More than half the founders of $1 billion U.S. startups were born abroad (see, “Immigrants and the American Economy).
An Obama-era rule, postponed by the Trump administration, would have given foreign-born entrepreneurs access to special visas. The National Venture Capital Association and other entrepreneurs in September filed a lawsuit in D.C. federal court to save the rule.
Now, some VCs are putting their money where their mouths are. Catalyst Investors, a $1-billion New-York-based firm, recently led a $21 million round for Envoy Global, which helps employers navigate immigration and visa procedures for foreign-born workers. (General Catalyst, based in Cambridge, Mass., with $3.7 billion in assets, joined the round.)
Unshackled Ventures, backed by Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, is looking to invest $25 million in foreign-born entrepreneurs by hiring them as students, taking over their visa process and backing their startup ideas with $300,000.
Crunchbase has rounded up eight other VCs that together have invested more $50 million in seven immigration-related startups: 500 Startups, CIT GAP Funds, ff Venture Capital, First Round Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, Intel Capital, Pelion Venture Partners, and RRE Ventures.