Stripe Expands Startup Tools With Atlas, For Foreign Companies To Incorporate In Delaware

Stripe today took a big step ahead in its bid to offer more tools for startups, beyond the basic payment services it already provides. The company today unveiled Atlas, a platform to let startups incorporate more easily in the U.S., specifically in Delaware with services that include incorporation, share issuance, adding directors, setting up bank accounts and (of course) Stripe payment accounts.

Atlas — which launches today as an invite-only beta, was announced today by Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of the company, on stage at MWC in Barcelona.

Atlas will start with U.S. incorporation but will over time provide “more hubs” so that businesses can incorporate wherever it “makes sense for them to register,” Collison said.

To encourage signups, Stripe says that Atlas will free for the first 100 users (which is either a ridiculously low number or a sign of how Stripe doesn’t see this is as a scale play in the same way that it views payments). After that, pricing for the Atlas beta will be $500, which includes all fees associated with incorporating your company and opening your business bank account.

All payments are priced the same as Stripe’s standard fees of 2.9% + 30 cents per successful charge, it adds.

The idea with Atlas is that it will help Stripe to expand its touch points with startups to build out its bigger payments business — essentially making it a lot easier for the company to sell payment services to the billions of online businesses that are based outside of the U.S..

It will also help Stripe compete better against the likes of PayPal, which notably also offers a suite of services beyond payments for businesses, including loans, invoicing and in-store payment options.

On top of this, it will help the company increase its revenues per customer, while at the same time addressing one of the bigger pain points that startups have in building out their businesses, especially into the U.S. if they are based outside of the country.

“Startups in these markets can be up and running in a matter of days,” Collison said on stage today. “They can do things that matter rather than struggling to overcome barriers to entry.”

Or, as one founder from the startup Platzi, which is using Atlas, put it, “You don’t have to be an insider in Silicon Valley to grow a startup.”

As part of Atlas, Stripe has announced partnerships with several organizations. They include Silicon Valley Bank for financing, Orrick for legal corporation affairs, PWC for tax guidance, and AWS for cloud services. Companies that use AWS as part of it get $15,000 in free services.

Collison said that the company has already seen “a lot of demand” for Atlas when sounding out startups ahead of this. The company will also be working with what he described as “a global network” of accelerators, incubators and others to identify startups to become a part of the program. These include 500 Startups, Startupbootcamp, Telefonica’s Wayra, the VC Atomico and others. You can see the full list so far here.

Stripe — which to date has raised $280 million in funding and is valued at $5 billion — has been gradually expanding the kinds of services that it offers to users beyond basic payments, although up to now the products were all focused around transactions.

They include subscriptions billing, Relay to let customers buy products in other mobile apps, Connect for marketplaces, and Bitcoin acceptance. The company’s simple, API-based payment services have also made it a somewhat regular default option for other payments companies that have wound down operations.

Stripe has also forged partnerships with other finance companies like American Express and third parties like Twitter to build out its business. But Atlas is the first attempt Stripe has taken to build startup tools beyond payments.