Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups

Stuart Anderson
Date of Publication: 
March, 2016
Source Organization: 
National Foundation for American Policy

Immigrants have founded 44 of the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more.

Moreover, according to the National Foundation for American Policy brief Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups, at least one immigrant fills a key management or product development position in 71 percent of the startups, particularly chief technology officer, CEO or vice president of engineering. The immigrant-founded startups are collectively worth 168 billion dollars and have created an average of 760 jobs each. The report features profiles of some of the leading entrepreneurs, including Noubar Afeyan of Moderna Therapeutics (Lebanon), Elon Musk of SpaceX (South Africa), and Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics (India). The author emphasizes that the impressive contributions of these entrepreneurs would not have been possible with more restrictive immigration policies such as those being proposed by certain members of Congress.  With current policies such as the low quota on H-1B temporary visas continuing to make immigration and business difficult for potential immigrant entrepreneurs, the author recommends the creation of a startup visa category to encourage future entrepreneurs to set up business in the U.S. (Crystal Ye for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute

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Anderson, S. (2016). Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups. National Foundation for American Policy. Arlington: VA. Available at: