Working on my startup project (long before joining Google) and then joining Google but continue it in my free time?

New ALwD61
Jun 17 16 Comments

So I have a social network type startup project ( no funding, just app and website ) that people are semi-using right now. The app is free to use not that it matters and it's not a b2b business but a b2c since it's just a social network type.

My question is, could this be a problem if I will be joining Google as a Software Engineer ? I am planning on making sure that this is OK before signing the offer, or may be specifically adding a clause in the offer letter ? Has anyone done something like this where they already had a small side startup project ( not FT job at all ) and then meanwhile they ended up joining Google but still continued to work on it on your free time and NOT on Google tech or time, of course.

I did mention this to my recruiter a long time ago at the beginning of the process, but they made it seem like it's not that big of a deal. They did mention something about speaking again at the end of the process but this was over the phone so I do not remember it completely.

I wanted to get some input from the community and especially if someone has already been in this situation.

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TOP 16 Comments
  • Apple / Eng 🐒codemonk
    Anthony Levandowski is that you?
    Jun 17 1
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      I'm flattered lol ;)
      Jun 17
  • Google nrvD43
    There are documents that they make you write and sign exactly for stuff like this, for prior inventions. Note however they might not let you continue working on it if they head back into social networking stuff again.
    Jun 17 1
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      Well yeah in that case I could understand that. That being said, this is significantly different than any of their products, even G+. That being said, my intention is NOT to take advantage of Google's IP or know-how, but to simply continue my startup on the side that I've spent years working on. Who knows where it may lead to one day.
      Jun 17
  • Blackstone / Eng wfjsk
    They can always ask you to stop working on it if it's a competitor to their products. But since they just shut down the b2c side of G+ I feel like you're fine
    Jun 17 1
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      That's a good point!
      Jun 17
  • KnowBe4 TLLB45
    Sounds like it’s already more successful than Google+
    Jun 17 0
  • Google SonOfCoul
    You created it before joining Google. They also have no way to know that you are adding features yourself or outsourcing. Google may want things you create in the future but how can they take what you already own?
    Jun 17 5
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      This is exactly my thinking. I am simply not 100% sure that my thinking is correct. I was hoping that someone has already gone through a similar situation, or a situation where they specifically added stipulations in the offer letter.
      Jun 17
    • New / Data AEbX28
      This is actually covered under an intellectual property clause in the work agreement & NDA you'll have to sign.
      Disclose All of it on there, you may need extra sheets for it, but disclose everything you have implemented and everything you plan to implement; if you don't and there is any crossover in the future that you did not previously disclose, you could be required to remove features and release them to Google as their property, fired and/or sued.

      That was all SOP in the industry I just got out of (Banking).
      Jun 17
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      Oh ok! This makes a lot of sense!
      Jun 17
    • eBay itrbScv
      And also, don’t use company resources (including normal working hours) on the personal project
      Jun 17
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      That is definitely true. I did mention in the question description that I will NOT be using any company resources or know-how.
      Jun 18
  • Google gliz
    You will get to say you have it when you sign papers on your first day. Would need to talk to google legal to see if you can continue to work on it.
    Jun 17 2
    • New ALwD61
      OP
      Isn't there something that I can do beforehand, rather than just wait until I start ? Also, could there be a difference between actively working on it and keeping my ownership of it and being a passive founder and may be outsource the work instead of me working on it?
      Jun 18
    • Google gliz
      I don’t know. Ask them.
      Jun 21