If you are a freelancer, consultant, digital nomad or other form of a digital solopreneur, you’re probably considered a single-shareholder company as you are the only founder.
If you instead have co-founders, like in the case of some consulting agencies or startups, you’re a multi-shareholder company.
First, familiarize yourself with the business structures available – here is a comparison of all business structures. The below advice is specific to a private limited company, or OÜ, the most common form of business both in Estonia and chosen by e-residents.
Registration is as detailed in our Start a Company article.
Single-shareholder companies are at a bit of an advantage as many of the service providers in our Marketplace – including Estonian banks – prefer to work with companies of this type as they tend to be highly visible online and it is relatively simple to monitor any risks associated.
Registration is essentially the same as a single-shareholder OÜ, but your co-founders will likely need to also apply for e-Residency before you register your company. Here’s why:
- Registration: To register your OÜ online, your co-founders will need a digital ID card valid in Estonia. This can be an Estonian, Latvian or Belgian ID card, Lithuanian mobile ID or e-Residency digital ID card. As an alternative to online registration, any OÜ can also be registered through a notary, though this will require a trip to Estonia for you and your co-founders.
- Management board: All OÜ must have a management board, a directing body to represent and direct the company. The management board may have one or several members, though it’s likely your co-founders will want to be included. All members of the board must have a digital ID valid in Estonia in order to register and manage the OÜ online.
- Banking: Review our Banking Basics article for an overview of options. We recommend finding a service provider in our Marketplace that specializes in companies other than single-shareholder (you can see this easily by using the compare buttons) as they can also provide advice and assistance based on your specific situation.
- Share capital contribution: Be sure your team understands how share capital contribution works– dividends can only be paid once the share capital has been registered, so you’ll want to agree on how to proceed.