By Sophie Alcorn and Andee Gardiner
Alcorn Immigration Law and Founders Embassy have many things in common. Our companies share a startup story that began with the vision and drive of women founders. Both strive to erase borders and share a passion for helping international and immigrant startup founders succeed.
Alcorn helps international entrepreneurs find the best options to not only come to or remain in the U.S. to live and work but to also hire the best and brightest talent from anywhere in the world.
Founders Embassy opens up Silicon Valley’s resources and expertise to both international entrepreneurs and immigrant entrepreneurs already residing in the U.S. Its two-week accelerator program enables up to 12 international founders to live and work together in San Francisco. They learn what they need to succeed, share experiences, build relationships, connect with a mentor, and meet investors.
For each intensive boot-camp session, Founders Embassy selects up to a dozen international founders. It looks for founders whose startups have raised a seed round of around $1 million, employ 10 to 20 people, and have significant traction in their home country.
Unlike most accelerator programs that require founders to fork over 8 to 9 percent equity in their startup, Founders Embassy only charges a tuition fee. The tuition covers accommodations, meals, events, and activities.
During each two-week session, the founders go through a series of workshops. They meet with more than 40 experts to discuss growth, marketing, sales, fundraising, hiring, immigration issues, and more. Founders Embassy customizes each session based on the industries and needs of the startups participating. It also pairs each founder with a mentor.
Founders Embassy is currently reviewing applications from entrepreneurs and conducting interviews for its summer session. It has received more than 400 applications from 50 countries. The summer session begins on June 6. If you are the international founder of a high-potential post-seed, pre-series A stage company interested in participating in Founders Embassy’s accelerator program—or know one who is—apply here.
Founders Embassy alumni include founders from the following companies:
- Bussi, a van-pooling platform for commuters in Latin America.
- Beliive, the world’s largest time exchange community, which is based in Brazil.
- ClickClickDrive, a driving school management platform based in Germany that allows users to find and compare driving schools and book an appointment online.
- Crowdmark, a collaborative online grading and analytics platform based in Canada.
- Backpacker College, a Canadian company that enables travelers looking for affordable accommodations to find colleges or universities that are renting out unused dorm rooms, as well as hostels or low-cost hotels.
- Kubric, a San Francisco-based company that offers an AI-driven video creation tool for marketers.
- Sharebee, a company that helps customers find storage facilities and parking spaces in Canada.
So far, only one accepted participant could not take part in the program due to U.S. immigration policy. That startup founder is from Syria, one of the countries included in President Trump’s travel ban, and could not secure a visitors visa.
U.S. immigration policy, hiring challenges, and high operating costs impact whether international entrepreneurs open an office in Silicon Valley.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team knows immigration leads to innovation. We enjoy the challenge of customizing immigration strategies that enable international entrepreneurs to achieve their personal and professional goals. If you would like a strategy session about your options, reach out to us. We can help whether you’re already in the U.S. or on the other side of the world.
About the Authors
Sophie Alcorn founded Alcorn Immigration Law in 2015 and is a bar-certified specialist in immigration and nationality law in Silicon Valley.
Andee Gardiner conceived of and created Founders Embassy with Anastasia Crew in 2016. Andee and Anastasia have produced programs for more than 220 founders over the last four years with Founders Embassy and formerly at C100. Their alumni startups have gone on to raise more than $410 million in follow-on funding.