My New Startup Checklist

some of you may know I’ve recently started a new company. I’m not ready to talk about -that- yet, but I did want to capture some notes on logistical stuff I have had to ramp up on as a first time founder. hopefully this helps somebody out there.

the following presume that you are going for a typical US venture backed SaaS startup type situation.

this is obviously a live situation so i will anneal this post over time

Personal

Company Setup

  • Just use Stripe Atlas, which incorporates you as a Delaware C corp which is the default investable schelling point for all VCs
    • Atlas pushes you to bank with Mercury, which I ended up using. works fine so far no complaints
    • Atlas files your 83b election for you, which is WONDERFUL MUAK MUAK I LOVE YOU STRIPE
    • try to go for the fast EIN option - i made a mistake in going for the slow EIN
      • you need your EIN before you buy your stock
      • you should buy your stock before investors buy your stock
      • Atlas guides you toward buying your stock with “IP” rather than Cash. this is what i did
    • note that some startup lawyers dislike the standard Atlas terms and will offer to help you with incorporation, for my purposes I wanted to go with Stripe so didnt explore this much
    • Clerky recently published a guide to C/S/B Corp incorporation vs LLC
  • Domain
    • I spent 20k on my domain. longer story for another time perhaps… not THAT interesting but a fun pub story
    • namesquatted on pypi and npm and github. could not get twitter. meh. (Update: got it thanks to @fanahova!)
  • Basic “office” expenses
    • gsuite
      • you will start getting mail and calendar invites almost immediately - MAKE SURE TO CHECK or UNIFY these or else you will miss stuff. i missed stuff. embarrassing.
    • notion
    • virtual mailbox - i use postscanmail. earthclassmail also good
  • Data Room
    • set up a Gdrive folders for all important company documents to be neatly filed, with the intention that this will be shared for future financing rounds (so don’t put anything TOO confidential in there)

Before getting funding

  • get lawyer - all my founder friends basically say get a good lawyer representing you that will act in your interests
    • most lawyers will wave their first ~20k of expenses or do free SAFE review for you to audition for your business
    • no retainer needed if you seem like a legit founder
  • BUY YOUR STOCK FIRST

later

  • if getting angels - use an Angellist RUV for all smol angels - much easier to manage them

Vendors to start onboarding/exploring

  • Book-keeping - i am taking a shot on Puzzle.io rather than Pilot. it’s very new. will report back.
  • Payroll - presumptive startup leaders here are Justworks and Rippling (Gusto for larger startups apparently). havent chosen yet. Update: ended up using Gusto. $300 referral: https://gusto.com/d/shawn8d488281
  • Credit Cards - Brex, Ramp, Mercury. I am trying out Mercury IO.
  • Accts Payable/Receivable: negative reviews on Bill.com. try Brex and Ramp or (when larger) Airbase
  • Cap table - cakeequity.com/pulley.com/captable.io/carta/angellist (have had negative experiences with angellist UX)
  • Business Insurance - https://www.vouch.us/ ?
  • Project management - https://linear.app/ is free

after funding

  • mercury can sweep cash into a higher yielding Treasury account but have to apply for it for some reason

Non Time Sensitive

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