The study revealed that over the past 15 years, 25 percent of U.S. public companies that were VC-backed were started by immigrants. Together these companies account for an impressive market cap exceeding $500 billion.
Note that legal immigrants account only for 8.7% of the population.Some of these companies include Google, Yahoo, eBay, Sun Microsystems, Intel and Solectron
Worryingly, the study noted that two-thirds of respondents in its survey said “U.S. immigration policy has made it increasingly difficult to start a business in America” and a “a nearly-equal percentage felt that the visa policies, particularly the limited number of H1-B visas allotted to companies “harm American competitiveness.””
The study underlines the immense entrepreneurial capacity (and risk-taking attitudes) prevalent amongst immigrants – something that would hardly surprise anyone who is an immigrant in any country (I count myself as one).
What will be even more interesting to watch is the effect of some of these immigrants returning back to their countries of origin – particularly in terms of the impact that they will have on their “home” economies…Some of this effect is already in evidence in China and India where innovation and entrepreneurial activity has been catalysed by the “returnees”.
Two other interesting points from the study:
- Of those responding to the NVCA survey, nearly half (47 percent) of the founders of private (privately held, venture –backed) companies were immigrants.
- While immigrant founders in venture-backed public companies come from across the globe, the leading countries of origin are India, Israel, and Taiwan.