Corporate teams generally act as a business. They have to operate at a loss initially, but once they've gathered some fame they can act as a parahuman "talent agency" for acting, merchandising, and rogue work. The greatest goal is to become so well-respected that cities will pay them to operate in the area, generally on a two-year contract.
Corporate teams have a heavier emphasis on public relations and marketing than other teams. Successful corporate heroes are paid much more than successful Protectorate heroes, but most end up being paid less. There's more risk, but also more freedom than being an official cape. Successful corporate heroes become celebrities, often getting into acting or music.
Among the freedoms offered by corporate teams are the fact that young Wards are not allowed to wear skimpy costumes (although particularly successful corporate teams can still face the wrath of the Youth Guard), the fact that it can be difficult to move around freely when you have official responsibilities, and the fact the PRT disapproves of taking public stands on various issues - especially religious ones.
Corporate heroes are not required to attend Endbringer battles, but they are expected to actually catch criminals.
Corporate teams are sometimes suspected of being fronts for the Elite. The Elite do in fact control a number of corporate teams behind the scenes.
Corporate teams don't require any sort of license. They usually have a lawyer or legal team to ensure that they follow all the necessary procedures. They don't perform any action without word from the lawyers. This ensures that they don't, cause property damage, deviate from Earth Bet's expanded policies for citizen's arrest, mishandle evidence, or step on the toes of legitimate authorities. They often make a point of involving local law enforcement.
Over time, the local authorities generally grant them more leeway and begin cooperating on specific projects, splitting jurisdiction and shifts with them, and/or allowing them access to equipment in exchange for favours. Police, lawyers, and government often periodically audit them to ensure everything is legal, and they often have dedicated liaisons from the PRT.
Corporate teams that fail to comply with procedure are sometimes tacitly allowed to continue operating but are officially labeled vigilantes.
Cape ranking sites will sometimes have a form of sponsorship similar to joining a corporate team, contingent on maintaining a good position, among other promotional ventures.Bambina recieved money from sponsors as a result of her ranking, even though she was a villain.
The PRT deals with corporate cape teams on a case by case basis. Individual members may be registered with the PRT. A team may even have a liaison officer on staff to provide resources. Any PRT provided resources would expect to be paid back of course, in favors or otherwise. As with any legitimate hero team Corporate capes will eventually catch the eye of the Youth Guard.
Two rival corporate teams attended the Battle against Leviathan. Several members of a corporate team, possibly the same one, indicated that they had fought Endbringers before when Legend asked.Team Reach was another Corporate hero team.
Had New Wave left Brockton Bay, they might have become a corporate team or joined the Elite, resulting in greater pressures on Panacea. Had the Elite reached Brockton Bay, they might have turrned New Wave into a corporate team under their control.
↑I won't say much more, but they appear in brief in Worm. Long story short is that they snap up all of the rogues (ie. if Brockton Bay were on the west coast, Parian would be leveraged into joining one of the Elite's subsidiaries) and they control a lot of corporate 'hero' teams from behind the scenes. They're organized crime with an emphasis on organized and a varying emphasis on crime, depending on the city. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑If they screw up, then they're pressured to either close up shop, or they're labeled vigilantes. There's a weird grey area for vigilantes to operate in, where they are breaking the rules or causing issues in procedure, but are tacitly (and not explicitly) acknowledged and allowed to continue operating by local law enforcement and government. There's a careful & dangerous balance to be struck in this, but it offers a lot more freedom. - How do corporate/independent heroes function? (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-06-26)
↑Title: [Worm] Can rogues make a Living as a hero? [Quoting from Mid comment:] - Are there other routes for heroes to earn money for fighting bad guys? Rogues are, by definition, not heroes or villains. A rogue is someone who doesn't identify with the cops and robbers game, encompassing those who utilize their abilities for business, personal, societal or neutral reasons, and those who strive not to use their abilities at all. To a reasonably strict extent, there is no 'in the field' for rogues. I say reasonably strict because there's mercenaries like Faultline's crew, but there's pretty much a 'you fuck one goat' attitude toward mercenaries who deign to work with villains... they just get the 'villain' label slapped on them and that's that, mostly. Rogues who sign up with the PRT and stay out of trouble can receive a stipend. They may also receive protections, but this varies by department. Rogues mostly work day jobs and some try to earn wages with unique avenues afforded by their powers, but it often puts them in an awkward spot, where there's pressure to join one side or the other, and/or they're seen as a prime target for powered thugs who want to earn street cred. For a B-list thug like Longfingers, a rogue who's working a day job providing tinker prosthetics to celebrities and movie studios is a wealthy, newsworthy target who has little combat experience and who, following ass-kicking, counts in most circles as being a 'I beat a notable cape' tickmark on one's resume. Even Parian screams 'inexperience' prior to her Leviathan participation. Street cred up for grabs if you mess with her. Are there other routes for heroes to earn money for fighting bad guys? This is talking heroes and not villains, but those striking an independent course could...
Rip and Run - Beat up villains, take their stuff/money.
Ranking Sites - (Bambina talks briefly about these) - sites that track hero/villain wins and losses sometimes offer payment to qualifying heroes, host streams or interviews, or do a kind-of-corporate-but-less-strings-attached sponsorship that's often contingent on holding a good position.
Betting Sites - Some sites allow people to bet on outcomes. Will a fight happen between Poison Apple and Dojo? Put $30 on the site, leave it sitting there (site makes money off of the interest of said money), and if a fight happens and your choice wins, you get good money. Heroes can bet on themselves. Some specifically cultivate and go after low odds. Authorities allow this to go on as long as it's aboveboard (no killing) because it promotes fairly inoffensive conflict. - Can rogues make a living as a hero? (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-03-06)
↑"Rankings! Don't you even pay attention? It was embarrassing. My mom's still giving me a hard time over it, and it's like, that's less money from our sponsors. So I'm going to make you deepthroat my fist, okay? Break your arms and legs and make you suckle it." - Excerpt from Drone 23.2
↑What's the general relationship of corporate teams to the PRT? Not under the PRT umbrella, though individual capes may be registered with the PRT for the tangential benefits & added legitimacy in the eyes of the law. The PRT in the area might have liason employees who would keep tabs on the corporate teams, decide what info to share/accept, provide other resources in a pinch, etc. 'We'll give you access to our power testing labs, but we need you to do us a favor...' - How do corporate/independent heroes function? (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2017-06-26)
↑“We need to get help from Breakthrough,” Kenzie said. “Capricorn was on a corporate team with a big brand focus, and Victoria really knows this stuff, and Ashley’s, uh, super cool.” - Excerpt from Interlude 15.a II
↑I looked away from Eidolon, to check out the rest of the crowd. There were a few other unofficial teams of heroes, including Haven, the Christian team from the bible belt, and two teams with corporate sponsorship that were being very careful to not interact with one another. Some sort of bitter rivalry, there. - Extermination 8.1
↑Legend called out, "Capes! If you have faced an Endbringer before, stand!"
I watched as the rest of the Protectorate, about a third of the out-of-town Wards, Bambina, half of a commercially sponsored cape team and the Travelers stood. - Extermination 8.2
↑[A18 11:29:35] Cap: is Reach still a thing? [A18 11:29:56] Moonsong: I consider the others friends and teammates. [A18 11:30:11] Moonsong: I consider myself a member of Reach [A18 11:30:33] Cap: I get that [A18 11:30:35] Cap: doesn’t answer my question [A18 11:30:40] Cap: will it carry on? what happens? [A18 11:43:50] Moonsong: It won’t. I don’t think so anyway. There’s a lot of hero teams out there and its hard for a sponsored team to get traction even without people feeling betrayed. - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.2
↑People were stepping out, stretching, meeting others and talking. Almost all of them were from the Protectorate and the Wards. Others included Haven, a villain group I didn't recognize, and one of the corporate teams I'd seen before the Leviathan fight. - Excerpt from Drone 23.5
↑One month ago, Puma, the head of Phoenix sponsored hero team ‘Midas’, was outed as having ties to a notorious villainess, causing some controversy. Now, it seems, Puma is fighting back, threatening to name others who had ties to the same outfit.
The urge to fight back may have to do with the loss of his namesake sponsorship. Puma is used to living large, sporting ‘bling’ in addition to the company logos, making no secret of his extravagant lifestyle, often seen with multiple women and the best cars. As interviews wind down and attention moves elsewhere, Puma may be seeking to hold on to his status and income, alluding to a possible book deal detailing his childhood. - Department Sixty Four, PRT Quest thread ii p54
↑It was the word on the street before it even hit the news. PRT containment vans traveling down back roads to the Birdcage were interrupted before they could reach their destination. Not the most unusual thing in the world on its own, but this was something special. Four containment vans, eight capes, and four additional vans with foam sprayers were assaulted. This was a convoy of a sort that happen once every one or two years, bringing in the really dangerous birdcage-bound, where extra security is mandated.
The convoy and guards were disabled, the occupants of the vans freed. The rescuers, breakout specialists, were summarily killed or taken hostage, and the four occupants of the vans have apparently banded together. They’ve headed into a town of about thirty thousand people: Helena, MN.
The Kill Order was signed in record time. - WD Helena, document by Wildbow.
↑The 72nd largest city in the US, not due to receive a PRT office until 2016, Lincoln Nebraska hosts a total of two hundred and seventy-seven thousand people.
With the PRT having undergone a massive schism, members leaving established departments en masse, and early whispers in Anchorage suggesting that the newest departments are not doing as well as they could, some of the corporate teams have merged to form Lodestar, establishing themselves as an entity in Lincoln, with the purpose of serving as a stopgap or alternate PRT department. If Lodestar is a success, the PRT will not need to set up shop in Lincoln.
It’s a divisive decision. One that some call dangerous. Even if they’re undeniably heroes, their top brass being independents and corporate capes with a good track record, the fact that they’re operating as a corporate entity without government oversight makes some uneasy.
The founding event took place in Lincoln, a series of messages crop up on various parahuman related message boards. News media mentions the story until it is quashed by authorities.
There’s a bounty. Take down the top members of Lodestar.
This takes place in the summer of 2012 (timeskip), after five attempts were made and failed. Now, things seem quiet enough for Lodestar to go to work. Their gathered heroes are being dispatched across the city and to neighboring regions. Their guard is as lowered as it’s been since the bounty was offered. - WD Lincoln, document by Wildbow.
↑New Wave might well move out of Brockton Bay in pursuit of new chances. A corporate team, working with the Elite, the possibilities are endless, but they amount to greater pressures on Panacea, as do the losses of her family members. - Wildbow on What If • /r/Parahumans
↑Parian would get an offer like 'Here's an astonishingly good deal, including access to resources, everything you need to get your feet under you on the fashion front, and fantastic pay. You have twenty-four hours to say yes, or we're going to crush you." Other independents might get other offers, New Wave might get brought on board as a corporate team that is really under the Elite's umbrella, and so on. - Wildbow on Reddit