Firstbase vs Stripe Atlas

Features, pricing, and contract terms compared

Patrick Ward Patrick Ward Follow Published: Sep 27, 2022

Firstbase and Stripe Atlas target the International Entrepreneur crowd and Startups seeking to raise funding heavily. Firstbase tends to have more flexibility and is oriented towards providing founders with a complete set of tools for formation, growth, and operations in the U.S. Stripe Atlas is better for the more risk-averse founder who prefers to use infrastructure backed by a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, although you'll pay a premium for the privilege.

Content on this page does not constitute financial advice. It is intended for general information purposes only.

Firstbase

3.9/5 stars

Firstbase tends towards the Technical Co-Founder persona of entrepreneur, with an interface and onboarding flow akin to a developer code repository. They seek to provide additional services to make International Founders successful beyond business formation including logistical and growth-related products.

Stripe Atlas

3.2/5 stars

Stripe Atlas, as the name implies, is backed by the multinational financial conglomerate Stripe. While the business formation service offered is fairly limited (basically if you aren't looking to be incorporated in Delaware don't bother), Stripe Atlas offers a way into the Stripe ecosystem, ideal if you anticipate your business being Stripe-friendly and want the backing of a large, established financial payments infrastructure.

Summary of key differences

FeatureFirstbaseStripe Atlas
Entry price$399$500
Standard processing time3-7 business days1-3 business days
Foreign qualification fee Variable Not offered

Pricing Analysis: Firstbase vs Stripe Atlas

Firstbase and Stripe Atlas sit on the higher, premium end of the market when it comes to price, which isn't surprising consider they both serve a more challenging market of international founders, compared to domestic business owners. Firstbase edges the latter out with it's $399 price tag, inclusive of state fees, compared to Stripe Atlas' $500 price tag, also inclusive of state fees, a rarity for the industry. Although the pricing is high on the front end, the renewal fees are quite favorable for both with Firstbase charging a $99 fee for annual registered agent services and Stripe Atlas charging a comparable $100 fee.

Firstbase pricing

The base pricing from Firstbase is less expensive than Stripe Atlas.

Stripe Atlas pricing

Stripe Atlas is the more expensive formation service offering compared with Firstbase.

Firstbase vs Stripe Atlas market value analysis

Market average based on analysis of 9 formation services providers.
MetricMarket AverageFirstbaseStripe Atlas
Lowest package price$156 before state fees$399$500
Formation processing time9 business days3-7 business days1-3 business days
Registered agent annual cost$152 Variable Not offered

User experience & onboarding

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.

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.

Being tech natives, targeting the heart of Silicon Valley, both Firstbase and Stripe Atlas have first-rate onboarding experiences. Firstbase won't immediately appear intuitive to the non-technical persona, but a technical entrepreneur should have no difficulties, especially once into the onboarding flow with transparent pricing for add-ons. Stripe Atlas is even more straight forward with only one singular onboarding flow. Stripe Atlas' only hiccup with its onboarding is it requires the creation of a Stripe account in advance of beginning the business formation process.

Formation speed

Firstbase is slightly on the slower side when it comes to formation speed, at 3 to 7 business days. Most of Firstbase's processing time can be attributed to being a relatively newer player in the business formation space. Stripe Atlas, with more resources, conforms closer to the industry standard for processing times, with an expected 1 to 3 business day formation speed.

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.

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?

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).

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 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.

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.

Author Credentials

Patrick Ward is an expert on working with startups and new businesses. He has 8 years experience serving tech-enabled companies with staffing and growth.

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