Stripe, a business known for handling payments over the internet, just introduced an interesting new system called Atlas. In short, it will allow anyone from any country to both start a business and open a bank account in the United States.
The business you’ll be incorporating through Stripe Atlas will be a C-Corporation (Standalone entity or Subsidiary entity) in the US state of Delaware. Why Delaware, you may ask? Your initial guess may be better tax laws, but that’s not the main reason 60% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporate there: various laws and politics make it very appealing to business. The example Stripe gives is the ease at which a company can raise money from global investors, a particular strong point for this endeavour as Atlas is built to be used internationally. Bend Law Group explains it in detail.
As for that fancy US bank account, you’ll be set with an account from Silicon Valley Bank that will be denominated in good old United States Dollars. Once that’s set up, you can login from anywhere with an internet connection and manage your international money.
Of course, with any such business, there’s a host of laws, by-laws, red tape and surprises you’ll encounter. Stripe points out that you’ll need to pay a man on the ground in Delaware to act as liaison between your country and the state, you’ll need to pay various taxes and fees to Delaware on top of income tax, and more.
That being said, looking at the fees, it doesn’t seem to be a massive investment. The one-time fee you’ll need to fork over to Stripe is only $500 (R7 798) which has added value thanks to free access to Amazon Web Services and reduced banking fees for the first two years.
At the moment Atlas is in Beta, which is invite-only. You can apply directly and hope to get in, or get a referral from someone already using Atlas.
If this sounds good to you, pore over the links below and, if it continues to sound good, speak to a lawyer before committing.
Learn more about Stripe Atlas
- Dedicated site
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
[Image – C.C 2.0 by Dirk Knight]