New research reveals that many of America’s top companies that have received venture capital have immigrant founders. An impressive group of Indian-born entrepreneurs head the list.
I authored a recently-released study (find it here) that concluded, “Immigrants are increasingly important in driving growth and innovation in America, as evidenced by the role played by foreign-born founders and key personnel in the nation’s breakthrough companies.” The study found, “Immigrants have started nearly half of America’s 50 top venture-funded companies and are key members of management or product development teams in almost 75 percent of our country’s leading cutting-edge companies.”
To conduct the research I interviewed executives and company personnel and gathered information on the top 50 venture-backed companies in the United States. Those 50 companies had been ranked by the firm VentureSource using criteria such as the track record of the management and investors and recent revenue growth.
I found that the companies with at least one immigrant founder averaged about 150 jobs per company in the U.S. Overall, 23 out of 50, or 46 percent of the top venture-funded companies in America had at least one immigrant founder.
The leading source country for immigrant founders was India, followed by Israel, Canada and Iran. There were also immigrant founders on the list from Italy, South Africa, Greece, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Switzerland and France.
Here are the companies on the top 50 venture-funded list that had at least one founder born in India:
Aster Data Systems, whose founders include Tasso Argyros (Greece) and Mayank Bawa (India). The company, based in San Carlos, California, employs approximately 100 people. The focus of the company is providing data management, as well as advanced analytics, for employers.
Chegg Inc., based in Santa Clara, California, has become a well-known company for its textbook rental service. It has about 150 employees. Chegg’s founders are Aayush Phumbhra (India) and Osman Rashid (U.K.).
Glam Media, based in Brisbane, California, had 8 founders. Two of the founders were born in India, Samir Arora and Raj Narayan. Following a recent acquisition the company employs about 500 people. Glam works with about 2,500 website partners in the U.S. and Europe. It helps facilitate web advertising in niche and “mid-tail” websites for name brand advertisers.
Umesh Maheshwari and Varun Mehta, both born in India, started Nimble Storage, based in San Jose, California. The company employs 55 people and focuses on disaster-recovery systems, backups and storage.
Suniva, based in Norcross, Georgia, sells solar cells and modules. It was founded by Ajeet Rohatgi, born in India, and employs 190 people.
Xactly, based in San Jose, California, was founded by Christopher Cabrera and Satish Palvai (India). The company sells Internet-based software that can be used for sales compensation. It employs 140 people
Xsigo Systems, also based in San Jose, California, provides equipment and software for the management of datacenters. Employing 110 people, it was started by three brothers born in India, R.K. Anand, Ashok Krishnamurthi, and S.K. Vinod.
“Today’s breakthrough companies are often founded by immigrants or at least employ a foreign-born scientist, engineer or CEO crucial to business growth and product development,” the report noted. “Executives say access to talent from around the world is even more important to companies in their emerging growth phase.”
A key finding of the research is that our country gains when we are open to talented people, without regard to their place of birth. “Policies that help retain talent in the United States are likely to yield both more startup companies and the personnel needed to create more jobs and innovation in America,” the study concluded.