20 Tech Influencers with Strong Immigrant Ties

American ingenuity is often foreign-born. With 51% of tech unicorns (valuation over a billion dollars) having an immigrant founder, we take a look at the Top 20 tech influencers with strong immigrant ties. 

Sundar Pichai, the Indian-born American CEO of Google (Credit: Getty Images)
Sundar Pichai, the Indian-born American CEO of Google (Credit: Getty Images)

It turns out that unicorns really do come from a far, faraway land. 


44% of Silicon Valley startups feature an immigrant founder and 51% of tech unicorns (valuation over a billion dollars) include an immigrant founder. The United States is a country where the founder of its financial system, Alexander Hamilton, was born out of wedlock on the island of Nevis. The late Steve Jobs, who put a giant dent in the universe with his visionary leadership, had a Syrian biological father.

American ingenuity is often foreign-born.

The engine of Silicon Valley is fueled by an international labor force that has come into focus during the current tumultuous political climate. The tech industry has long put a premium on talent and a de-emphasis towards one's country of origin. It remains to be seen how the heated rhetoric will impact the industry's ability to be a giant magnet for top-tier global talent. To understand the potential future for the tech industry, it is helpful to look at the current makeup of talent. 

Here are 20 tech influencers that are either immigrated to the US or a first-generation American. 

1. Elon Musk (Tesla | SpaceX, founder): Born in South Africa

2. Steve Chen (YouTube, Co-Founder): Born in Taiwan.

3. Pierre Omidyar (eBway, Founder): Born in France from Iranian parents.

4. Michelle Zatlyn (CloudFlare, Founder): Born in Canada.

5. Alexis Ohanian (Reddit, Co-founder): Mother was an undocumented immigrant from Armenia.

My father's family were refugees & my mom was an undocumented immigrant. Without them, there’s no me & no @Reddit.https://t.co/vITtZw5Gff pic.twitter.com/4qivf7eGRI

— Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) January 31, 2017

Malcolm Gladwell live | How to re-examine everything you know

Join Radiolab's Latif Nasser at 1pm ET on Monday as he chats with Malcolm Gladwell live on Big Think.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

Humans evolved for punching, study confirms

University of Utah research finds that men are especially well suited for fisticuffs.

Image source: durantelallera/Shutterstock
Surprising Science
  • With males having more upper-body mass than women, a study looks to find the reason.
  • The study is based on the assumption that men have been fighters for so long that evolution has selected those best-equipped for the task.
  • If men fought other men, winners would have survived and reproduced, losers not so much.
Keep reading Show less

To be a great innovator, learn to embrace and thrive in uncertainty

Innovators don't ignore risk; they are just better able to analyze it in uncertain situations.

David McNew/Getty Images
Personal Growth
Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was America's first female self-made millionaire.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Private prisons result in more inmates, longer sentences

The Labour Economics study suggests two potential reasons for the increase: corruption and increased capacity.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • After adopting strict sentencing laws in the '80s and '90s, many states have turned to for-profit prisons to handle growing prison populations.
  • A new study in Labour Economics found that privately-run prisons correlate with a rise in incarceration rates and sentence lengths.
  • While evidence is mixed, private prisons do not appear to improve recidivism or cost less than state-run facilities.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Videos

    The art of asking the right questions

    What exactly does "questions are the new answers" mean?

    Scroll down to load more…
    Quantcast