1. Incorporating a US company as a foreign national

    I know this is a very important part in a startup’s journey if they want to have a strong base in US. The US incorporation is pretty easy but doesn’t look so if you haven’t interacted with people who have done it earlier or you’ve read about it on the internet.
    That’s why I thought I should share on how I did it completely, so the coming 
    entrepreneurs can do it very easily just by following these steps.

    P.S - This blog post might be a bit long than the usual ones of same topic but it’s because the old ones didn’t have all the information you need and I had to still research a lot. Hence, I hope you will be in a much better position to incorporate right away after reading this.

    First of all, just don’t listen to guys who say it’s not possible or very difficult to incorporate in US as a foreign national. Many say you need atleast one US citizen as your co-founder to do so which is total crap. It’s pretty interesting & easy to do this entire process. It’s just that, you need to be EXTREMLY careful on how to do it and what to do.

    I didn’t have much information on how to do it and had to spend hours trying to understand what these terms like vesting, stock, acceleration, cliffs, section 83(b) meant. Because they’re really important.
    Don’t get scared if you don’t know any of the above terms because that’s why I’m here for you.
    I’ll explain each process, why it’s important, where to find what thing, etc.


    Why to incorporate?
    I did just because i wanted to integrate a payment gateway (Stripe, which I absolutely adore) within mYwindow which didn’t accept Indian companies yet.

    There can be bunch of other reasons for you to incorporate, but most foreign entrepreneurs I’ve seen that have incorporated in US, only did to integrate a payment gateway from a US based company or may be they just wanted to start their new base there as they raised funding.
    You know your situation better and you should decide whether you should or not.


    In case u need mY help, mail me at nikunj@mywindow.me


    Steps:

    1. Choose which type of company you want to incorporate:
    Most foreign-based startups incorporate in the US as a C-corporation, Since LLC may require them to file a US personal income tax return and as they are ‘pass through’ tax vehicles meaning that the individuals have to pay any taxes for the entity.
    Also S-corporation needs founders to be U.S. Citizens or residing in the U.S.

    So certainly C-corp looked as the solution.
    You should decide yourself but we chose C-corp and most do the same.


    2. Which state to incorporate in:
    Most companies do in Delaware state. I did too. After a lot of reasearch, I didn’t find anyone saying why not to choose Delaware. Hence i chose it finally.


    3. Hiring a lawyer/company to do the entire incorporation:
    I hugely recommend hiring a lawyer for this entire process because it’s really time saving, stress-free, and plus you’re on a safe side by taking an experienced lawyer who is doing this since years and who is an US citizen who knows all the laws and regulations. You can ask them a ton of doubts (which i did a lot) and they’re there to help.
    I would suggest not to go for heavy-weight corporate companies that give incorporation packages. Instead go for individual lawyers because they are very supportive, interactive and do clear all your doubts.

    I chose Ryan Roberts as i heard a lot about him on blogs. He’s an awesome fellow and I had no problem letting him do our incorporation. I ask too many questions and bothered him a lot. But he answered every question precisely. You can look for other guys offering to do the incorporation, but if you wanna make it fast, just go ahead with him. He’s pretty helpful and professional.

    He charged me a basic $1000 incorporation package which includes doing the entire incorporation in Delaware, receiving incorporation docs on mY behalf like stock purchase agreements, certificate of incorporation, etc. and sending them back to your email (everything happens online, hence pretty smooth). 
    Plus u’ll need to pay $148 as a incorporation fee to Delaware state, and $50 as a Registered agent fees (Harvard business services) which the lawyer will guide u about.

    Lawyer fees $1000 + Incorporation fees $148 + Registered agent fees $50
    Total incorporation fees = $1198

    The incorporation process takes maximum 10 business days to complete. Within 10 days u’ll have all docs in hand with your company registered. Sometimes it might even take just 7 days.

    4. Once you hired the right lawyers, they’ll send you the documents to sign which will include important things like the proposed company name, division of shares between founders, current address, and some unheard things like vesting, cliff,etc.
    If you don’t know what vesting and cliff means, please see these links:

    http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/2013/02/equity-basics-vesting-cliffs-acceleration-and-exits/
    http://lsvp.com/2008/09/15/what-entrepreneurs-need-to-know-about-founders-stock/
    http://www.alleywatch.com/2013/06/vesting-of-founders-stock/

    After reading those, I hope you are comfortable to decide what vesting schedule to take for all founders.
    If you’re still confused, you can ask loads of questions to Ryan (if you choose him) or I can try to help.

    Mail me on nikunj@mywindow.me

    Also, in the above articles, you might have read something called Section83(b) election form that you must fill and submit to IRS (Internal Revenue Service).
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not forget to do that within 30 days of your day of incorporation. Otherwise you’re as equal as fucked after one month due to taxes (I’ll tell more on how to fill, and why to fill below.) Not mean to scare you just making sure you got the importance of it coz it’s a pretty big deal.


    5. Submitting section 83 (b) election form: 
    After you receive all your incorporation docs and u complete them by signing all of them as told by lawyer, there are a couple of things to be done.

    This is the most important thing to do, if you don’t want to land in a situation of owing taxes of over thousands of dollars.
    Read these links carefully to get every info about it.


    http://www.accountalent.com/?p=429
    http://www.startuplawblog.com/2011/07/15/5-things-to-remember-as-you-file-your-section-83b-election/

    When you receive your company docs, there’ll be a restricted stock purchase agreement. In the end, it’ll have an Exhibit D which is the Section 83(b) election form that u need to submit to the IRS.
    It looks much like last 3 pages of this link.
    http://www.orrick.com/Events-and-Publications/Documents/1955.pdf

    If there’s more than one founder, all need to submit their individual section 83(b). Though all can submit in one sealed envelope via certified courier.
    Please send this doc via a very trusted courier service. And don’t forget that this doc needs to be sent within 30 days from the date of incorporation.

    Again mentioning, don’t mess this up. If you’re confused ask your lawyer a 100 times but do this right.

    6. Employee Identification Number (EIN):
    EIN is a unique number issued to every US company for the purpose of tax administration. It is must for every company, without which u cannot open a bank account or do almost any other operations. It’s pretty much easy to get with just 30 minutes of work.

    You just need to fill the SS4 form (just google it)fully and then call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and say that u wanna create an EIN for your company. they’ll ask u same questions which u filled in the SS4 form and after u answered them, the person will give u the EIN immediately.

    The SS4 is filled just so that you’re ready to answer questions on phone and you don’t need to think at the time when you’ve been asked the questions.

    You can call the IRS on +1-267-941-1099 for any queries realted to EIN
    I used this number when i incorporated in August 2013.

    7. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN):
    ITIN is issued to people who cannot apply for a Social Security Number(SSN). ITIN is required for a foreign naitonal to pay taxes. There’s no need to apply for ITIN immediately. All founders can apply for it when you first need to pay your taxes (usually March).
    And remember that ITIN takes around 1-3 months to receive. So all the places where u need to provide SSN/ITIN (usually while applying for EIN, filling section83b, and paying personal income tax), you can write ‘applied for’, even if you’ve not applied (lawyer will suggest the same too) 
    After u receive ITIN, you can just call IRS to update EIN with your ITIN.

    Also remember, whenever you have any kind of doubts, just call the IRS on above mentioned number and they’re ready to help. Their service is awesome.

    8. Getting a company mailing address:
    After incorporation is done, you might need an actual address to receive some documents or to just mention it on various forms etc. For this you can use a mail forwarding address that is given by many companies. I chose $5 per month package from www.virtualpostmail.com which is very cost-saving and smooth. Whenever i receive any docs at our address, they scan it, and mail us back on our email.

    9. Getting a US phone number:
    To get a US phone number, i just took a Skype phone number for $18 for 3 months. You can choose the area code, your new phone number, and within minutes, you’ll have your US phone number. You can then add some credit to your Skype account in case you want to make outgoing calls with it or just keep receiving calls on it for free.

    There are several other ways to get a phone number like Google voice, AT&T etc but I found Skype quite easy as we’re use to using it and serves the basic need of receiving and making calls.
    In case you need a Toll free number, then you can just google it and get the appropriate one. I didn’t need one, hence I didn’t search for it.

    10. Getting a US bank account:
    This is the only tricky part. Most banks like Citibank, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America don’t let you open bank accounts online. They need you in person to verify your documents and that you exist.
    It was pretty annoying to call up every bank and hear that we need you in person.
    Being frustrated, I said, “People, I have a legal corporation in US with a valid EIN, so why can’t you not open it online which is the only requirement”.
    They said they just don’t. Then i hung up.

    Then I got introduced to Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) which is just awesome and very start up friendly. I saw many startups recommending them on Quora and other blogs. I called them up and answered some of their questions. They asked me to answer some more questions over email, which when i did, they told they can’t give a bank account because we’ve not yet raised a seed round. I was like WTF. This was more illogical than hearing ‘We need you to verify in person’.
    We didn’t even launch our product and hence didn’t raise money. I tried to convince them a lot, even called up their Indian branch in Mumbai but they wouldn’t listen. 

    I asked a couple of people in the internet and realized that SVB is very selective in opening bank accounts. And the best way to open an account with SVB is to go through a recommendation. You need to find a person who is already banking with them or has good connections with them. We hustled a lot to find such guys and finally a couple of awesome guys helped us by connecting us directly to one of Directors of SVB. And then I was on a call with them discussing about mY company, its technology, future and he talking about why SVB is an awesome bank, which it really is. They ask these things just to be clear they aren’t dealing with some huge risks or fraud.
    Then within just 48 hours, I had mY account.

    11. Activating your Stripe account:
    This is only for companies who will be using Stripe as their payment gateway.
    After incorporation, just click on ‘Activate’ in live mode and fill out all the details. 
    In business address, you’ll be entering you US mail forwarding address.
    In personal details, under Social Security number, just enter 0000 as you can’t have SSN and also can’t mention your ITIN there.
    Then you just need to mail at support@stripe.com and tell them that since you aren’t a US citizen you don’t have a SSN. And then within a couple of hours, your Stripe account will be activated.

    So yeah these were the things that needs to be done for the incorporation. If you need any kind of help regarding anything, feel free to email at nikunj@mywindow.me or tweet @nikunjagr

    Tweet this

    Have a great life !!
    Nikunj Agrawal
    Founder & CEO
    mYwindow Inc

    You can message me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nikunj2212
    Tweet me @nikunjagr 
    Mail on nikunj@mywindow.me
    Pre-order mY book (Just FUCKING do it) on www.nikunjagrawal.com

     
  2. Well I just started #blogging https://medium.com/spiritual-businessmen/fdbb7958d1b #coding #spirituality #startup #revolution

     

  3. mywind0ww:

    We love you all !!
    1st July was really insane. Growth rate was over 300% within a single day.

    We just saw that now we have over 1,30,000 profile results and its really amazing to see the way results are coming. They very much promisingly now prove that People Search results at mYwindoww are far…

    (Source: mywindowblog)

     

  4. mywind0ww:

    We are almost done with our first week of going live and its the best debut we could ask for. The feedback to mYwindoww has been amazing. We are integrating a lot of suggestions accordingly.

    One of the main new features is the ‘Take a tour’. This is for explaining the way to put in the search…

    Take an amazing tour and search for people like never before.

    (Source: mywindowblog)

     

  5. The Steve Jobs Way. Just 12 Things.

    1. Experts are clueless.

      Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.

    2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.

      “Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.

    3. Jump to the next curve.

      Big wins happen when you go beyond better sameness. The best daisy-wheel printer companies were introducing new fonts in more sizes. Apple introduced the next curve: laser printing. Think of ice harvesters, ice factories, and refrigerator companies. Ice 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Are you still harvesting ice during the winter from a frozen pond?
    4. The biggest challenges beget best work.

      I lived in fear that Steve would tell me that I, or my work, was crap. In public. This fear was a big challenge. Competing with IBM and then Microsoft was a big challenge. Changing the world was a big challenge. I, and Apple employees before me and after me, did their best work because we had to do our best work to meet the big challenges.

    5. Design counts.

      Steve drove people nuts with his design demands—some shades of black weren’t black enough. Mere mortals think that black is black, and that a trash can is a trash can. Steve was such a perfectionist—a perfectionist Beyond: Thunderdome—and lo and behold he was right: some people care about design and many people at least sense it. Maybe not everyone, but the important ones.

    6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts.

      Take a look at Steve’s slides. The font is sixty points. There’s usually one big screenshot or graphic. Look at other tech speaker’s slides—even the ones who have seen Steve in action. The font is eight points, and there are no graphics. So many people say that Steve was the world’s greatest product introduction guy..don’t you wonder why more people don’t copy his style?

    7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.

      When Apple first shipped the iPhone there was no such thing as apps. Apps, Steve decreed, were a bad thing because you never know what they could be doing to your phone. Safari web apps were the way to go until six months later when Steve decided, or someone convinced Steve, that apps were the way to go—but of course. Duh! Apple came a long way in a short time from Safari web apps to “there’s an app for that.”

    8. “Value” is different from “price.”

      Woe unto you if you decide everything based on price. Even more woe unto you if you compete solely on price. Price is not all that matters—what is important, at least to some people, is value. And value takes into account training, support, and the intrinsic joy of using the best tool that’s made. It’s pretty safe to say that no one buys Apple products because of their low price.

    9. A players hire A+ players.

      Actually, Steve believed that A players hire A players—that is people who are as good as they are. I refined this slightly—my theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves. It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players. If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve called “the bozo explosion” to happen in your organization.

    10. Real CEOs demo.

      Steve Jobs could demo a pod, pad, phone, and Mac two to three times a year with millions of people watching, why is it that many CEOs call upon their vice-president of engineering to do a product demo? Maybe it’s to show that there’s a team effort in play. Maybe. It’s more likely that the CEO doesn’t understand what his/her company is making well enough to explain it. How pathetic is that?

    11. Real CEOs ship.

      For all his perfectionism, Steve could ship. Maybe the product wasn’t perfect every time, but it was almost always great enough to go. The lesson is that Steve wasn’t tinkering for the sake of tinkering—he had a goal: shipping and achieving worldwide domination of existing markets or creation of new markets. Apple is an engineering-centric company, not a research-centric one. Which would you rather be: Apple or Xerox PARC?

    12. Marketing boils down to providing unique value. Think of a 2 x 2 matrix. The vertical axis measures how your product differs from the competition. The horizontal axis measures the value of your product. Bottom right: valuable but not unique—you’ll have to compete on price. Top left: unique but not valuable—you’ll own a market that doesn’t exist. Bottom left: not unique and not value—you’re a bozo. Top right: unique and valuable—this is where you make margin, money, and history. For example, the iPod was unique and valuable because it was the only way to legally, inexpensively, and easily download music from the six biggest record labels.

    Bonus one : 

    Some things need to be believed to be seen. When you are jumping curves, defying/ignoring the experts, facing off against big challenges, obsessing about design, and focusing on unique value, you will need to convince people to believe in what you are doing in order to see your efforts come to fruition. People needed to believe in Macintosh to see it become real. Ditto for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Not everyone will believe—that’s okay. But the starting point of changing the world is changing a few minds. This is the greatest lesson of all that I learned from Steve.



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