Architecting the decentralized workforce of the future
Today’s workforce is increasingly global and decentralized. For many companies, the remote work necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay. According to Gartner projections, nearly half of employees will continue to work remotely post-COVID-19.
This remote work revolution is contributing to higher turnover among employees as workers leave their current jobs for positions with more flexibility and better work-life balance. On the flip side, fully-remote employees have fewer social ties in the workplace, and could be quicker to jump ship when the next best position comes along.
According to a poll by PwC, 88% of executives say they are experiencing higher turnover than normal, and this volatility is expected to remain through 2022. While these changes are leading to many business interruptions, we're also excited to see and contribute to the future of remote work.
In this unsteady business environment, Firstbase is telling a different story: one of nimble, global entrepreneurship growth. Firstbase makes it simple for anyone in the world to launch and run a business in the United States. Entrepreneurs can incorporate their companies in the U.S., then manage them from anywhere in the world using a single platform.
This growth is fueled by companies that are built for the long haul, which is representative of the businesses that Firstbase serves — they are mostly bootstrapped, not necessarily mega venture-backed entities.
“Fostering startups' ability to create a U.S. business entity is the gateway to our lifelong journey with companies. Our entire all-in-one platform allows companies to grow their business from anywhere in the world, and with employees no matter where they live. Along with our partners, we are creating the decentralized architecture that is fueling the future of work.” - Mark Milastsivy, CEO & Founder, Firstbase
After just two and a half years in business, Firstbase has incorporated more than 15,000 businesses across more than 185 countries in 40+ industries. Internal research conducted by us at Firstbase showcases that companies using our platform save an average of 55 hours.
How? Instead of double data entry, Firstbase companies only need to input data once during incorporation. Then the system securely transfers that data across all Firstbase Loop partners. Firstbase is a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs that saves them the time and effort of incorporating with a lawyer, incorporating on their own, manually onboarding a banking partner, and more.
Marc Wesselink co-founded Venturerock (Amsterdam, Netherlands) in 2018 based on his decades-long expertise in building businesses and investing in startups. After founding 12 of his own companies and investing in 150 startups via Venturerock, Wesselink understands that starting a company requires a marathon mindset, especially in those critical early years.
“We built Venturerock to speed up fundraising and give time back so founders can actually build and connect with customers,” said Wesselink in a Firstbase case study. “What I really enjoyed with Firstbase was the streamlined, responsive communication throughout the entire incorporation process, making it automated and easy.”
As Firstbase closes its third year in operation, here’s a look at some numbers:
Firstbase is charting a growth rate of 20% month over month, and we are on pace to incorporate 25,000 companies in 2022. That’s about two and a half times as many as we incorporated in 2021.
This growth is driven in part by our constant drive to create innovative solutions for remote businesses. On June 9th, we launched Firstbase Agent, a concierge-like service that automates everything a company needs to stay 100% legally compliant. In less than a week, we became the compliance solution for more than 500 companies.
By creating solutions to run remote businesses around the globe, we expect this strong track record of growth to continue, despite current market conditions.
Extending our global reach
Firstbase is a truly global company, incorporating companies from over 180 countries and counting.
India and the U.S. top the list of Firstbase’s top 10 countries. This isn’t surprising: the IMF projected India to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy in 2022. And U.S. entrepreneurship experienced a boom in 2021, with new business applications increasing by 20.6%. As of 2022, new business applications were still up compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
While the incorporation industries stayed consistent in 2022, a look at the top incorporation origin countries changed:
Here are a few additional trends we’ve been seeing through June of this year:
Fasted growing sector: Financial Services (21%)
Biggest incorporation origin country jump: 🇨🇳 China (#8 in 2022 from #10 in 2021)
Biggest incorporation origin country fall: 🇦🇺 Australia (#7 in 2021 from #9 in 2022)
Fastest growing origin incorporation country 2021-2022: 🇳🇬 Nigeria (41% growth)
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, and its GDP grew 3.4% in 2021, surpassing forecasts. In 2021, Firstbase enabled Nigerian fintech company Friendsvow, Inc. to apply for a US-based accelerator. “Everything with Firstbase was fast, smooth, and pleasing because we got the service we paid for and it was delivered with the same excellence it was advertised with,” says Colyns Ehys, Co-Founder & CEO of Friendsvow Inc.
For a more granular look into Firstbase’s Nigerian growth, here is a list of the Top 5 fastest growing Nigerian industries incorporating with Firstbase:
Blockchain and Crypto
The Blockchain and Crypto sector is booming, and Firstbase is helping facilitate growth in this exciting new market. In 2022 alone, Firstbase incorporated more than 80 blockchain and crypto companies, and we’re continuing to see those numbers rise.
Here are the top countries for crypto and blockchain companies incorporating through Firstbase:
Blockchain and crypto are exploding in India and Brazil: According to the Economic Times, India’s crypto market grew by 641% from July 2020 to June 2021. And Brazil is ranked fifth in the world for on-chain value received, according to the Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index. Crypto is also growing as a form of payment: according to Deel, workers in Latin America and Africa are increasingly taking part of their paychecks home in crypto.
Y Combinator is an intensive startup accelerator program that helps startups get off the ground. As the gold standard among accelerators, YC hosts two three-month programs for startups each year. Firstbase was selected for YC’s Winter 2021 batch, so we know first-hand how beneficial these programs are for entrepreneurs. Now, companies can turn to Firstbase to help create their Delaware C-Corp—a requirement for participating in the accelerator. To date, approximately 200 YC companies have incorporated with Firstbase.
In Winter 2022, YC funded 414 companies out of 17,000 applicants. Of those companies:
- 42 countries were represented
- About 50% of the companies were based outside the U.S.
- New Zealand, Sudan, Uganda, and Costa Rica were represented for the first time
- The top countries represented, excluding the U.S., included: India (32), Nigeria (18), Indonesia (16), Canada (16), U.K. (13), Singapore (10), Mexico (10), Colombia (7)
Excluding the U.S., Firstbase's 2022 top rankings—India and Nigeria—line up directly with YC’s. The U.K. incorporations are trending third with Firstbase, and Canada is sixth. When extrapolated out to the last two and a half years, India is Firstbase’s absolute number one incorporation country, the U.K. third, Nigeria fourth, Canada sixth, and Mexico tenth.
Leveraging strong partnerships
In addition to our strong growth trends over the last two and a half years, a record number of the companies who choose our incorporation service also choose to engage with our channel partners—including Brex, Carta, Deel, and more—so they can run their entire business from a single dashboard.
For instance, a staggering 95% of companies that incorporated with Firstbase onboard a business banking product as their first add-on service. Firstbase partners with a range of businesses to help make the business operations process as smooth and streamlined as possible. This positive trend suggests that companies don’t just need our help with incorporating in the U.S.—they want our services for the long haul of their business operations.
Take Zilla, a firm based in Lagos, Nigeria that provides African merchants affordable and convenient financial services, including “buy now, pay later” tools. Zilla's CEO, Tolu Abiodun, recognized that his company had the potential to make a significant impact on African merchants but lacked both capital and logistics in order to accomplish this task.
By incorporating Zilla via Firstbase, the company was able to raise $300,000 from American VC firms and angel investors, apply to U.S.-based startup accelerators (which ordinarily require a Delaware C-Corp for eligibility), and take advantage of tax benefits available for foreign-owned companies in the U.S. As it continues to grow, Zilla also uses partner services from Firstbase.
“Through Firstbase partner services, I use AWS, Notion, and Freshworks. They were all very easy to onboard through the founder dashboard as well as helpful in running my company,” - Tolu Abiodun, CEO, Zilla
Here’s a look at a few of our key partners supported on our platform:
Brex, a fintech company that provides the services and software companies need to scale quickly—including access to business credit cards, cash management, and more—is one of Firstbase’s largest Loop channel partners.
“Because we are the first service provider that a company deals with, it’s really important to give our customers the right tools for them to scale. A lot of our customers struggle with establishing business credit and accessing great financial tools–especially when they're first-time founders. We recommend Brex because it makes it easy and sets our customers up with the tools for success,” Mark Milastsivy, Founder & CEO, Firstbase, press release.
Carta is a software platform that allows founders, investors, and employees to manage equity and ownership. By partnering with Carta, Firstbase users are able to quickly and easily manage their cap tables, valuations, portfolio investments, and equity plans.
Time and cost savings are critical to a business’s success along the entire growth cycle, especially in the early stages. In Carta’s most recent report, The state of startup compensation, H1 2022, out-of-state hiring grew to 62% this year—up from 35% in 2019. Another study by Carta estimated that their tools save early-stage businesses $15,000 in potential administrative fees for cap table clean-up.
This can be related to data entry errors, which are streamlined with Carta Launch API and Firstbase. These resources, which ordinarily equal a substantial amount of early-stage companies’ administrative bills, are reclaimed for more productive uses.
According to Carta’s head of insights, Peter Walker, 9,406 companies passed through Carta's free Launch program and raised nearly $1B since the program's inception about a year ago. Most compelling? Founders are still starting companies, with nearly 500 businesses joining Launch in June 2022 alone.
“There is so much to tackle as a founder, and it’s no secret that creating a cap table—a process that can be opaque and messy—isn’t always a founder’s favorite project,” said Reed McBride, head of Business Development for Carta. “This partnership makes creating a cap table so incredibly simple from the moment of incorporation, allowing companies to ensure they are set for the road ahead. Firstbase Loop is our first Carta Launch API partner and a perfect example of how two companies can come together to make it easier for founders to succeed.” - Reed McBride, Head of Business Development, Carta
Deel allows business owners to quickly and easily hire anyone in a new country. To date, Deel has helped thousands of companies hire, pay, and stay compliant with workers in more than 150 countries.
This service is critical, as international hiring is booming. For its 2021 State of Hiring Report, Deel analyzed data from more than 100,000 work contracts, along with 500,000 third-party data points, to track trends in the workforce from July - December 2021.
The report showed a 200%+ rise in international hiring in every major region around the world. Deel found that hiring by Latin American companies is growing the fastest, followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Hiring in Israel, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic is also gaining in popularity.
Change.org, the world’s largest tech platform driving people-powered social change, leverages Deel to save 300 admin hours each month when paying their contractors across more than 25 countries. For our part, Firstbase uses Deel to work with more than 16 contractors hired in 12 different countries by automating over 40 HR-related processes.
“The way people work is fundamentally changing, and it’s never going back,” said Deel CEO and co-founder Alex Bouaziz. “We founded Deel because we didn’t want hiring or payments to prevent businesses from building the best global teams and finding the best global talent. We’re going to keep challenging the norms of how global companies operate and continue building tools that shape the future of work.” - Alex Bouaziz, CEO & Cofounder, Deel
Get the full report
Download this report as a PDF to learn more how Firstbase is architecting the workforce of the future.
Special thanks to partners Brex, Carta, and Deel who made this report possible. 🤝
As well as Mark Milastsivy, Louis Albertini, Chuck Leupen, Alex Stockman, and Peter Weltman (MOWM). 🚀
For questions, data requests, and other press inquiries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org