Once you become an e-resident and start looking into service providers who can help you, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly.
By now, there are quite a few different providers. Some service providers are focused on concrete geographical markets, and some are focused on concrete industries.
And then, we have providers who do not have a concrete focus at all. Their main tactic is to lure people in with an attractive entry price and provide a “generic” service.
In this article, we’re going to compare Xolo and Comistar. Why Xolo and us? For one, it’s Comistar’s blog, so it makes little sense to leave us out of the comparison. Xolo, or formerly named LeapIn, is the leader of the market.
Background of Xolo
Xolo was founded in 2015, and the business was built on the e-Residency program. Xolo was a breath of fresh air, and the way they presented their service made all the difference. On the big picture, they did what every other consulting company had been doing for years – helping with company registration and accounting.
But Xolo was not a consulting company like all other companies providing similar services. Xolo was a tech company providing a tech platform to manage your e-Residency business. And the way they framed their services enabled them to raise money from the investors.
This money was used to hire more developers, improve the platform, and invest heavily into marketing. Total, Xolo has raised 8 million euros.
The early focus on e-residents, focus on technology, and story that differentiated Xolo from everybody else, has made Xolo the market leader.
Background of Comistar
Comistar was founded in 2012, and started its operations in Estonia in 2013.
In the first 4 years, the focus of Comistar was on Scandinavian entrepreneurs and advising on tax structures. Comistar was the traditional consulting company, which market Xolo disrupted (though companies never targeted same types of clients).
Only in the end of 2017 we at Comistar started to look into e-Residency, as the program was getting more and more traction. Comistar became a partner of e-Residency service providers marketplace early 2018.
With the rise of the crypto industry, Comistar made e-residents operating in the crypto space as one of its core focus points, and tailored its services for e-residents. With extensive experience in taxation matters and working with bigger companies, Comistar started to onboard e-residents with different and often more complex needs.
Clients of Xolo & Comistar
To make its software work, Xolo set very clear boundaries to the type of clients they will onboard. Because accounting & possible reporting needs of clients can differ a lot, it’s difficult to provide a fixed pricing plan for all e-residents. Xolo (and Comistar as well) is a hybrid of software and manual service. On the back-end, accounting is still done by the accountants, though the bulk of the work is automated.
But automation needs boundaries to the input that’s coming into the system. Thus, Xolo needs to be able to estimate the amount of work one client generates, so the pricing would cover the cost of the manual work required.
And it’s not only automation of accounting, but it’s also to reduce the AML risks and to be able to find banking partnerships who can have a clear expectation on the type of clients Xolo is bringing in.
As a result, Xolo is focused on one-man companies, or the so-called solopreneurs. And these one-man companies must operate in the digital world selling digital services and products.
Additionally, not so long ago, Xolo introduced a service for freelancers who do not want to own a company at all. They enable operating on Xolo platform and provide services, while all the invoicing is done by Xolo. Opening this line of business started a court case between Xolo and Rimuut. Rimuut is a former client of Xolo and they accuse Xolo of stealing their business idea, as Rimuut provides a very similar service.
Comistar has been attracting very different types of clients to Xolo. For years, we prided ourselves for the level of expertise we can bring to the table, instead of automation or fancy software.
But as the world changes, we have adjusted our views on the market. We are now heavily focused on providing a software – powered experience to the clients. This focus has resulted in multiple standalone apps for niche markets, as well as the birth of Zero To Scale.
Zero To Scale is a software to manage your Estonian business with advanced features and usability. But we haven’t forgotten our strengths, and we don’t provide generic plans to the clients. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to the types of clients we generally on-board. For each client, the custom subscription plan is created and agreed on.
Still, Comistar serves many one-man companies as well, together with multiple shareholder companies, licensed activities, physical products, and so forth.
To conclude, Xolo is operating as a startup with a single focus on growth and scale, using the investor’s money. Comistar, on the other hand, operates as a business and tries to tailor its services according to the individual need of each client, with a focus on sustainability.
For new e-residents, pricing is obviously one of the major factors. It’s also something that’s a bit difficult to compare if companies are providing services for different types of clients and needs.
Xolo charges 220€ for on-boarding to Xolo Leap, which is a subscription service for e-Residency companies. This amount includes the state fee paid to the Estonian government.
Monthly subscription starts at 69€, and two other tiers are at 119€ and 199€. All plans include tax filing and reporting, while the 119€ and 199€ plans come with a personal accountant as well.
Xolo also has a service subscription for freelancers called Xolo Go. In this case, you won’t own a company, and you won’t have any startup costs. Instead of a monthly subscription, you’ll be charged 5% on each sale. This can be a good way to start your freelancing career.
Comistar has different tiers to pricing as well. The simplest plan (S Plan) starts at 25€/month, but this plan does not provide you with tax reporting and filing. S Plan is meant for companies that won’t need VAT reporting or any other monthly accounting support. For example, small investment funds.
The first “active company” plan starts at 89€/month and includes everything you need, including monthly accounting, VAT and EORI registrations, legal document templates, as well as consulting. The actual subscription price is determined during the consultation session, where Comistar experts learn about your business and needs.
The on-boarding with Comistar is more expensive than it is with Xolo, and you need to pay 350€ one-time fee (includes the state fee 190€).
The most expensive plan with Comistar starts at 159€/month.
As the screenshot doesn’t enable to capture the whole pricing data, please click here to check the pricing table with all its features.
To conclude, then both service providers are in a similar bracket when it comes to pricing, and your choice should really depend more on your concrete needs than on pricing.
Which One is For You: Xolo or Comistar?
Honestly, we think very highly of Xolo and what they’ve done in the space. They’ve built a great product, spend a lot on advertising the e-Residency concept, and provide a good service.
Hence, there are two occasions when we recommend to check Xolo out before anything else on the market: a) if you are a freelancer and don’t really need a company; and b) if you plan to open a one-man company and sell only digital services/products, without nuanced tax or accounting needs.
If you have more than one shareholder, you plan to invest in real estate or cryptocurrencies (even if as a side activity), require more complex tax advice or any activity licenses, or sell physical products, then check out Comistar’s Zero To Scale subscription.