Source: CNN Global Public Square:

A new book caught my eye this week. It’s called The Immigrant Exodus by Vivek Wadhwa, a former tech entrepreneur who now studies and lectures on immigration. He has some fascinating findings. Wadhwa says between 1995 and 2005, more than a half of all Silicon Valley tech companies were founded by immigrants.

Were more than a half of all Silicon Valley tech companies founded by immigrants between 1995 and 2005?

  • 4
    Well, unless they are started by Native Americans, they are all started by immigrants ;-)
    – vartec
    Jan 16, 2013 at 12:47
  • 2
    @vartec Even they immigrated from Asia. Jan 17, 2013 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


"Were more than a half of all Silicon Valley tech companies founded by immigrants between 1995 and 2005?" Yes, it seems so.

"Over half (52.4%) of Silicon Valley startups had one or more immigrants as a key founder, compared with the California average of 38.8%." (p. 5)

This is, however, much higher than the average in the U.S:

In 25.3% of these companies [average of all U.S. states], at least one key founder was foreign-born. States with an above-average rate of immigrant-founded companies include California (39%), New Jersey (38%), Georgia (30%), and Massachusetts (29%). Belowaverage states include Washington (11%), Ohio (14%), North Carolina (14%), and Texas (18%). (p.4)

The notes below probably explains the peak in Silicon Valley:

Almost 80% of immigrant-founded companies in the US were within just two industry fields: software and innovation/manufacturing-related services. (p.4)

!Chart 6: Breakdown of Engineering and Technology Companies Founded by Immigrants from 1995 to 2005 by Industry


It is noteworthy that immigrants from China and India both constitute much less than 1% of the total U.S. population. (p.6)

... Indians account for more than 25% of engineering and technology immigrant founders. Chart 1: Birthplace of Engineering and Technology Immigrant Founders

They also seem to have their fair share in PCT applications:

!Chart 10: Intellectual Property Contributions of U.S. Immigrant Non-citizens – PCT Applications by Nationality – 1998 to 2006

Source: http://sites.kauffman.org/pdf/entrep_immigrants_1_61207.pdf

  • In case the referenced link goes 404, the title of the paper is "America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs" (January 4, 2007) on the letterhead of "Master of Engineering Management Program, Duke University; School of Information, U.C. Berkeley" with electronic copy available at papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=990152
    – ChrisW
    Nov 4, 2013 at 10:36

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