A study released earlier this year -- often cited by advocates of immigration reform -- found that a quarter of technology and engineering startups in the U.S. were founded by immigrants. In Silicon Valley, the number is even higher -- 52 percent of startups have at least one foreign founder.
This may not be surprising, considering the cultural predisposition toward hard work exhibited by many immigrants, such as the couple profiled in this Newsvine piece. The twentysomethings run their business, which text messages promotional offers to users' mobile phones, from their 500-square-foot apartment. They work nearly around the clock and essentially have no life outside their entrepreneurial venture.
They have invested $30,000 in the business and are seeking venture capital. They may have a tough time of it. According to a recent SiliconValleyWatcher item, influential VC firms like California's Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are losing interest in Web 2.0 companies.
This doesn't discourage the couple, whose background has made them tolerant of risk. As one of the founders says:
My parents came to this country from Cambodia when they were 40 with three kids, no money and no English. What's the worst that can happen?
The other founder spoke no English when he came to the U.S. from Taiwan at age 16. He became fluent enough to earn a master's degree in information systems, however.
We blogged recently about the need for young Americans to stay apace academically with their global peers -- but it may be just as important, if not more so, for them to match their work ethic and drive to succeed.