Developers · Engineering

How do I know if a startup that wants to bring me on as an engineer is legit?

Abhinav Aggarwal I am a result oriented, highly motivated.

Last updated on February 23rd, 2017

I was recently messaged on another site with the offer of being the lead developer for a new shopping app. They have a website and the founding team’s LinkedIn pages check out, but I want to be more cautious.

I’m specifically worried about founders over promising and lying about how much early funding and traction they have. I have heard and read horror stories about founders lying during the interview process and missing paydays when “guaranteed” funding falls through. I don’t want to sound accusatory during the interview process.

So how do I vet a startup in a diplomatic way?


February 23rd, 2017

Go to Crunchbase and search on the company name. It's not foolproof but, if they are claiming significant funding, they will show up there. Particularly if this company is in the valley.

Steve Owens Startup Expert

February 23rd, 2017

Your right to be cautions. There are people out there that are trying to get work done for free - or at least, don't really care if you ever get paid. As is often said of the oldest profession, the value of the services diminishes greatly after it is rendered.

We had this problem for years. Only thing that ever worked was getting a up front retainer - no different than most law firms. Also, don't release all the work product until everything is paid.

I hate that it is this way - a few spoil it for the rest. I know we lose some great clients as a result of this policy. I wish I had a better answer, but I don't.