 weeks to complete.
If you want expedited service from another state, you can pay a fee and have it processed fast.
Other formation services processing times like cap table, agreements, and stock issuance are fast and you can complete them online within a few minutes.
Registered Agent Services and Costs
Any startup incorporating a Delaware C Corp can get registered agent services from Gust. The service fees are in the three plans: Start, Accelerate, and Raise, which a client picks.
The fee covers all the features and comes with no extra charges. Gust ensures that the client gets updates on their legal deadlines and obligations, plus ensuring the services are reliable.
Not only that, clients get support in filing reports, taxes, and compliance with Delaware state law.
Name Availability Search
Startups will not find this functionality on the platform’s website, but some resources have tips on choosing a suitable name.
The tips guide the ideal way to check domain name availability and create a unique brand that doesn’t infringe on trademarks.
If you want to use an availability search tool, there are third-party platforms like Name.com and Namechecker that are accurate and effective.
You can filter through these platforms and export the data depending on your preference.
Online Document Access
Startups will find it easy to access essential business documents through Gust’s online platform. Whether it’s yearly reports, formation certificates, or compliance records, you can access them through your account.
The platform secures the documents through firewalls and encryption to avoid cyber hacking. Not only that, the platform has automatic updates that alert clients when the documents are due or ready for filing.
The platform also organizes the storage where you can filter the document by searching a keyword, date, or type.
While Gust doesn’t provide money-back guarantees or free trials, they do offer a valuable alternative for potential clients.
Specifically, for those interested in the Accelerate and Raise plans, there’s the option to schedule a personal demo conducted by a professional.
This represents a flexible opportunity for startups to gain insight into the platform’s inner workings while benefiting from expert guidance.
The support channel that Gust provides is through a live chat. You can send them a message and expect feedback within 3-5 minutes, which is decent.
However, there are no phone calls or email support, which can be a drawback for clients looking for one-on-one help.
For individuals seeking to delve deeper into the platform’s inner workings, they will discover a wealth of information in the form of a helpful FAQ and a comprehensive glossary.
These valuable resources are packed with guides that outline the ideal methods for incorporating their startups online.
Gust – Additional Services
Besides the formation and management of the business, Gust provides extra services that include:
- Trademark Registration: Collaboration with platforms like Trademarkia, which can help startups protect their logo and brand at an extra fee.
- Compliance Management: Startups get regular reminders and updates on the essential due dates on compliance with state laws.
- Annual reporting: Startups can file yearly reports with Delaware state through Gust and pay taxes, though at an extra fee.
- Business Tax Services: Partnering with platforms like inDinero allows startups to file taxes with accuracy at an extra fee.
What Experts Say About Gust
Gust doesn’t have many reviews online, but on G2, here are some testimonials from the users:
Chris T, a co-founder of a small business, said, “The burden of setting up a startup company through the state and federal channels is tedious and long. Gust helped us simplify this process because they handled all legal processes on our behalf. Plus, they handle the challenging admin tasks like cap table formation and more, which relieves stress on us.”
A mid-market user said, “Managing equity through legal teams can be expensive. However, through Gust, they process all things internally and it allowed us to grow our program to include our staff in the equity program.”
SMB Guide’s Verdict for Gust
Gust is a decent equity management platform that startups and growing businesses will find valuable. Having used the platform for several weeks, it stands out with its unique features like trademark registration, business tax services, and more.
In addition to these benefits, the platform boasts excellent customer support and a comprehensive knowledge base, making it accessible even for first-time users looking to learn how to set up their businesses.
After a meticulous assessment of all its features and functionality, we confidently rate it at 8.5 out of 10.
This score positions it as an ideal choice for first-time founders and startups in search of global investor funding and a means to streamline their workflow processes efficiently.
Gust undeniably stands as an excellent equity management platform that can greatly benefit startups in their brand launch journey.
However, it’s important to note that it’s not the sole option available. In our pursuit of comprehensive information, we’ve identified several worthy alternatives that address the areas where Gust may have some limitations.
These alternatives include:
Firstbase is a business formation and incorporation platform that helps startups launch their venture in the US.
Unlike Gust, which uses a comprehensive approach to business incorporation, Firstbase streamlines business setup, simplifying incorporation.
Gust offers more services outside incorporation, like tax filing, which Firstbase doesn’t. Now, the pricing package Firstbase offers is similar to Gust, which offers a one-time package.
The package costs $399 and has a money-back guarantee of 7 days. It makes Firstbase suit startups globally that want to launch and scale their venture in the US.
ZenBusiness is known for its affordable pricing structure, with options designed to suit the needs of small businesses and startups.
ZenBusiness stands out for its commitment to social responsibility. They offer a unique feature where they’ll cover the cost of filing for a nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status, aligning with businesses that prioritize social impact.
Entrepreneurs who value affordability and social responsibility, especially those looking to establish nonprofit organizations, should give ZenBusiness a whirl.
Clerky is an online legal service that helps startups, and first-time founders file legal documents for compliance.
Now, the platform guides entrepreneurs from formation and fundraising to hiring. Not only that, businesses can set up their venture in Delaware.
Recommended Reading: Gust vs. Clerky
Get Started with Gust
Gust is a decent equity management platform that most startups will find valuable. Through the platform’s launch system, startups can incorporate their businesses in Delaware online.
The platform also provides excellent extra features to improve functionality, such as compliance management, annual reporting, trademark registration, and more.
So, sign up to Gust today and start streamlining your startup processes.
Can I upgrade my plan later on?
You can upgrade your plan when you need to access an extra feature in the premium tiers. The software will allow the upgrading cost to your existing plan.
Is Gust good for startups?
Yes, the platform offers access to the global network of investors through a streamlined process to raise capital.
What is a cap table?
It is a representation of investors that have an ownership interest in your business. It also breaks down the overall equity of the business.
Gust is the world’s largest online platform and community for early stage finance, from pitch to exit.
Product Brand: Gust