New Business Venture Aims to Help Immigrants Achieve Their Entrepreneurial Dreams

What do the iconic U.S. companies Google, Intel, and eBay have in common? Besides being top ranked Fortune 500 businesses that have fundamentally reshaped the technology industry – and consequently, life as we know it – they were also all founded by immigrants. And, these companies are not anomalies. A report issued by Forbes in 2013 confirmed that over 40 percent of the largest U.S. companies were founded by immigrants or their children, and that 25 percent of high-tech companies established between 1995 and 2005 had at least one immigrant founder. It’s irrefutable that our thriving tech industry is heavily reliant on the skills, knowledge, and drive of immigrants coming to the United States to pursue the American dream of starting their own businesses. But, for foreign nationals who depend on the traditional employer-employee relationship to legally live and work in the U.S., entrepreneurship can seem out of reach. A new San Francisco-based angel fund, named Unshackled, is working to change that. [See 40% of the Largest U.S. Companies Founded by Immigrants or Their Children, by Robert Lenzner, Forbes, 25.April.2013.]

Unshackled, which was founded by immigrant Nitin Pachisia and son of immigrants Manan Mehta, plans to hire entrepreneurs as employees and provide them with salaries, health benefits, and, for foreign national workers, sponsorship of their requisite work visas. The primary job duties of these workers will be to build their respective startups. Having a steady income and health insurance will undoubtedly be a huge relief for any entrepreneur who just wants to focus on the long-term goal of building a startup, rather than the short-term need of paying the monthly bills. And, while Unshackled won’t solely employ foreign nationals, its structure is especially beneficial to immigrants, who can have trouble obtaining employment authorization via a self-owned startup. [See Unshakled, a New Angel Fund, Forms to Back Immigrant Entrepreneurs,, Venture Capital Dispatch, 13.Nov.2014.]

Although Unshackled’s angel fund is currently set at a modest $3.5 million, founders Pachisia and Mehta are optimistic that they will attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world and reinvigorate the West Coast tech industry with their unique business model. And, so far, it appears they’re right. Response from investors has been enthusiastic, with over 80 percent willing to invest without ever having even met either partner. Pachisia thinks the reason is simple: “They believe strongly in the same philosophy we believe in – that we’re growing innovation and creating more American jobs. We want to grow the pie.”

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