From Avant to Zenefits: The astronomical impact of immigrant-founded unicorn startups in the US


President Donald Trump has shaken Silicon Valley so deeply that workers are now talking about unionizing to resist the president’s agenda. Earlier this year, Trump’s initial travel ban sparked fears that the president could potentially exclude the next generation of immigrant entrepreneurs.

That’s because Silicon Valley is built on the shoulders of immigrants. According to a 2016 report from the National Foundation for American Policy, more than 50% of venture-backed unicorns (companies valued at more than $1 billion dollars) are founded or co-founded by 1st generation immigrants. More yet are run by the sons and daughters of immigrants. In fact, the collective value of immigrant-founded unicorns is currently about $200 billion. (It’s notable that a significant part of that valuation traces to Uber Technologies, co-founded by Canadian-born Garrett Camp.)

In its report the National Foundation for American Policy included a list of all immigrant-founded unicorns based in the US and their valuations. Quartz updated the list, highlighting the astronomical economic impact of immigrant entrepreneurs:

Company Name Immigrant founder or co-founder Number of employees Last company valuation
Actifio (Waltham, MA) Founded 2009 Ash Ashutosh (India) 400 $1.1 billion
Anaplan (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2006 Guy Haddleton (New Zealand) 600 $1.1 billion
AppDirect (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2009 Daniel Saks (Canada) Nicolas Desmarais (Canada) 500 $1.0 billion
AppNexus (New York, NY) Founded 2007 Mike Nolet (Holland) 1,000 $1.8 billion
Apttus (San Mateo, CA) Founded 2006 Kirk Krappe (UK) 1,200 $1.3 billion
Avant (Chicago, IL) Founded 2012 Al Goldstein (Uzbekistan), John Sun (China), Paul Zhang (China) 600 $2.0 billion
Bloom Energy (Sunnyvale, CA) Founded 2001 KR Sridhar (India) 1,200 $2.9 billion
Cloudera (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2008 Amr Awadallah (Egypt) 1,400 $4.1 billion
Cloudflare (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2009 Michelle Zatalyn (Canada) 400 $1.0 billion
Compass (New York, NY) Founded 2012 Ori Allon (Israel) 327 $1.0 billion
Credit Karma (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2007 Kenneth Lin (China) 400 $3.5 billion
Eventbrite (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2006 Renaud Visage (France) 600 $1.0 billion
Evernote (Redwood City, CA) Founded 2007 Stepan Pachikov (Azerbaijan) 320 $1.0 billion
FanDuel (New York, NY) Founded 2009 Nigel Eccles (UK), Tom Griffiths (UK), Lesley Eccles (UK) 300 $1.3 billion
Gusto (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2011 Tomer London (Israel) 400 $1.1 billion
The Honest Company (Los Angeles, CA) Founded 2012 Brian Lee (South Korea) 500 $1.7 billion
Houzz (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2009 Adi Takarko (Israel), Alon Cohen (Israel) 1,200 $2.3 billion
Infinidat (Needman, MA) Founded 2010 Moshe Yanai (Israel) 350 $1.2 billion
Instacart (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2012 Apoorva Mehta (India) 300 $3.4 billion
Jawbone (San Francisco, CA) Founded 1999 Alexander Asseily (UK) 395 $1.5 billion
Jetsmarter (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Founded 2012 Sergey Petrossov (Russia) 200 $1.5 billion
Medallia (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2001 Borge Hald (Norway) 1,000 $1.3 billion
Moderna Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA) Founded 2010 Noubar Afeyan (Armenia), Derrick Rossi (Canada) 326 $3.0 billion
Mu Sigma (Northbrook, IL) Founded 2004 Dhiraj Rajaram (India) 3,500 $1.5 billion
OfferUp (Bellevue, WA) Founded Arean Van Veelen (The Netherlands) 155 $1.0 billion
Oscar Health Insurance (New York, NY) Founded 2012 Merio Schlosser (Germany) 415 $2.7 billion
Palantir Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2004 Peter Thiel (Germany) 2,000 $20 billion
Proteus Digital Health (Redwood City, CA) Founded 2001 Andrew Thompson (UK) 230 $1.1 billion
Quanergy (Sunnyvale, CA) Founded 2012 Louay Eldada (Lebanon) and Tianyue Yu (China) 120 $1.6 billion
Razer (Irvine, CA) Founded 1998 Min-Liang Tan (Singapore) 600 $1.5 billion
Slack Technologies (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2009 Stewart Butterfield (Canada), Serguei Mourachov (Russia), Cal Henderson (UK) 800 $3.8 billion
SpaceX (Hawthorne, CA) Founded 2002 Elon Musk (South Africa) 5,000 $12 billion
Sprinklr (New York, NY) Founded 2009 Ragy Thomas (India) 1,300 $1.8 billion
Stripe (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2009 John Collison (Ireland), Patrick Collison (Ireland) 650 $9.2 billion
Tango (Mountain View, CA) Founded 2009 Uri Raz (Israel), Eric Setton (France) 200 $1.0 billion
Tanium (Emeryville, CA) Founded 2007 David Hindawi (Iraq) 450 $3.5 billion
Uber Technologies (San Francisco, Ca) Founded 2009 Garrett Camp (Canada) 10,000 $68 billion
Udacity (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2011 Sabastian Thrun (Germany) 230 $1.0 billion
WeWork (New York, NY) Founded 2010 Adam Neumann (Israel) 1,600 $17.2 billion
Wish (ContextLogic) (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2011 Peter Szulczewski (Canada), Danny Zhang (Canada) n/a $3.0 billion
Zenefits (San Francisco, CA) Founded 2013 Laks Srini (India) 500 $2.0 billion
ZocDoc (New York, NY) Founded 2007 Oliver Kharraz (Germany) 500 $1.8 billion
Zoox (Palo Alto, CA) Founded 2014 Tim Kentley-Klay (Australia) 200 $1.6 billion
Zscaler (San Jose, CA) Founded 2008 Jay Chaudhry (India) 600 $1.0 billion

The data on this list drew from the National Foundation for American Policy’s 2016 report, “Immigrants and Billion Dollar Startups,” by Stuart Anderson, which incorporated company-provided numbers as well as data from external sources such as CrunchBase and LinkedIn. Quartz updated the report with new and updated information from companies, in addition to the Wall Street Journal’s report, “The Billion Dollar Startup Club” (which was updated March 2017), and Business Insider’s list of new unicorns that emerged in 2016.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search