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Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

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immigrant founders of U.S. billion dollar startups

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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.

RankCountry# Founders of
U.S. Unicorns
1🇮🇳 India66
2🇮🇱 Israel54
3🇬🇧 United Kingdom27
4🇨🇦 Canada22
5🇨🇳 China21
6🇫🇷 France18
7🇩🇪 Germany15
8🇷🇺 Russia11
9🇺🇦 Ukraine10
10🇮🇷 Iran8
11🇦🇺 Australia7
T12🇮🇹 Italy6
T12🇳🇬 Nigeria6
T12🇵🇱 Poland6
T12🇷🇴 Romania6
T16🇦🇷 Argentina5
T16🇧🇷 Brazil5
T16🇳🇿 New Zealand5
T16🇵🇰 Pakistan5
T16🇰🇷 South Korea5
T21🇩🇰 Denmark4
T21🇵🇹 Portugal4
T21🇪🇸 Spain4
T24🇧🇾 Belarus3
T24🇧🇬 Bulgaria3
T24🇮🇪 Ireland3
T24🇰🇪 Kenya3
T24🇱🇧 Lebanon3
T24🇵🇭 Philippines3
T24🇿🇦 South Africa3
T24🇹🇼 Taiwan3
T24🇹🇷 Turkey3
T33🇦🇲 Armenia2
T33🇨🇿 Czech Republic2
T33🇬🇷 Greece2
T33🇲🇽 Mexico2
T33🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2
T33🇸🇬 Singapore2
T33🇨🇭 Switzerland2
T33🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2
T41🇦🇹 Austria1
T41🇧🇩 Bangladesh1
T41🇧🇧 Barbados1
T41🇨🇴 Colombia1
T41🇩🇴 Dominican Republic1
T41🇪🇬 Egypt1
T33🇬🇪 Georgia1
T41🇮🇶 Iraq1
T41🇯🇴 Jordan1
T41🇱🇻 Latvia1
T41🇱🇹 Lithuania1
T41🇲🇹 Malta1
T41🇲🇦 Morocco1
T41🇳🇱 Netherlands1
T41🇳🇴 Norway1
T41🇵🇪 Peru1
T41🇶🇦 Qatar1
T41🇸🇮 Slovenia1
T41🇻🇪 Venezuela1

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.

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

Small fortunes have been made for those investing in Nvidia stock. But how much would have they earned if they bought before it skyrocketed?

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Investing in Nvidia has been highly lucrative, especially for investors who got in early.

As America’s largest chipmaker, its stock price has soared given its critical role in powering AI. Last year alone, its share price jumped 272%, vaulting it into becoming one of the world’s most valuable companies.

This graphic shows how much a $5,000 investment in Nvidia would have grown over time, based on data from Yahoo Finance.

Investing in Nvidia Before the AI Boom

Below, we show how much an investment in Nvidia would have increased in value over the last several decades:

Year Invested (January 1st)Stock PriceStarting ValueValue Today (as of Feb 15, 2024)
2000$0.77$5,000$4,718,052
2010$3.85$5,000$943,610
2015$4.80$5,000$756,854
2020$59.11$5,000$61,460
2023$195.37$5,000$18,595

For those who bought in 2000, a $5,000 investment would be worth over $4.7 million today, with Nvidia’s stock price rising 94,261% over the time period.

At the time, Nvidia had just invented its graphics processing unit (GPU), which allowed computer graphics to render more seamlessly in video games and video editing. These high-performance units complete complex computing tasks, and Nvidia was creating leading technology at the time.

Over the last decade, Nvidia has increasingly focused on AI technology, with key developments launching as early as 2012. Yet it was not until 2020 when its share price really began to soar as the company’s end customer segments increasingly became data centers and cloud computing, alongside video games.

In fact, since 2020 alone, its share price has soared 1,129%—making a $5,000 investment worth twelve times as much today.

So far this year, its stock price shows no sign of stopping, driven by its outsized role in the AI chipmaking market. Roughly 70% of all chips are sold by Nvidia, outpacing key competitor AMD by a landslide.

The company’s Q4 revenues topped $22 billion, setting another historical record, amounting to a 265% year-over-year increase in revenues. In 2023, Nvidia sold 2.5 million chips with customers including OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and Alphabet. The price range for these chips can span anywhere from $16,000 to $100,000.

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