SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced today that for the first time, Californians can form their Limited Liability Company (LLC) online through bizfile California, the agency’s online business filing and search portal. Secretary Padilla also announced Eureka, a new artificial intelligence search assistant, known in the information technology world as a “chatbot,” to help customers easily navigate business resources on the Secretary of State’s website.
“The days of only being able to form an LLC in-person at the Secretary of State’s office, or by mail are gone with our new, easy online filing option,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Now, businesses can submit LLC formation documents, submit LLC Statements of Information, or file a trademark or service mark application all online from the convenience of their laptop, tablet or smartphone.”
Over the last five years, LLCs have been the fastest growing entity type being registered in California, with nearly 120,000 LLC Formation filings in the 2016-17 fiscal year alone. The new LLC Formation tool was designed and implemented in collaboration with staff from the Secretary of State’s office and the ThinkSmart LLC Platform.
“ThinkSmart is proud to power the LLC Formations online process,” said Troy Bare, VP of Sales, ThinkSmart LLC. “The core values of our technology focus on streamlining processes for the government through automation with the ultimate goal of making it easier than ever to do business in California.”
The Secretary of State’s new chatbot Eureka was developed in partnership with Microsoft. It answers frequently asked business entity and trademark questions. Customers can ask a question such as “How do I get a copy of a filed document?” and Eureka will link them to the California Business Search website where they can look up their business record and access documents for free. Eureka responds best to short questions or keywords. The California Secretary of State is the first state-level Department or Agency to use Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and bot services to modernize and create efficiencies when providing services to customers.
The new LLC Formation option and Eureka chatbot assistant are part of Secretary of State Padilla’s Digital Initiative to modernize and digitize the agency’s divisions, including the Business Programs Division. The Digital Initiative includes an online LLC and Corporation Statement of Information filing tool, an online trademark and service mark filing tool, 11 million searchable business records through California Business Search, an updated search engine for the state’s successor-in-interest claims, and a Starting a New Business resource page. All of these tools can be easily found at bizfile.sos.ca.gov.