Deepak Kamra Of Canaan Partners Testifies Before House Subcommittee On Immigration Policy In Support Of A StartUp Visa Category

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Former NVCA Board Member Shares Experiences as Immigrant Entrepreneur; Urges Congress to Welcome Foreign-Born Company Founders

Former National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) board member and general partner at Canaan Partners Deepak Kamra today urged members of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement to create a StartUp Visa category for foreign–born entrepreneurs who wish to start their high growth businesses in the United States. Mr. Kamra himself was an immigrant entrepreneur who had difficulty obtaining a visa so that he could help start a software company in the 1980s. However, as he shared with Congress, significant difficulties remain for today’s company founders who are not born in the United States.

Mr. Kamra explained to the committee that while H-1B visas often help immigrants work for large established corporations, they are rarely issued to entrepreneurs wishing to start a company. Consequently, individuals seeking to do so have to find other means of establishing temporary or permanent residency in the United States. Many of these highly talented and highly motivated individuals are now forsaking the dream of succeeding in America and are subsequently building their companies overseas. This dynamic is costing the United States significant jobs as it is estimated nearly half of venture-backed startup companies have immigrants as part of the founding teams.

Per Mr. Kamra, support for a StartUp Visa category must be accompanied by parameters and monitoring that prevents abuse of the system. It must also reflect current funding levels for startup companies and allow for flexibility in the early years when setbacks typically occur, but are ultimately overcome. Most importantly, Mr. Kamra asserted that a StartUp Visa would send the right message to a vital community that we want here in America.

“I speak on behalf of myself and other immigrant company founders like me when I express how lucky we were to be given the opportunity to found and fund companies here in the United States. But luck shouldn’t have anything to do with it,” said Kamra. “Our country must approach immigrant entrepreneurs with a renewed sense of vigor, purpose and enthusiasm. We should not just “allow” these individuals to come to our country; we should encourage and welcome them – and reinforce the notion that the U.S. is indeed the best place to live work and innovate. Only then will we ensure that we remain a global economic leader.”

A full copy of Deepak’s Kamra’s testimony can be found here.

About National Venture Capital Association

Venture capitalists are committed to funding America’s most innovative entrepreneurs, working closely with them to transform breakthrough ideas into emerging growth companies that drive U.S. job creation and economic growth. According to a 2011 Global Insight study, venture-backed companies accounted for 12 million jobs and $3.1 trillion in revenue in the United States in 2010. As the voice of the U.S. venture capital community, the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) empowers its members and the entrepreneurs they fund by advocating for policies that encourage innovation and reward long-term investment. As the venture community’s preeminent trade association, NVCA serves as the definitive resource for venture capital data and unites more than 400 members through a full range of professional services. For more information about the NVCA, please visit http://www.nvca.org.

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