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. 

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

6. Sundar Pichai (Google, CEO): Born in India

7. Arash Ferdowsi (Dropbox, Co-founder): Parents emigrated from Iran

8. Garrett Camp (Uber, Co-founder): Born in Canada

 9. Bozoma Saint John (Apple Music, marketing exec): Born in Ghana

10. Satya Nadella (Microsoft, CEO): Born in India

11. Shantanu Narayen (Adobe, CEO): Born in India

12. Jess Lee (Sequoia Capital): Born in Canada, grew up in Hong Kong

13. Omid Kordestani (Twitter, Executive Chairman): Born in Iran

 14. Jerry Yang (Yahoo, Co-founder): Born in Taiwan

15. Sergey Brin (Alphabet, Co-founder): Born in Russia

16. Bastian Lehmann (Postmates, Co-founder & CEO): British citizen

17. Sean Rad (Tinder, Co-founder): Parents emigrated from Iran

18. Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerMedia & Investor): Born in Belarus. Immigrated to the US as part of an exchange program with Soviet Jews for American wheat.

19. John & Patrick Collison (Stripe, Co-founders): Irish entrepreneurs

20. Safra Catz (Oracle, Co-CEO): Born in Israel 

===

Want to connect? Reach out @TechEthicist and on Facebook

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less