3D RoboticsJordi Muñoz, co-founder and president at 3D RoboticsFifty-six per cent of the top 25 tech companies were founded by first or second generation Americans, according to a new report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
That includes companies like eBay, Google, and Apple.
We decided to take a look at some of the most influential immigrants in the U.S. who are launching innovative companies, creating jobs, and growing our economy.
Their stories are impressive: One was forced to fight as a child soldier in Mao’s Red Army. Another taught himself to read as a child in a Turkish village with only one teacher. And a third slept in a Taco Bell parking lot in Silivon Valley rather than try to launch his business in Japan.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Taro Fukuyama got his first taste of America when he studied abroad during high school. In 2011, Fukuyama and his team decided to leave Japan and come to Silicon Valley to further grow their dating startup called Mieple. They spent the first three days sleeping in a minivan in a Taco Bell parking lot. But today, Fukuyama and his team are running a hot new startup called AnyPerk.
Eren Bali was born in a small village in Turkey. Bali essentially had to teach himself, since his primary school only had one room and one teacher trying to teach 5 different grades at once. Bali went on to earn a degree in both computer science and mathematics at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey.
It was his personal education experience that led to online learning platform Udemy. Today, Bali is the CEO at Udemy, which has raised $16 million from investors including Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank, MHS Capital, 500 Startups, and others.
Alexander Torrenegra, born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, is a serial entrepreneur who started his first business when he was just 14 years old. He co-founded startup incubator Torrenegra Labs in 2001 alongside co-founder and now wife Tania.
Other than Torrenegra Labs, Torrenegra has co-founded VoiceBunny, WeHostels, Localo, and others.
Q Zhao was born and raised in China. At age 14, she went to one of the best universities in China. At the age of 21, she moved to the U.S. to pursue her Ph.D degree in electrical engineering. After obtaining her degree, she moved to Silicon Valley, jumped into the land of startups, and created 2RedBeans.com, a site for Chinese singles, in 2011.
Zhao even met her husband on the exact website she created to help others find love.
Originally from Germany, Stefan Broda moved to China for college and stayed there for 8 years. Broda worked at IBM China and co-founded enterprise software startup BizSphere in 2007 to help marketing and sales departments better manage their sales collateral.
In his first months in San Francisco, Broda volunteered at events like Gay Pride and Folsom Street Fair and admired the sexual openness of the city. He eventually founded BeforeWeDo to make it easier for Americans to regularly test for HIV and STDs from the comfort and privacy of their home.
Born in Ensenada and raised Tijuana, Mexico, Jordi Muñoz became interested in unmanned aerial vehicles, a.k.a. drones, at a young age.
Now, he's the president of drone-making company 3D Robotics, an open source drone technology company he founded alongside former Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson.
Pierre Omidyar is a French-born Iranian who emigrated from France with his family at the age of six. When he turned 28, Omidyar began working on a site called Auction Web. He later renamed it to eBay because Echo Bay was already taken.
Vinod Khosla grew up in an Indian Army household. After realising his interest in technology, Khosla attended the Indian Institute of Technology where he earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Khosla later came to the U.S., received his master's in biomedical engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University and eventually earned his MBA at Stanford University. Today, Khosla is one of the most well-respected venture capitalists in technology. His firm Khosla Ventures has invested in startups like Square, ZocDoc, Jawbone, and VOX Media.
When Fu was only eight years old, Mao Zedong's Red Guards took her from her home, forcing her to be a child soldier.
Now, Fu is the co-founder and CEO of 3D software company Geomagic. She is also a member of President Barack Obama's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Nir Zuk hails from Rehovot, Israel.
After receiving his first computer at the age of 16, Zuk taught himself how to program by hacking away at computer viruses, and writing commercial programs with his Dragon 64 home computer. In fact, Zuk was one of the first virus developers in the world.
Today, Zuk is the founder and CTO of Palo Alto Networks, a company that provides that next-generation firewall security solutions.
Elon Musk grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk studied physics and business at the University of Pennsylvania. He later went on to co-found Tesla Motors and Space X. Today, he's a billionaire.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his family emigrated from Russia with his family when he was just six years old. While enrolled at a computer science Ph.D. program at Stanford University, Brin met Larry Page and eventually dropped out to start Google. Today, Brin is responsible for Google's special projects like Google Glass and self-driving cars.
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