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.