What are the steps needed for registering/startup a software company?


I have been working fulltime w/o pay developing my iPhone app, now it's closing to the release time and I think it's about the time start my own company. I wonder if anyone can provide some detailed guidelines as to the concrete steps of registering a software company, fundraising, equity issuing etc. I am located in Seattle

Getting Started Company Registration

asked Dec 4 '11 at 18:33
197 points
  • Interesting how the question "how to register a company" got mixed in with fundraising and equity. – Mike Nereson 12 years ago

2 Answers


You do not need a company to sell iPhone apps. Apple allows individuals to sell apps in the app store. They send you a check, tell the IRS they sent you a check and you pay taxes on that revenue.

When I was in your situation few years back (selling Palm apps) I registered as DBA (Doing Business As i.e. Sole Proprietor) because all I wanted was to sell my apps under a company name. Registering DBA is the simplest and cheapest form. The details depend on the state but usually it involves finding a name that is not taken by some other business, filing simple paperwork with the city and paying a small fee. See this question for more details: How do I start a sole proprietorship and when does it start? You can of course setup a more complicated structure like LLC or Corp S or Corp C, but the details for those are way out of scope for this forum and it's all really well explained in many places. I recommend NoLo (start with http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/business-llcs-corporations ) which has wonderful books on exactly those subjects (http://www.nolo.com/products/incorporate-your-business-NIBS.html, http://www.nolo.com/products/llc-or-corporation-CHENT.html ).

As to fundraising, equity etc. - those are in themselves deep topics that would require an extensive treatise to cover generically and you haven't provided any information to reduce the scope of the answer to your particular scenario.

Knowing the little information you provided (i.e. you have iPhone app close to done), you don't need fundrising. Finish the app and start selling it.

Furthermore, it's incredibly hard (read: next to impossible) to get a funding for an iPhone app. A median revenue of an iPhone app is $600 a year - not an attractive opportunity for VC investing.

Investors have hundred millions of dollars to invest and limited amount of time to evaluate the deals. They are only interested in funding ideas that can become hundred million dollar businesses. Is your idea one of those? Can you convince an investor of that?

answered Dec 4 '11 at 19:11
Krzysztof Kowalczyk
1,950 points
  • Good answer. Everyone thinks every app needs funding. The tech news only every tells us about companies with funding and for some reason praise companies when they get funded, as though they have accomplished anything yet. I just read and recommend http://www.startupbook.net/ -- a book geared to self funded bootstrappers who want to create a software startup in their spare time. – Mike Nereson 12 years ago
  • Apple will not accept a DBA as a business name for selling apps in the iTunes store. I know, I tried. They will want to see your company credentials, LLC, Corporation papers. – Paul Cezanne 12 years ago
  • Paul, it's only partially true. You can't use DBA if you're enrolling as a company. You can use DBA if you're enrolling as an individual. http://www.iphonedevsdk.com/forum/business-legal-app-store/36782-apple-no-longer-taking-dba-fictitious-business-name-enroll-iphone-dev-prgrm.html. That was my point: one doesn't have to start a company to sell in app store as it's possible to sell as an individual. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk 12 years ago


Don't invent yourself a lawyer, take a lawyer for this kind of stuff. Honestly, it's a bit of money (take a good one who has a lot of experience is startups and subsequent rounds), or you may pay the price later (big time).

That said, try to push your incorporation as far as you can (basically when you have to bring someone else in the team and pay them), so you don't rush into structure that don't fit your model.

good luck

answered Dec 7 '11 at 03:46
Antony P.
714 points
  • I'm not sure I understand the down vote here but anyway.. – Antony P. 12 years ago

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