Immigrant-founded companies are valued at $1.2 trillion

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Immigrants are 80 percent more likely than native-born Americans to found a firm, according to a study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but this might not be so impressive if the businesses are laundromats, nail salons, and gas stations:

According to the NFAP, a nonprofit that researches trade and immigration, immigrants have started 319 of 582, or 55 percent, of America’s privately-held startups valued at $1 billion or more. Over two-thirds of the 582 companies “were founded or cofounded by immigrants or the children of immigrants,” notes the NFAP. For comparison, approximately 14 percent of America’s population is foreign-born.

Together, the immigrant-founded companies are valued at $1.2 trillion and employ 859 people on average. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has the largest valuation at $125 billion, employing 12,000 workers; Gopuff, a food delivery service valued at $15 billion, has 15,000 employees; Stripe, a payment platform valued at $95 billion, employs 7,000; and Instacart, a grocery delivery service valued at $39 billion, has 3,000 workers.

These findings are notable, the NFAP points out, since “there is generally no reliable way under U.S. immigration law for foreign nationals to start a business and remain in the country after founding a company.” A large share of the immigrant startup founders came to the country as refugees, on family-sponsored green cards, or through employment-based pathways for other companies.

“Our employment-based pathways for immigrant entrepreneurship are so poorly designed, migrant businesses are often associated with non–employment based pathways,” points out Sam Peak, an immigration policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity. Peak notes that refugees “have the highest rates of entrepreneurship of any other immigrant group,” and family-based migration, “especially among siblings, is also strongly tied to new business formation.”


  1. Contaminated NEET says:

    If these immigrants are so much more dynamic and entrepreneurial than us local local, can we stop giving them special loans, subsidies, and contract preferences? No? O-okay…

  2. Wang Wei Lin says:


    I love the ‘Americans suck, immigrants are wonderful’ attitude of the article.

    If immigrants are so talented why don’t they fix their home countries? Govt incentives are a major influencer for immigrants. As to Musk, one of the first things addressed while Tesla was forming was what were the tax incentives. I dare say take away tax incentives and the business environment across the board would change drastically.

  3. McChuck says:

    One third of the people currently occupying the USA are foreign born.

  4. Altitude Zero says:

    Yes, if these people are so wonderful, special, and economically productive, we’re damaging their home countries by taking them, and we should stop this act of economic imperialism immediately.

    Of course, we all know that, if Mexican and Central American immigrants start voting Republican, the border will be slammed shut so fast it will make your head spin, and will feature a fifty-foot wall with razor wire and automatic machine guns, despite any businesses these people might start. No one is fooled by this garbage anymore.

  5. Jim says:

    McChuck: “One-third of the people currently occupying the U.S.A. are foreign born.”


  6. Bomag says:

    “…319 of 582, or 55 percent, of America’s privately-held startups valued at $1 billion or more…”

    So there are 319 immigrants worth letting into the country. Good to know. Now our academics can help us keep out the other millions and millions.

    “…Musk’s SpaceX…Gopuff, a food delivery service…Stripe, a payment platform…Instacart, a grocery delivery service…”

    How about drug cartels? Delivering value the natives just can’t quite equal.

    Looks like stuff that drafts off infrastructure laid down over the years by non-immigrants. We’re far better off doing without such business; or paying a little bit more for a native to do such value transference; than to suffer the ethnic; racial, and political roiling of our current mass immigration.

  7. Felix says:

    OK, immigrants start successful businesses more than non-immigrants. Are we talking all immigrants, legal immigrants only, or illegal immigrants only?

    In the case of illegal immigrants, it might be more interesting to count 2nd generation, legal, offspring.

    Hmmm. Maybe a 2nd gen comparison would be better to do than the self-selected, odd-ball, 1st generation.

    And, historically, it would probably be best to count those in the “Great Migration” as legal immigrants.

  8. James James says:

    This one

    has this table:
    Canada 9
    Israel 9
    India 8
    United Kingdom 7
    China 6
    Germany 4
    France 3
    Ireland 3
    Russia 3
    Australia 2
    Ukraine 2
    Armenia 1
    Azerbaijan 1
    Bulgaria 1
    Denmark 1
    Iraq 1
    Italy 1
    Lebanon 1
    Netherlands 1
    New Zealand 1
    Norway 1
    South Africa 1
    Sweden 1
    Uzbekistan 1
    Vietnam 1
    Source: National Foundation for American Policy

    So perhaps we could increase immigration from the top 10 and decrease immigration from Somalia.

    Or just have an IQ test for visas.

  9. Bomag says:

    So perhaps we could increase immigration from the top 10 and decrease immigration from Somalia.

    Perhaps we don’t even need this. I’ve suggested we could at least keep out the 9/11 hijackers; the other side blubbers that you can’t argue from extreme examples. But then they argue from the extreme example of billionaires, and want to let in all the Somalis they can in hopes of catching a billionaire, “for the GDP, PBUI.”


    So does this mass immigration go on forever, or do our current mass immigraters eventually gain the political power to stop the flow and have a country to themselves? We appear to be in brothel economics, where fresh blood is always needed; the old, tired natives are pushed off into a chasm somewhere to make room for the new and fresh.


    If immigrants are so talented why don’t they fix their home countries?

    This. I’ll bring it up, and the consiglieres say, “well, they don’t have the political system to thrive and make the money to which they are entitled by dint of their awesome abilities.”

    So politics trumps economics, or maybe economics doesn’t really work; good to know. And good to know we are importing people who couldn’t see this in their home country; now we are handing over a chunk of the keys in hopes they’ll get it right this time.

  10. A Texan says:

    That’s my big problem with the ‘libertardians’ at Reason. It’s lost on them that race, IQ, and culture matter. How many of those immigrants vote for limited government candidates and support free speech and the right to self defense.

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