Immigrants built 40% of tech industry

Look at the top dogs: Google was co-founded by Russian-born Sergey Mikhailovich Brin; Yahoo’s Jerry Chih-Yuan Yang was born in Taiwan; eBay’s co-founder Pierre Omidyar was born in Paris to Iranian parents; and Intel’s Andy Grove came to the U.S. from Hungary.

The public policy study, entitled American Made, reported that over the past 15 years immigrants have started one-quarter of venture-backed U.S. public companies, equaling a market capitalization of $500 billion US. In the high-tech sector, the amount of immigrant-led U.S. companies rises to 40 per cent.


The study seems to be a promo to Congress to expand the H1-B visa program. This comment says a lot to counterbalance the hype:

The study counts the number of companies that had at least one founder who was an immigrant. If you have 100 companies, each with 5 founders – one of whom is an immigratn, this study claims all of those firms are “founded by immigrants”. If you take that one immigrant out of the equation, would these companies still have been founded?

Probably most.

In any event, this method of creating a bias sample is found in Chapter 1 of “How to Lie With Statistics”.

Note that none of the people metioned above came here on a guestworker visa. This propaganda piece says we have a lot of companies that had at least one founder who was an immigrant — therefore we need more guestworkers.

That is the classic “Does not follow’ logical fallacy – Non sequitur.

If Mr. Anderson had come up with a list of prominant companies founded by guestworkers, then he might have had a point. His lack of guestworkers founders is more telling.