Stories of promising foreign-born entrepreneurs with solid business ideas (or even funded businesses) who are struggling to get into or stay in America and create jobs abound. Now someone (sadly, not Congress) is doing something to help them--and the U.S. economy.
Co-founders Nitin Pachisia and Manan Mehta have cobbled together $3.5 million from investors including founders of Palantir and Yahoo!, to back immigrant founders with entrepreneurial ideas but U.S. visa problems. Their fund, called Unshackled, will offer these founders a unique combination of support--not only funds to back their businesses, but also a job at Unshackled, which will allow would-be entrepreneurs to quit their current jobs and build their companies without losing their right to stay and work in the U.S.
The fund plans to invest in very early-stage companies across a range of industries and support them for up to a year while they get to the stage where they can raise additional investment from more traditional funds. Unshackled has made no investments yet but is aiming for 20-15 investments in the next two years, VentureBeat reports.
And while the fund is mostly directed at foreign-born founders with visa restrictions that are holding back their ambitions, Mehta and Pachisia note that they are open to investing in an entrepreneur whose financial hardship is preventing them from devoting themselves to their startup ideas full- time.
Underserved Talent With Extra Hustle
Although this a small niche in the investment landscape, it's underserved, and according to Mehta, Unshackled has so far found no shortage of promising talent to potentially support. "We are attracting brilliant people so far. [We're seeing] lead engineers of the largest tech companies building the biggest products, students that have patents and have graduated from top universities, and Ph.Ds. from around the world. And they're not just Indian and Chinese--there are Africans, Latin Americans and Europeans," he told the Wall Street Journal.
Mehta and Pachisia also believe the talent pool they're tapping comes with some built-in advantages--including guaranteed drive. "Every entrepreneur that we're targeting is at a greater advantage because of the hustle that they've had to prove to get to this country and pursue the American dream," Mehta explained to the FT.