Kapor Capital’s Immigrant Founders are the Future of Tech
Kapor Capital is reeling this week after the Trump administration signaled its intent to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gave 800,000 undocumented young people who arrived in the US as children the ability to work and study free of fear from deportation. The decision is not only cruel, it is deeply counterproductive.
Our investing experience and research both confirm that diverse teams, especially those that reflect their customers, outperform non-diverse teams and create better products. They also generate a significant amount of interest from investors, and create a significant amount of jobs.
A recent sample of Kapor Capital founders showed that 24 immigrant-founded companies have raised more than $500 million in capital and created over 4,700 jobs. These are fast-growing companies poised to raise significant additional capital and create tens of thousands of new jobs.
Roughly twenty percent of our companies have at least one immigrant founder, representing every continent except Antarctica.
Far from taking jobs from current citizens, these immigrant founders create gap-closing products and services that help working families and create jobs for other Americans. These companies improve educational outcomes, financial opportunities, health care, and mitigate bias in hiring and employment. What could be better for America?
If other investors would survey their companies, we believe they would also find similarly large impacts. Our immigrant founders include:
Laura I. Gómez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who grew up in Silicon Valley, only gaining legal status during college. Her love for technology and passion for change led her to found an enterprise company, Atipica, to help companies use data for their diversity initiatives — and she raised one of the largest rounds of seed funding by a Latina.
Ana Roca Castro, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic as a teenager. While she had already won a national prize in calculus, she was assigned to remedial fourth grade math in her New York City public high school. The teachers simply assumed that because she didn’t speak English she wasn’t smart. The memory of the frustration and humiliation she felt eventually inspired her to found Genius Plaza, a company which now helps underserved students around the world engage with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) curriculum.
The team at Wepow, who have a founding team from diverse cultures from around the world. Their video interviewing company has co-founders that were Mexican and Nigerian immigrants or children of immigrants, and uses video to mitigate bias employers may have in screening candidates in the hiring process.
Aihui Ong, founder of Edgilife, who came to the US from Singapore. She worked 10 years in the technology sector before founding her startup, which now ships snack boxes internationally and has expanded to 15 employees. Her subscription box startup helps CPG brands collect insights, and has donated one million meals to food banks in the US through their buy-one-get-one model to help fight childhood hunger.
Congress must find a way to support DACA recipients and give them the opportunity to live and work in the US without the fear of deportation, to be afforded the protections they were promised when they registered for deferred action.
We believe that the United States should create opportunities for all individuals, especially those that have built their lives in the US, and want to work, pay taxes, and give back to the communities that they have grown up in.
Dreamers want to create opportunities for their communities, and we should give them that chance. Our future depends on it.