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Early-stage, high-growth firms have been shown to create the bulk of new jobs in the United States. But who creates all those companies that create all those jobs? Evidently, immigrants play an enormous role.
Nearly half of the top 50 venture-backed firms in the country were founded at least in part by an immigrant, according to a new study by The National Foundation for American Policy. Expanded to include key management personnel, the portion of the top young companies headed by foreign individuals hikes up to 74 percent. “It’s a gamble whether an entrepreneur should stay or leave right now, and that’s not how the immigration system should work,” Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, said in a statement. “What we need is legislation that helps these entrepreneurs from outside the United States.”
Among those with immigrant founders are Silicon Valley darlings like textbook-rental start-up Chegg, online dating service Zoosk, and online craft marketplace Etsy. The most common country of origin for immigrant founders from the top 50 firms was India, followed by Israel and Canada.