Startup Visa

Feb 23 2010

Startup Visa

Raise your hand if your life has been improved by an entrepreneur. (everyone’s hands better be up!)

Now raise your hand if that entrepreneur DOES NOT have ties to immigration if you go back 5-6 generations. (pretty much no one’s hand should be up!)

We have a problem in America in that entrepreneurs, smart and motivated entrepreneurs, want to move here and start companies here and solve problems here and CREATE JOBS here, and we can’t get our damn visa program together to faciliate that. So what do they do? Unless they have their own capital (find me an entrepreneur that does), they try to start those companies somewhere else.

The Startup Visa is trying to solve that:

StartupVisa.com was created by Eric Ries, Dave McClure, Shervin Pishevar, Brad Feld, Paul Kedrosky, & Manu Kumar to help raise awareness and change policy around the EB-5 visa, which enables investors from other countries to get a visa in exchange for starting a business in the US with $1M in capital (or $500K for economically targeted areas) and the creation of at least 10 US jobs.

StartupVisa would like Founders to be able to come to our country and start companies if they can raise capital here to do so. Sounds logical to me.

Click on the “Tweet Congress” button below the capital and tell Congress to support this initiative!

You can read more here:

Startup Visa End of Year Update
Let’s Give Visas to Startup Founders
The Startup Visa And Why The Xenophobes Need To Go Back Into Their Caves

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  • richard_herman

    The StartUp Visa bill is great. It is an exciting way to raise the discussion on how to leverage immigration as as job-creating stimulus. And its cost-efficient!

    It is interesting to see Congressional leaders not afraid to acknowledge that innovation, job-creation, and American technology leadership depends on an ability to attract and retain the world’s best, brightest, and most entrepreneurial.

    But really fascinating is how the Startup Movement began with some venture capitalists like Brad Feld, Dave McClure, Mike Speiser and others, who became frustrated with an antiquated immigration system that bears little connection to the demands of the New Economy.

    They saw numerous examples of international students, or H1B professional workers, or inventors overseas who had great technology or ideas for a new business, but couldn’t secure immigration status to make it happen in America. As opportunities continue to expand in China and India, more and more internationals were giving up on the U.S. and going back home to test out their business idea.
    It has been well-documented by Vivek Wadhwa and others that the America is experiencing the first brain drain in U.S. history. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/
    So Feld and company came up with the Startup Visa concept, and began building grassroots support around the country, using the web ( http://startupvisa.com/ ), twitter, and other social networking platforms. The group is also not afraid to take a few trips to D.C. to make their point face-to-face.
    This is an inflection point in the immigration reform debate. The entrepreneurs and the people behind the entrepreneurs are beginning to make their voices heard. They need to tell their story to America and explain how the word “immigrant” can mean “job-creator.”

    When the venture capitalists speak, everyone listens. Or at least they should listen. They are the talent scouts, the explorers, on perpetual mission to find the next big idea, the next Google, Intel, or Sun Microsystem. They provide more than just money: they provide the coaching, the networking and the helpful early management to get an idea to market and grow.

    Take a listen to what some of the biggest VCs are saying about immigrant talent & entrepreneurship:
    Michael Moritz/Sequoia
    Is not fluke that Seqoia has backed many other immigrant-founded companies, including Google, Yahoo, Paypal, YouTube, LinkinIn, Nvidia, a123systems, and others.
    In fact, the website for Sequoia proudly proclaims their attraction to immigrant newcomers:
    “UNDERDOGS. The collision of intelligence and ambition with opportunity is unbeatable. Almost everyone we have ever invested in has been a complete unknown at the time we met. Many have been immigrants or first generation Americans with barely a penny to their name. Underdogs are our favorite kind of people.”
    Sequoia’s Michael Moritz, a former board member of Google with a net worth reported at over $1 billion and listed as one of Time’s most influential 100 people in the world, has written:

    “An entrepreneur without passion is an empty vessel. Anyone who starts a business — and wants it to last — needs this quality. It is a journey against all odds. Every business starts with one or two people, an idea and nothing else — no employees, no money, no product, no customers and no shareholders….Force venture capitalists to choose between a well-heeled Ivy League student and a smart and impoverished immigrant, and we’ll pick the latter every time. The lily-livered need not apply for a life at a start-up. Tenacity is a necessity.”

    In 2007, before the Cardiff Business Club in his native Wales, Moritz had this to about immigration restrictions of high-skilled talent:

    “It’s no coincidence. You go around most of these companies and….all of the founders and very early employees are either an immigrant or a first-generation American. That has been the fuel that has propelled these companies”
    ——————
    John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins
    Billionaire, investor in immigrant founded companies: Google, Sun Microsystem
    The day after Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, VC John Doer was asked this question at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco:
    “What should the new Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Government do?”
    Doer responded with his immigration reform mantra:
    “staple a green card to the diploma” of any international student graduating from a U.S. university with a degree in engineering.

    Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures, former General Partner Kleiner & Perkins, co-founder Sun Microsystems, billionaire, a founder of TiE
    “How many jobs have entrepreneurs, Indian entrepreneurs, in Silicon Valley created over the last 15, 20 years? Hundreds of thousands I would guess.” Vinod Kholsa in CBS news.

    Guy Kawasaki, is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and an author. From his blog: How to Change the World: A practical blog for impractical people
    “How to Kick Silicon Valley’s Butt:

    Encourage immigration: I am a third-generation Japanese American. My family moved here to drive a taxi and clean white people’s homes. If I had a choice between funding someone from a family who moved here from Vietnam whose father and mother run a 7-Eleven verses a descendant of a Mayflower passenger with “IV” in his name, I’ll give you half a guess as to my preference. You need to encourage smart, hungry, and aggressive people to immigrate from around the world. Add to do that, you need good schools. To mix several metaphors, if you want to cover your ass, you need to open your kimono because trust fund kids don’t make good entrepreneurs.”

    In 2006, the National Venture Capital Association, which represents the people and firms that invest in young, risky, fast-growing companies, put hard data to these observations. It sponsored a deep look at the kinds of people its members were bankrolling and published its findings in a report titled, “American Made: the Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness.”
    And what an impact. Looking at businesses launched between 1990 and 2005 with money from venture capitalists, the researcher concluded that immigrants were behind one-fourth of all public venture-backed companies created in America. Add a high technology label, and the immigrant share soars to 40%. The study showed that the market capitalization of U.S. public companes that were founded by immigrants and backed by venture capital was $500 billion.
    Some of those immigrants founded companies that became icons of the New Economy:
    Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, immigrated from Russia;
    Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was born in India. His partner, Andy von Bechtelsheim, came from Germany.
    Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, was born in France to Iranian immigrants.;
    Andy Grove, a founder of Intel, immigrated from Hungary.
    Jerry Yang, c0-founder of Yahoo, came to America from Taiwan.
    Elon Musk came to America from South Africa and later co-founded PayPal.

    Those are just the rock stars of the New Economy. In companies small and large, some famous and some you’ve never heard of, immigrants are often the ones pushing the envelope, introducing ideas, defining the state of the art and creating new industries and jobs.
    Perhaps venture capitalists who are also immigrants possess keener insight into the immigrant advantage.

    Six out of the top Vcs on the 2009 Forbes Midas List of top 100 Vc’s are immigrants, including Moritz at #2, and fellow early Google funders David Cheritan, Andreas von Bechtolsheim and Ram Shriram. Big companies start out as small companies. If Congress and the President follow the advice of the VCs, maybe some of the Startup Visa holders will turn out like some of America’s earliest immigrants who founded icons such as DuPont, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble, Levi Jeans, and U.S. Steel.

    The VCs are willing to bet on it.

    Sure Americans may not like to hear that immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start a business and be granted a patent, more likely to hold an advanced degree, and that 50% of the tech companies in Silicon Valley were founded by immigrants.
    But isn’t it time that we got over the insecurity of our own deficits, and learn to partner with foreign-born entrepreneurs and innovators to usher in a stronger America?
    Richard Herman
    Cleveland, Ohio
    http://www.immigrantinc.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Immigrantinc2010

  • richard_herman

    The StartUp Visa bill is great. It is an exciting way to raise the discussion on how to leverage immigration as as job-creating stimulus. And its cost-efficient!

    It is interesting to see Congressional leaders not afraid to acknowledge that innovation, job-creation, and American technology leadership depends on an ability to attract and retain the world’s best, brightest, and most entrepreneurial.

    But really fascinating is how the Startup Movement began with some venture capitalists like Brad Feld, Dave McClure, Mike Speiser and others, who became frustrated with an antiquated immigration system that bears little connection to the demands of the New Economy.

    They saw numerous examples of international students, or H1B professional workers, or inventors overseas who had great technology or ideas for a new business, but couldn’t secure immigration status to make it happen in America. As opportunities continue to expand in China and India, more and more internationals were giving up on the U.S. and going back home to test out their business idea.
    It has been well-documented by Vivek Wadhwa and others that the America is experiencing the first brain drain in U.S. history. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/
    So Feld and company came up with the Startup Visa concept, and began building grassroots support around the country, using the web ( http://startupvisa.com/ ), twitter, and other social networking platforms. The group is also not afraid to take a few trips to D.C. to make their point face-to-face.
    This is an inflection point in the immigration reform debate. The entrepreneurs and the people behind the entrepreneurs are beginning to make their voices heard. They need to tell their story to America and explain how the word “immigrant” can mean “job-creator.”

    When the venture capitalists speak, everyone listens. Or at least they should listen. They are the talent scouts, the explorers, on perpetual mission to find the next big idea, the next Google, Intel, or Sun Microsystem. They provide more than just money: they provide the coaching, the networking and the helpful early management to get an idea to market and grow.

    Take a listen to what some of the biggest VCs are saying about immigrant talent & entrepreneurship:
    Michael Moritz/Sequoia
    Is not fluke that Seqoia has backed many other immigrant-founded companies, including Google, Yahoo, Paypal, YouTube, LinkinIn, Nvidia, a123systems, and others.
    In fact, the website for Sequoia proudly proclaims their attraction to immigrant newcomers:
    “UNDERDOGS. The collision of intelligence and ambition with opportunity is unbeatable. Almost everyone we have ever invested in has been a complete unknown at the time we met. Many have been immigrants or first generation Americans with barely a penny to their name. Underdogs are our favorite kind of people.”
    Sequoia’s Michael Moritz, a former board member of Google with a net worth reported at over $1 billion and listed as one of Time’s most influential 100 people in the world, has written:

    “An entrepreneur without passion is an empty vessel. Anyone who starts a business — and wants it to last — needs this quality. It is a journey against all odds. Every business starts with one or two people, an idea and nothing else — no employees, no money, no product, no customers and no shareholders….Force venture capitalists to choose between a well-heeled Ivy League student and a smart and impoverished immigrant, and we’ll pick the latter every time. The lily-livered need not apply for a life at a start-up. Tenacity is a necessity.”

    In 2007, before the Cardiff Business Club in his native Wales, Moritz had this to about immigration restrictions of high-skilled talent:

    “It’s no coincidence. You go around most of these companies and….all of the founders and very early employees are either an immigrant or a first-generation American. That has been the fuel that has propelled these companies”
    ——————
    John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins
    Billionaire, investor in immigrant founded companies: Google, Sun Microsystem
    The day after Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, VC John Doer was asked this question at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco:
    “What should the new Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Government do?”
    Doer responded with his immigration reform mantra:
    “staple a green card to the diploma” of any international student graduating from a U.S. university with a degree in engineering.

    Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures, former General Partner Kleiner & Perkins, co-founder Sun Microsystems, billionaire, a founder of TiE
    “How many jobs have entrepreneurs, Indian entrepreneurs, in Silicon Valley created over the last 15, 20 years? Hundreds of thousands I would guess.” Vinod Kholsa in CBS news.

    Guy Kawasaki, is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm and an author. From his blog: How to Change the World: A practical blog for impractical people
    “How to Kick Silicon Valley’s Butt:

    Encourage immigration: I am a third-generation Japanese American. My family moved here to drive a taxi and clean white people’s homes. If I had a choice between funding someone from a family who moved here from Vietnam whose father and mother run a 7-Eleven verses a descendant of a Mayflower passenger with “IV” in his name, I’ll give you half a guess as to my preference. You need to encourage smart, hungry, and aggressive people to immigrate from around the world. Add to do that, you need good schools. To mix several metaphors, if you want to cover your ass, you need to open your kimono because trust fund kids don’t make good entrepreneurs.”

    In 2006, the National Venture Capital Association, which represents the people and firms that invest in young, risky, fast-growing companies, put hard data to these observations. It sponsored a deep look at the kinds of people its members were bankrolling and published its findings in a report titled, “American Made: the Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness.”
    And what an impact. Looking at businesses launched between 1990 and 2005 with money from venture capitalists, the researcher concluded that immigrants were behind one-fourth of all public venture-backed companies created in America. Add a high technology label, and the immigrant share soars to 40%. The study showed that the market capitalization of U.S. public companes that were founded by immigrants and backed by venture capital was $500 billion.
    Some of those immigrants founded companies that became icons of the New Economy:
    Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, immigrated from Russia;
    Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was born in India. His partner, Andy von Bechtelsheim, came from Germany.
    Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, was born in France to Iranian immigrants.;
    Andy Grove, a founder of Intel, immigrated from Hungary.
    Jerry Yang, c0-founder of Yahoo, came to America from Taiwan.
    Elon Musk came to America from South Africa and later co-founded PayPal.

    Those are just the rock stars of the New Economy. In companies small and large, some famous and some you’ve never heard of, immigrants are often the ones pushing the envelope, introducing ideas, defining the state of the art and creating new industries and jobs.
    Perhaps venture capitalists who are also immigrants possess keener insight into the immigrant advantage.

    Six out of the top Vcs on the 2009 Forbes Midas List of top 100 Vc’s are immigrants, including Moritz at #2, and fellow early Google funders David Cheritan, Andreas von Bechtolsheim and Ram Shriram. Big companies start out as small companies. If Congress and the President follow the advice of the VCs, maybe some of the Startup Visa holders will turn out like some of America’s earliest immigrants who founded icons such as DuPont, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble, Levi Jeans, and U.S. Steel.

    The VCs are willing to bet on it.

    Sure Americans may not like to hear that immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start a business and be granted a patent, more likely to hold an advanced degree, and that 50% of the tech companies in Silicon Valley were founded by immigrants.
    But isn’t it time that we got over the insecurity of our own deficits, and learn to partner with foreign-born entrepreneurs and innovators to usher in a stronger America?
    Richard Herman
    Cleveland, Ohio
    http://www.immigrantinc.com/
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Immigrantinc2010