Incorporating and managing a startup online has become way more accessible thanks to the emergence of a few companies that have the common aim of easing the life of entrepreneurs and digital nomads.
In this article, we will provide a detailed overview and comparison between five platforms that allow you to remotely create a company in Estonia (Xolo Leap), Portugal (GrowIN Portugal), Germany (Firma.De), United States (Stripe Atlas), and Singapore (Osome).
To help you choose the solution that suits your business needs best, we have compared, reviewed, and analyzed these platforms against the following criteria:
- Business Banking
- Payment Gateways
1. Starting a Company in Estonia (Xolo Leap)
Xolo Leap, formerly known as LeapIN, offers the possibility to create a sole shareholding limited liability company in Estonia. If you are an Estonian e-resident, then you can use Xolo Leap to easily set up and manage your business.
First, you will have to apply for and obtain the Estonian e-residency and then wait for an average of 6 to 8 weeks until it’s ready. The cost of doing that is €100 but it could highly increase depending on your country of residence.
If you live in Morocco, for instance, you will have to travel to another country, i.e., Egypt, to obtain the Estonian e-residency as it’s the only pick-up location available in Africa.
With Xolo Leap, you can only register a sole shareholding company. Hence, you won’t be able to set up a company together with your co-founder.
Furthermore, if you want to use Xolo Leap, your company’s scope of activities has to be from the currently supported ones such as Professional Services, Software as a Service Providers, Mobile Apps & Game Developers.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to incorporate a company using Xolo Leap if it happens that you are from the following countries: Afghanistan, Guyana, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Myanmar, North Korea, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, and Yemen.
Business Banking ****
Xolo Leap supports two possibilities only for business banking. The first and most convenient is to remotely open and use a Transferwise borderless account. The second possibility, for those who can physically be present in Estonia, is to use an LHV Bank Account.
Payment Gateways *****
Xolo Leap supports three payment gateways, which are PayPal, Paddle, and Stripe.
In addition to the Estonian e-residency fees of €100, you will need to pay a state fee of €190 for registering your company and although in theory, you should pay the minimum share capital which is €2,500 you can defer this indefinitely. Xolo Leap’s plans for managing your company start at €49/month with most Xolo customers using the €79/month plan.
Overall Rating ****
Xolo Leap is suitable for digital nomads, freelancers and solo entrepreneurs as you can’t register a company with multiple shareholders. Its main pros are the low running costs, and the main cons are that owning a company in Estonia doesn’t entitle you the right to move to the country.
Starting a Company in Portugal (GrowIN Portugal)
GrowIN Portugal is the gateway for foreign entrepreneurs to remotely incorporate, manage, and grow their startups in Portugal.
In order to start your application through the GrowIN Portugal Company as a Service platform, you will only need to enter the necessary information about your company shareholding structure and business activity details in a very intuitive way.
The process of incorporating a business in Portugal for foreign entrepreneurs is often daunting and comes with several difficulties. Hence, each shareholder has to obtain a Portuguese Tax ID, conduct all administrative and legal procedures in Portuguese, acquire a registered business address, appoint a chartered accountant, etc.
Notwithstanding these obstacles, GrowIN Portugal developed a smart platform with robust processes that overcome all the above-mentioned difficulties.
Business Banking ****
With GrowIN Portugal, you the possibility to choose between opening a bank account using one of the Portuguese banks with the obligation to be present or select an online bank such as Transferwise, Intergiro, and Revolut.
Payment Gateways ***
Payment gateways supported by the GrowIN Portugal platform are Stripe and Paypal, in addition to the Portuguese service providers such as EuPago and Luso Pay.
GrowIN Portugal service comes with a setup cost of 550€ for administrative and government fees and a monthly subscription of 500€, which includes all the necessary tools to remotely run and manage your business through an intuitive web application.
Overall Rating ****
GrowIN Portugal is suited for foreign entrepreneurs that want to build their startups in a European environment or to position their brands in the Portuguese and the European Market.
Its main pros are the panoply of services provided for managing your business without forgetting the short time needed to incorporate your business. Its main cons are the compliance process requires you to notarize and mail certain documents.
Starting a Company in Germany (Firma.De)
Firma.De allows you to set up the most adequate company type that fits best with your business needs in Germany. Moreover, it connects you to a network of experts; accountants, lawyers, notaries, etc. that you will certainly need to run your newly incorporated venture.
The main prerequisite for you to get started with incorporating your company using Firma.De is that you select one of the several packages that their website offers. While it feels more like an e-commerce platform rather than a SaaS or CaaS (Company as a Service) application, the website provides in-depth information about the different company types in Germany.
The main restriction is that the process of incorporating a company in Germany requires you to be physically present within the country. In other words, you won’t be able to use Firma.De to incorporate your Germany unless you have the possibility to travel there.
Business Banking *
Firma.De incorporation packages include the facilitation of your company bank account opening. As per the content provided within the website, this step also requires physical presence in Germany.
Payment Gateways *
Firma.De provides several packages depending on your business needs. If you would like to incorporate a limited liability company for instance (GmbH), it will cost you 539 EUR plus government fees and applicable taxes. For operating and managing your company using Firma.De, the cost structure isn’t quite clear.
Overall Rating *
Firma.De is probably suitable for established businesses that can afford going back and forth to Germany. While the concept is good, it’s certainly way behind all the other service providers that we have reviewed. Its main pros are the variety of services they can facilitate and the main cons are the absence of a clear value proposition and lack of technology adoption.
Starting a Company in USA (Stripe Atlas)
Stripe Atlas offers entrepreneurs the possibility to create a C Company or an LLC Corporation in the United States of America. The startups are incorporated in the state of Delaware and registered with the American IRS.
Any foreign entrepreneur who either owns a business in his home country or would like to launch a new venture can apply to open a company using the platform. It’s worth mentioning that it’s up to Stripe Atlas to decide whether or not to accept the application.
Another prerequisite is for the business to be cross-border and involve more than just one country. Furthermore, it’s highly advisable to possess decent knowledge with regards to compliance, tax, and US-specific business regulations.
Your company activities have to fall within specific categories to be eligible to incorporate your startup using Stripe Atlas. For instance, you can’t use the platform to carry certain activities such as dropshipping, crypto-currency trading, etc. as they fall within the risky and thus restricted businesses.
In accordance with the US government regulations and stripe financial partners, you won’t be able to incorporate a company using Stripe Atlas if it happens that you are from any of the following countries: Central African Republic, DR Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen.
Business Banking ****
Stripe Atlas helps you remotely open an American bank account through Azlo for LLC(s) and SVB for C Corporation(s). For Indian entrepreneurs, it’s not possible to obtain debit cards from these banks due to the restrictions of the Reserve Bank of India.
Payment Gateways *****
If you set up your US-based company using Stripe Atlas, then it’s obvious that this enables the use of Stripe payment gateway as well as other providers such as Paypal and Square.
With Stripe Atlas, you can set up a US company by paying a one time fee of 450€. However, you should budget further running costs related to Stripe Fees, Registered Agent, Legal Expert, Tax Advisor, etc.
Overall Rating ***
Incorporating a Delaware company through Stripe Atlas is suitable for entrepreneurs who want to position their brands in the US and the ones looking to raise VC’s money. Stripe Atlas advises its potential clients to hire legal and tax advisors due to the difficulty of the US tax system.
Starting a Company in Singapore (Osome)
Based in Singapore, Osome enables you to create a company with an intuitive chatbot that helps with the on-boarding process.
Osome has a pretty straightforward process that facilitates the creation of your company. Nonetheless, you will have to be physically present in Singapore in order to get your business started.
With Osome, you have to appoint a local nominee director while you are not physically present in Singapore. If you would like to move to the country, you should expect to wait for six months until you obtain your employment pass. Furthermore, you must have a certified corporate secretary before starting your business.
Business Banking **
With Osome, you have to be present in-person to open your Singaporian company bank account. Once you are in Singapore, you may benefit from Osome’s partnership with OCBC Bank, which would allow you to get your things done faster.
Payment Gateways ****
Osome affords you the possibility to use the Chinese most used payment gateways, which are WeChat Pay and AliPay. However, you might face many obstacles during the implementation process.
Furthermore, you have the option to choose the payment gateway that most suits your business, such as Stripe, Paypal, and FomoPay.
The basic bundle for foreigners called the Bonanza package would cost you 1698€ yearly. It includes incorporation with a minimum capital of 1S$, company registration, local address with the possibility to forward your mail to your address, unlimited secretary services, and a nominee director. Moreover, you can add accounting and taxation solutions, starting at the cost of 67€/month.
Overall Rating ***
Osome is suitable for entrepreneurs who want to target the Asian market. It provides you with the opportunity to have a limited liability company with multiple shareholders.
Osome’s main pros are the rapidity to incorporate your business with reasonable pricing. However, its main cons are the physical opening of the company bank account and the obligation to have a national nominee director before moving to Singapore.
All in all, it depends on your own business needs, your shareholding structure, the nature of your business, your ability to travel, etc. to decide on what service provider you should use. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that some of the restrictions we have pointed out in this article are rather related to the country’s laws and regulations rather than the service providers.
We recommend and expect that governments ease the legislations and embark into a mandatory digital transformation and cater to the global movement of digital nomads, startup founders, and bright minds.