User experience & onboarding
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.
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.
Stripe Atlas, with a solitary service, has a much smoother onboarding flow than most of its competitors. While the simplicity of one offering makes Stripe Atlas a breeze to start a business formation process, there is a slight barrier to entry of signing up for a Stripe account first before proceeding. Clerky too prompts account creation before purchase, but also adopts simplicity when presenting its services to a tech-savvy audience with a binary choice: an all-inclusive package of legal services or an a-la-carte menu.
Stripe Atlas holds its own in the industry with a respectably swift business formation processing time of one to three business days. Clerky, unlike other legaltech products, is no slouch either, enabling Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to form businesses with two to three days of processing time. Stripe Atlas just beats Clerky, which isn't surprising given the relative simplicity of Stripe Atlas' singular offering compared to Clerky's multiple services.
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.
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.
Are they worth the cost?
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.
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.
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.
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.