That’s why some people say that anyone who joins a company before they raise money is a founder. In other words, anyone who joins the company before the stock has value to a third party, is considered to be a founder.
Was previously unaware that this was the case. Certainly to join a venture that has not raised funding can be and is risky. Perhaps it is this risk of it falling apart and building a product or service from a value of $0 that makes one a founder as part of joining the team early.