Open a Business US Bank Account as a Foreigner

When you are setting up a US company, one of the steps of the process is to open a business bank account. This is a trivial step for a US citizen, but as stated in this post, it is by far the most problematic part of setting up a US company as a foreigner. So, let’s get ready for a tough one!

How to Close a US Company if you are a Foreigner

In this post I described the process of dissolving a US corporation.

If you are a foreigner, you own a US company registered in Delaware, but you don't have a US bank account, there is an additional challenge you'll have to face when dissolving your company: Paying your Franchise Tax

Although it may look like a trivial step, if you are a foreigner it turns out this can be a surprisingly tough challenge.

How to Close a US Corporation

I don't know about you, but I don't like starting something if I don't know how to finish it. In case of starting a corporation there are at least two happy endings: you get acquired or keep the company and maybe place an IPO.

But you should also be concerned about the case in which the business doesn't work and you have to close the company. This is something nobody seems to like talking about, but I think it's really important to know what this case looks like.

I've dissolved two US companies myself, so I've decided to write this post about the subject.

How to Create a US C-Corporation in 16 Steps

The process for creating a C Corporation could be explained in just a few steps. Basically, search for a company name, choose directors, authorize shares and pay. 

However, such a fairy-tale version of the process misses the most important questions, like what legal documents to prepare, where to incorporate, and how to breathe life into the company once it's created. 

The purpose of this post is to give a more realistic version of the process, including the main decisions that need to be made. 

Advice for Entrepreneurs visiting Silicon Valley

I recently went to Silicon Valley (SV) for several weeks as a part of the prize we won with our startup Dialective at a startup competition . Now that the dust has settled, I'd like to share my experience with anyone who would like to know how it's like to visit this holy land for entrepreneurs.

I wrote a post about practical advice for foreigners travelling to SV.
This post is about advice for entrepreneurs that applies to both, US-citizens and foreigners.

Advice for Entrepreneurs visiting Silicon Valley

There are many things for an entrepreneur to do in SV, but most of them require planning. I'll describe here the main things you can do and how much planning they require. 


How: Use Eventbrite and Meetup to find interesting events about marketing, sales, lean startup, leadership, legal matters, investing, pitching, you name it.  You can go to the events by car, even if it is in San Francisco, since most events take place after 6:00pm when parking is free. 

Planning: Plan at least 2 weeks ahead, because the most interesting events are very popular and they run out of tickets easily. If you find all tickets sold out don't give up and write your name down on the waiting list because you might get a last-minute spot. 

Networking: If you come from Europe you may not be used to the kind of straightforward networking that is done in SV. Here's a crash course: If you see three or more people talking in a group, don't hesitate to join them and introduce yourself. Don't feel shy, everybody does that all the time, it's perfectly normal. 

Pitching: there are events where you can pitch about your startup. Sometimes in front of investors. Get ready to deliver pitches of various lengths (1-sentence, 1-minute, 3-minutes) and in various formats (with powerpoint, with your mobile device, or without any kind of technical support).

Price: Many events are for free, others cost from $10 to $50. But the best thing is that most of them offer food and drinks, so the ticket includes dinner. 

A Dark Secret: There are events not listed anywhere to which you can only go by invitation. Those tend to serve the best food and drinks. Also, the best networking. Your only chance to get there is to know someone who extends her/his invitation to you. 


A great complement to the events is actually having personal meetings with people in SV. If you know someone there, this is the time to pick up the phone or send an email and arrange a meeting. Everyone is very well connected in the valley, so even if this person is not interesting for your startup you should go and talk to her/him. If you don't know anybody there, keep on reading.

How: You can arrange meetings in the valley with people you've never met before. This is what I did: I used LinkedIn to look for entrepreneurs (mostly from my country) who live there, then I invited them to join my professional network writing a personal message in the invitation. In most cases I got a new contact and a meeting because this is the great thing about SV, everyone is very busy but willing to give you some of their time. 

Planning: This might take some time, so I would recommend starting at least 1 month in advance. 


Have some extra time and would like a nice place to work? You can go to Paris Baguette or University Cafe, both in Palo Alto. You'll find there Wi-Fi and roumor has it that investors sometimes go there to meet entrepreneurs. I don't know about that but I met a guy in one of those secret meetups who told me he was working in Paris Baguette and suddenly came this other guy and invited him to the secret meetup.

Planning: No planning required. 


Want to visit Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Twitter, Wikipedia, NASA, HP, Stanford, you-name-it? Hmm, unless you know someone working there it's not going to be so easy. Different companies/institutions have different policies towards visitors though. Let's see about some of them:

Google: In Googleplex you can walk around the complex and visit the shop. If you are attending an event there (look for instance for Startup Grind events) you'll obviously get to see more. 

Twitter, Apple and NASA are not very visitor-friendly. We got there only because we knew people inside. 

Intel: You can go there, they even have a public Intel Museum at their main location (Robert Noyce Building on Mission College)

Stanford is a must-see, and I also recommend attending one of the many Stanford Events.

What to Expect from the Trip

According to my experience you can expect to get the following from your trip: 
  • Knowledge: yes, tons of it
  • Professional contacts, friends: yes, many
  • Investors/money: I would say it's difficult (although not impossible). Most investors want the founder's team to actually be located at a 50-min driving distance from where they live. 
  • Mentors: yes
  • Lawyers: yes
  • Employees: it's full of awesome ones but they are very expensive (>$100.000/year) 
  • Technological Insight: yes, about what's coming next (check out the Singularity University).

Practical Advice for visiting Silicon Valley

I recently went on a trip to Silicon Valley (SV) for several weeks as a part of the prize we won with our startup Dialective at a startup competition . Now that the dust has settled, I'd like to share my experience with anyone who would like to know how it's like to visit this holy land for entrepreneurs.

This post is about practical advice for foreigners travelling to SV.
The next post is about advice for entrepreneurs visiting SV that applies to both, US-citizens and foreigners.

Practical Advice for Foreigners Travelling to Silicon Valley

Getting there

  • Buy your ESTA (your authorization to travel to the US) at least two weeks before your trip. It costs a few dollars, paid with a credit card. Check here if you are a citizen of a country eligible for an ESTA. 
  • If you are flying via New York or any other US city, be sure to have at least 2:30h time to transfer to your flight to San Francisco. When you land on US soil you'll have to pick up your luggage and take it to custom clearance, where the security personnel at the airport will take their time to open and search through it. On your way back home this is not necessary because there is no custom clearance. 


  • Expect very basic hotels even if you pay $100 per night. 
  • We stayed in a hotel in Redwood City. This city is cheaper than many others in the valley and is half-way between San Francisco (30-45 min by car) and Palo Alto and Mountain View (15-25 min by car). 


  • Public transport: caltrain (connects all major cities in the valley and beyond), bart (connects all major cities in the valley), SFMTA (in San Francisco only) and buses. 
  • But I really recommend you to rent your own car with GPS because the public transport is neither very efficient nor cheap.
  • Choose your gas station wisely, because I've seen significant differences in the price per gallon. Avoid tanking in touristic places such as in Highway 1 in Big Sur ($6/gallon vs $4/gallon in other places). 
  • Parking is usually free after 18:00h, during the day you may park your car for free on a shopping mall parking lot.


  • Both T-Mobile and AT&T offer SIM cards for tourists.
  • With $50-$70 you can get 1 month of data access + national phone calls, and for an additional $10 you get unlimited international phone calls to landline numbers. 
  • Be sure to bring an unlocked cell phone with you.

General Advice

  • San Francisco can be cold with temperatures below 15ÂșC, even in summer.
  • Weekly budget: $700 (hotel + car) + $280 (food + gas + parking)

Subjective Impressions

These are some random thoughts that came to my mind when I visited SV
  • San Francisco is full of crazy homeless people
  • People are really nice
  • Mobile data connection speed sucks
  • Food is really good
  • Internet connection speed sucks
  • Kids are not 24/7 attached to a smartphone or tablet, they actually play and talk
  • It's full of smart people
  • It's full of people from everywhere
  • You can speak Spanish almost everywhere

How to Increase Traffic to your Blog for Free

There is a new strategy in town to get more visitors to your blog. It's called Copromly and it promises to increase by 10 the reach of your social campaigns by using collaborative growth.

The Collaborative Era

The Internet has equipped itself with collaborative mechanisms to solve one of it's main challenges, namely, the creation of high-quality content. Wikipedia, Stackoverflow and Quora are just three examples of successful collaborative content creation tools.