Forming a legal entity is one of the first big steps for a startup, so if you have reached this stage, congratulations! Now comes the hard part: choosing which type of legal entity to form. Company founders often ask us for advice on the kind of entity they should form. For many startups, making the right decision on the type of entity makes it easier to attract investors and recruit and retain employees. The wrong decision can lead to unnecessary tax burdens, time-consuming legal formalities or roadblocks while trying to attract investors. So what are my options as a company founder? Let’s dive in:
Whether you started thinking about incorporating earlier this morning or you’re a serial founder about to launch your fifth unicorn, the Delaware incorporation might seem like an odd phenomenon. We often hear “Why do so many companies incorporate in Delaware?” and “I’m a proud Californian—I’ve never even heard of Rehoboth Beach!” While there are situations where we advise clients to incorporate in states other than Delaware, the truth is that Delaware is often the best choice—and likely not for the reasons you may have heard. For example, Delaware does not have special rules allowing secret corporations, is often not the cheapest jurisdiction for incorporation, and is not some sort of tax haven. That being said, setting up shop in Delaware does offer compelling perks.