After spending nearly five years as a quant at London hedge funds, Harry Moore realized he wanted a change.
Born and raised in the UK, Harry decided to not only pivot his career, but relocate his home as well. It started with Harry attending the two-year MBA program at Columbia University Business School.
Cheerio, London! Hello, NYC!
Harry arrived in New York City on an F-1 student visa. During the summer break, he did an internship at Google in Mountain View as a product manager.
“[My hedge fund work] focused on numbers and making quantified decisions around investment strategies. I was doing coding but focusing on finance,” says Harry, who holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and computer science from Imperial College London. “I’m a maker at heart and enjoy building things and seeing the impact of technology. Product management was a way to be a part of that making and building process without necessarily writing 100% of the code.”
Finding an Alternative to the H-1B
With his MBA and work authorization through F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) in hand, Harry began working as a senior product manager at Jet (the e-commerce company became a subsidiary of Walmart in 2016) when it was a pre-launch startup.
Jet’s immigration counsel entered Harry in the H-1B lottery. The first two times, he wasn’t selected and was forced to find an alternative option since his work authorization under OPT was ending. His employer’s immigration lawyer suggested he enroll in a university program that offered CPT (Curricular Practical Training), which can provide temporary work authorization as an F-1 student. However, the university that was recommended to him was more than a four-hour round-trip drive away from where he lived and worked.
“That was not sustainable,” he says. So, he took matters into his own hands. He researched all the U.S. work visas available and realized that he could qualify for an O-1A visa for individuals with extraordinary abilities. “What really helped in my journey was exploring all the avenues out there for immigration and not relying on the company’s immigration people, who are unlikely to give you the whole menu of options that are available,” he adds. “Only after doing my research did I know the options, which gave me the ammunition to push for the [immigration] option that worked best for me.”
On a Mission to Modernize Machining
This year Harry founded, Wayland, a SaaS company that creates software for machine shops.
“Machine shops are a subsector of the manufacturing industry that’s largely focused on high value, low volume parts. For example, building prototypes for automotive or aerospace companies,” says Harry, whose grandfather owned a machine shop in the UK and who was taught how to code by a machinist. “Manufacturers are not building for one-offs, so this work is outsourced to machine shops, which don’t have great software for managing workflow.”
As Wayland’s CEO, Harry is working closely with Fractal, which supports and funds fast-growing vertical SaaS companies that are modernizing overlooked American industries.
“The idea of machine shop SaaS resonated with Fractal,” says Harry. “Wayland is helping to bring manufacturing back to the United States by offering modern software that supports workflow and to more efficiently and effectively operate machinery and teams. These teams can become more competitive with China, which becomes particularly important if a part is needed in a matter of days or when sensitive technologies are involved.”
The Journey to Success
All of the research that Harry did to identify the immigration options open to him will benefit his company’s journey to success as well in light of the need to recruit international engineering and technical talent.
“Frankly, there are not enough great engineers who have U.S. citizenship or the right to work in the U.S., so looking abroad [for talent] is a no-brainer,” he says.
Also published on Medium.