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2024 Pricing Survey

Lightspeed is conducting an anonymous pricing benchmarking survey. Usage-based pricing has become increasingly common in the past couple of years. This survey seeks to explore how startups view the trade-offs of usage-based economics and its effects on revenue models and customer preferences.

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Early Perspective

Setting up a scalable back office is time-consuming and requires specialized expertise. While it may be appealing to save money by self-managing, there is always a hidden cost in time and accuracy.

In most cases, we recommend exploring outsourced firms that specialize in seed stage company setup.

  • Finance, Accounting, Tax, Payroll (optional): Review Keating Consulting and Frank Rimmerman below.
  • Benefits, Payroll, HR Compliance: Review our Benefits post (link).

Note: Never work with a vendor that is not highly recommended by a trusted source.

Company Setup

Running a company is more than selling a product or service. A whole cast of support roles is required to keep your company running—finance, HR, payroll, logistics, operations, and legal, to name a few. Roles that don’t interact with customers are considered your back office.

Leaders are often surprised by the amount of time that goes into creating a foundational back office. This guide will teach you how and what you need to know to build your back office.

Back Office Challenges
  • Back-office tasks tend to be complex.
  • Managing the back office is time-consuming.
  • Back-office mistakes can be costly.
  • For growing companies, building the necessary back-office expertise in-house can be an expensive distraction from their core mission and growth.

Setup Checklist

Pre-incorporation companies have a long list of tasks to complete to begin operating legal, finance, benefits, insurance, and others.

Here is a full checklist of the most important tasks to complete. Checklist topics include:

  • Register the Company
  • Open Bank Account
  • Create/Capture Cap Table
  • Employee Stock Option Plan
  • Establish Payroll
  • Health Insurance and Other Benefits
  • HR Templates / Compliance
  • Company Policies
  • Accounting Tech Stack
  • Business Insurance
  • Pro Forma - Financial Model

Benefits and Payroll

For early companies, there are 3 models of managing payroll: manual, outsourced to an accountant, or using a PEO platform. Early on, founders tend to tackle payroll manually; this is time-consuming, stressful, and can result in errors and compliance issues.

We recommend companies with less than 100 employees consider working with a PEO. This removes the operational overhead of benefits, payroll, and HR. As more companies turn to remote and distributed models, outsourced payroll providers can professionally manage the complexities of having distributed employees and ensuring compliance. For additional information about benefits, see our full post here.

In addition to saving you time and stress, outsourcing payroll and benefits will help you manage and track the following:

  • Paying employees
  • Calculating & filing payroll taxes
  • Filling out forms for new hires
  • Determining payroll deductions
  • Withholding taxes
  • Federal & State compliance (some will do global compliance)
  • Filing end-of-year taxes
  • Preparing W-2s & 1099s
  • General management of your employee records

Outsourced Accounting & Bookkeeping

Tracking your cash flow, calculating taxes owed, and assessing your spending/ROI all require accurate and regularly updated books.

Early companies often find that hiring a full-time senior finance leader is overkill or simply unaffordable. An outsourced CFO or controller can provide guidance and analysis when the company needs it at a fraction of the cost of a full-time hire. Most bookkeeping platforms have an expert network of finance professionals and can match you with someone with industry expertise.

Lightspeed Recommend Vendors

Keating Consulting Group
  • Bookkeeping
  • HR Services (unique to Keating)
  • Outsourced CFO/finance
  • Controller Services
  • Tax Preparation
  • R&D Tax Credit
  • SaaS Accounting & Modeling

Beyond the basic maintenance of the daily accounting and controller activities, KCG implements accounting systems and supervises and trains existing staff. Keating understands the unique needs of startups and has first-hand experience in what it takes to make them grow. While the majority of Keating's interim CFO clients are based in Bay Area and Silicon Valley communities, they also serve clients outside of California and the US.

Ideal for: Early-stage companies with no in-house finance team
Ryan Keating, Founder:

Frank Rimmerman
  • Bookkeeping
  • Outsourced CFO/finance
  • Controller Services
  • Tax Preparation
  • R&D Tax Credit
  • Payroll
  • SaaS Accounting & Modeling

Similar offering to Keating Consulting above, but without HR/Recruiting support. They have a team specializing in seed stage companies.

Ideal for: Early-stage companies with no in-house finance team
Contact: Will Cole, Seed Practice Lead:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Outsourced CFO
  • Controller Services
  • Tax Preparation
  • R&D Tax CreditPilot can help VC-backed startups with their bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services. You will be paired with a financial expert dedicated to your business. Before building out your finance/accounting team, Pilot’s CFO service is a great substitute for an expensive in-house hire, and their tax service will help you file your business income taxes.

Ideal for: Pre-seed to Series D US-based companies
Reach out to Pilot


Choose a banking partner with expertise in venture-backed businesses. Below are the two firms which have worked extensively with Lightspeed companies.

First Republic Bank

First Republic Bank (FRB) has extensive services for early stage companies, some of which they've mentioned below, and a team of experts who specialize in startups.  

FRB offerings for startups:

  • Customer support: We offer a white-glove experience, plus a dedicated operations team who get to know you and support you. Our team will be assigned to you for your lifetime as a client, which gives you the best customer experience possible. We’ll work with you to set up the account(s) the way you want them to be- you will determine the limits we place on wires/transfers/mobile deposits, etc. The onboarding process is all completed over the phone/email so you do not need to step foot in a branch.
  • Free banking: We waive all bank fees for 3 years and then after those first 3 years, we give you an earnings credit to continue to offset your bank fees. We also do not limit the amount of wires you can do per month, and you can conduct all business transactions from your phone or online.
  • Innovators’ toolkit: We provide partnership perks to reduce your burn rate and extend your runway. Below is the link to our “Innovators’ Toolkit” which highlights the partnership perks we offer to our clients (including AWS and Google Cloud credits, Brex corporate credit cards, Salesforce, etc.).
  • Foreign exchange: We have an Fx in-house team that can work with you for international payments to minimize risk and costs. I’m happy to connect you with them.
  • 409A: We have a partnership with Carta, Clerky, and Shareworks and they offer a discounted rate to FRB clients. We then credit your account $1600 when you submit your invoice from one of these vendors to us. Shareworks and Pulley charge FRB clients $1600 and Carta charges $2200 for a 409a valuation. Attached is more information.
  • Private wealth management: FRB is a full service bank and for businesses that bank with us, we provide the founders with discounted mortgage rates. In addition, we have private wealth advisors who will work with you when you reach liquidation stage to ensure your money is invested in the most efficient way based on your goals.

Contact: Safa Aliabadi, Head of Tech Banking,


Mercury works with many startups and provides a scalable banking stack for growing companies.

Contact: Joyce Chen, Strategic Partnership Lead,


“Cheap” lawyers will always cost more money in the long term. Work with a corporate attorney who has deep experience within your industry and company stage at the start.

Common areas of legal support:
  • Legal advisory related to company formation
  • IP protection
  • Licensing
  • Commercial agreements
  • Venture financing to IPOs
  • M&A
  • Corporate governance
  • Privacy and cybersecurity
  • Board matters
Michelle Knoop (Goodwin)

Michelle Knoop, a partner in Goodwin's Technology and Life Sciences groups, specializes in all areas of corporate and securities laws, with a primary focus on advising emerging-growth technology companies. Ms. Knoop joined Goodwin in 2014. She serves as a member of the hiring committee for Goodwin’s Silicon Valley office and as the co-chair of the women’s initiative of Goodwin’s Silicon Valley office.


Andy Bradley (Gunderson)

Andy is a former startup founder who is now a corporate and securities lawyer specializing in the representation of emerging growth companies throughout their lifecycles. He represents a wide variety of technology companies from the consumer internet, software, telecommunications, and entertainment technology industries, as well as a number of leading venture capital firms.

See Andy's chapter contribution in the NYSE Entrepreneur’s Roadmap: From Concept to IPO.


Ben Potter (Latham)

Ben Potter advises private and public companies, venture capital, private equity firms, and investment banks involved in the technology, life sciences, and other growth industries. He serves as Global Vice Chair of the Emerging Companies Practice and is the former Global Chair of the Technology Industry Group.

Mr. Potter provides clients timely hands-on support and leverages access to the full resources of the firm’s global platform. He draws on considerable legal insight and complementary prior experience at IBM Global Services and two education startup companies in New York City.


Employment Attorneys

There are two types of employment attorneys. Those focused on plaintiffs or employees, sometimes referred to as employment discrimination attorneys, employment rights attorneys, or federal employment attorneys, and those that focus on defendants or employers, also known as management attorneys.

An employment attorney can help employers and employees work together to reach a resolution in the event of a problem. If your employer-employee relationship becomes strained due to a dispute involving wages, workplace safety, discrimination, or wrongful termination, it's helpful to know an employment attorney who can explain both sides' rights and duties.

Adam Forman (Littler)

Adam P. Forman advises employers in a broad range of employment law matters. His practice is dedicated to providing day-to-day counseling to clients on all issues that touch the workplace and drafting critical employment-related documents such as employment contracts, severance agreements, handbooks, and reduction-in-force documentation. He conducts employment-related trainings for clients on topics as varied as harassment prevention, hiring techniques, conducting investigations, and boot camps for managers.


Immigration Attorneys

US immigration law is complex. For startups interested in adding international talent to their team, navigating a hiring process with an immigration element can seem overwhelming.

Important immigration considerations:
  • Corporate Immigration Policy: If your company is interested in hiring international talent, you should consider creating a corporate immigration policy. In this policy, you will want to consider how you will address compliance, HR strategy, and cost, among other things.
  • Visa Application Timeline: H-1B visa applications must be filed during the first week of April for an expected October 1st start date. Due to the H-1B quota restrictions, it is important that applications have all supporting elements and are turned in as early as possible.
  • Work with an Immigration Attorney: This is not intended to be a prescribed course of action or legal advice. We advise that you speak with an immigration attorney to better understand immigration law, develop a corporate immigration policy, and support you throughout the immigration process.

Elise Fialkowski has practiced immigration law for over twenty-five years and handles all aspects of employment-based immigration. Her clients run the gamut from multinational corporations and their employees to universities, startups, entrepreneurs, and private individuals. In addition to employment-based immigration work, Elise has particular experience in working with venture capital and startup companies through all phases of growth. She has obtained all types of visas for startup clients, including J-1 visas, temporary work visas, and immigrant visas/green cards for startup clients. She also regularly presents at conferences and other forums regarding effective immigration options and programs for startups and entrepreneurs.

Contact: Elise Fialkowski,

Minami Tamaki LLP

La Verne Ramsay is a Senior Associate with Minami Tamaki LLP in our Immigration Practice Group. Ms. Ramsay handles all aspects of employment-based and family-based immigration and post-permanent resident applications, including re-entry permits and naturalization applications.

Ms. Ramsay advises corporate clients regarding their non-immigrant visa programs and strategic planning for the fiscal year as well as managing a successful immigration program and policy concerns. She is experienced in working with startup, mid-sized, and Fortune 500 companies spanning a range of industries, including entertainment, financial services, and clean energy. Ms. Ramsay currently advises and represents clients in various industries, with a primary focus on high-tech.

Contact: La Verne Ramsay,

Pearl Law Group

Elizabeth has been practicing immigration law for over a decade. Known for her out-of-the-box thinking and holistic approach, she represents clients of all scale with immigration strategy, compliance, and mobility program management, as well as talent research initiatives affecting site selection for a company’s growing global footprint.

Before joining Pearl Law Group, Elizabeth ran her own successful law practice, advising on global and US-based immigration growth strategies. In addition to a full range of business and family immigration matters, Elizabeth’s practice has included I-9 compliance guidance, successful complex appeals matters, and extensive pro bono work for low-income families. She also has experience with EPA and OSHA compliance, contract negotiation, and human resources management.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Jamae,

Corporate Insurance

Whether profitable or not, you still need business insurance to help protect you and your company. The right insurance can protect you in a variety of ways:

  • Protects against lawsuits: Lawsuits are almost inevitable, and trial-related costs alone could force your business to close.
  • Protects your employees: If you have employees who work for you, you are likely mandated to have workers' compensation insurance by your state legislature.
  • Protects contracts: Errors & Omissions insurance protects businesses in a variety of situations of professional liability.
  • Helps secure loans & funding: Business insurance will make it easier and cheaper to take out a small business loan. Most VCs will require or request that your startup purchase Directors & Officers insurance.
  • Protects expensive investments: Protect your commercial property and vital equipment so that if something does happen, you are protected.
  • Protects against cybercrimes: If your company stores important data on a computer system or server or if you have databases of customer information such as credit card and Social Security numbers, you are responsible for protecting that information.

As your business grows, you’ll need to broaden your insurance program to cover additional risks and extend the limits of your coverage. Some other types of insurance policies startups need include:

  • Business Owner Policy (BOP)
  • Key Person Insurance
  • Commercial Crime Insurance

Types of Insurance

Different businesses will have different insurance needs. However, there are core insurance policies that most startups should obtain to mitigate and transfer risk. Common coverage includes:

  • Directors & Officers Insurance - required by Lightspeed
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance
  • Technology Errors & Omissions Insurance
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • Fiduciary Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
Directors & Officers Insurance (D&O)

If you are looking to raise money, most institutional investors, such as venture capital firms, will stipulate as part of the term sheet that a proper D&O policy must be in place before the financing is complete. D&O insurance protects your board of directors as well as the leaders of your organization if named in lawsuits alleging a breach of fiduciary duties.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

As soon as your business starts hiring, you need to consider EPL insurance. EPLI can protect your company from employment-related lawsuits such as sexual harassment, discrimination (gender, religion, pregnancy, age, etc.), wrongful termination, failure to promote, and more. Often EPLI is combined with D&O insurance to create what is often known as a “management liability policy.”

Technology Errors & Omissions Insurance (Tech E&O)

E&O protects against claims that allege damages arising from technology services you have provided. Your customers and partners will typically require it. As the technology sector grows, businesses categorized as software as a service (SaaS), web development, payment process, and anything else handling sensitive data will increasingly require a technology E&O policy.

Cyber Liability Insurance

If you store customer credit card information, Social Security numbers, or any other personal information online, cyber insurance adds a layer of protection in the event of a data breach or software outage. Cyber insurance policies can protect from the perils associated with being an online business, such as data breaches, cyber thefts, and phishing attempts. Cyber liability and Tech E&O are often combined to create broader coverage for tech companies.

Fiduciary Liability Insurance

If your company offers employee benefits such as health insurance, 401(k)s, and stock options, then you probably have a person or a team of employees that are responsible for overseeing these benefits. Fiduciary liability insurance protects your company and your employees if someone responsible for these benefits makes a mistake for which they can be held liable. Fiduciary insurance shields your business from claims of mismanagement and the legal liability arising from their role as fiduciaries. It will cover all associated defense costs in claims of errors and a breach of fiduciary duty.

Worker's Compensation Insurance

Workers’ comp is required coverage for most businesses in every U.S. state but Texas. It covers employee injuries, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and legal costs in the case of an employee claim related to a workplace injury. State Workers’ Compensation - US Department of Labor



A full-service business insurance provider, Newfront will craft a policy specific to your needs and has great client services.

Reach out to Newfront


Digital end-to-end insurance broker with an automated quote process. Their plans are cost-competitive but often “one size fits all”.

Reach out to Embroker

Founder Shield

Founder Shield is a full-service insurance brokerage with a sole focus on high-growth, venture-backed companies within emerging industries.

Reach out to Founder Shield


Vouch offers 10+ lines of proprietary coverage specifically designed for the risk exposures of tech startups. As the underwriter & carrier of these insurance policies, Vouch removes any hidden third-party fees and handles all of the paperwork from start to finish.

Reach out to Vouch


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