You are a start-up Founder in the U.S., fantastic! But then TRUMP is elected
Trump’s election was disappointing in so many ways that I have been avoiding talking or writing about it. But as a Woman, a Latina, and an Immigrant, I think is necessary that I share some of my thoughts.
Considering that the next four years will be contentious on immigration, with a real threat that even highly skilled legal immigrant citizens will face, my call to support them feels a lot stronger. And for those that still haven’t realized, this is 100% related to the tech world and of course not only my next four years in the U.S. but my next 10, 20, 30, 40 years as a VC.
I recommend first watching the youtube video below. It’s not new but it’s very appropriate to watch or re-watch with all of Trump’s legislative and regulatory proposals paving the way for a very uncertain future.
The U.S. educational system has traditionally been drawing the smartest and most ambitious students from around the world, who come to the U.S. with drive and focus. They have been called “America’s secret weapon”. It’s extremely important for this country to be as diverse as possible. As JFK said, “A Nation of Immigrants”.
According to Monte Burke, contributing editor at Forbes : The number of college-educated immigrants in the U.S. grew 78% from 2000 to 2014 Almost 30% of immigrants 25 or older now possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Migrant Policy Institute — a figure that almost exactly mirrors the percentage for native-born adults. And a disproportionate number of these immigrants study math, science and other STEM disciplines that fuel most modern fortunes.
“In 2011 three-quarters of the patents from the top ten patent-producing universities in the nation had an immigrant inventor”
Many successful entrepreneurs that we all know of embody the American Dream. On the tech scene alone we have cases like: Google founder Sergey Brin, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, even Peter Thiel from PayPal is an immigrant.
Besides the tech World, names like Rupert Murdoch, George Soros, Jerry Yang, Micky Arison, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Jan Koum, Jeff Skoll, Jorge Perez, etc. immigrated to this country, earned U.S. citizenship, and then a spot on The Forbes 400. Precisely 42 slots on The Forbes 400 belong to naturalized citizens who immigrated to America. That’s 10.5% of the list, a significant over performance considering that naturalized citizens make up only 6% of the U.S. population.
The Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonpartisan group formed by Forbes 400 members Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg, reports that:
“Immigrants started 28% of all new businesses in the U.S. in 2011, employ one out of every ten American workers at privately owned businesses and generate $775 billion in revenue. “
The U.S. visa quota cap for skilled immigrant workers has not changed since 2004, even though demand for these visas has far exceeded the mandated allotment. Imagine if Trump implements more conservative visa caps?! Not only technology companies are going to be affected but so many other industries.
Trump’s victory hands the presidency to the first anti-immigration individual to hold the office in contemporary history. What might happen to immigration policy during his presidency is what everyone is wondering right now. Since his election I have been studying a lot about the immigration system in the U.S., immigrant entrepreneurs, and immigrant founders in the tech scene.
It’s impressive to learn that 44 of the 87 American tech companies valued at $1 billion or more have immigrant founders, many of whom now rank among the richest people in America.
Analyzing portfolio after portfolio of traditional early stage and growth VC’s in the bay area, I was shocked to find that 50 to 85% of their portfolio companies had immigrant founders! Venture capital firms such as; YCombinator, Winklevoss , Shasta Ventures, Sherpa Capital, Highway1, all founded by people who were not born in the U.S. Wow! Isn’t that outstanding?!
What I love the most in the U.S. and specifically Silicon Valley is they’re open to foreign people, open to collaborating, sharing ideas, and always improving to make the world a better place. As already proved by many startups, united efforts can bring rich payoffs sooner rather than later. Achievement-orientation, penchant for risk, resilience, and the immigrant creativity are unique strengths, originated from their double-culture perspective. To me, that’s the real secret weapon!
What makes America great — what makes it the greatest nation on Earth — is freedom and collaboration. Freedom is America’s software. No other country on Earth runs it quite so well.