Diminishing Prospects: How U.S. Policy is Undermining Entrepreneurial Vision

“But there I was, eating lunch at Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale (ahh, the things we endure on our spouses’ birthdays!) when I started noticing the t-shirts from local start-ups and NASDAQ 100 companies that stood out like a dense chain of barren, monochromatic islands among a colorful, undulating sea of saris.  I wondered how many of these foreign-born tech-sters would still be here in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?  Because in case you haven’t noticed, America is facing a brain drain unlike any in our history.”

The above excerpt is from a reader who was commenting on Brad Feld’s October 21, 2009 Blog post (Feld Thoughts) titled “Startup Visa Stories.”

Tied to his September 10, 2009 post “The Founder’s Visa Movement,” Feld believes that “the US should grant permanent residency to anyone who graduates from a qualified four year university with a computer science degree.” The basis for his position is that “These are young, talented entrepreneurs that have come out of a three month program with amazingly interesting startups,” that if successful will create “US based high tech jobs.”

Unfortunately, the process for acquiring the needed Visa is in Feld’s words “expensive, risky, and tiresome, causing these budding, high caliber business minds to seriously consider “returning to their home countries to build their businesses.”

In the November 20th segment of the PI Window on Business I am joined by Brad Feld to delve deeper into the question of granting “Founders” Visas, including why it is a program that would make sense as well as the obstacles to its realization.

Brad Feld

About Brad:

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies and later became a venture affiliate of the predecessor to Mobius Venture Capital.

Brad currently serves on the board of directors of Gist, Gnip, Oblong, Standing Cloud, and Zynga for Foundry Group. Previously, Brad served as chief technology officer of AmeriData Technologies. AmeriData acquired Feld Technologies, a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications. Brad had grown Feld Technologies into one of Boston’s leading software consulting firms prior to the acquisition. He also directed the diversification into software consulting at AmeriData, a $1.5 billion publicly-traded company which was acquired by GE Capital in 1995.

In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chairman of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and co-chairman of the Colorado Governor’s Innovation Council.  Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes widely read and well respected blogs at www.feld.com and www.askthevc.com.

Notable companies that Brad has invested in and/or sat on the boards of include Abuzz (acq. NYT), Anyday.com (acq. PALM), Critical Path (CPTH), Cyanea (acq. IBM), Dante Group (acq. WEBM), DataPower (acq. IBM), FeedBurner (acq. by GOOG), Feld Group (acq. by EDS), Harmonix (acq. VIA), NetGenesis (IPO), ServiceMagic (acq. IACI), and ServiceMetrics (acq. EXDS).

Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed fourteen marathons as part of his mission to run a marathon in each of the fifty states.

Remember to use the On-Demand Player below to access the “Live” November 20th broadcast at 12:30 PM EST.

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