What is it like to establish a US startup as an immigrant? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
While I am a proud immigrant, I am also fortunate enough to have been a US citizen when I started Legalpad. Here are some of the scenarios I see our clients face when they come to us for help:
Fundraising Practically speaking, immigrant startup founders often face their first obstacle when fundraising. At the pre-seed stage, angels and funds invest in the founders. If you're an immigrant founder, investors want to make sure that you're going to stick around, which requires a visa. But you can't get your work visa until you get funding. How do you explain this to potential investors?
If this is what you're worried about, it may help to know that most investors understand this scenario. Legalpad works with many VCs and accelerators to ensure that immigrant founders get the support they need to focus on their ideas and startup growth. Good investors are looking at opportunities, not "liabilities."
Immigration anxiety Starting a company can be scary, any founder can tell you that. There are so many things to juggle, like fundraising, hiring, partnerships, legal compliance, etc. Let's add your visa status to the mix!
Let's forget about investors for a second--it's hard to run and operate a startup when you're unsure about whether you can stay in the US. You need to hire an immigration attorney, get them all the information they need on-time, and put together contingency plans for approvals, denials, and .
All of this is why Todd and I started Legalpad. We want to take as much guesswork and anxiety out of your visa application process so you can focus on your idea and growing your team.
Risk and ambiguity There's the human component in all of this too: as a founder, your sacrifice often isn't just yours. Taking on this startup endeavor can affect your health, relationships, and definitely your bank account.
This isn't a trite sermon on "the hustle", but a comparison to many immigrant experiences.
I would go far as to say that immigrants are uniquely suited for startups because we're comfortable with risk and ambiguity. Moving to another country requires uprooting your life, orienting yourself to a different culture, and working hard to make sure that this investment for yourself and your family pans out.
Starting a company? That's nothing.
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