Clerky is different from other online services in a few fundamental ways.
We serve a different audience than other online company formation services. Other services are designed for traditional small businesses. Clerky is designed for startups.
Our templates result in documents that are basically the same as what you would get from a large Silicon Valley law firm. This is important for several reasons:
Our templates help you issue stock to founders. All founders need to agree on who owns how much of the company, and document that properly through stock purchase agreements.
Not only do our templates help you issue stock to founders online, but they include default vesting provisions that you can customize. Vesting helps you avoid unfair outcomes - for example, when a founder leaves the company after only a month but still owns a large chunk of the company.
Our templates also provide for company ownership of related intellectual property produced or owned by the founders. This helps ensure your company can continue operating even if a founder leaves.
Protection from personal liability.
Incorporation by itself does not do much to protect against personal liability. In order to make it more likely that you will be protected from personal liability, our templates help you appoint directors, who will then appoint officers.
Lawyer and investor familiarity.
The provisions in our forms and the way they are organized are considered standard in the startup legal ecosystem. As a result, startup lawyers and investors can easily get up to speed with legal paperwork created with our templates.
Some other online incorporation services offer bits and pieces of the above, but none come close to offering all of it. For example, some of them will mail you paper copies (more on that next) of blank stock purchase agreement forms - but these forms won't include anything around vesting or IP.
Another way of putting it is that if you use a different online service, there is a pretty good chance that the paperwork should be re-done or cleaned up by an attorney.
Not only are we the only service to provide all the formation paperwork a startup needs, but it's all online and automated using our software.
In addition to being faster and more convenient, this helps ensure that the paperwork is filled out, signed, and dated properly. Doing it by hand is not rocket science, but almost everyone (unless they happen to be an attorney) will make mistakes. Our software puts it all together perfectly, every time.
Everything we offer is what a typical startup might legitimately need. A couple examples of things we do not sell are:
Startups typically have no use for corporate seals, other than novelty or vanity. They have long been considered anachronisms by most startup attorneys, and serve no function in modern legal work.
“Deluxe corporate kits” or minute books.
This might have been more useful in the early 90s, but startups these days typically have no need for a physical minute book at company formation, if ever. If you do need one, you can use a normal 3-ring binder, just as law firms do for their clients. There is no need for a faux leather book embossed with your company name.