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  • Writer's pictureDenis Kalyshkin

Why VC's are betting on immigrant founders

18 Dec is an international migrant day. Did you know that there are 280 million migrants in the world? It's close to the population of the US, 1/3 of the EU, and bigger than Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico, and all other developed countries. Despite being scattered across the globe migrants have similar problems and the niche could be interesting for startups.

The other important fact about immigrants is that they are risk takers. You need to have guts to move to another country, find a new job, leave your friends, and relatives. You also need to overperform your peers in the country you immigrate to just to stay afloat. No wonder that half of the US unicorns have immigrant co-founders. They bring both firsthand knowledge and connections from their home countries, and they can set up an R&D office in a low cost geography. They also have higher levels of drive, initiative, resilience. By the way Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, and Elon Musk were also immigrants.

Several VC's and accelerators are already making their bets on immigrants. For example, according to my own research of Y Combinator batches in 2019-2020 55% of portfolio companies had at least one non-US co-founder. All other top accelerators both have many startups outside the US and hold local acceleration programs across the globe. Such funds as,,, and are heavily investing in startups co-founded by immigrants.

Wherever you live and whatever you are up to I wish you follow your passion and succeed in your endeavors. Remember that startup founders are a separate tribe, and 99% of the people on the planet just don't get you, and don't support you. I wish you find 1% of your tribe and build a solid business despite the headwind!

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