Interviewing with a startup that our company is exploring investment in?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Interviewing with a startup that our company is exploring investment in?

I am a key member of a team in a large tech company that invests minority investment in startups. I am interviewing with the startup that my company and my team is very interested in investing in and I am supposed to play a key role in making the investment case, although I won’t be the key influencer or decision maker. I can’t tell my boss about this and extricate myself since I don’t have an offer and also I need to wait until I get my annual bonus. What is the best way for me to handle this both ethically and legally?

Asked on February 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The best way to handle this is to not interview with this start-up. You are making the investment case; say that investment "goes south" or does not work out for your current employer and you either take a job with the start-up or it comes out that you were seeking a job with them, and so in either case, may have been slanting or biasing your recommendations to make sure they got the investment, to encourage them to hire you. In this event, your current employer could sue you for any losses they suffer, on the grounds that you committed fraud against them and/or violated a fiduciary duty as a senior or key employee. You could find yourself potentally liable for a great deal of money if something goes wrong.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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