User experience & onboarding
Doola offers a mix of developer-friendly and user-friendly products, with the centerpiece being their chat-based formation process. Their chat bot follows a strict if/else script to collect basic information about your business, and provides a recomendations along the way about which state to incorporate in based on your inputs. Pricing is up-front, although the renewal fees aren't displayed until the end of the chat. To be fair, these fees can vary based on the state and formation type, which is probably why they info-gate it.
Onboarding for Stripe Atlas is dependent on a major factor: whether or not you have a Stripe account. Assuming you do, the process is fairly simple - after all Stripe Atlas really only has a solitary option: to become a Delaware Incorporated Company. Given the simplicity of the product, and all of Silicon Valley conventions behind it, Stripe Atlas is fairly painless when it comes to onboarding.
Doola and Stripe Atlas both have extremely user-friendly onboarding systems. Stripe Atlas is simpler simply because they only offer one thing: Delaware C-Corp. Considering the wider arrange of offerings, Doola does a good job of making it easy to get in the right flow. Our main criticism of Doola in this case is that they push Wyoming LLCs without confirming that founders understand the implications around VC funding.
Doola and Stripe Atlas have similar processing times, with both accomplishing formation in as little as 1–3 days when state processing times don't get in the way. Doola has a unique API product that makes their automations available for white label.
Doola's services are tailored around their API offerings, meaning that it's heavily automated and extremely fast. The only holdup customers will experience is with state processing times; Doola's processing times are effectively instant.
Stripe Atlas, as is expected for Silicon Valley tech, tends towards the swift processing times that have become industry standard. Ranging from one to three business days, Stripe Atlas is good at getting your Delaware-based company up and running fast.
Are they worth the cost?
Doola is heavily focused on non-US residents, and is unique in their product offerings for specific LLC use cases such as DAOs. While their obvious competitors like Stripe Atlas focus on the venture-funded startup crowd, Doola provides tools for more modest e-commerce and software companies. In addition to formation, they offer basic legal and regulatory compliance services in the $1.5–3k range.
Backed by the tech conglomerate that is Stripe, the target of Startups is fairly explicit for Stripe Atlas. The two key personas are either International Founders looking to start a tech business in the U.S. (given Stripe's strong emphasis on social proof from 140 countries) and Startups that looking towards fundraising, specifically VC and Private Equity, or joining an accelerator. The message is clear - if you're looking to be the next Silicon Valley Unicorn, Stripe Atlas wants you.
NanoGlobals' editor's rating of Doola is among the highest we've given, and is based on Doola's value matrix of mid-low pricing combined with extremely clear customer segmenting. Rather than trying to serve everybody, Doola provides ultra-tailored tools for non-residents and DAOs. They also lead the market in terms of mixing non-technical onboarding tools with developer-friendly API offerings.
With all the hype around Silicon Valley Unicorns, NanoGlobals editor's rating for Stripe Atlas might seem surprising at first. They are one of the more straight forward products in the business formation space and are clear on who they serve. But, as with many in Silicon Valley, they overcharge substantially due to the gloss of 'new age tech' - a gloss for a fairly simple product that seems to be a clear revenue grab for Stripe because they can lean on their brand's clout. The other big detraction for Stripe Atlas is the implied restriction on how you run your business - it has to be 'Stripe-friendly' and they quickly enmesh your business into their network, leading to a potential lack of operational flexibility.