What do Chobani, L’Oreal, and Slideshare have in common? They were each founded by an immigrant entrepreneur. As it turns out, successful immigrant entrepreneurs in America are the backbone of top Fortune 500 companies.
In the United States, there is a considerable count of immigrants turning into successful entrepreneurs. About one in four American entrepreneurs are immigrants from other countries, a number which has increased over the years. When talks are up for starting new businesses, around 40% of the new organizations have an immigrant employee on their board. Also, immigrant entrepreneurs have contributed to America’s Gross Domestic Product with over $775 billion dollars in revenue in 2016.
Immigrants as Entrepreneurs leading Successful American Companies
As per the 2017 Fortune 500 list of US companies, about half of them were founded either by immigrants or their children. Industry Leaders Magazine, America’s most popular CEO magazine, takes a look at some of the leading and successful immigrant entrepreneurs.
He was born in Turkey and arrived in the US in the year 1994 to study. However, after 11 years in the US, he founded Chobani, one of the leading brands of yoghurt in the US. He introduced the Greek yoghurt into the US market and did a flourishing business. Also, 30% of his company has employees who are either refugees or immigrants.
When Phil Libin moved to the United States from the Soviet Union, he and his family settled in a small Bronx neighborhood. Later, his love for computers gave him luring programming gigs, a placement in Boston University and turned him into a successful immigrant entrepreneur. He also sold two first ventures for $26M and $24M during the 1990s. He contributed significantly to Evernote, one of the leading IT applications, which has over 200 million users.
Levi Strauss was a German immigrant who initially settled in New York but later moved to San Francisco. He expanded the dry business of his family and partnered with Jacob Davis to launch Levi Strauss and Company. As years passed, he went on to be one of the prolific philanthropists of the city of San Francisco, providing 28 successful scholarships to the University of California, Berkeley and supporting numerous charities. During his death, he already made a fortune of $6 million and have established a prime brand of jeans.
Sergey Brin is a Soviet Union immigrant and was an expert in computer science. During his days at Stanford University, he met Larry Page, the future Google founder and collaborated with him and released the first version of Google in the year 1996. His net worth is around $56.3 billion.
A citizen of Ukraine, Jan Koum fled persecution there as a teenager and moved to California with his family. After dropping out from the San Jose State University, he worked in Yahoo and after that partnered with several programmers to launch Whatsapp in the year 2009. Jan is a self-made billionaire also a board member of Facebook, has donated $555 million in Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation after selling off WhatsApp.
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in India, her hometown, she moved to the US to complete her PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology at Brown. After her studies in Brown, she initiated several prolific tech businesses. In the year 2006, Sinha improved her tech background to launch and develop Slideshare, a platform that combines social media with information sharing.
This entrepreneur was both in China and moved to the US in the year 1935 to study architecture. He founded the M. Pei & Associates in the year 1955. He spent his life constructing iconic buildings across the world, starting from Louvre Pyramids to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to the Bank of China Tower.
Toni Ko immigrated to Southern California from South Korea. She hails from an entrepreneurial family, having worked in her family’s cosmetics business. She started her venture NYX Cosmetics, a company that smashed all other cosmetic marketed brands. When L’Oreal purchased the NYX Cosmetics in the year 2014, Toni Ko continued her entrepreneurial journey and launched Perverse, and the sunglasses brand in the year 2016.
Pierre Omidyar was born in Paris and moved to Baltimore for his father’s medical residency during that time at the Johns Hopkins University. His interest in computers took him to build a platform for his future wife to sell Pez dispensers online. This stroke luck in his life, and he founded the company eBay. eBay became one of the leading e-commerce websites and also the most visited site on the Internet. Presently, Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $11 billion, supports other entrepreneurs through this capital firm, Omidyar Technology Ventures.
A Brazilian entrepreneur, Mike immigrated to the US for studying at Stanford University and met Kevin Systrom through Burbn. They both started working together and transformed Burbn into a developed an innovative platform, launching the Instagram app.
Immigrant entrepreneurship is fraught with its own set of challenges and setbacks. First and foremost, most immigrant entrepreneurs struggle with raising capital, understanding the nation’s rules and regulations, or growing the business.
Despite these challenges, immigrant entrepreneurs in America have made it out on their own. If anything, it shows their drive and passion to change the world for better.
If you’re an immigrant entrepreneur or know one, we’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below!