June 8, 2023

Serial founder Jeremy Cai relies on Firstbase to streamline incorporation and compliance

Los Angeles, CA
With Firstbase since:
April 2018

Based out of LA, Italic is a fashion brand that offers label-free luxury clothing at a lower price point. It’s the latest project of serial founder Jeremy Cai, who has created over a dozen businesses since he began his entrepreneurial journey in 2014.

Jeremy personifies the innovative, persistent attitude of so many Firstbase founders. After receiving the Thiel fellowship and additional funding from Y Combinator, he visited over 100 factories to pitch his idea for a disruptive luxury brand. He quickly got a handful of manufacturers on board, then took the opportunity to demonstrate the brand concept.

Saving thousands using Firstbase over law firms and competitors

As a serial founder, Jeremy had tried a variety of incorporation solutions, but each one came with some key drawbacks.

When using self-service platforms like Clerky, he lacked confidence in their ability to navigate business compliance. He also noted the lack of flexibility and personalized service, eventually leading him to start incorporating businesses through traditional law firms.

“I incorporated some earlier ventures through Clerky, but it felt very transactional and they didn’t have the customer service I needed. They also provided very little support after incorporation, leaving me on my own for compliance and business operations.”

While law firms had the professionalism Jeremy was looking for, the price tag quickly ran up into thousands of dollars. It took valuable time out of his schedule to develop a relationship with the firm and complete the incorporation process. He was spending too much time and money on a relatively standard service.

$7500 in savings with Zendesk

Jeremy switched to Firstbase when he saw that it offered the best of both worlds — the compliance services and customer support of a law firm with the price and simplicity of an online incorporation tool. He first used Firstbase to incorporate Italic, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“In the past, I’ve used one platform for incorporation, one for the registered agent, and yet another for mail. It cost twice as much and took me twice as much time to keep everything in order. Firstbase’s built-in registered agent and mail services are a breeze, both for the initial incorporation and for subsequent expansion to new states. With Firstbase, I can get everything I need without adding any unnecessary complexity.”

Jeremy also utilized Firstbase Loop to streamline onboarding for growth tools while providing unbeatable rewards. Six months of free Zendesk Sales CRM + Suite — up to $7,500 in savings for a team of five agents — helped him build and scale customer relationships to accelerate growth at no additional cost.

Overall, the Firstbase partner network helped Jeremy save tens of thousands of dollars at a critical stage in business development. He noted that these discounts are vital to founders navigating the early stages of growth when every dollar counts.

Lessons for entrepreneurs

Jeremy’s experience in various startups helped him become the entrepreneur he is today. He quickly learned that if your project doesn’t inspire you, you’ll inevitably lose interest after the initial hype wears off. Personal investment in what you’re doing is critical for your mental health as well as the culture you’re building from day one.

Jeremy also underlined the importance of adapting your team to meet the evolving needs of your organization. Startup growth is unpredictable and not always linear, and you need to continually ask yourself if your team is set up to succeed. This also includes evaluating your own capabilities and recognizing when it’s time to delegate specific tasks to someone else.

“Running a startup is exciting — you’re hiring your friends, raising the money, having a great time. But when push comes to shove and you need to make a hard decision, suddenly it’s not fun and games anymore. There are real lives at stake, and founders need to be prepared for those moments if they want to be successful.”

Wrapping up

After years of using other solutions, Jeremy Cai now trusts Firstbase as his go-to incorporation service. He’s already taking advantage of recent releases like Insurance and Payroll, which have created an even more robust business operations suite for the Firstbase community of global founders.

At Firstbase, our mission is to continue building on the world’s best incorporation + compliance platform in order to support founders like Jeremy.

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