Forbes: Indians Leading Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley28 Oct 2012
Back in the ’50s and ’60s, Silicon Valley was in its infancy, and the few Indian engineers who worked there were mostly low-level employees of America’s nascent high-tech sector. This according to Neesha Bapat, the lead researcher for Vivek Wadhwa’s team, whose study, “America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs – Then and Now,” was recently published by the Kauffman Foundation. [See How Indian’s Defied Gravity and Achieved Success in Silicon Valley, by Neesha Bapat, Forbes, 15.Oct.2012; and Kauffman Fdn.: Immigrant Entrepreneurship Slows Overall, Zooms Among Indians, MurthyBlog, 23.Oct.2012.] Fast forward to 2012, and that picture has changed almost beyond recognition. Now, Bapat reports, Indian immigrants are a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley, where their brain power, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive have become legendary.
The extent of Indian dominance nonetheless came as a shock, Bapat says. Her statistical research indicates that:
“Nationwide, Indians founded 8% of all technology and engineering startups and yet still comprise less than 1% of the U.S. population. Our research has shown that Indians now outnumber the next 7 immigrant groups combined and start 33.2% of all immigrant-founded startups in the U.S. The proportion of all immigrant founded companies has fallen in Silicon Valley, but Indians have resisted this downward trend. In fact, the proportion of all Silicon Valley companies founded by Indians has slightly increased from 13.4% to 14% since 2007.”
What changed since the early days? Bapat cites several factors. Many IIT graduates left India in the 1970s and ’80s, she says, “because they felt stifled by India’s socialist regime.” Eventually, Silicon Valley gathered a critical mass of Indian engineers and entrepreneurs, whose technical innovations led to the founding of high-tech giants like Sun Microsystems. Another key factor, according to Bapat: “They also started helping each other and formed their own entrepreneurial networks.”
Bapat and her colleagues found that IndianAmerican entrepreneurial dominance extends well beyond Silicon Valley:
“We found that Indians start more companies than any other immigrant group in California (26%), Massachusetts (28%), Texas (17%), Florida (17%), New York (27%), and New Jersey (57%). This is amazing, especially since Indians only represent between 0.7% and 3.4% of the populations of these states.”
Here at the Murthy Law Firm, this comes as no surprise. Over the past 18 years, we have not just witnessed this trend, we have actively worked to facilitate it, bringing some of the world’s best and brightest minds to the United States – many of them from India. It has been a win-win proposition from the start: American businesses get to tap the creativity, vision, passion, and entrepreneurial drive of world-class talent from India and other countries, and the American economy gets the innovation, technology leadership, and job growth – millions of new jobs – that go with it.
Our role at the Murthy Law Firm is to be a catalyst in this growth process, and it’s a role that’s well matched to our great strengths. What is true of our clients is equally true of our attorneys and staff: they are smart, knowledgeable, and creative professionals with a passion for excellence!
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