Stripe Atlas Overview

    Learn about Stripe Atlas, a seamless way to start your company in the U.S. If you have any questions about the process after reading this, contact us at atlas@stripe.com.

    Stripe Atlas helps entrepreneurs start an internet business. Specifically, Stripe Atlas helps you:

    With your new Stripe account, you’ll be able to use the full functionality of the Stripe API, including Connect, Stripe Radar, and Billing.

    Read on to decide whether you should and are able to use Stripe Atlas, how much it costs, and how to join this community of worldwide startup founders.

    Who should use Stripe Atlas

    We designed Stripe Atlas for founders of internet and technology businesses. Thousands of entrepreneurs from more than 130 countries already use Atlas. We’ve found it to be particularly suited to:

    • U.S. startups
    • Startups outside of the U.S. building global companies
    • Startups outside of the U.S. raising money from professional investors
    • International companies expanding their operations to the U.S.

    We’re constantly expanding and improving Stripe Atlas to make it the right choice for more businesses. If Atlas isn’t right for you today, feel free to check back in with us in the future.

    Who cannot use Stripe Atlas

    You cannot use Stripe—and therefore, cannot use Stripe Atlas—for specific prohibited businesses. Stripe Atlas additionally cannot support hosting companies, affiliate marketing schemes, or companies that publish hate-related material.

    Businesses located outside the U.S. who want to use Stripe Atlas should primarily serve global—not just local—customers. For example, if you have a Canadian business serving solely Canadian customers, you cannot use Atlas to accept payments with a U.S. Stripe account.

    Due to government and financial-partner restrictions, Stripe Atlas is currently unavailable to businesses with operations in:

    • Afghanistan
    • Azerbaijan
    • Central African Republic
    • DR Congo
    • Cuba
    • Eritrea
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Libya
    • Myanmar
    • North Korea
    • Pakistan
    • Russia
    • Somalia
    • South Sudan
    • Sudan
    • Syria
    • Ukraine
    • Venezuela
    • Yemen
    • Zimbabwe

    We’ll continue working to expand the reach of Stripe Atlas over time.

    Paths to building your company

    Stripe Atlas supports these options for forming a U.S. company in Delaware:

    • C Corporation
    • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    As outlined below, each option offers features that may be useful to startups in certain scenarios.

    C Corporation

    Founders might choose to incorporate a C Corporation because of features including:

    • Tax treatment: For tax purposes, a corporation is a separate tax-paying entity from its owners: taxes on a C Corporation’s profits and losses are reported and paid by the corporation.

    • Raising outside funding: A Delaware C Corporation is the entity generally preferred by outside investors who might be unable to invest in LLCs.

    • Ownership: A corporation’s structure facilitates granting equity to employees, advisors, and investors.

    • Defined governance structure: A corporation has a well-known, regulated, management structure.

    Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    Founders might choose to form an LLC because of features including:

    • “Pass-through” taxation: The default federal tax treatment is that each of an LLC’s owners (called “members”) reports their share of the LLC’s profits or losses on their respective income tax return. Depending on each founder’s tax situation, this pass-through taxation might increase or reduce their personal taxes.

    • Corporate formalities and asset movement: An LLC might benefit founders who aren’t certain what their business will be doing, or what assets it will need to operate. An LLC can also make many major business decisions (such as transferring assets into or out of the company) with fewer corporate formalities than a corporation would require, and potentially without the same tax consequences that would apply to a corporation.

    For more information about choosing an entity, and to learn more about the Stripe Atlas Operating Agreement, refer to our Stripe Atlas Guide to Picking an Entity.

    Considerations for international founders

    Stripe Atlas is available to entrepreneurs around the world, and founders from more than 130 countries have started a company with Atlas. There can be significant legal complexity, and there are additional tax considerations, for members of an LLC who live outside the U.S. or who are not U.S. citizens or companies.

    For example, forming an LLC might create U.S. personal income-tax obligations for a non-U.S. owner. This can get complicated fast, so we recommend speaking with an accounting or legal advisor to determine what is best for your business.

    What Stripe Atlas costs

    Establishing and running any business has both initial and ongoing costs. Stripe Atlas has a one-time fee of $500 (all prices are in USD) that covers:

    • Forming your company in Delaware as either a C Corporation or an LLC
    • Delaware state filing fees
    • Signed documents to establish company rules and protect intellectual property
    • Tool to issue stock to founders of C Corporations within 30 days of incorporation
    • Opening your business bank account

    • Registering your company with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Your first year of Delaware registered agent services
    • Access to the Stripe Atlas Community
    • Free templates prepared by Orrick for post-formation legal needs

    Ongoing costs

    After getting set up, you pay ongoing fees associated with the Stripe Atlas services. These include: standard U.S. Stripe fees on applicable Stripe activity, such as accepting payment; maintenance fees for your business bank account (to Silicon Valley Bank, if you choose to incorporate a C Corporation); and yearly fees to maintain your registered agent services.

    Running a business in the U.S. comes with significant obligations, which might include:

    • Complying with applicable laws
    • Paying U.S. state and federal taxes each calendar year your company is active
    • Maintaining a Delaware registered agent (currently available to Stripe Atlas users at a cost of $100 per year)
    • Filing annual reports with the State of Delaware (required for C Corporations)
    • Ongoing registration, reporting, and/or tax-paying requirements of the locations in which your business operates

    We strongly recommend that you talk with your legal and tax advisors to decide whether and how to set up your business with Stripe Atlas. To help, Stripe Atlas users get direct access to resources from Orrick and PwC, and access to the Stripe Atlas network of partners who can help with these obligations.

    Joining Stripe Atlas

    You can gain access to Stripe Atlas in the following ways:

    • Apply directly
    • Be invited by a current Stripe Atlas user
    • Be invited by a Stripe Atlas partner

    Apply directly

    You can apply directly and we’ll respond within two weeks.

    Be invited by a current Stripe Atlas user

    If you know a current Stripe Atlas user, they can invite you to join. They can also tell you more about their experience with Atlas.

    Be invited by a Stripe Atlas partner

    Stripe works with a network of incubators, accelerators, investors, and companies, any of which can invite you to Stripe Atlas. If you already have a relationship with a member of the network, we encourage you to ask for an Atlas invite from them.

    The application and onboarding process

    Once you’re invited to Stripe Atlas, you’ll get access to an online application:

    1. We’ll collect all necessary initial information through a series of prompts and uploaded files.
    2. After reviewing your application, provided we can support your business, we’ll generate and send documents for your company representatives to review and electronically sign (to form your company and open your bank account).
    3. Once your company representatives sign and submit those documents to Stripe, we’ll submit the signed documents to form your company and open your bank account.

    We’ll take it from there, sending you emails as steps are completed, and letting you know when we need more information. You can also track the progress in the Dashboard.

    Next steps

    Now that you’re familiar with Stripe Atlas, you may want to read more about:

    Questions?

    We're always happy to help with code or other questions you might have! Search our documentation, contact support, or connect with our sales team. You can also chat live with other developers in #stripe on freenode.

    Was this page helpful? Yes No

    Send

    Thank you for helping improve Stripe's documentation. If you need help or have any questions, please consider contacting support.