Immigrants have started more than half of America's billion-dollar startup companies, study
Immigrants have started more than half (319 of 582, or 55%) of America's startup companies valued at $1 billion or more, according to a new study from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a nonpartisan research organization.
Moreover, nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. billion-dollar companies (unicorns) were founded or cofounded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Almost 80% of America's unicorn companies (privately-held, billion-dollar companies) have an immigrant founder or an immigrant in a key leadership role, such as CEO or vice president of engineering.
Stuart Anderson, Author of the study and Executive Director, NFAP: "The research shows the importance of immigrants in cutting-edge companies and the U.S. economy at a time when U.S. immigration policies have pushed talent to other countries for talent. The story of immigrant entrepreneurs and billion-dollar companies is not only about impressive numbers but about immigrants coming to this country, working hard and achieving the American Dream."
The research involved interviews and gathering information on over 580 U.S. startup companies valued at over $1 billion (as of May 2022) that have yet to become publicly traded on the U.S. stock market and are tracked by the firm CB Insights. These "unicorn" companies are all privately held, valued at $1 billion or more and have received venture capital financing.
The collective value of the over 300 immigrant-founded U.S. companies is $1.2 trillion, more than the value of all the companies listed on the main stock markets of many countries, including Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. The research finds that the privately held U.S. billion-dollar startup companies with immigrant founders have created an average of 859 jobs per company.
At least 10 immigrants have founded multiple billion-dollar companies, including Al Goldstein (born in Uzbekistan, Avant and Amount), Noubar Afeyan (Lebanon, Moderna and Indigo Ag) and Elon Musk (South Africa, SpaceX, OpenAI and The Boring Company). Rihanna, an immigrant from Barbados, founded Savage X Fenty, valued at $1 billion. One-quarter (143 of 582, or 25%) of billion-dollar startup companies in the U.S. have a founder who first came to America as an international student.
Read the full report here.