More Than A Third Of The Top US Tech Companies Were Founded By People Born Outside The Country

In this year’s “state of the internet” presentation, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker noted that more than a third of the top tech companies in the U.S. were founded by foreigners.

According to a report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, nine of the top 25 U.S. public tech companies were founded by people born outside the U.S. That’s 36%.

These are the founders:

  • Sergey Brin, Russia (Google)
  • Eduardo Saverin, Brazil (Facebook)
  • Andrew Viterbi, Italy (Qualcomm)
  • Pierre Omidyar, France (eBay)
  • Cecil Green, UK (Texas Instruments)
  • Edouard Bugnion, Switzerland (VMware)
  • Jerry Yang, Taiwan (Yahoo)
  • Francisco D’souza, Indian descent but born in Kenya and Kumar Mahadeva, Sri Lanka (Cognisant Technology)
  • Eli Harari, Israel (Sandisk)

It’s well known in the U.S. tech community that a lot of talent comes from abroad, especially when it comes to coders and engineers. In fact, many blame U.S. immigration policy for holding back innovation in America, and a number of tech companies worked for new immigration laws, leading to the creation of the H1B Visa Program, which makes it easier for companies to offer visas to high-skilled workers in technology and engineering fields. Mark Zuckerberg was a huge advocate for that program with his group FWD.us.

The idea is that successful innovation in American will be forwarded by allowing more foreigners to immigrate. And the fact that a third of these tech founders are first-generation Americans can’t hurt the argument.

Here is the slide from Meeker’s presentation. Click for a larger version:

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