Delaware Public Benefit Corporations on Clerky

Today, in partnership with B Lab, we're excited to officially launch support for Delaware public benefit corporations on Clerky.

Delaware PBCs are increasingly common with founders who want to run their startups not only for the benefit of stockholders, but also the broader public. While regular Delaware corporations are required to maximize stockholder value, Delaware PBCs must balance that interest against one or more specified public benefits, as well as anyone it materially affects. For founders, this means more freedom to use their startup as a force for good, which we are proud to support.

This launch marks the first time PBC startups can do the complete set of formation paperwork that investors and acquirers look for, entirely online. And as with regular startups, PBC startups that form on Clerky can go on to use our complete suite of products for fundraising and hiring as they grow. We're excited to bring to PBC startups our unique focus on doing paperwork correctly, in order to help avoid legal issues down the line.

We are also thrilled to be working with B Lab to help our PBC customers go on to become certified B Corporations. In order to be certified by B Lab, B Corporations are held to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Certification as a B Corporation is a great tool for communicating values to potential customers, employees, investors, and partners.

Delaware enacted the legislation enabling PBCs four years ago, at the urging of B Lab. Back then, companies electing for PBC status were large and established, like Method, Kickstarter, and Plum Organics. Increasingly though, founders are incorporating their startups as PBCs from the start. Some startups that have already used Clerky to form as PBCs are:

  • Crowdbotics uses machine learning and on-demand software engineers to automate software development. Crowdbotics was founded by Anand Kulkarni, a serial entrepreneur who led his previous startup through Y Combinator to raise over $20 million in venture capital financing.

  • FreeWill provides users with a friendly and intuitive way to create high-quality legal wills, completely free. These tools make charitable giving within wills easier than ever, and the company aims to raise $1 trillion globally for nonprofit organizations. FreeWill is funded by Highland Capital Partners and Dorm Room Fund (run by First Round Capital), and was founded by Patrick Schmitt (former Head of Innovation at Change.org, a certified B Corporation), Jennifer Xia, Helen Zou, and Alexander Leishman.

As more founders aim to start PBCs, we're also developing resources to help them along the way. To that end, we've updated our Legal Concepts for Founders handbook to include an article about PBCs and B Corporations, and are happy to announce the addition of Rick Alexander, the Head of Legal Policy at B Lab, to the editorial board. Rick is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts in Delaware corporate law.

We're excited to make it easier for founders to use their startups as a force for good, and are very much looking forward to seeing the impressive impact they will have.