Report: Immigrants Found Nearly Half of Top Start-ups

Just in case you need more proof that America’s immigration policies are damaging to innovation, a new report shows that immigrant entrepreneurs have founded nearly half of America’s top venture-backed companies.


The report, Immigrant Founders and Key Personnel in America‚Äôs 50 Top Venture-Funded Companies, was released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a non-profit research group based in Arlington, Virginia. The research was conducted by analyzing a list of 50 of America’s top private venture-funded companies, as ranked by VentureSource, a research firm owned by Dow Jones.


Among the more recognizable companies in the list with immigrant co-founders were Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade goods; Chegg, a textbook rental service; and Glam Media, an online publisher.


Stuart Anderson, NFAP’s executive director, said in a call today that he decided to conduct the interviews with each of the 50 company founders to determine how many were foreign born, and to gauge the role of immigrants in today’s high-growth firms.


“If I saw that 25 percent [were immigrants] I thought that would be a significant finding,” Anderson says. “But what I found astonished me.”


Among his findings, Anderson found:


46 percent of America’s top venture-funded companies had at least one immigrant founder

74 percent had at least one immigrant holding a top-level management position (including CEO, CTO, and VP were most common)

Each company founded by an immigrant has already created, on average, about 150 job. And the companies in the study are still in their high-growth stage.

The most common country of origin for immigrant founders was India, followed by Israel, Canada, Iran, and New Zealand.

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