Immigration has always been a hot-button topic, but now in the age of economic “challenges” of all kinds, it is even more so. In some sectors there is grumbling that immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans and they need to be sent home. But the Governor of Michigan is calling for more immigration. Immigrants are job creators, said he, noting that Google, eBay, Intel and Yahoo were all started by immigrants. One reason for this is that immigrants are more likely than Americans to go for advanced degrees in math, science and engineering. More than half of all PhDs in math and science in American Universities are granted to foreign-born people. Fortune Magazine once noted that Indian immigrants to California’s Bay Area created companies that are responsible for $235 billion in market value.
It turns out that immigrants are also highly likely to attract venture capital funds. One study showed that 47 percent of all private VC backed companies in the U.S. were founded by immigrants. For public U.S. companies receiving VC funding, that figure is 25 percent. Around 87 percent of immigrant, VC backed companies are technology related. In some cases, immigrants such as Kanwal Rehki from India, who founded Excelan and then sold it to Novell, are also VC Angels. But statistics aren’t everything. Last time we looked, the founders of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Twitter were born in the U.S.A.
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