Executive Education

The impact of immigrant-founded American startups with billion-dollar-plus valuations

Tesla Motors and SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Mu Sigma’s Dhiraj Rajaram, Uber’s Garrett Camp, Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar, and Palentir’s Peter Thiel.

What do they all have in common?

They are all founders or co founders of startups achieved billion-dollar-plus valuations. They are also all immigrants. And they are not the only ones who’s created billion-dollar startups, so-called unicorn startups.

Acording to a report, by the National Foundation for American Policy — 44 of the 87 American startups with billion-dollar-plus valuations (51%) had at least one immigrant co-founder.

The research finds that if you put those 44 startup companies together, and they’re worth a collective $168 billion, which is close to half the value of the stock markets of Mexico or Russia.

Immigrant Founders of Billion Dollar Startup Companies – Country of Origin

India topped the new list, with 14 of the billion-dollar startup founders hailing from the country, and Canada and the U.K. tied for second place, with eight each.

  1. India 14
  2. Canada 8
  3. UK 8
  4. Israel 7
  5. Germany 4
  6. China 3
  7. France 2
  8. Ireland 2
  9. Armenia 1
  10. Azerbaijan 1
  11. Argentina 1
  12. Egypt 1
  13. Holland 1
  14. Iraq 1
  15. Norway 1
  16. Russia 1
  17. Singapore 1
  18. South Africa 1
  19. South Korea 1
  20. Uzbekistan 1

Most jobs created among immigrant-founded billion dollar companies:

The foreign-born entrepreneurs also create an average of approximately 760 jobs per company in the U.S., the study says. For example:

1. SpaceX
Number of employees: 6,000+
Founder: Elon Musk (South Africa)

2. Mu Sigma Inc.
Number of employees: 3,500+
Founder: Dhiraj Rajaram (India)

3. Palantir Technologies, Inc.
Number of employees: 2,000+
Founder: Peter Thiel (Germany)

4. Zenefits
Number of employees: 1,465+
Founder: Laks Srini (India)

5. Bloom Energy
Number of employees: 1,200+
Founder: K.R. Sridhar (India)

6. WeWork
Number of employees: 1,200+
Founder: Adam Neumann (Israel)

7. Apttus
Number of employees: 1,100+
Founder: Kirk Krappe (UK)

8. Cloudera
Number of employees: 1,100+
Founder: Amr Awadallah (Egypt)

9. AppNexus
Number of employees: 1,000+
Founder: Mike Nolet (Holland)

10. AppDynamics
Number of employees: 900+
Founder: Jyoti Bansal

11 Uber
Number of employees: 6,700 (direct employees). Over 162,000 active drivers.
Founder: Garrett Camp (Canada)

Note: For its paper, NFAP gathered information on the 87 U.S. startup companies valued at over $1 billion (as of January 1, 2016) that are yet to be publicly traded on the U.S. stock market.

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Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is a media and technology executive, macro-economist, strategic thinker, chair, and chief executive officer of the CEOWORLD magazine, one of the world’s most influential and recognized global news publications. Under Dr. Amarendra's leadership, CEOWORLD magazine has become the world's most iconic news organization, whose rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of business leaders daily. Additionally, he serves as the chair and founding member of the CEOWORLD magazine’s Inclusion Advisory Board.

In his current role, he counsels and collaborates with c-suite executives of large multinational corporations, helping them drive change in their companies to improve their competitiveness. Dr. Amarendra has extensive experience in serving on numerous boards. He leads and supports a globally dispersed team of columnists, correspondents, editors, journalists, reporters, researchers, and industry analysts.

He received his Ph.D. in Finance and Banking from the European Global School, Paris, France. He also received his Doctoral Degree in Chartered Accountancy from the European International University Paris, France, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design (KNUTD), Ukraine. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance and his master’s degree in Chartered Accountancy (CA) from European Global School Paris. Dr. Amarendra also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in International Relations and Affairs from the American University of Athens, Alabama, United States.

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Prof. Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is the CHAIR, CEO, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR of the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.