Today, we’re adding support for creating a limited liability company (LLC) with Stripe Atlas. It’s been one of the most requested features from our users, and we’re excited to make it possible.
LLCs and C Corporations
We started Stripe Atlas as an easy way to create a Delaware C Corporation. They are the entity of choice for many investor-backed technology companies, but they’re not for everyone. LLCs, on the other hand, are used by many small teams, bootstrapped businesses, and side projects seeking a more flexible start.
Startups are continuous creation machines, running experiments and rearchitecting themselves on the fly. Legal choices often force startups to predict the future: is this a side project or the next Google? We think that some founders stop because they aren’t certain yet. So we sought to give founders more options to just get started.
The Stripe Atlas LLC
Founders can now use Stripe Atlas to form an LLC in days. The Stripe Atlas LLC has the features common to LLCs: limited liability for founders and the flexibility to be taxed as an individual. But LLCs are used for everything from holding companies to restaurants, and we wanted the Stripe Atlas LLC templates to help meet the needs of technology startups. Orrick designed the Stripe Atlas legal documents to match the ways founders tell us they want to work. For example, the Stripe Atlas LLC:
Enables founders to assign relevant IP to the company at formation, formalizing ownership of key technology.
Is designed to make conversion to a C Corporation as simple as possible. (We can connect Stripe Atlas users to a lawyer to manage the conversion process with discounted, flat-rate packages).
Provides a simplified process for adding members after formation.
Is organized in Delaware, the jurisdiction of choice for many new LLCs.
You can read more about the Stripe Atlas LLC—and tradeoffs between an LLC and C Corporation—in this guide.
Forming an LLC through Stripe Atlas will cost the same as a C Corporation: $500 gets you a new entity, tax ID, U.S. business bank account, Stripe account, access to expert tax and legal advice from our partners, tools for handling taxes, and credits with a number of services. You’ll also join the Stripe Atlas Community, where you can connect with other founders, learn from experts, and get practical advice. We’re starting in beta, and folks who request an invite will hear back within a couple weeks.
Over the last two years, thousands of founders from over 130 countries—ranging from side projects to startups funded by Y Combinator—have used Stripe Atlas. We’ve been delighted by their progress, and can’t wait to see what you build.
At Stripe, we’ve always been intentional about how we communicate, share information, and stay connected. Back when Stripe was smaller, it was easy for this to happen automatically. But by the time we hit around 150 people, it became hard to know everyone’s name. So at a company hackathon, a few Stripes created People, a directory to help Stripes meet and get to really know each other.
People focused on connecting individuals across the company: Stripes could set their own bios, create networks around common interests, and generally experiment with new ways to express who they are. People also gave us our first concept of a people API, which set the stage for automating our notification systems and made it quick to roll out new people-oriented features (like seating charts!).
We’ve since turned People turned into a full-fledged product called Home, weaving both how we know one another and share information beyond email into the same product. Used by 99% of Stripes in the last month, Home is the source of truth for who we are, what we’re doing, and why—and a platform for enabling individuals and helping them get to know one another.
Here’s a quick tour through a few Home highlights:
The people at Stripe are what bring and keep so many of us here, so we’ve made it easy to meet folks across the company. In the spirit of the original People, new Stripes are front and center on Home along with their own quick video introductions, a flipbook through existing Stripes (can you get their name right?), and activities happening around the company (ranging from classes we host to events for our users).
Home was also designed to encourage Stripes to get to know each person beyond their team and the projects they’re working on. We’ve found that building connections across the company makes it easier for us to share, learn from fresh perspectives and build a sense of belonging early on. Everyone has their own personal page that describes how to get ahold of them for work, where they work, and any quick background they’d like to share.
Home can’t paint the complete picture of the person behind the page, but it helps break the ice. Outside Home, we encourage people to meet in person—one of our more structured approaches involves a chat bot that helps schedule lunches among Stripes who are least likely to know each other (more than 5,000 lunches have been facilitated since it was set up!).
Multiple teams, one company
We don’t view teams as information silos or hard boundaries. Instead, we’ve designed teams to empower a group of individuals to take end-to-end ownership over an area and act autonomously toward their goals, while sharing lessons with the rest of Stripe. Helping teams share their knowledge to the company makes it easier for individuals at Stripe to find context that will both guide them in their work and help them learn above and beyond their role.
But with dozens of teams at Stripe, it’s tough to keep track of every area. To help, we built the team index as a central place to find any team at Stripe. Home randomly features teams and the individuals within them at the top to help keep Stripes aware. Individual team pages are like the people pages: they provide a common interface for getting ahold of the team, finding useful resources the team has shared, and even watching video introductions for the entire group at once. (We now have ten offices globally and built similar pages for those at a recent hackathon.)
Individual Stripes collaborate—a lot. Last year we created more than 20,000 documents, ranging from email drafts to project proposals to canonical documentation relied on across the entire company.
Our search system lets Stripe look across documents, people, teams, and even API models, with live filters to help narrow the corpus quickly. The search interface is completely API-driven with modular content indexers underneath, so it’s easy to add new types of content to the same interface we use to find everything else. (API models were a recent addition.)
We still have a lot to do along these lines. Search satisfies the curious who know roughly what they’re looking for. Next up, we’d like to incorporate our canonical documentation into a structure that not only helps people browse and keep up with changes, but also helps Stripes find information they wouldn’t go hunting for on their own that would nevertheless benefit them (like lessons from another team’s retrospective).
Under the hood, Home is built on the same technology as our user-facing products (such as the Dashboard) because we wanted to make it easy to move between developing user-facing and internally-facing products. This has made Home a favorite for new Stripes’ spin-up projects and a popular go-to for Hackathon projects. The search feature described was built by a new class of Stripes as their very first project and office pages were built at our most recent hackathon.
Home is such an important part of how we work together and stay connected; it remains a work in progress along with Stripe as a whole. We’re still figuring out how to balance transparency with information overload, serendipity with curated content, and crisp interfaces and team boundaries with the actual human part that makes the company what it is. Our next projects are all about evolving knowledge discovery: from team pages that weave the individuals, metrics, and our users together to a better way to browse and publish information.
We launched Radar in 2016 to help protect our users from fraud. We’ve blocked billions of dollars in fraud across the Stripe network for companies of all sizes—from startups like Slice and WeSwap to larger companies like Fitbit and OpenTable. Since launch, we’ve continuously invested in our suite of fraud prevention tools, and today, we’re excited to launch the result of those efforts.
The next generation of machine learning
As of today, we’ve rebuilt almost every component of our fraud detection stack to dramatically improve performance. In early testing, the upgraded machine learning models helped reduce fraud by over 25% compared to previous models, without increasing the false positive rate.
Hundreds of new signals for improved accuracy: We’ve added new signals to better distinguish fraudsters from legitimate customers, including certain data from buyer patterns that are highly predictive of fraud. Some signals now use new, high-throughput data infrastructure to process hundreds of billions of historical events. (Even if a card is new to your business, there’s an 89% chance it’s been seen before on the Stripe network.)
Nightly model training: Fraud evolves and changes rapidly. Radar can now adapt even faster by training and evaluating new machine learning models daily.
Algorithmic changes for better recall and precision: We’ve optimized our machine learning algorithms in hundreds of ways—from boosting the performance of our decision trees to tweaking the minutiae of how we handle class imbalance, missing values, and more.
Custom models for your business to maximize performance: Radar is constantly evaluating how to balance patterns from across the Stripe network with patterns that are unique to your business. Radar now trains and evaluates multiple models daily and determines which one achieves the best performance for you.
“Radar cut our fraud rates by over 70% without any configuration, saving our pizzerias thousands of dollars every month and allowing us to focus on delivering the best local pizza experience possible.”
— Finn Borge, Product Manager at Slice
Introducing Radar for Fraud Teams
While most Stripe businesses can rely entirely on Radar’s automated fraud protection, it makes sense for some companies with more fraud risk to invest more deeply. We’ve now made that as easy and powerful as possible on Stripe. We’ve honed features to be even more useful to fraud professionals, built new features, and packaged them all together in a new bundle called Radar for Fraud Teams.
UpdateOptimized reviews to spot fraud faster
When reviewing payments, we now show relevant info for faster and more accurate reviews. You can see data related to the device used, compare the geolocated IP address and the credit card address, or see whether the purchase pattern is anomalous compared to typical legitimate payments for your business.
UpdateRelated payments for more accurate reviews
We now help you evaluate payments holistically rather than in isolation by surfacing previous related payments your business has processed that match certain attributes like email address, IP address, or card number.
UpdateCustom rules with real-time feedback
When you create a rule, Stripe will use your historical data to show how that rule would have impacted real transactions your business has seen. We’ve added dozens of new properties you can use in rules to give your teams even more fine-grained levers.
NewCustom risk thresholds
Radar for Fraud Teams surfaces a numerical risk score (0–100) for every payment. Depending on your business’s appetite for fraud, you can tweak the threshold at which to block payments to maximize revenue.
NewBlock and allow lists
Fraud teams now have an easy way to create and maintain lists of attributes—card numbers, emails, IP addresses, and more—that you want to consistently block or allow.
NewRich analytics on fraud performance
Get a snapshot that helps focus your fraud team. The new overview highlights dispute trends, the effectiveness of reviewing flagged payments, and the impact of rules you’ve written for your business.
Radar for Fraud Teams has already made fraud management easier and more effective for beta users at Watsi, Fitbit, Restocks, Patreon, and more.
“The related payments feature helped our fraud team quickly spot a nuanced fraud ring and avoid significant potential loss. It’s been a great asset in our fraud detection arsenal.”
— Alison Cleggett, Head of Risk and Compliance at WeSwap
Get early access
We’re gradually rolling out the upgraded machine learning models to all users over the next few weeks. If you’d like, you can also activate the models today. Activating early requires that your Stripe integration follows a few basic best practices. Most users already follow these best practices and won’t need to make any changes to get early access—you can check your integration by logging in to the Dashboard.
Radar for Fraud Teams is also available starting today as an optional add-on. If you’re already using any of features included in Radar for Fraud Teams (like rules or reviews), there are no changes to your pricing—the machine learning updates and all new Radar for Fraud Teams features are included at no extra cost for your account.
We’re constantly updating and improving Radar to help Stripe businesses fight fraud. If you have any questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you!
Fight fraud with the strength of the Stripe network. Explore Radar
Today, we’re excited to launch Stripe Billing, a new suite of tools to help companies of all sizes automate, optimize, and scale recurring business models. This new product is an evolution of Stripe Subscriptions and adds many new features.
Increasingly, the most innovative companies are establishing recurring relationships with their customers. As these businesses iterate to find the best pricing and sales strategy, they’re often unnecessarily constrained by what their billing system allows. For some companies that already used Stripe, our Subscriptions product was limiting as well. They needed to do more than just simple subscription management. Based on feedback from many of our customers and others, we built Stripe Billing to provide fast-growing businesses the tools to move quickly and design billing around customer experience.
Stripe Billing has two components. For developers, our APIs provide composable building blocks that make it easy to design and iterate on different billing models. For business teams, we’ve built easy-to-use Dashboard tools that help manage recurring billing from end to end.
Flexible building blocks for billing
Fast-growing companies regularly experiment with billing as they grow their business and expand their offerings. Examples include Slack’s “fair billing policy”, Meetup’s new metered billing, and Postmates’ recently-launched subscriptions offering. As businesses iterate on pricing and launch new business lines, they need the ability to customize billing quickly and easily.
At the core of Stripe Billing are new APIs and Dashboard tools that help businesses intuitively design and represent even the most complex billing models—from simple seat licensing to complex multi-layered tiered metered plans. Stripe Billing also makes it easy to add or change billing models, so you can easily test and roll out different pricing. You can learn more in our docs.
“Expanding into offerings for businesses not only demanded new product features and capabilities but also foundational changes to Meetup’s billing infrastructure. Stripe’s open API and simple, user-friendly interface made it easy for the entire team.”
— Sylvan Boucard, Product Manager at Meetup
Faster payments with Stripe-hosted invoices
Stripe Billing also includes a new way for U.S. businesses to invoice customers. Starting today, Stripe can email your customers an invoice that perfectly matches your company’s branding and will securely collect payments. You can try out our demo or create an invoice from your Dashboard.
In addition to credit and debit card payments, invoices also support ACH and wire transfers in the U.S. This should be especially helpful to businesses that have automated billing for self-serve accounts, but still rely on accounts-receivable processes to handle larger invoices. Behind the scenes, Stripe now generates a unique virtual bank account number for each of your customers, which keeps your company’s banking details private. Any payments received appear in your Stripe balance and invoices are automatically reconciled and marked as closed.
“For large invoice amounts, our customers expect to pay via invoice, rather than credit card. As a fast-growing business, handling invoicing manually quickly became a huge pain. With Stripe, we automate all aspects of invoicing and accepting ACH and wire payments which means we can scale our business faster.”
— Eric Koslow, Co-founder, Lattice
Smart revenue recovery
Nearly a quarter of churn is caused by missed payments or declined cards. Stripe Billing now includes our automated card updater, which saves your customers from having to do data entry if their card is reissued by automatically syncing new payment details (such as updated expiry dates) from our financial partners.
We're also introducing a new feature: smart retry logic. It’s powered by the same machine learning infrastructure behind Stripe Radar. Our algorithms train on data across the billions of payments in the Stripe network to predict the right way to retry failed payments. With smart retry logic, we can reduce involuntary churn, maximize payment acceptance, and decrease toil for your users and customer support teams.
In 2017, Stripe’s recovery tools reduced payment declines up to 45% on average and increased revenue 10% on average.
Bench recovered 12% of revenue through card account updater in 2017.
We’ve made getting started with Stripe Billing as easy as possible. You can start sending invoices today right from the Dashboard. Since Stripe Billing’s APIs are modular, you can choose to build a new metered billing system or run a lightweight pricing experiment for your next product or feature launch. (Flexible billing and smart recovery tools are available globally today. Invoices are available in the U.S. and coming soon to many more countries.)
If you’re using Stripe Subscriptions today, check out our guide to getting started. We hope Stripe Billing helps your business. Let us know if you have any feedback or questions—we’re just getting started and we’d love to hear from you.
Build your recurring business model with Stripe Billing. Learn More
Today, we’ve added a new Developers section to the Dashboard that helps you build and manage your Stripe integration. You can monitor API and webhook usage in real time, manage API upgrades, and find all our developer tools in one place.
Monitor your requests and errors
The Dashboard now provides real-time charts for your API usage. You can filter errors by endpoint or type, and immediately dive into the logs for the requests that triggered the issues to fix them. You can also investigate webhook events and track the response time for each request sent to your servers. When used in test mode, this can be helpful in debugging requests to Stripe’s API and identifying errors as they occur.
Easily keep your API version up to date
We regularly release new versions of our API that add new functionality and we let you choose when to upgrade. We’ve heard feedback that it’s not always easy to know whether an upgrade might break your integration. The Dashboard now surfaces exactly which API versions your business is using and any potential breaking changes before you upgrade.
We’ll be turning off support for all API requests to Stripe from servers using older versions of TLS on June 13, 2018. The TLS protocol is used to encrypt your servers’ communications with Stripe, so it’s important that your integration uses the latest version. (TLS 1.2 is much more secure than its predecessors.)
Since our announcement two years ago, we’ve been working with our users to upgrade almost all Stripe integrations to using TLS 1.2 for API requests.
Here’s the timeline we’ll be following:
Monday, February 19: All servers using older versions of TLS will be blocked from the Stripe API in test mode.
Wednesday, June 13: All servers using older versions of TLS will be blocked from the Stripe API in live mode.
If you’re not sure you’re running TLS 1.2, you can follow our detailed upgrade instructions to check your version and learn how to secure your servers. While there are usually no changes required to your Stripe code, you might need to upgrade the operating system or packages on your servers.
If you have any questions or need help, just let us know!
At Stripe, we’ve long been excited about the possibilities of cryptocurrencies and the experimentation and innovation that’s come with them. In 2014, we became the first major payments company to support Bitcoin payments.
Our hope was that Bitcoin could become a universal, decentralized substrate for online transactions and help our customers enable buyers in places that had less credit card penetration or use cases where credit card fees were prohibitive.
Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange. Given the overall success that the Bitcoin community has achieved, it’s hard to quibble with the decisions that have been made along the way. (And we’re certainly happy to see any novel, ambitious project do so well.)
This has led to Bitcoin becoming less useful for payments, however. Transaction confirmation times have risen substantially; this, in turn, has led to an increase in the failure rate of transactions denominated in fiat currencies. (By the time the transaction is confirmed, fluctuations in Bitcoin price mean that it’s for the “wrong” amount.) Furthermore, fees have risen a great deal. For a regular Bitcoin transaction, a fee of tens of U.S. dollars is common, making Bitcoin transactions about as expensive as bank wires.
Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease. And of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially. Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense.
Therefore, starting today, we are winding down support for Bitcoin payments. Over the next three months we will work with affected Stripe users to ensure a smooth transition before we stop processing Bitcoin transactions on April 23, 2018.
Despite this, we remain very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall. There are a lot of efforts that we view as promising and that we can certainly imagine enabling support for in the future. We’re interested in what’s happening with Lightning and other proposals to enable faster payments. OmiseGO is an ambitious and clever proposal; more broadly, Ethereum continues to spawn many high-potential projects. We may add support for Stellar (to which we provided seed funding) if substantive use continues to grow. It’s possible that Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, or another Bitcoin variant, will find a way to achieve significant popularity while keeping settlement times and transaction fees very low. Bitcoin itself may become viable for payments again in the future. And, of course, there’ll be more ideas and technologies in the years ahead.
So, we will continue to pay close attention to the ecosystem and to look for opportunities to help our customers by adding support for cryptocurrencies and new distributed protocols in the future.
Strong Customer Authentication.
The EU’s new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) law doesn’t just affect marketplaces and platforms. Our new guide covers what all internet businesses need to know. Read the guide