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Stripe opens Atlas toolkit to help navigate a very common complexity

(ENTREPRENEUR) Starting a business is no easy task so Stripe has created a tool kit to help.

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Organized chaos

Setting up a business is daunting. The process is complicated, time-consuming and resource draining. To take advantage of this chaos, Stripe, the Silicon Valley based payments processor company, launched Atlas a year ago to help international businesses get incorporated within the U.S.

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Little did they know that the demand within the U.S. would explode as well!

Business model

Their original premise was brilliant: focus on international clients, and automate starting a business for them.

Shrink a trail of paperwork into a short web application.

Provide on the spot financial, legal and operational tools. Get a foreign business incorporated ASAP, hassle free.

The move proved wildly popular right away.

Within a short year, thousands of businesses got incorporation through the Atlas program spanning 124 countries.

“We wanted to see if we could help entrepreneurs in emerging markets to be on the same playing field as Silicon Valley startups. It’s been heartening to see that it’s working,” said Taylor Francis, Atlas project lead.

Business is boomin’

But then came the real unexpected surprise—growing demand from businesses within the country. Stripe could not ignore it anymore.

The $9 billion startup announced last week that it was expanding its Atlas program to U.S. based companies.

“It’s a slightly different problem, but even in the US, the process was time consuming,” acknowledged Francis.

For a mere $500 fee, Atlas now guarantees incorporation as a Delaware C Corp., a business bank account with Silicon Valley Bank, and registry with the IRS. The company has also collaborated with Orrick for legal corporations, PricewaterhouseCoopers for tax guidance, and Amazon Web Services for cloud services.

To make things more user-friendly, Stripe has also recently added new features for Atlas users, like how-to guides, templates, and online forums for exchanging tips.

Stripe looks poised to expand its reach

Current members can use the Atlas to invite new clients to join the feature. Additionally, Stripe expanded its partnership program to include crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

It is important, however, to note three things:

First, being a Atlas customer does not require you to sign up for Stripe.

Secondly, Atlas remains an invite-only tool, for several reasons. Stripe wants close oversight of businesses that are being set up in order to weed out illegitimate ones, for example, those engaging in gambling or virtual currencies.

There is also no hiding that Stripe wants to attract more international clients who would use their payment APIs.

However, mostly, Stripe wants to focus on high-growth start-ups, like small businesses or solo entrepreneurs. Francis put it this way, “If you’re starting a new yoga studio, that’s probably not the right corporate structure for you.”

Thirdly, it may be important to note that Stripe Atlas may not be necessarily the best fit for you, even if you qualify and invited to join. Delaware has a long history of offering attractive business law, coupled with business-friendly state courts, and customers being lured by its no sales tax policy. That is why Atlas, by default, offers a Delaware base.

Whether you’re in Delaware or Denver, if you’re looking to start a business this tool is a good starting point.

#Atlas

Barnil is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. With a Master's Degree in International Relations, Barnil is a Research Assistant at UT, Austin. When he hikes, he falls. When he swims, he sinks. When he drives, others honk. But when he writes, people read.

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Business Entrepreneur

Is this normal (you wonder about your business)?

(ENTREPRENEURIALISM) It can be lonely not being able to openly ask potentially embarrassing questions about your business – there’s a way to do it anonymously…

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Entrepreneurialism is wildly rewarding – you are fully in control of the direction of your company, and you’re solving the world’s problems. But it’s also isolating when you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is normal.

Sure, there’s Google, news networks (like ours), and professional connections to help you navigate, but sometimes you just want to know if something simple you’re seeing is normal.

Is Instagram Stories really where it’s at? Probably not if you’re a consultant.

Is it normal for an employee to attempt to re-negotiate their salary on their first day? Nope, but how do you keep the desirable employee without being bullied into new terms?

Do all entrepreneurs spend their first year in business as exhausted as a new parent? Sometimes.

You have questions, and together, we can share our experiences.

We have a brand new Facebook Group that is already wildly engaging, active, and you’d be amazed at how selflessly helpful people are – and we invite you to be one of them.

Want to anonymously ask a question about something you’re unsure is normal or not?

Click here to submit your question, and we’ll select as many as possible to discuss in the Facebook Group!

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Business Entrepreneur

Amazon on a collision course with politicians as they strengthen their monopoly

(BUSINESS) E-commerce has come a long way in the last decade, specifically led by Amazon, but are their controlling ways putting them on a collision course with regulators?

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In March, Amazon stopped replenishing weekly purchase orders for tens of thousands of vendors in a move that has stirred up some trouble. The tech giant has once flexed its power over first-party sellers over their platform. And it’s not the first time.

Amazon originally sent out to vendors as an automated message citing the hold up in orders as a technical glitch. The following day, vendors were told the change was permanent. The affected vendors were categorized as making $10 million or less in sales volume per year and not having managers at Amazon. Vendors selling specialized goods that were difficult to ship were also a factor.

The effects can have remarkable effects on the market as Amazon’s algorithms decide who is able to sell what to whom via their near-ubiquitous platform. According to John Ghiorso, the CEO of Orca Pacific, an Amazon agency for consultation and manufacturers representatives, the decision is driven by financial data such as total revenue, profitability, and catalog size.

In a response from an Amazon spokesperson, the change was made in order to improve value, convenience, and selection for customers. The mass termination of purchase orders and the delayed response from Amazon herald the transition to the One Vendor system, putting vendors in an exclusive relationship with Amazon. This system will merge the current Seller Central and Vendor Central.

Amazon’s message is loud and clear: they will do what’s in their best interest to mitigate the market for their convenience. One may be reminded of the anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 2001.

The lack of warning didn’t do them any favors either.

While smaller businesses need to change for Amazon’s program, first-party business will revolve around larger brands like Nike with whom Amazon is maintaining a relationship.

Despite the streamlined platform Amazon is going for, the company wields power over vendors and customers alike. Capitalism is one thing, but monopolies are a whole other ball game, and politicians are finally paying attention.

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Business Entrepreneur

Culture Codes is the guide you need for company culture questions

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) One of the biggest sellers of a company to a prospective employee or customer is their culture. Culture Codes has compiled some the biggest companies cultures in convenient decks for you to study and align with.

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Organizational culture is a hot button of conversation. While a variety of definitions exist, one way of defining Culture is the way businesses exist – a summary of values, rituals, and organizational mythology that helps employees make sense of the organization they work in.

Organizational cultures are often reflected in Mission, Vision, and Value statements of organizations.

What many entrepreneurs or new organization struggle with as well, is how to create a culture from the ground up. What kinds of statements and values do they advocate? What are areas of focus? Who are our competitors and what can we do to create a service, product, or quality advantage?

Building a strong culture can be challenging, but a good place to start is looking at the best cultures around.

A new resource by Tettra, Culture Codes, has everything you could want to know on different companies their cultures available for you to study up.

Over 40 companies employing over 280,000 employees have created culture decks and collected core values and mission statements. Companies like Spotify, Netflix, LinkedIn, and NASA have all contributed information.

This information is great for young companies or entrepreneurs to start building a schema about what kind of culture they want to create.

Or existing established companies can look towards peers and competitors and help decide what statements they want to engage culture change on.

For job seekers, Tettra can help potential employees gauge if they are a fit for an organization, or discover that maybe an organization they dream about working for has a culture they may not jive with. And perhaps most valuably, transparently showing off your culture and allowing it to be compared means that organizations can better compete in the talent market.

Recruiters should be obsessed with talking about culture – because it keeps people in the door.

The reasons why people leave employment: work/ life balance, poor treatment, lack of training, or relationship issues with a supervisor or boss; in many ways are a by-product of organizational culture. If you want to compete in the talent market, make culture a selling point and show it off in everything you do.

Even consumer’s benefit from learning about an organization’s culture – values that indicate a commitment to excellence in ethics make consumers feel good about supporting an organization.

It pays to have a good culture. I encourage you to head over to tetra.co/culture-codes and see how companies like Etsy are keeping it real, every day.

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