Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?
The majority of U.S. unicorns—private startups worth more than $1 billion—have at least one immigrant founder, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).
While some of the companies and founders are well known, like SpaceX from South Africa’s Elon Musk, hundreds of lesser-known unicorns have been founded from the top talent of just a handful of countries.
This visual using NFAP data lays out the countries which are home to the most U.S. billion-dollar startup founders as of May 2022.
Note: These rankings are based on unicorn valuations as of May 2022. As valuations regularly fluctuate, some companies may have gained or lost unicorn status since that time.
Countries with the Most U.S. Unicorn Founders
Here’s a look at the countries that these immigrant founders come from.
The 382 founders accounted for below have combined to start 319 of 582 U.S.-based unicorns.
|Rank||Country||# Founders of
|3||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||27|
|T16||🇳🇿 New Zealand||5|
|T16||🇰🇷 South Korea||5|
|T24||🇿🇦 South Africa||3|
|T33||🇨🇿 Czech Republic||2|
|T33||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||2|
|T41||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||1|
Far in the lead is India with 66 startup founders and Israel with 54 startup founders. Together, they account for 31% of all unicorn founders listed. In fact, more than half of the immigrant unicorn founders came from just six countries: India, Israel, the UK, Canada, China, and France.
These immigrant founders have helped found many of the world’s biggest startups:
- Stripe was co-founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison
- Instacart’s founder and former CEO, Apoorva Mehta, was born in India, then moved to Libya and Canada as a child.
- Big data startup Databricks was founded by a group of seven computer scientists from the University of California, including five immigrants from Iran, Romania, and China.
Immigration and Entrepreneurship
Though some of these founders came to the U.S. as successful business leaders, the report noted that many immigrated as children or international students.
In addition, there are another 51 founders (not included in the above statistics) that were not immigrants themselves but are first-generation Americans born to immigrant parents. Data from the report also shows that 80% of unicorns have an immigrant in some key role, whether it’s as a founder, a C-level executive, or some other crucial position.
Even historically, some of the biggest companies in the U.S. were not founded by Americans. For example, the founders of Procter & Gamble emigrated from England and Ireland in the early 1800s. And today, one of the biggest companies in the U.S. is NVIDIA, which recently broached a trillion dollar market cap and whose founder is from Taiwan.
The Ever-Changing Unicorn Landscape
While this dataset is from mid-2022, it should be noted that the startup ecosystem has shifted drastically in just the last year.
Rapidly rising interest rates and a slowdown in venture capital have conspired to create a more precarious fundraising environment, leading to down rounds and stagnation for some of these billion-dollar companies.
In Q1 2023, unicorn births declined 89%, suggesting that in upcoming years the unicorn list—and the number of immigrant founders—may be subject to change.
Internet Adoption in America: Who Isn’t Online Yet?
Internet adoption is widespread in the U.S. In fact, only 7% of Americans do not use the internet. Who are these non-adopters?
America Offline: Who Isn’t on the Internet Yet?
The internet is so widely used today that for many, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Yet, despite its prevalence, there’s still a small fraction of Americans who aren’t online.
Who are these non-adopters? Using data from Pew Research Center, this graphic provides a demographic breakdown of the U.S. adults who don’t use the internet.
The Demographic Breakdown
In the last two decades, internet adoption in the U.S. has skyrocketed, causing America’s offline population shrink to just 7%.
That’s a significant drop from 2000, when almost half of the American population did not use the internet.
According to the data, age seems closely linked to non-internet use—25% of respondents aged 65+ claimed they do not use the internet, compared to just 4% of those aged 50-64.
|Age||% of U.S. Adults Who Don’t Use the Internet|
However, it’s worth noting that 86% of U.S. seniors (65+) weren’t online in 2000, so this age group has seen a significant increase in internet adoption over the last two decades.
Income also seems to be correlated with non-internet use. 14% of respondents with an annual household income below $30,000 claimed to not use the internet, compared to 1% who make $75,000 or more per year.
|Annual Household Income||% of U.S. Adults Who Don’t Use the Internet|
Additionally, education may have positive correlation with internet adoption. Just 2–3% of survey respondents who went to college claimed to not use the internet, compared to 14% for those who didn’t study beyond high school. Interestingly, the data did not show a strong correlation between non-adoption and gender or race.
Why is This Important?
As the world becomes increasingly more digital, the internet is starting to become a necessity rather than a luxury. And those who don’t have good access to the web are starting to face significant obstacles in their day-to-day lives.
For instance, when schools closed down during the early days of the global pandemic, many American children in lower-income homes did not have reliable internet at home or didn’t have a computer to complete their schoolwork on.
Markets3 weeks ago
Ranked: The Top Economies in the World (1980‒2075)
Technology3 days ago
Internet Adoption in America: Who Isn’t Online Yet?
Countries4 weeks ago
Mapped: World’s Top 40 Largest Military Budgets
Markets2 weeks ago
Ranked: The Top 100 Brands by Value in 2023
GDP1 day ago
Visualizing the $105 Trillion World Economy in One Chart
Maps4 weeks ago
Mapped: The Safest Cities in the U.S.
Strategic Metals2 weeks ago
Ranked: The World’s Top Cobalt Producing Countries
VC+5 hours ago
Lifetime VC+ Subscription – One-time Offer Expires Aug 24, 2023