VC Fund Supports Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Serial entrepreneur and Managing Partner, One Way Ventures, Semyon Dukach, creates a VC fund to support immigrant entrepreneurs.  

The Russian-born entrepreneur and investor feels if a person can come to America, learn a new language, earn a university degree and start a business, that person has the makings to be a successful entrepreneur.

(To advance the playlist, click on the  icon at the top left of the video screen.)

According to Inc. Magazine,  52 percent of Silicon Valley companies established between 1996 and 2005 were founded by immigrants.  Some of the usual suspects include Google (Sergey Brin, Russia) Ebay (Pierre Omidyar, France) and Yahoo (Jerry Yang, Taiwan), but there are many more.

Immigrants are born connectors to the global economy and according to the same Inc. article, immigrants are 60 percent more likely to export than native entrepreneurs.  Half of this country’s economic growth is due to exports.

So it’s vital we continue to support immigrant entrepreneurs and their business ideas, which according to a Kauffman Foundation report is dwindling. Government restrictions like the International Entrepreneur Rule are making it much harder for educated undocumented talent to unleash their creative businesses.  Kauffman recommends creating “a startup visa program to allow foreign students and workers to smoothly transition from school or employment to entrepreneurship.”

In the current climate, we are not holding our breath.  But that’s where Dukach steps in.

As a computer scientist graduate student at MIT, Dukach was part of the MIT Blackjack team that made a fortune developing an algorithm to beat casinos at blackjack.  The movie, “21”, based on Ben Mezrich’s book “Bringing Down the House,” is based on Dukach and his team.

Wanting to make a greater impact than just making money and beating casinos at their own game, Dukach has made a successful career in mentoring and supporting entrepreneurs through his angel investments in more than 100 companies.  A former managing director of the Boston arm of the successful startup accelerator Techstars, Dukach, is continuing his mission to help others succeed through his new fund, One Way Ventures.

“Everyone should have ability to live and work anywhere in the world.  You should not be discriminated against where you were born.  It’s a moral principle I have always cared deeply about,” says Dukach.

To hear more about his fund, career trajectory and investment strategy, watch highlights from his interview above.

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