It’s become a familiar pattern for foreign entrepreneurs: Get a startup idea, decide to focus on the relatively wealthy U.S. market, incorporate in the U.S. and even hire employees here. And then eventually try to move permanently to the country where they’ve built a new business.
Since 2016, an estimated 1,865 people outside the U.S. have founded U.S.-based companies that received venture funding, according to a tally from Crunchbase, a company that tracks startups and their funding.
Israel led the way with 12 percent of those founders, followed by the United Kingdom and India at 11 percent each, Crunchbase said. Another 7 percent were from Canada and 4 percent from Germany. Y Combinator, a California-based startup incubator that provides funding and coaching in exchange for a stake in young companies, had 50 percent of its latest class of entrepreneurs from outside the U.S., the highest percentage ever.
The startups highlight just how desirable the U.S. continues to be as a destination for entrepreneurs, even as other markets including China are becoming competitive and startup funding goes global.
The rise of foreigners establishing startups raises persistent questions about the U.S. economy and the immigration system, including whether the federal government should be more accommodating.