should you be incorporated before launch?


Should you be incorporated before you launch your product?

Some things associated with incorporation:

Office address
Mailing Address

Those three require a physical location? Is there a way of incorporating using a proxy address?

I don't want to use my home address as incorporation address.

Are there any online serices that can accomadate my needs? I live in Canada.


asked Feb 2 '11 at 03:14
Kim Jong Woo
644 points

2 Answers


In the US and in many other jurisdictions, incorporating gives you limited liability. While I can't speak to the specifics of Canada, I know that in the US, if you don't incorporate, by default you'd be operating as a sole proprietorship (assuming you're doing business by yourself. If you're working with others, you'd be a partnership, even if you didn't officially sign anything declaring you're a partnership.) The consequences of being a sole proprietorship or partnership is that you'd be personally liable. In other words, if anything goes wrong with the business, your creditor could go after your personal assets like your own house or car.

Now if your main concern is about keeping your address private, you can probably hire a registered agent (RA). An RA is the party that the government communicates with concerning any official notices, including if you're going to get sued. RA's use their own address and your address does not have to show up in public records. Alternatively, you can look at the specific laws concerning the jurisdiction you're operating in. Sometimes you may be able to use P.O. boxes; other times, the jurisdiction you're in may require you to use a physical address.

If you're looking for online services, I'd look for an RA for Canada on the internet. A lot of companies never even meet their RA!

**Note, this does not constitute legal advice nor is any attorney-client relationship formed.

answered Mar 4 '11 at 12:47
Nhu Vu
201 points


I can't imagine a situation where it's a good idea to launch a product without being incorporated, not to mention many other steps.

Do you have a way to handle support for your product? Do you have professional liability insurance? What happens if a customer claims that installing your software ruined their computer with their expensive and unsaved data?

You either need to find affordable space or become ok using your home address. If you are in a city there are "hacker spaces" that you may be able to share with lots of other business owners to bring down the cost of your space.

answered Feb 2 '11 at 03:40
Justin C
838 points

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