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- Exclusive discounts
- Stripe ecosystem
- Built for founders
- Automated process
- Only LLC's and C-Corps
- Focus on Delaware incorporation
Do you live outside the US and are curious to access the US market? Consider forming an LLC through an incorporation service.
One that excels at it is Stripe Atlas. It is a service that guides startups through the entire formation process and the best way to stay compliant.
However, how do the services cost, and do they offer value for money?
SMB Guide’s Verdict for Stripe Atlas
After evaluating Stripe Atlas, it scores a 7.5 out of 10, and here is why.
The platform offers a reliable formation service and allows startups to choose between an LLC or C-Corp. The service also goes the extra step of providing guides that educate entrepreneurs on choosing an entity that fits their situation.
|Rating (out of 10)
|Pricing & Plans
|Business Formation Services
|Registered Agent Services and Costs
|Name Availability Search
|Online Document Access
|SMB Guide Rating
The standout feature is the integration with the Stripe ecosystem. Businesses access the Stripe products, including the payment gateway.
Not only that but a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts. However, one thing to consider is that Stripe Atlas focuses on incorporation only in Delaware.
Plus, the service requires an initial fee of $500 to access the features.
In this review of Stripe Atlas, I’ve followed SMB Guide’s detailed criteria for evaluating the business formation service.
Pricing & Plans
Stripe Atlas pricing model is straightforward, charging a one-time fee of $500 for incorporating a business.
Although pricey, the fee includes benefits like a 24-hour expedited process, EIN, and more.
Businesses that need support running their enterprise can subscribe to the registered agent service for $100 billed annually.
The service has no contract, and you can unsubscribe at any time. It is a service that fits e-commerce businesses that need access to Stripe products.
Business Formation Services
The service provides startups with 2 entity types to choose from when incorporating in Delaware: LLC or C-Corp.
The good thing is that Stripe Atlas guides businesses in picking suitable entities depending on their goals.
With customization, you can tailor your formation to fit your needs. The entrepreneur can pick a board composition, stock allocation, and more.
As a startup, you can also request add-on services like tax consultation, US bank and Stripe account, or registered agent.
One thing to note is that Stripe Atlas provides comprehensive services for incorporation. It takes care of paperwork filing and any necessary fees during formation.
Not only that, but the service files the necessary paperwork with the Delaware state, like 83(b) election, certificates, and more.
The best part is that businesses get discounts on legal services, software, and hosting.
The amount of time it takes to incorporate a business through Stripe Atlas is 15-30 days if you don’t have an SSN.
The process involves generating the necessary paperwork, filing with Delaware State, and getting an EIN from the IRS.
One thing to note is that the service requests businesses to allow some buffer time. The reason is that the government services processing times vary because of many factors.
However, you can request expedited service if you pay the initial incorporation fee of $500. After payment, the document processing and filing can take less than 24- hours.
The good thing about Stripe Atlas is that it updates progress through email. After receiving the EIN, you can activate the Stripe payment gateway, open a US bank account, and file tax returns.
Registered Agent Services and Costs
Stripe Atlas offers free registered agent services to startups for the first year of incorporation. After the first year, you can opt for ongoing services for $100 billed annually.
The RA services are reputable, given that Stripe Atlas partners with Legalinc. It is a well-known company that specializes in registered agent services.
It acts as a link between Delaware State and the startup, where it forwards and receives notices through email. Businesses also get to access all the paperwork and even send notifications on tax due dates.
Stripe Atlas also helps startups comply with tax laws in Delaware by guiding entrepreneurs on proper tax filing. The service also provides all legal paperwork for incorporation, like bylaws, certificates, and more.
Name Availability Search Tool
The name availability search tool of Stripe Atlas is user-friendly. Entrepreneurs can use it to search for a business name and select an entity type, whether ending with (INC. or LLC).
The steps to follow are simple. All you need to do is enter the name in the search box and check the results.
Now, the name search tool is accurate because it searches through the Delaware state database. If a name is available, the tool redirects the entrepreneur to a new page to reserve it.
In case the name is unavailable, the tool displays “unavailable.” One thing to note is that the tool has guides that help users pick a unique business name and avoid generic ones.
It is helpful in avoiding picking names that have trademarks.
Online Document Access
Accessing the formation documents is easy if you have an active Stripe account and an internet connection.
On the Stripe dashboard, you can see the Atlas section. Clicking on it allows you to view or share the documents through a link.
The documents include tax reports, formation certificates, and more. Stripe Atlas also backs up the data regularly and even provides templates, reminders, and guides on tax compliance.
The best part is that managing the documents is easy since it organizes them, making it easy to track each document’s history.
For example, an entrepreneur can see the incorporation date, payment, and alerts received.
Stripe Atlas doesn’t offer any money-back refunds. So, it’s essential to remember if you decide to dissolve your LLC or C-Corp, you won’t receive any refund.
One thing to note is that Stripe Atlas allows companies to unsubscribe from the registered agent services at any time.
Now, Stripe Atlas also doesn’t offer satisfaction guarantees. It doesn’t guarantee their services will meet businesses’ expectations.
Not only that, Stripe Atlas states that users cannot claim any liability for losses from its services. It means any issues that arise when using Stripe Atlas services don’t get compensation.
However, it doesn’t mean when you encounter a problem, you should not call the support team. The bottom line is that the service doesn’t give peace of mind to businesses that subscribe to it.
Stripe Atlas only has 2 support channels available round the clock: phone and email.
The support can help entrepreneurs with technical issues when using the software.
One thing to note is that the support team on Stripe Atlas comprises experts in different fields, such as attorneys, CPAs, and more.
They act as a point of contact or guide on running a business and complying with the law. However, Stripe Atlas doesn’t have a dedicated representative. Startups must work independently.
The platform also has a community that entrepreneurs can access and interact with. It includes experts and other business owners from around the world.
The community also hosts webinars, meetups, and workshops to help new businesses strategize and succeed.
Stripe Atlas – Additional Services
Besides the formation services that Stripe Atlas has, there are other additional services businesses can request.
Annual report filing
Businesses get help filing their annual tax report with the state of Delaware. The service also goes the extra step of providing guides and notifications on filing and report submission.
Business tax services
Businesses can request business tax services, where they get tax consultation and filing services from Pilot, a bookkeeping platform.
Entrepreneurs get a free half-hour consultation with a tax expert from Pilot and a 20% discount for tax filing in the first year.
“One of the top feature requests for Atlas was LLC’s support. We want Atlas to work well for companies, especially LLCs. They fit the bootstrapper community better.”Patrick Collison, Co-founder of Stripe
What the Experts Say About Stripe Atlas
Stripe Atlas has a mix of positive and lukewarm reviews online from users on G2.com.
Here is what they said:
“I like that Stripe Atlas provides the right educational content, like guides to help a newbie pick the right entity for a startup. The best part is that you can access other Stripe products like the payment gateway and community of experts.”Ryan M., Small business owner
“Besides the access to the Stripe products and expertise, I found the service expensive. Compared to other alternatives, $500 is steep for a startup.”Small business owner – Verified G2 review
Stripe Atlas Alternatives
At SMB Guide, we understand that not every entrepreneur will find Stripe Atlas comprehensive enough for their needs.
So, we researched and found 3 alternatives that offer what Stripe Atlas lacks.
Firstbase is an incorporation platform that helps entrepreneurs register a startup in days. It provides services like automated bank opening and ongoing compliance support.
The major difference Firstbase has with Stripe Atlas is that it supports more entity types like LLC, C-Corp, and S-Corp.
It also offers a free US bank account, unlike Stripe Atlas, with no minimum balance or fees. The service charges a $399 one-time fee, but for ongoing support, it charges $149 for registered service.
It is a service that suits entrepreneurs who need multiple entities to incorporate in any US state.
Doola is a business formation service that helps entrepreneurs globally incorporate their startups in any of the US states.
Unlike Stripe Atlas, Doola provides 3 formation entities: LLC, C-Corp, and DAO LLC. With pricing, Doola offers 2 packages: Starter ($297 annually) and Total Compliance ($300 monthly).
The packages include registered agent services, but the total compliance offers more advanced features. It makes Doola Suit startups that need hands-on business management support and expert guidance.
LegalZoom is a business formation service that helps startups with legal support in incorporating their venture in the US market.
Unlike Stripe Atlas, LegalZoom helps startups incorporate in any of the 50 US states. Not only that, the service provides services like trademark registration and legal consultation, unlike Stripe Atlas.
With pricing, LegalZoom offers 3 plans, with the Economy plan priced at $149 + state fees. It makes LegalZoom fit businesses that need legal support when forming and running their company in the US.
Getting Started with Stripe Atlas
Stripe Atlas provides one of the best business formation services currently in the market. With its integration with the Stripe ecosystem and stellar RA services, it stands out as an ideal business formation platform.
Does Stripe Atlas create a bank account for startups?
It doesn’t. Instead, it encourages entrepreneurs to set up a bank account with one of Stripe’s partners after forming a company.
The partners then can determine the level of support they can offer a startup.
Can a non-US resident incorporate a startup in the U.S. through Stripe Atlas?
Yes, forming an entity with Stripe Atlas doesn’t require you to be a US resident. A foreign individual or company can own a business wholly in the USA.
Does Stripe Atlas provide any benefits to startups?
Yes, startups access partner discounts that help them pick ideal tools. Startups also access a community of founders, a registered agent, and the Stripe ecosystem.
Start your company in a few clicks and get ready to charge customers, hire your team, and fundraise.
Product Brand: Stripe