Introducing the American Dream Fund: Investing in the Next Generation of Immigrant Founders
CHICAGO, IL, JULY 17, 2023 –
The American Dream Fund, a venture capital fund dedicated to investing in immigrant founders, is proud to announce its launch during Tech Chicago Week 2023. Led by an accomplished group of diverse partners and an advisory board of successful immigrant entrepreneurs and key stakeholders, the fund aims to drive impactful change, amplifying the potential of immigrant founders while cultivating a more vibrant and inclusive venture capital ecosystem.
The American Dream Fund will provide critical early-stage investment and will foster cross-industry relationships and facilitate vital technical, regulatory, and immigration legal support for immigrant founders. The fund seeks to bridge the gap between innovation and investment, addressing the underserved nature of venture capital investment opportunities for these high-potential immigrant entrepreneurs.
Recent data reveals that immigrants have founded an astounding 55% of America's unicorns (startup companies with a valuation over $1 billion), despite comprising only 17% of the national workforce. Remarkably, one-quarter of these unicorns are led by immigrant founders who arrived as international students, with their startups creating an average of 860 jobs.
The launch of the American Dream Fund comes at a time when the need for equity in venture capital (VC) funding is evident. Immigrant founders, often without a deep network of potential investors, can face significant challenges in securing VC funding. Recognizing this challenge and inspired by the early success of other like-minded, immigrant-focused funds, The American Dream Fund seeks to address this issue head-on by supporting often overlooked immigrant start-up founders and underserved markets.
"We firmly believe that by expanding access to capital and offering experienced guidance on navigating the complexities of both the immigration process and the challenges of operating a start-up business, we empower immigrant entrepreneurs to drive their startups forward and unlock their full potential," said Wolf Starr, CEO of Venture Atlas and Managing Partner of the American Dream Fund.
"Our commitment is to level the playing field, ensuring immigrant entrepreneurs have equal opportunities to chase their dreams while delivering competitive returns for our investors and fostering innovation in underserved markets."
The American Dream Fund operates as a partnership between Venture Atlas, an impact-focused venture capital firm based in Columbus dedicated to supporting underrepresented communities, and Chicago-based Migrate Ventures. Migrate Ventures is led by Fiona McEntee, an award-winning immigration attorney, media personality, and author, and Colleen D. Egan, entrepreneur, investor, and CEO of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.
“As an immigrant and immigration attorney for over 15 years, I have advised thousands of immigrant startup founders. I’ve seen first-hand the incredible success they can have in the U.S. if they have access to the support they need like capital, immigration advice, and a network of experienced advisors. The American Dream Fund will provide this critical support to these innovative entrepreneurs and ultimately, America will continue to benefit from their tremendous talent,” said Fiona McEntee, CEO of the American Dream Fund.
“I’m beyond excited to see what we can achieve together, and I look forward to us all having a front-row seat to many more American Dreams!”
The fund is further bolstered by a team of experienced advisors, who will be chaired by Fund Partner, Nick Rathod, Founder of the State Innovation Exchange and former Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama White House.
“The combined power of the immigrant entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic with the opportunity and promise of this country is the heart of the American Dream,” said Rathod.
“This is why it should come as no surprise that immigrants have started more than half of America’s unicorn companies, generated billions in revenue and created millions of jobs. They simply get the job done. Despite this success, there continue to be barriers to accessing capital as well as all of the challenges created by archaic immigration laws and associated rhetoric. The American Dream Fund is designed to address these challenges and I am excited to see what our portfolio companies will be able to do with the fund’s resources and support.”