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I was a co-founder in my friend's startup for 6 months in India. It was something out of passion, not about money. So, the Company wasn't registered legally, all 10 of us were volunteering our services for free.

I got into a top software company, in the process I wrote co-founder of the startup in the experience section. In background check, they have asked for proof about all work experiences mentioned (certificate, letter of resignation/employment, or tax receipt).

So my question here is, how should I go about providing support documents? I am thinking to provide them with a certificate issued by another co-founder (the CEO) who can act as my reference. Reasons, why I think so, is:-

  • Company has a website running last 10months with good traffic.
  • I have my name/photo/credentials mentioned on the home page
  • I have my email with the startup's domain - myName@StartupName.com

But before I go ahead, I wanted to hear from more experienced people like you.. just in case I am doing it inappropriately. Please drop your valuable advice.

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  • Were you paid for the work? Was that work tied to paper work of any sort at all? – Tymoteusz Paul Dec 26 '20 at 10:02
  • Since, I was a co-founder I wasn't paid by anyone. We did get payment from our customers, and we paid for expenses as well but all of that was from the personal account of CEO – Mohit Kumar Dec 26 '20 at 10:48
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    Hopefully, someone from India doing that type of work can answer your question. If there is no one here with that background, I'd suggest you seek out a large forum of entrepreneurs in India and ask your question there. – Stephan Branczyk Dec 26 '20 at 12:12
  • Are they requiring a legal document? If so I'd imagine since you weren't an actual company you'd probably want to talk to a solicitor for advice instead of here. I don't know about India, but here in the US you wouldn't have been considered "employed". Have you told your potential employer that the company you were the co-founder of wasn't an actual company? Maybe they'll tell you exactly what they'll accept. Imo it's kind of disingenuous to not tell them. – BobKayser Dec 26 '20 at 18:57
  • About all you can do is photoshop something... you weren't legally employed. – Kilisi Dec 27 '20 at 4:38
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I was a co-founder in my friend's startup for 6 months in India. It was something out of passion, not about money. So, the Company wasn't registered legally, all 10 of us were volunteering our services for free.

It seems like it wasn't a startup then. You did not co-found anything, because nothing was actually "founded". You volunteered. All of you.

Obviously your "CEO" can write you a letter, but if you call that a certificate of employment, it might be seen as fake or a lie. After all, anybody can make up a company name and call themselves the "CEO". You did not pay taxes or social security, you did not get a salary, you have no contract with a company or even a private person. You weren't employed.

What you can get is a reference letter from your other volunteers and that might be enough to satisfy whatever condition your new company has. They might only care for what you did and what experience you have, and not for the actual paperwork. That would be great. If they do care for the paperwork, that's a problem, because technically, you lied, you weren't a co-founder of a startup, you were a volunteer in a friend group.

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    This is solid advice and very to-the point. A hobby club is a hobby club and not a startup. People abuse these business catchphrases too much these days. – Sourav Ghosh Dec 27 '20 at 10:15

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