News & Analysis

Stripe launches Atlas to help foreign entrepreneurs incorporate in the United States for $500

- February 26, 2016 2 MIN READ

Payment processing startup Stripe launched Atlas at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, a new service that allows global companies incorporate in the American state of Delaware by helping them open a US bank account, get tax and legal guidance, and file all the necessary paperwork to establish an operational presence in the US.

Launched as an invite-only beta for the time being, Atlas will help customers set up their companies as C-Corporations. These can be set up as either standalone entities, owned by a group of founders, employees, investors, and others, or as subsidiary entities, an entity that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of an existing business entity, such as an international parent company.

Over 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware, with the state’s laws making it easier for companies to raise money from investors and issue stock to employees. Delaware also has a court dedicated to corporate law, which allows any legal issues businesses face to be resolved quicker than in any other state.

As well as helping companies incorporate and open a US bank account with Silicon Valley Bank, Atlas will give them Stripe accounts that allow them to accept global payments and access to guidance about US law and taxes from Orrick and PwC.

They will also be given access to tools and resources from Amazon Web Services, with beta users also receiving $15,000 in AWS promotional credits.

Stripe states that the entire incorporation and set up process will take two to three weeks through Atlas, compared to the months and cost of flights to the US the process currently takes.

Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, said, “The promise of the internet is that geography should be largely irrelevant. But that’s not yet true: the majority of the world’s population lives in a country where they don’t have access to high quality banking or payments infrastructure. There’s a lot of latent potential in places like Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East – places where developers and entrepreneurs simply aren’t on a level playing field with people in more developed economies.”

The company has partnered with sixty accelerators and investors around the world who will help identify and refer startups they believe are ready to take the next step into the US. Stripe’s Australian partners are BlueChilli and Startmate. Interested startups can also apply directly.

The service will be free for the first 100 users. For others, it will cost $500 and Stripe’s standard fees of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per successful charge.

Stripe has stated it plans to expand the Atlas program to other regions around the world, with the US just the first “incorporation hub” it supports.

The company has put together a stacked advisory board to guide it along this path and help identify ways to improve local economies.

Members include Larry Summers, former secretary of the treasury of the United States, Linda Rottenberg, cofounder and CEO of Endeavor, and Ben Lawsky, former superintendent of financial services for the state of New York.

Image: Stripe founders Patrick and John Collison. Source: Business Insider.