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55% Of America's Billion-Dollar Startups Have An Immigrant Founder

What would America lose if we blocked refugees and family-sponsored and employment-based immigrants from coming to the United States? For starters, we would likely lose more than half of the billion-dollar startup companies in America.

A new study from the National Foundation for American Policy finds that 55%, or 50 of 91, of the country’s $1 billion startup companies had at least one immigrant founder. I conducted the research by interviewing and gathering information on the 91 U.S. startup companies valued at over $1 billion (as of October 1, 2018) that are not publicly traded on the stock market and are tracked by Dow Jones VentureSource and The Wall Street Journal.

What types of companies are we talking about? You know many of them. If you travel around town, you may have used Uber, cofounded by Canadian immigrant Garrett Camp. If someday you want to fly to Mars, then you could benefit from a rocket designed by SpaceX, founded by South African immigrant Elon Musk. If you need a loan or other financial service, then you might turn to Avant, cofounded by Al Goldstein, who immigrated to America as a refugee with his family. Goldstein is one of three founders of billion-dollar U.S. startup companies who came to the U.S. as a refugee.

These companies are not only valuable but they employ a lot of people. Among privately held billion-dollar startup companies, those with immigrant founders have created an average of more than 1,200 jobs per company, the vast majority in the U.S.

The collective value of the 50 immigrant-founded companies is $248 billon. To put this in perspective, that is more than the value of all the companies listed on the stock market of several countries, including Argentina, Columbia and Ireland.

As you might imagine, many of the companies are based in Silicon Valley. California is the headquarters of 33 of the 50 immigrant-founded companies, followed by New York (8), Massachusetts (5), Illinois (2), Florida (1) and Washington state (1).



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