Betting Big: Young Immigrant Entrepreneurs

One of the most highly-motivated, capable groups of individuals in America is often taken for granted: young immigrant entrepreneurs. They leave their home countries to bring their dreams to live in the land of opportunity. Immigrants are some of our most brilliant innovators, researchers, and scientists. They make up only 12% of the U.S. population but in recent years hold 30% of its patents, 47% of its doctorates in science and engineering, and 25% of its Nobel Prizes. Young immigrant entrepreneurs are tackling challenging problems, building successful companies, creating jobs, and adding to the economy.

While there are political factions with anti-immigration agendas, the facts will not change: immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses than U.S.-born citizens. According to Inc. Magazine, between 1995 and 2005 immigrants founded 52% of all new Silicon Valley companies, with 25% of them raising VC funds. In 2012, tech companies founded by immigrant entrepreneurs employed over 560,000 people and generated over $63 billion in sales.

Well-known immigrant entrepreneurs, including Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Vinod Khosla, have built some of the world’s most successful companies. If not for immigrants, Google, PayPal, Tesla, Evernote, Reddit, and many other companies would not exist. With new ideas and diverse perspectives, young immigrant entrepreneurs are leading promising startups that could be the next unicorns.

  • What drives these young entrepreneurs to immigrate?
  • How do they overcome the many challenges that they face?
  • Are they concerned about immigration reform affecting their companies?

* Source: Bernard Munos, Senior Fellow, FasterCures 


Mohit Aron, Founder and CEO, Cohesity
With 15 years of experience in building scalable, high-performance distribution systems, Mohit has been attributed as the father of hyper-convergence. Prior to founding Cohesity in 2013, he co-founded Nutanix and before that was at Google as a lead developer on the Google File System engineering project. Mohit holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rice University.


Iba Masood, Co-Founder and CEO, TARA.AI
With a strong passion for machine learning, Iba has spent the last seven years building mechanisms for pre-screening and project deployment in software, for hundreds of enterprise customers. She was recently awarded the Forbes “30 under 30,” is a past winner of the MIT Global Business Plan competition, and was a recipient of the UN ITU Young Innovator’s Award. She has also been featured in TechCrunch, Wired, and The Huffington Post.

Tenzin Seldon, Co-Founder and CEO, Kinstep
Raised in the Indian Himalayas, Tenzin graduated with honors from Stanford University and was the first Tibetan-American Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. An advocate for disenfranchised communities, her work has been recognized around the globe: Forbes “30 under 30,” World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Harry S. Truman Scholar, and one of OZY magazine’s “5 Civil-Rights Leaders for a New Generation.” She has also been a visiting lecturer at Rangsit University and UC Berkeley.

Gary Kurek, Founder and CEO, Kügar
After spending years manufacturing advanced robotic mobility aids, Gary launched Kügar to develop technology that redefines how we build complex electromechanical systems, with an aim to bring automated manufacturing back to the United States. He was the youngest Canadian to ever receive an O-1A extraordinary ability visa, was selected as part of Peter Thiel’s “20 Under 20” inaugural class in 2011, was one of Canada’s “Top 20 under 20,” and is a Forbes “Top 30 under 30.”

Adelanwa Adesanya, Co-Founder, Moving Analytics, Inc.
Originally from Nigeria, Ade is the co-founder of Moving Analytics, a digital health company dedicated to conquering heart disease through digital prevention programs. One of Ade’s passions is helping entrepreneurs actualize their visions. Previously, he worked with researchers at USC to commercialize their research into startup companies and is the co-founder of Lighthouse Africa, a nonprofit whose mission is to foster early-stage investing in African entrepreneurs.

Featured Speaker:

Iliana G. Perez, Research Analyst, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
Born in Hidalgo, Mexico, and a DACA recipient in 2013, Iliana focuses on immigrant entrepreneurs, the successes of immigrant students, the effects of deportation on the lives of young adults, and the economics of immigration. She has shared her story with various audiences across the country and on several media outlets, including the LA Times, Business Insider, CNN, CNNE, The Huffington Post, Univision, La Opinion, and Radio Bilingue.


Event Team Chair: Sangam Sangameswara                Event Team Co-Chair: Esha Prasad

Event Team: Michael Chen, Hira Dangol, David Fundenberg, Monique Hodgkinson, Ravi Prasad, Anshuman Tripathi


SRI International Conference Center
333 Ravenswood Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(Enter from Middlefield Road and Ringwood Ave.)Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Reception: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Panel Discussion: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pmDownload the printable event flyer.





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