6.9 MIN READ
When considering venture capital funding, also known as VC funding, that removes immigration bottlenecks for immigrant founders, we have to consider the sheer number of Fortune 500 companies that immigrants and their families founded.
If venture capital investments and firms struggle with whether or not to invest in immigrant entrepreneurs, they should look at how successful immigrant founders have been in the United States.
In 2017, the Center for American Entrepreneurship published a non-partisan study showing that 43% of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants, the children of immigrants, or immigrant families.
These companies exist across 33 different states, and they operate in various industries at multiple levels.
At the time of the study, immigrants accounted for less than 14% of the total population. Yet they were doing incredible things in the name of industry and entrepreneurship.
Related Article | The Finance Dictionary: Learn the jargon your Finance friends speak!
Stakeholders of the Tech Ecosystem
Venture capital, a type of private equity, are investment vehicles that venture capitalists use to finance startups and small businesses with a potential for growth in the long run. Venture capital funds enable immigrants to start their own businesses without having to worry about their immigration status.
Immigrant business and immigrant business owners have been making in-roads in the American economy for decades. Hardship spawns innovation.
The American economy is, in many regards, upheld by the robust support system of immigrant business owners. Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Tesla are all included.
Since America’s founding, immigrants have been an essential part of the economy. And that continues to be true. In particular, immigrant business owners have played a key role in launching essential businesses within the tech industry.
A great example of this is Google, the multinational technology company that has virtually taken over how Internet searches occur. The co-founder, Sergey Brin, immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1979. He met Larry Page, and the two created Google in 1998 while they studied together at Stanford University.
Founders and Their Teams
Many other prominent immigrant founders have created businesses that now appear as staples in the Fortune 500 catalog:
- Tesla, Inc.: Elon Musk famously took over the Tesla company in 2004 and has served as the CEO ever since 2008. Born in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, Musk immigrated to Canada at age 17 and eventually moved to the United States to pursue a career.
- Amazon: Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world. Bezos, born Jeffery Jorgensen, comes from a family of Danish immigrants who ended up in Chicago.
While these are only two examples of the 43% of Fortune 500 companies that depend on immigrants, they show explicitly how the economy and the tech ecosystem depend on these people.
Venture capital deals with investing in and supporting immigrant founders and their teams.
Venture capital fund firms that invest in founders and their teams commit themselves to help grow the American economy and expand the potential for more Fortune 500 companies to spring.
While traditional venture capital companies might have been more hesitant to invest in foreign business founders, an influx of interest from emerging firms has changed that outlook.
Founders with different stories and backgrounds are increasingly attractive to certain venture capitalist firms that invest in business ventures.
National and Local Governmental Organizations
Many national and governmental organizations provide business loans for immigrants. Some, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, offer assistance to small businesses at least 51% owned by immigrants.
The Microenterprise Development Program, headed by an office within the Administration for Children and Family, helps refugees and immigrants create new businesses or expand existing ones.
The National Venture Capital Association, or NVCA, empowers and encourages diversity in America’s companies both now and in the future. They speak for the venture capital community and advocate for policy-supporting entrepreneurials.
Related Article | How to Select Property and Liability Insurance for Your Business
Immigrant Founder Dilemma
Despite some government programs designed to help immigrants receive funding to start their businesses, immigrants continue to face many roadblocks on the path to entrepreneurship. For example, an immigrant in the United States legally but without permanent residency might be overlooked because of their citizenship status.
Although immigrants are twice as likely to start a business in the United States, they still encounter many issues when applying for loans and grants. Often, immigrants will have better luck working with venture capital firms.
Funding for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Venture capital funding firms are more likely to overlook immigration status and focus on the founders and innovative startups. Funding is based on the merit and feasibility of the idea, not on citizenship status.
Immigrants can receive VC funding and consider starting their own business without their immigration status being a significant restriction. Immigrant-founded startups benefit from the support of VC firms. In some cases, the VC firms are run by immigrants as well.
VC firms tend to understand the importance of funding immigrant entrepreneurs more than other grant or loan providers.
VC firms are more willing to work with immigrant businesses and entrepreneurs because they understand the value immigrant companies have brought to the economy.
Pitching to VC Funds
Pitching for funding from a venture capital firm can be a tense or stressful experience, but it is something you must do if you want to get suitable financing for a business idea. There are a few helpful things to remember when pitching for funding from a VC firm:
- Presenting with PowerPoint is a good idea
- Have a business plan ready and fleshed out
- Know your business type
- Find firms that work with your business type
- Know your numbers and show how they will work
- Focus on the market and the opportunities that you intend to capture
- Find weaknesses in your team and be honest about them
- Don’t be afraid to brag about your team’s strengths
When you pitch to a firm in the venture capital industry, understand that their investment in your idea would be a considerable risk to them and their assets. Showing a VC firm that you know your business, your market, and what you need to do to succeed will give them more confidence in your potential.
Related Article | Do I Qualify For The 199A QBI Deduction?
My Immigration Status
Immigrant entrepreneurs and founders might need to address their immigration status before receiving funding, even from a venture capital firm.
If you need help with your immigration status, you can consider consulting with an immigration lawyer. Or you can apply for a Green Card based on employment.
When looking for venture capital funds, you might have luck getting a VC investor to sponsor you for the Green Card application. You might also ask a business partner if they are US citizens.
The International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) could also serve you well if you need help figuring out your immigration status.
The International Entrepreneur Rule allows immigrant entrepreneurs to live in the US while working on their startup if they can prove their startup will provide significant public benefit.
VC Firms Offering Funding Immigrant Founders
Here are some venture capital investments that offer immigrant founders funding under the right circumstances:
- Chapter One Ventures: The firm seeks to build well-designed products that make lots of money. The firm has seen critical success in cryptocurrency and NFTs and looks to expand its investment opportunities to startups and revitalize businesses.
- Earnest Capital: With a transparent investment agreement, Earnest Capital provides early-stage funding and resources for immigrant founders. Founders can also take advantage of Earnest Capital’s expansive network.
- TinySeed: This firm focuses on smaller-scale operations, working with immigrant founders who don’t have huge portfolios that they can take to other investment firms.
- Worklife: Worklife is a firm of venture capitalists whose unique design works for creators and builders striving to change what modern work life looks like ultimately.
- Acrew Capital: Although young, this new firm is already making waves by investing in startup opportunities that bigger firms think are too small for their attention. The firm isn’t afraid to invest in oddities and small-scale operations.
- Creative Juice: This firm works specifically to find creator economy startups and get them on their feet.
If investors can’t decide to pour resources into immigrant entrepreneurs, they should look at how successful immigrant founders have been in the United States. The economy has grown dependent on immigrant founders and their ideas. The more venture-backed companies that help immigrant entrepreneurs get their ideas going, the more the market will benefit from innovation.