Figma is obviously the market standard. Just dropping it into this list as a reminder :).
Yes, Jira and Asana rule the roost. But... have you tried Linear?
It’s genuinely one of the most delightful products ever built
- Up to 90% off for first year
Hubspot is widely considered to be the best plan for SMBs (including early startups). Personally, we find the interface a challenge at times, but the integrations and the year 1 discount makes it compelling to get started with.
gets a lot of good votes online, as do Copper and others. It’s worth strongly considering as well. We do not recommend Salesforce, especially at this stage.
Stripe is the de facto default for payment processing, for good reason. They are compatible with a wide range of platforms, currencies, and businesses. While their admin interface is clunky at times, it’s still straightforward and gets the job done. They’re not always the cheapest, but they make up for it with functionality and reliability.
You can probably manage this in spreadsheets to start, but if you’re lucky enough to have a number of subscribers early, we also recommend Stripe for billing.
We do not recommend Chargebee, Recurly, and other platforms.
- Free Seed plan (<=25 stakeholders); 25% off Growth plan for first year - Free for companies who have raised <$1M Other plans - 10% off year 1 (email )
While you can manage the founders and maybe the first few advisors / employees in a spreadsheet, this is free to start so it’s worth considering very early on.
Pulley has built a very robust product + founder tools. However, it can be tricky to navigate sometimes without legal help. We still believe it’s the best product, on balance, for early stage companies. AngelList is a rising star in this area and it’s possible they’ll be tied very soon.
Carta is quite hard to use without legal help, so while they’re also free, we only suggest considering Carta when you have legal counsel and can afford the billing (founders issuing stock on their own, looking to be thrifty with legal fees, should not).
- Typically ~5% discount
Vouch is the best answer for early stage startups. It’s super simple, easy, and competitive pricing.
There are some industries that Vouch coverage might exclude; for those, Embroker and Newfront are worth considering.
- 30% off Contractors, 20% off Employees
There have been a lot of players in the last 4-5 years given the pandemic and the rise of remote work. Deel and Remote were the early players, and are still the leading players.
Deel used to be our primary recommendation, but there are two reasons we’ve put Remote ahead in this list: a) pricing, where Remote is much more competitive, and b) the recent Remote <> Gusto partnership. Given Gusto is our go-to for US payroll, Remote will play much more nicely to help founding teams set up and scale.
Company-sponsored SPV (aka Roll-up Vehicle)
- Free for companies who have raised <$1M
This is a relatively new category, but something we think is important for founders to consider while fundraising. If you raise from 10-20+ investors in early rounds, legal logistics (e.g., stockholder consents) from those investors later on is non-trivial.
AngelList pioneered this structure and format, so it should be your go-to. Sydecar is a new, interesting provider, but we’d generally sticking to a known quantity.
Especially if you’re handling sensitive customer data, it’s a good idea to consider background checks for early hires and/or contractors who have access to critical systems. Certn is our go-to because they have much wider coverage across the globe, and they’re competitively priced.