Immigrant Edge: 9 Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

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Helen Greiner
Co-founder of iRobot, which went public in 2005. Now she is founder of CyPhyWorks, an early-stage robotics company.
Country of origin: Great Britain

I like to say I’m American by choice. I decided to get my U.S. citizenship at 22. I wanted to be an American because this is a country where risks are rewarded.

I remember when I first saw Star Wars. R2D2 stole the show for me. He was more just than a machine. I wanted to build something like him. My iRobot co-founders and I concentrated on practical robots that people could use. We put our robotic vacuum, Roomba, and the PackBot, a bomb-clearing military robot, on the market in 2002. I was able to fulfill my dreams to build robots in this country--and I’ve still got my R2D2 to work on.