Immigrants to the US Don’t Take American Jobs, They Create Them

August 31, 2009

According to a guest piece in yesterday’s TechCrunch by Vivek Wadhwa, immigrant workers in the US on H1B visas (those issued to highly skilled professionals) would create a lot more American jobs if the government would reduce restrictions on this visa class.

Consider for a moment that between 1995-2005, one-quarter of all technology and engineering startups in the US were created by immigrants; 52% of the companies in Silicon Valley were founded by non-US born workers. These so-called “immigrant-founded” companies employed 450,000 workers in the US in 2005. In 2006, more than 25% of US global patents had foreign-born authors.

The US only makes 60,000 H1B visas available each year. For years, US employers, especially those in the high-tech industry have been asking the government to increase this limit — not to take jobs away from Americans, but rather to fill positions with qualified individuals. Additionally, foreign workers on the H1B visa must wait years for that visa to turn over into a green card (permanent residence). During that time talented workers remain in jobs that they may actually become overqualified for or they grow frustrated and return home, becoming “unwilling competitors” to the US companies that trained them.

Typically, workers with an H1B visa cannot start a new business in America. The TechCrunch piece argues that they should be able to because their startups would create more new American jobs. These immigrants could be rewarded for their efforts to boost the US economy with a faster track to a green card, and thus free up H1B visa slots for a new pool of talented foreign workers that could continue to help the US economy recover and prosper. (Read more)

Good News across Silicon Valley’s Diverse Entrepeneurial Community

August 25, 2009

There’s a venture capital revival happening across Silicon Valley’s diverse entrepreneurial community. That’s good news for companies not only looking to raise funds, but also those looking to enter the US market and grow organically or through other means. It’s a sign that the US economy is looking up in general with numerous industry sectors in play. San Jose Mercury News reporter Scott Duke Harris cites recent investments in pharmaceuticals, desktop virtualization, security, online publishing, smartphones and more in “Venture Capital Revival for Valley Entrepreneurs”. (Read more)

The Future of Influence: San Francisco and Sydney, August 31-September 1

August 18, 2009

future of influence_banner_640x180ANZA TechNet members are invited to attend the Future of Influence, a highly interactive day, linking two great cities at the future of influence, San Francisco and Sydney. The San Francisco event will be held on August 31 at CBS Interactive starting at 1:00 pm with keynote speaker Tara Hunt, author of the Whuffie Factor on how to raise social capital of choice. This will be followed by a panel discussion on “Business Models for Influence and Reputation”.

Then Sydney joins San Francisco live on their Tuesday morning, September 1. Joint discussions between the two cities via video hookup include keynote by Howard Rheingold author of Smart Mobs, and panels on “Influence at the Center of Marketing and Advertising” led by Brian Solis and “How Influence is Driving Content and Publishing” with Khris Loux and Stephen Howard-Sarin in San Francisco and Duncan Riley and Steve Weaver in Sydney. The San Francisco event closes with an after-party at 6 pm.

ANZA TechNet members can receive a $70 discount and attend the San Francisco event for just $129 when using the code ANZATECH to register here. Sydney attendees can select to attend the full summit and an afternoon workshop, or workshop only. Click here for details. Complete agenda in both cities is available at this link.

Plug and Play’s CEO Saeed Amidi Profiled in BusinessWeek

August 17, 2009

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

It’s great to see my friend, Plug and Play’s CEO Saeed Amidi profiled in BusinessWeek.  Since 2006, Saeed and his staff have been the host of our ANZA Gateway to the US Summit and other events at the Plug and Play Tech Center incubator facility in the Silicon Valley town of Sunnyvale.

I’ve had the pleasure to watch Saeed’s business grow over the past four years to other incubator facilities in the Valley and beyond, which makes our ANZA connection all the more special, since we continue to hold our events at the original site of this venture.

The Plug and Play Tech Center is a favorite venue for ANZA companies when they come to the Vallley for the Gateway because it really offers them a “taste test” of what it is like to work here. Throughout the time they spend at Plug and Play the ANZA companies are repeatedly exposed to other entrepreneurs with start-ups, executives in residence and other important people in Silicon Valley who pass through the incubator on a regular basis for one of the many company pitch sessions or networking opportunities. Plug and Play welcomes businesses from all over the world, which creates an international atmosphere that mirrors Silicon Valley as whole.

Plug and Play has been a temporary home to several ANZA Gateway and Fast Track companies as they establish their US base here and ANZA TechNet members who have taken part in the executive-in-residence program.

We’re pleased to be holding the 2009 ANZA Gateway to the US Summit at Plug and Play again this year, October 5-7. We’ll be including this piece on Saeed Amidi and Plug and Play in our Gateway handbook, but if you’d like to read more about this energetic environment for start-up and early-stage tech entrepreneurs now, click here. It’s not too early to start thinking beyond the Gateway Summit to what I consider not only prime Silicon Valley office space at a truly affordable price but a real Silicon Valley experience all the way around.

Perkler on A Current Affair

August 13, 2009

Perkler Boys on Current Affair We were excited to hear that 2008 ANZA Gateway company Perkler was featured on A Current Affair last night. CEO Dan Bisa (right) and CMO Justin Barrie (left) took a reporter on a tour of a local Canberra shopping center to show just how much money could be saved with “reward cards” — or perks. In an hour, the Perkler boys saved $187.

Perkler has a website devoted to helping Australians keep track of their rewards cards and the points, freebies, dollars off, etc. you are entitled to. You can also search by company, brand name, topic (i.e., “coffee”) or location to find rewards you may be missing out on. Since their participation in last year’s Gateway to the US and some market exploration in the UK, we understand they’ve been hard at work with some exciting announcements coming soon.

Click here to watch the 4-minute video clip of Dan and Justin on A Current Affair.

Rahmon Coupe of YourAmigo Selected Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

August 11, 2009

Congratulations to Rahmon Coupe, CEO of YourAmigo, the South Australia-based search engine solutions company who was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology and Emerging Industries in the Central Region of the Australian Ernst & Young Awards.

The unique award recognizes the achievements of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievements in business. Rahmon puts his success down to pioneering new technologies, creating companies with a global focus and building a culture of innovation amongst staff.

“YourAmigo is an internationally successful company that exports over 99% of its sales to some of the largest companies in the world such as General Motors and the Home Shopping Network in the United States, and News Corporation and Sony throughout Europe,” he said. “YourAmigo generates tens of millions of dollars in new sales for our clients – typically we deliver 5-25% of their total online sales.”

YourAmigo took part in the inaugural ANZA TechNet Gateway to the US program back in 2002 and Rahmon is a long-time member and supporter of ANZA TechNet.

Plan, Prepare and Persevere

August 10, 2009

by Viki Forrest, CEO ANZA Technology Network

Last week I got another phone call from an Australian entrepreneur with a great technology who was back in Australia after 3 weeks in Silicon Valley. He told me that he came to the Valley to get initial feedback on his idea and that he had come up empty. He had been told “you have to be here” to get the meetings. He came, but no meetings.

What went wrong? What did I recommend he do?

Plan, Prepare and Persevere

Plan--to use your personal network to get introductions. Remember, there may be 3 or 4 degrees of separation to your target meetings so recognize that it will take time. Build relationships. Always look for ways to assist the people you are introduced to. Business is a two-way street. Time your US trips to coincide with events and conferences that provide wide exposure to your target market.

Prepare–to deliver on every dimension; your written executive summary (one page), your ability to succinctly answer the question “what do you do?” in a way that invites conversation, and your compelling elevator pitch that opens the door to a more formal meeting. Don’t forget the basics. Is your website “US ready”? Do you know your main competition in the US? What’s your unfair competitive advantage?

Persevere–the US is a large and complex market which takes time to learn and navigate. Approach it strategically and persevere. You’ll need much more than 3 weeks to make significant inroads on your path to success in the US.