17 March 2016 | 55 Comments
I’ve gotten a number of requests lately from non-US creators asking me to write about IF they should try to run a Kickstarter campaign in US dollars and HOW they can register their company in the US to allow them to do that.
The first question I’ve already answered in KS Lesson #65. The main reason is that projects in USD attract quite a few more backers in the US than non-USD projects, which non-US backers are largely ambivalent to the native currency of a project.
But until recently, I didn’t have an answer for the second question. I know how we registered Stonemaier LLC in Missouri, but I’m a US citizen–it was easy. I’ve registered my company in Canada, which was also easy, but registering it elsewhere has presented huge hurdles. I assumed the same was the case for non-US citizens trying to register in the US.
Stripe, the company Kickstarter uses to process payments, has started a new service called Stripe Atlas. As the article states, “for $500, Stripe will take care of all of the paperwork needed to incorporate in Delaware, register with the IRS, and establish a U.S. bank account.”
Woah. That’s huge. Especially for non-US creators.
It means any creator anywhere in the world can run a Kickstarter campaign in USD. The only catch is that the service is currently in beta, so Stripe is only accepting a limited number of applicants.
The good news is that as soon as you submit your application (it’s short), you can start building your profile. It may ask you for the last 4 digits of your social security number, which you won’t have–instead, just enter 0000.
The Stripe Atlas FAQ says that the application process is quite fast: “In most cases, incorporation and setting up a business bank account occurs within a week of submitting signed documents. You’ll have your Tax ID Number within two weeks.”
You’ll end up receiving the following:
- an account at Silicon Valley Bank
- a tax ID number
- incorporation as a U.S. business entity in Delaware (C-corp)
- a Stripe account
The service is even helpful for creators in the US, as Delaware is seen as the ideal place to incorporate. That’s because it offers the rare intersection of the following:
- companies can issue stock to employees
- makes it easy to raise money from global investors
- offers clear corporate rules and case law thanks to its unique Court of Chancery
Overall, I think this has the potential to be fantastic service for Kickstarter creators. I was delighted for my fellow creators when I heard about it, so I wanted to share it with you! I’d love to hear in the comments from someone who has applied to and been accepted for a Stripe Atlas account.
UPDATE: I just learned about another service that requires a lower buy-in; it’s more like a US company will act as your Kickstarter proxy.