Supporting A Movement Towards A Founder's Visa

from the this-would-be-good dept

Back in April, we wrote about Paul Graham’s excellent idea to create a special startup founder’s visa to help allow the founders of startups the ability to come to the US and build their companies here. This is important as studies have shown how skilled foreign entrepreneurs have been vital in building up our tech industry and creating new jobs. A recent study showed that 25% of all tech startups in the US and over 50% of those in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. There’s simply no reason not to help more immigrants start companies in the US, but our current immigration setup is a mess, and it’s quite difficult. I’ve seen companies fail (and, even was working closely with one many years ago) when a founder had to leave the country due to visa issues. However, after Paul Graham’s suggestion, not much has been mentioned.

However, VC Brad Feld says that he’s heard from a Congressional Rep who’s actually interested in the idea, and he’s trying to build up more support behind the idea — and he’s looking for feedback on the concept itself and how to make it a reality. I can’t think of a single good reason for us not to encourage more skilled immigration — especially if it’s for the purpose of starting a company. Hopefully, this actually gets some traction.

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Comments on “Supporting A Movement Towards A Founder's Visa”

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Chris Maresca (profile) says:

If they regulate VCs...

… it will be a moot point. Cisco’s Globalization initiative has already moved a lot of talent out of SV and everyday I am hearing people leaving for other countries. That said, the situation is not dire yet.

What is needed is more and easier visas for engineering/business talent and students, not less. And certainly no regulation of VCs. Because, right now, there are lot of people who came to the US to make a career in tech that are leaving and a growing number of Americans are following them.


Radha says:

Re: If they regulate VCs...

Lot of exisiting skilled immigrants in this country are waiting to get green cards so they can start their ventures. But our immigration system is blocking their careers and in effect blocking innovation. Startups need the best and brightest regardless of nation origin but our immigration system revolves around weather to give illegals citizenship or not. No one talks about legal skilled waiting for 10 + years who need to be on the same job forever to qualify for visa.

dino says:

Great, so we calm down some of the immigration rules and encourage more start-ups. Who’s paying for their healthcare in the period before their company is big enough to have a plan of its own? Who is paying for the healthcare of their start-up employees?

In the US you have to pay for it yourself, work for a company that has a plan, or find somebody to marry so you can work around the system with their job’s healthcare.

From where I sit the US of A looks like a dangerous place to start a business. Doesn’t matter if you’re a citizen or not. There are quite a lot of people who absolutely cannot quit their job to follow their dreams and start something. Not while they live here.

And this says nothing about the pre-existing condition madness that will get you denied care regardless of how you’re insured.

But you know what’s really attractive? Forming a start-up in a country with sane healthcare.

We have much bigger problems that serve to discourage a lot of people from wanting to be here. I’m disappointed that this is what people are focusing on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Good job finding one downside to startups in the USA. I had honestly never thought of that. I guess, having always paid for my own healthcare when working for startups who don’t pay for my own. Like I pay for everything else I get, excepting of course that which I get from the government after having paid my taxes.. doesn’t matter to me which way it comes to me.

But anyway, about all the other compensating upsides…

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you are getting a visa as a startup CEO (and it happens currently by using other visa categories), then you are likely VC funded or have other funding.

Most VC-funded startup CEOs and other executives I know (and I’ve worked with around 70 startups) make well over $150k/year and often over $200k/year.

Paying for health insurance is not an issue.

On the other hand, sending $10-$20 million per startup somewhere else should be considered a huge issue. That’s our money (yes, it’s your money too, from large US institutional investors) going to places like China and India. I know one VC here in Silicon Valley who works at a firm with close to $3 billion under management that has been doing 7-10 China deals in the last 18 months.

That’s money that’s not being spent here, and that is a real problem. Unlike, say, your healthcare red herring.

Russ (user link) says:

Re: No worries

No worries. Obama is going to force them to purchase their own health-care and that of their employees. Thanks to Obama he’s making it increasingly harder to start a business in America. I’m totally ok with this idea but I don’t think it will be enough to overcome the anti-small business and anti-wealth creation policies of the current administration.

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