More Than A Third Of The Top US Tech Companies Were Founded By People Born Outside The Country

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foreign founders

Business Insider

In this year's "state of the internet" presentation, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker noted that more than a third of the top tech companies in the U.S. were founded by foreigners.

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According to a report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, nine of the top 25 U.S. public tech companies were founded by people born outside the U.S. That's 36%.

These are the founders:

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  • Sergey Brin, Russia (Google)
  • Eduardo Saverin, Brazil (Facebook)
  • Andrew Viterbi, Italy (Qualcomm)
  • Pierre Omidyar, France (eBay)
  • Cecil Green, UK (Texas Instruments)
  • Edouard Bugnion, Switzerland (VMware)
  • Jerry Yang, Taiwan (Yahoo)
  • Francisco D'souza, Indian descent but born in Kenya and Kumar Mahadeva, Sri Lanka (Cognizant Technology)
  • Eli Harari, Israel (Sandisk)

It's well known in the U.S. tech community that a lot of talent comes from abroad, especially when it comes to coders and engineers. In fact, many blame U.S. immigration policy for holding back innovation in America, and a number of tech companies worked for new immigration laws, leading to the creation of the H1B Visa Program, which makes it easier for companies to offer visas to high-skilled workers in technology and engineering fields. Mark Zuckerberg was a huge advocate for that program with his group FWD.us.

The idea is that successful innovation in American will be forwarded by allowing more foreigners to immigrate. And the fact that a third of these tech founders are first-generation Americans can't hurt the argument.

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Here is the slide from Meeker's presentation. Click for a larger version:

Foreign founders

KPCB