User experience & onboarding
Clerky mimics the flow of their target customer very seamlessly, prompting an account creation. While slightly inconvenient, it's worth noting that the account creation doesn't incur any fees until particular legal products are purchased. Clerky also makes a fairly binary choice for prospective customers - a one time all-inclusive package or an a-la-carte option with transparent pricing for each product.
With an interface more akin to a developer-facing product than a consumer-facing one, Firstbase is not immediately the easiest to navigate. Once into the flow, it's fairly straightforward with limited options of Delaware and Wyoming and a flat fee disclosed up front. The business formation flow in particular is exceptionally quick to navigate - as Firstbase prefers to offer multiple products within the 'Start your U.S. based business niche' including growth tools, business addresses alongside the expected formation and registered agent services.
Clerky's onboarding flow has a slight false-start motion, prompting account creation before any questions are posed to the entrepreneur. Firstbase, similarly isn't immediately obvious although this could be due to the interface being designed with a technical business owner in mind as the audience rather than a consumer-facing one. Once into the onboarding flow, both adopt similar Silicon Valley best practices, providing clear choices and decision trees for the business owner to choose the services that are right for them.
Clerky has a very swift business formation speed of two to three business days, close to the fastest speeds available in the industry. The fact that Clerky's offering puts it also in the adjacent LegalTech category makes those speeds all the more impressive, although somewhat expected by their Silicon Valley, 'Move Fast and Break Things' clientele. Firstbase drags slightly behind Clerky, with formation speeds of three to seven business speeds. Although still quick, Firstbase is off from the industry norm of a handful of days to process business formation applications.
Not quite as swift as one day, Clerky's two to three day processing time is still up there with the fastest in the space. With a narrow band of well-targeted products, it makes sense that their processing times are fairly prompt, by industry standards.
Firstbase's processing times of three to seven business days isn't awful, but neither is it particularly impressive. In today's 'I want it now' economy, three to seven business days seems like a lifetime compared to the 'same day' or 'next day' promises of several in the business formation space. It's worth noting however, that Firstbase's processing time puts it solidly in the middle of the pack, considerably faster than those in the twenty to forty business day processing time range.
Are they worth the cost?
Not shy about their target, Clerky bashes you over the proverbial head with their ideal customer: Silicon Valley Startups. The score of recognizable names including Zapier, Segment, Coinbase, Gusto, feature heavily in their positioning as Silicon Valley's go-to for legal paperwork. Their products cover the suite of likely legal considerations for a Startup beyond Formation including Fundraising, Hiring, Structural Changes and NDAs.
Firstbase has strong overtures of developer dark mode interfaces, leaning to a strong targeting of International Tech Founders. The messaging is consistent with entrepreneurs trying to start their first U.S. business. Firstbase positions the choice of their products as either for the entrepreneur looking to be economical on taxation (via Wyoming incorporation) or Startups seeking VC-funding (via the standard Delaware incorporation).
NanoGlobals editor's rating show Clerky as a great option within their particular niche. While clearly not for every entrepreneur, their Silicon Valley experience shines through with transparent pricing that is substantially lower than other Silicon Valley-oriented services, especially with respect to ongoing fees. Minor deductions for a slightly slower processing time, although not by much, and an onboarding flow that insists on account creation up front.
NanoGlobals editor's rating represents Firstbase as a solid option, especially for the Non-U.S. founder. Their tech-oriented, all encompassing offer earn points for providing multiple tools to the aspiring tech entrepreneur to start their U.S. base business, along with very transparent pricing on all their available add-ons. Minor subtractions occur due to a higher than average price point and processing times.