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.

  • we can't/won't tell you what you should do. We can answer questions about what the law permits or requires, but not about the policy of a particular employer. – David Siegel Dec 26 '20 at 18:55

Insofar as this SE is about law and not business advice, the question would have to be what legal concerns there are with providing a certificate. The legal concern would be whether you would be committing fraud in submitting a certificate, and I suppose there is some concern over whether the fact of being unregistered is relevant. Registration is not mandatory. The corollary w.r.t. what you provide to the software company is that it could be fraud (thus illegal) if you mislead them into thinking that the company was registered. You can read more details here, but the essential elements as defined in the Contract Act 1872 are

(1) the suggestion as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;

(2) the active concealment of a fact by one having knowledge or belief of the fact;

(3) a promise made without any intention of performing it;

(4) any other act fitted to deceive;

(5) any such act or omission as the law specially declares to be fraudulent

The certificate will assert some facts: those facts need to be true, and not deceptive. You cannot escape a charge of fraud by saying that it wasn't you who wrote the certificate, though if the certificate includes statements whose veracity you do not know, you might not be liable. It should be a simple matter to pass such a certificate by your attorney, to see if it raises any questions of liability for fraud. (This would also include termination for cause).


Since the startup is not registered the startup cannot issue you a certificate of employment.

The best you can do is as you suggested, obtain a certificate from another co-founder on official letterhead, certifying your participation and work experience. However, the co-founder will have to show some relationship with the startup, so you may have to attach some official document to show his position in the startup. You can also attach a print of the home page (showing the URL) showing your profile with this certificate.

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