Unvalidated Ideas #010
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VerifiedTINs.com - TIN / EIN / Tax ID lookup and verification
Most countries have some form of Tax Identification Number ("TIN") -- a number or combination of letters and numbers that represents a person or a company that can pay taxes.
Companies in the United States have an EIN, some countries in the EU have TINs and they're crucial for knowing that you're sending money to the right person/corporation and doing the reporting afterwards. Having a company's EIN/TIN means that you can often look up details on the company, and refer to them in more formal contexts accurately.
I'll cut to the chase -- someone needs to build and centralize a database of the trusted EINs, TINs and other identifiers for international companies. Companies can have many identifiers, identifiers for subdivisions, etc so things can get complicated quickly.
Being international will set you apart and be a great way to avoid phishing, mistaken invoices, and save time during the part of the year everyone is doing their taxes.
There are a lot of ways to make this idea even better -- selling TIN verification and persistent payment details to payments providers is another great angle to take. Think of this like the blue verification check for Twitter that everyone lusts over. Except this time it's not just internet clout that's at risk.
Starting to sell this service to large financial services means you've won -- go all in on the idea and you'll sell in a couple years for more money than seems reasonable.
Read my raw notes >
NOTE Outside of the existing competitors, Stripe is almost certainly going to compete with you at some point.
Stripe deals with so many of companies that it would be quite easy to put something out. Stripe's incentives are somewhat different though -- they're incentivized to make the transaction/interaction happen on their platform (ex. Stripe Tax). Unlike Stripe, you have no such restriction. Meet the user where they are, on the platform they're already on with minimal friction and your offering will probably be pretty compelling.
The way you fight a competitor like Stripe is to integrate where you can, and also integrate with their competitors. Correlate TINs from PayPal, BrainTree, and all the other payment providers and you'll have a very strong offering.
As you might expect, you've got competitors -- companies like track1099.com who primarily deal in generating 1099s for contractors. No one said it would be easy!
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