We've automated all of this at Clerky - you can do everything completely online using our software. We do a ton of company formations. If anyone has any questions on the topic, feel free to ask!
Along the same lines, while it appears Clerky annually renews a DE registered agent for startups, I don't see anything regarding filing of the DE Annual Report/paying Franchise Taxes. Is this a service behind the scenes or something Clerky just prefers to defer to the startups and/or other professionals?
DE Annual Report / franchise taxes - I personally think this is easy enough that founders can do this on their own. We have a support article for it here:
But the registered agent that we partner with can also help people with this if they need.
The minimum tax for the Assumed Par Value Capital Method of calculation is $350.
you save $175/year and any time you wish or for example receive external investment you can do a stock split or authorise more shares.
For example, amending the certificate of incorporation to authorize more shares is probably going to cost around $500 a minimum (and definitely much more if you use a lawyer). That's roughly triple the $175 in tax savings you get from authorizing 5,000. But of course by then, you probably would have already issued shares to people, so you would probably want to do a stock split. That's going to definitely require a lawyer... my guess is at least a few thousand in legal fees.
So it seems like it could make sense if (1) you don't plan to ever raise venture capital or (2) you think it'll be at least 3 years or so before you raise venture capital and you can hold off on issuing stock until then (unlikely to be a good idea). I suppose the analysis would also be affected by the time value of the $175 / year. E.g. how much more that $175 means to your company now than it will a few years down the line.
though i do agree, some of these small savings may or may not make sense depending on what you want to do in the future.
But in any event, I was referring to authorizing more shares under the certificate of incorporation - which is basically setting the maximum number of shares that the company can issue. That's a different process than issuing shares (though every time you issue shares, you should make sure you have enough authorized and available for issuance).
Based on a cursory review of this service, which claims to be free, it looks like vesting, the appointment of directors/officers, an IP assignment agreement and even the 83(b) election letter is provided.
Does Clerky provide something other than the usual template documents startups should sign?
We started Clerky exactly to solve this problem - as startup lawyers, every time we saw someone try to save money by doing paperwork on their own, there was some sort of issue with it. Yet we could definitely see why they wanted to do it on their own. So we built software to make it impossible to mess things up (as long as the information entered is correct).
It's hard to say why people reliably mess things up. I think part of it is that it requires of a level of attention to mundane details that is not natural to most of humanity. Another part of it is that it really helps to know some of the reasons behind why those mundane details are important - which requires some knowledge of how corporations work, contract law, etc. And it's one of those things where you don't know what you don't know.
Definitely a you don't know what you don't know and it's hard to test safely. Done wrong, this stuff doesn't immediately blow up in your face, that happens later, usually at some future inconvenient time.
I'm still sad that I don't have debuggers, test suites, sandbox environments etc for incorporation/legal work.
Can clerky do that for me?