When and how to incorporate a startup in the US?

Many people asking me when and how to incorporate a startup in the US?

The short answers: 

Incorporate as early as possible and use Stripe Atlas or hire a lawyer.

The long answers:

When to incorporate my startup?
The earlier the better. It’s essential to establish co-founder ownership from the very beginning to avoid misunderstanding and focus on the common goal. Also, it will help you avoid tax consequences and purchase your vested stock at a nominal price.

How to incorporate a startup in the US?
The question is especially relevant for foreign founders like me. Yes, it’s crucial to have all the documentation ready and well organized, but as a founder, you’d better focus on the product and customers. So, don’t waste your valuable time on paperwork, because you have two options:
1) If you have a non-traditional business model or specific requirements for IP, assets, liability, etc. - hire a lawyer. Cost $2-3K.
2) Otherwise, use Stripe Atlas - the easiest and cheapest way to start an internet company. Especially useful for SaaS startups. Cost $500.
Stripe Atlas (invite-only service) will provide you standard Delaware/California incorporation docs, IRS Employer Identification Number, Vesting docs, IP documents, access to a bank account, founders stock, and other post-incorporation templates. I used Stripe Atlas to incorporate my previous startup FriendlyData and it was enough to pass 500 Startups due diligence (with some help from our lawyers). If you are looking for a Stripe Atlas invite - let me know!

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