Indian entrepreneurs are the faces behind a growing number of US tech startups. A study by the US based Kauffman Foundation shows that 33.2% of the cofounders of engineering and technology firms founded by immigrants in the US since 2006 were Indians. The next came the Chinese, at 8.1%. Another study done in 2007 for the period 1995 to 2005 had found that Indians accounted for 26% of the co-founders during that period. So there’s been a 7 percentage point increase in the Indian contribution in the post-2005 period. In fact, the Indian immigrant contribution was the only one that increased; most other immigrant communities saw a decline in their contributions, leading to a general stagnation in immigrant entrepreneurship in the US.
The Kauffman study examined a random sample of 1,882 companies out of a total of 107,819 engineering and technology companies founded in the last six years. Of those companies, 458 had at least one foreign-born founder. Sridhar Mitta, founder of social entrepreneurship firm NextWealth Entrepreneurs, attributes the phenomenon to the large number of smart Indian students who went to the US for higher studies and made careers there. “Many quit their jobs to chase the big American dream of starting something of their own,” he says. Most had mastered frugal engineering and so broke through the US glass ceiling.
“Indians are bright and very good at networking. They have a will to succeed and that makes them tick as entrepreneurs,” says Prof S Sadagopan , director, IIIT-Bangalore . First generation entrepreneurs like Vinod Khosla became poster boys of immigrant startups. Some of them donned the avatar of mentor and investor for the immigrant community in the US. “The IndUS Entrepreneurs broke the ice by creating an entrepreneurial culture, blurring regional differences that existed among immigrant entrepreneurs,” says Sharad Sharma, entrepreneur in residence in venture capital firm Canaan Partners.
Other successful Indianorigin entrepreneurs including Kanwal Rekhi, Pramod Haque, Gururaj Deshpande, and B V Jagadeesh won the goodwill and heart of American investors. Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Hotmail, became the face of internet ventures, drawing admiration from aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to make it big in the dot com era. Many Indian Americans have been encouraged to launch startups knowing they can tap into the enormous amount of technology talent in India. Dhiraj Rajaram founded analytics firm Mu Sigma in Chicago, but built its entire delivery centre in Bangalore. AbsolutData, founded by Anil Kaul, Suhale Kapoor and Sudeshna Datta in California, has its delivery centre in Delhi. Fractal Analytics was founded by Nirmal Palaparthi , Pradeep Suryanarayan , Pranay Agrawal, Ramakrishna Reddy and Srikanth Velamakanni in California , with most of its delivery out of India.
Mukund Mohan, CEO in residence at the Microsoft Startup Accelerator, says Indians working in the technology space gave many immigrant entrepreneurs a head start into tech ventures. “The Bay Area has only six million people of which half a million are Indians. And of those Indians, 72% work in the tech sector. Of the total tech firms that get funded in the US, 50% are in Silicon Valley. So the chances of Indians becoming founders or co-founders of these companies is high,” he says.
News source: TimesofIndia