Getting Schooled: The Role of Universities in Attracting Immigrant Entrepreneurs

42 Pages Posted: 5 May 2021 Last revised: 11 Oct 2021

See all articles by Natee Amornsiripanitch

Natee Amornsiripanitch

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Paul A. Gompers

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

George Hu

Harvard University

Kaushik Vasudevan

Yale University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2, 2021


Immigrant founders of venture capital-backed companies have been critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We document the channels through which immigrant founders find their way to the United States and how those channels have changed over time. Immigrants have been an important source of founders for venture capital-backed startups accounting for roughly 20% of all founders over the past 30 years. Immigrants coming to the United States for their education have been the primary source of founders with those coming after being educated abroad and then arriving for work decreasing in importance over time. The importance of undergraduate education as a channel for immigrant founders has increased over time. Immigrant founders coming for education are likely to start their companies in the state in which they were educated, especially states where they received their graduate education, leading to potentially large local economic benefits. The results of this paper have important policy implications for the supply of entrepreneurial talent and efforts to promote entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Immigration, Education

JEL Classification: G24, J0, J15, J24, L26

Suggested Citation

Amornsiripanitch, Natee and Gompers, Paul A. and Hu, George and Vasudevan, Kaushik, Getting Schooled: The Role of Universities in Attracting Immigrant Entrepreneurs (May 2, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Natee Amornsiripanitch

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Paul A. Gompers (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6297 (Phone)
617-496-8443 (Fax)

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
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1000 Brussels


George Hu

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kaushik Vasudevan

Yale University ( email )

165 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
United States


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