Pedro Sorrentino hails from Sao Paolo, Brazil, and is currently living in San Francisco working for SendGrid. While attending graduate school in Boulder, Colorado, Pedro started and sold his first business. Once he graduated, however, Pedro had a hard decision to make. Based on his visa class, and the fact that he came from Brazil, the rules stated that it was mandatory for him to return home upon graduation. Would he go back to Brazil to work for his company? Or could he find an employer who would sponsor his H-1B application to stay in the United States?
Peruvian born, Fulbright scholar, engineer, entrepreneur, and Hattery Co-Founder and Managing Director, Luis Arbulu, takes us through his perspective on current immigration policy and the Senate “Gang of Eight” bill. The highlight? The visa specifically for entrepreneurs.
The whole visa process was an expensive distraction, especially during the early bootstrapped stage when the Mentii team needed to devote all their resources to finding and proving the market. After receiving a protracted Request For Evidence (RFE), where responding to it would have resulted in further legal expenses, Sumit has no choice but to withdraw his visa application. This is despite the fact that Mentii had already invested 40 percent of their total expenditure on immigration-related costs!
Since a green card made starting Bright Funds possible, Rutul hopes that the new Invest Visa for founders will make possible for others, what was possible for him. And beyond making it possible, Rutul also hopes it will make starting a business easier. Watch Rutul tell his story.
I am a foreign-born entrepreneur in America. My company, Morpheus Medical, has created the first cardiac diagnostic tool that provides 3D interactivity, flow and pressure inside the heart. And all it takes is a ten minute MRI exam. But since I am a French citizen, I faced deportation, and the possibility of losing the chance to build this life-saving company. Understanding the importance of immigration reform is understanding what innovators, of any nationality, are capable of achieving.
Sacha Tueni grew up in Austria. When he moved to the United States to work with Facebook’s mobile partnership team in 2009, he was granted a visa within 3 short months. As a result, when Sacha decided to start his own business, he had no sense of how complicated the immigration process could actually be for a small company with limited resources. Now Sacha spends a third of his time talking to his lawyer, instead of growing his business. Watch Sacha tell his story.
Michael Ang (or Mang) is an engineer from Canada. He works for Changemakrs here in San Francisco. In fact, Michael has been working in the United States for over fifteen years -- mostly within the startup community. He was the first employee of Xoom -- a company that is now post IPO and employs hundreds of Americans. Despite Michael’s experience, his masters degree from NYU, and his contribution to the startup community -- and the U.S. economy as a whole, he has only ever been granted a succession of temporary visas.
Unable to hire his top-choice engineer, Benny lost the knowledge and talent he wanted, and an individual with the nerve and desire to take the risks associated with starting a company. As a result, it took the team at GoodApril longer to build their first product, and to raise funding to hire the people they needed -- including more engineers, writers, and marketers. From Benny’s point of view, and from ours, we should be rewarding risk takers, and that needs to happen through thoughtful reform.