Where in the World is Tech Leadership Coming From?

Tanya Mir, February 14th, 2023

Part of my job as an exec­u­tive recruiter in Sil­i­con Val­ley is to find out what makes lead­ers tick. I often hear the most amaz­ing sto­ries about how busi­ness lead­ers came to the Unit­ed States from some oth­er part of the world seek­ing chal­lenge and oppor­tu­ni­ty. This could describe my fam­i­ly – I am the daugh­ter of an engi­neer who came to the US to study and stayed to work in tech start-ups. So these sto­ries have a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance to me.

The data is clear: immi­grants play an out­size role in the econ­o­my of Sil­i­con Val­ley. A new study on Immi­grant Entre­pre­neurs and U.S. Bil­lion Dol­lar Com­pa­nies reports that despite our long back­logs for green cards and work visas in the US, over half (50 of 91) of $1 bil­lion+ val­ued uni­corn com­pa­nies are led by immi­grant CEOs. Cre­at­ing on aver­age over 1,200 jobs per com­pa­ny, immi­grant founders in bil­lion-dol­lar star­tups have cre­at­ed a col­lec­tive val­ue of $248 bil­lion.

And these founders are increas­ing­ly sur­round­ed by top tal­ent from around the world. This same study found that 82% of pri­vate­ly held, bil­lion-dol­lar com­pa­nies had at least one immi­grant in a key man­age­ment or prod­uct devel­op­ment posi­tion, com­pared to only 70% of these com­pa­nies in 2016.

The $3 tril­lion tech indus­try owes much of its for­tune to glob­al­ly sourced tal­ent diver­si­ty. If our nation­al pol­i­cy is to be less wel­com­ing to work­ers from around the world, what will be the impact on our economy?

Stay tuned for the 2023 edi­tion of the Lon­er­gan Sil­i­con Val­ley 150, in which I plan on exam­in­ing the diverse ori­gins of founder-CEOs run­ning the top 150 pub­lic com­pa­nies in tech­nol­o­gy head­quar­tered in Sil­i­con Valley. 

Fol­low our Lon­er­gan SV150 Show­case page to see our future post­ings on LinkedIn.

About Tanya: Tanya Mir is an Exec­u­tive Recruiter with Lon­er­gan Part­ners, focus­ing on recruit­ing CEOs, CXOs, and direct reports to the CEO for grow­ing pub­lic and ven­­ture-backed enter­prise tech com­pa­nies in Sil­i­con Valley.