Update: June 1, 2017 Our pricing has changed since this article was published. Today, Gust Launch offers the same features and more, available as a base subscription to the platform supplemented by add-on packages that solve your company's needs as you scale. In addition, Launch now optionally includes an introduction to a law firm and a credit for legal services each month, rather than a RocketLawyer subscription as listed here. For more information, see launch.gust.com
At the end of 2016, Gust Launch evolved from a standalone company formation product to include essential and affordable legal, accounting, and financial support for emerging startups.
Integrating complementary services of a company back office is a new concept, so we’re often asked why we built Gust Launch. Let’s start with the quick answer, and you can read on for more details and the larger vision of where we’re heading:
Gust Launch helps founders start their company correctly and cost-effectively, while avoiding the many common missteps that can distract or derail a startup in the early days.
What Gust Launch is
Gust Launch is a Company as a Service (CaaS) platform. We call it that because any startup founder armed with just a business idea can join, and in just a few short days have a Delaware C-Corporation that’s ready to issue stock, raise capital, hire employees and sell a product or services. We’ve simplified and streamlined this process, which traditionally takes a lot of your time and costs a lot of money consulting with legal counsel.
We’ve also established partnerships with industry leaders to integrate the essential services that every founder needs, and through integrations and scale we can keep costs low for startups. These partnerships provide banking services, an online accounting platform, bookkeeping services, access to legal advice, cap table management and modeling, and tax filing that enable any founder to efficiently operate their business.
Why we built it
There’s often a steep learning curve on the business side of startups, which distracts from the startup’s core reason for being: their product or service. We wanted to make it easier to get a startup off the ground, while both avoiding costly missteps and helping founders learn about the business side along the way.
What kind of missteps? There are many, and the cost comes both in money and in the time spent to course-correct. Poor incorporation choices can lead to costly restructurings, expensive entity conversions into the investor-friendly Delaware C-Corp, governance and cap table issues that arise during fundraising, bookkeeping issues as the books increase in complexity over time, and tax errors, to name a few. Founders almost invariably face obstacles that could be avoided by doing things correctly from day one.
We found that we could provide a platform, services, and guidance that integrate with each other to start founders on the right path for a subscription price that’s lower than the sum of its parts. In other words, Gust Launch takes the guesswork and the trial-and-error out of starting and running a business, giving founders their best shot at manageable growth and successful fundraising.
We hope that Gust Launch will do two things for the marketplace: first, enable more founders to successfully execute on their startup ideas, and second, produce startups that are properly structured and transparent for investor deal flow and diligence. Both goals serve the growing ecosystem that drives innovation and success in the startup world today. That’s central to our mission here at Gust.
How it works
To begin with Gust Launch, a founder must incorporate through our streamlined, annotated application and become a Delaware C-Corporation. Our software explains the nuts and bolts of what’s going on, but simplifies the process to just a few quick actions. This creates the investor-friendly corporate structure for high-growth startups, from which we help the founder navigate company formation by establishing Bylaws, setting Directors with the State of Delaware, electing a Board of Directors, and helping the Board pass its first Action to establish a precedent for corporate governance. In parallel, we also register your company with the IRS to establish a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) so you can do things like open a bank account and ultimately pay taxes.
Next, depending on the founder's banking choice, Gust Launch can guide the founder through the setup of a Metropolitan Capital Bank account (or the founder can choose to bring their own account from a few other options). Once the bank account is established, we’ll introduce our expert bookkeeping team from Simplexity to onboard the founder to Xero’s accounting platform, where the bookkeepers will use accrual-based accounting to code all transactions and generate monthly financial reports. The tight integration of the bank, the company credit card, accounting software, and bookkeeper keeps costs low and enables founders to keep a pulse on their financial health and remain prepared for investor due diligence.
Tax time is also quick and simple because Simplexity has kept the books clean and accurate in Xero, which connects with EisnerAmper’s professional tax software. This enables the founder to painlessly prepare and electronically file their federal, state and local tax returns.
Founders will also have their ownership structure represented from day one through our own cap table software, Gust Equity Management. You will be able to issue stock to co-founders or future employees, with vesting in place, approved by your Board of Directors for proper governance. You’ll always know who owns what, and be able to explore future fundraising scenarios and how those scenarios impact today’s ownership structure.
Finally, Gust Launch puts the founder in touch with legal advice through the online Q&A service from RocketLawyer, which allows the founder to ask unlimited questions and receive unlimited answers from real startup lawyers.
The end result is a founder who is free to focus on their mission.
Gust Launch can help you move your venture forward.
This article is intended for informational purposes only, and doesn't constitute tax, accounting, or legal advice. Everyone's situation is different! For advice in light of your unique circumstances, consult a tax advisor, accountant, or lawyer.