StartupVisa.com was created by Eric Ries, Dave McClure, Shervin Pishevar, Brad Feld, Paul Kedrosky, Manu Kumar, & Fred Wilson to raise awareness and change policy re: the EB-5 visa, which enables investors from other countries to get a visa in exchange for starting a business in the US with $1M in capital (or $500K for economically targeted areas) & the creation of at least 10 US jobs.
We aim to represent the interests of entrepreneurs everywhere — in Silicon Valley, in the US, and around the world. We have been inspired by posts on the “Startup Founder Visa Movement” by Paul Graham and Brad Feld, among others. We want to make it easier for entrepreneurs to come to the US, start new businesses, and most importantly create more jobs. Our current plan is a proposal to modify the EB-5 visa, in order to enable non-US entrepeneurs with funding from a US investor to get a visa to start a company.
On Dec 10, 2009, legislation was proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House called the Employment Benefit Act of 2009. On Feb 24, 2010, this proposal has been joined by The Startup Visa Act of 2010 in the Senate, sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) & Richard Lugar (R-IN), and is also supported by over 100 US Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors. We hope to have one or both of these bills formally presented to Congress sometime later this year. Under the proposed legislation, instead of the visa going to an investor, a startup company founder or entrepreneur who receives a minimum equity investment of $250,000 could qualify as an EB-5 visa recipient. At least $100,000 would have to come from a sponsoring US investing entity. Overall, we hope to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to start businesses in the US and create jobs.
The current version of this bill is The Startup Visa Act of 2011, which lowered the required capital levels to qualify, as well as broadening the eligibility criteria to include foreign students from US universities and foreign workers from US businesses. Doubling its support in the Senate from 2010, Startup Visa currently counts seven Senators as cosponsors. Startup Visa provisions have also been included in the Kauffman Foundation-sponsored Startup Act, which was introduced by Senators Jeffry Moran (R-KS) & Mark Warner (D-VA) as the Startup Act of 2011.
Most recently, President Obama called for an immigration bill in his 2012 State of the Union that sets American immigration policy to chase after immigrants who “start new businesses,” which underlined his support for the Startup Visa policy in his May speech, “Building a 21st Century Immigration System.”
Under the proposed 2011 legislation, instead of the visa going to an investor, a startup company founder or entrepreneur who receives a minimum equity investment of $100,000 could qualify as an EB-5 visa recipient. At least $100,000 would have to come from a sponsoring US investing entity.
Overall we hope to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to start businesses in the US and create jobs.