Misc Thoughts

Startup Visa – Time to Wake Up, America

Don’t even get me started about the sorry state of American technological and economic competitiveness and our complete ignorance of what really made the US a great and growing country since it’s inception. We are so caught up with balancing what is politically correct, what is politically achievable and not disrupting paths to reelection that we have forgotten what it’s like to have dreams and to work towards a significantly better or, at least different, future.  Because we, as a nation, are so stuck dealing with the present, we have found ourselves mired in a tar pit of legislative nonsense that is slowly killing our chances to be competitive with the rapidly expanding world around us. And yes, being economically competitive is, in fact, necessary if we want to maintain our current societal dreams and values.

Because of the work of a variety of smart and dedicated people, including Paul Graham and my good friend, Brad Feld, one small, but critical cog in the complex machine of government regulation has been given a chance to turn. Yesterday, Senators John Kerry (D) and Richard Luger (R), the two ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed legislation to create a Startup Visa. Simply put, anyone from anywhere who starts a company in the US and is able to reasonably capitalize it can get a visa to stay in this country to develop their business here, on American soil with American employees, paying American taxes. That’s a no-brainer you say? You might be surprised to learn that the country is routinely kicking entrepreneurs out, telling them to start their businesses elsewhere.

These aren’t people who are taking away American jobs. They’re entrepreneurs – people who are creating new technologies, services, products and . . . wait for it . . . jobs. It’s a meritocracy, folks, the best stuff wins. Anyone is allowed to play. That is, for now, if you live here.

The new legislation is supported with over 100 signatures from leading venture capitalists and angel investors throughout the country.  I’m honored that my name is included on the list. Not because I’m an investor looking for more deals, but I’m an American with an insanely strong desire to see this country continue to set the pace for the rest of the world when it comes to opportunity and leadership. Relatively speaking, the streets of the US are, in fact, paved with gold. I’d like to see us keep it that way and to provide opportunities for even more Americans to be able to mine it.

BTW, if you want to poke at Congress and have your voice heard on the issue, please yell and scream through your favorite channel or feel free to tweet congress using the Capitol-Dome shaped widget on the left of the page.


  1. Will, how timely, Paul Otellini spoke to this point (well not specifically startups, but graduates that we spend money on through our higher education system, then tell the to go away, huh?). Kicking out high value immigrants, just highlights the stupidity of our immigration policy. I strongly dissagree with the demonization of immigrants, and pointing out what drain on local services they create. Politicians use scare tactics that appeal to our basic prejudices, no one wants points out that the fact that most illegals are productive members of society, but it's hard to see as we've forced them underground. We're an aging nation, that can barely replace itself, we should in fact be embracing anyone who wants to come to this country and become a productive member of society, and pass those values on to their children. It's worked for over 200 years, when did we loose track of that?

    John Bower

  2. Good points, John. I totally agree.

    At it's core, I think that the primary thing going on here is what has
    become our fundamental lack of drive and competitiveness. In our pursuit of
    the easiest path, we want to legislate away all obstacles. Isn't this what
    many unions do? We used to be a meritocracy, at least to some level, now,
    people don't think it's reasonable to compete for jobs, they are a right,
    not a privilege.


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