At 90, Indians top list of US unicorns’ immigrant founders

Bengaluru: Indians are creating unicorns not just in India, they are doing it in the US too.

A study by Ilya A Strebulaev, professor of finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, finds that 90 out of 1,078 founders across 500 US unicorns were born in India. Strebulaev’s data covers US unicorns between 1997 and 2019. He tweeted that “Over four out of ten unicorn founders are first gen immigrants.” Israel and Canada followed with 52 and 42 founders respectively.
Among Indian founders of prominent unicorns – past and present – are Baiju Bhatt of Robinhood, the commission-free stock trading app, Rohan Seth of Clubhouse, Apoorva Mehta of Instacart, Dheeraj Pandey, Mohit Aron and Ajeet Singh of Nutanix, Arun Murthy and Suresh Srinivas of Hortonworks, Aayush Phumbhra of Chegg, Gagan Biyani of Udemy, Dhiraj Rajaram of Mu Sigma. Fractal Analytics, which turned a unicorn this year, was founded by Nirmal Palaparthi, Pradeep Suryanarayan, Pranay Agrawal, Ramakrishna Reddy and Srikanth Velamakanni in California, though, like Mu Sigma, has most of its delivery out of India.
Last year, Mohandas Pai’s investment firm 3One4 Capital estimated that 67 of the 288 American unicorns at that time had at least one Indian-origin founder.
America has had a history of extremely successful Indian-origin entrepreneurs including Kanwal Rekhi, Pramod Haque, Kumar Malvalli, Sanjay Malhotra, Gururaj Deshpande, B V Jagadeesh, and Sabeer Bhatia. Many of them may not have built ventures valued at over $1 billion then, but there were indeed the “unicorns” of those times. 

Four years ago, US-based Kauffman Foundation estimated that 33.2% of the co-founders of engineering and technology firms founded by immigrants in the US since 2006 were Indians. The next highest were the Chinese, at 8.1%. 

Another study done in 2007 for the period 1995 to 2005 had found that Indians accounted for 26% of the co-founders during that period. The Kauffman Foundation found that the Indian immigrant contribution was the only one that increased; most other immigrant communities saw a decline in their contributions, leading to a general stagnation in immigrant entrepreneurship in the US.  (Courtesy: The Times of India)   

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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