Unshackled and Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program Partner to Serve Immigrant Entrepreneurs
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (GEIR) program announced a partnership with Unshackled, an investment fund based in Palo Alto, California, backed by 80 of America's most influential investors. In a major step to retain entrepreneurial talent in America, the partnership brings two innovative organizations together who seek the same mission: to create world-changing companies by enabling and supporting early stage immigrant founders in the U.S.
Until now, international students graduating from premier universities in the U.S. were met with limited options to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions. This partnership is another step to offering the brightest international students attending a university in the U.S. the opportunity to build the next big tech company of the future.
According to William Brah, founder and executive director of the Venture Development Center at UMass Boston, where the GEIR is based, partnering with Unshackled is a major boost for the GEIR program, an innovative approach to retaining entrepreneurial talent in the state. Through the GEIR, these global entrepreneurs will be eligible for a unique joint appointment at the school — serving as university employees who mentor student startups in addition to running their own companies — qualifying them for visas.
This is equally meaningful for Unshackled and the founders it looks to support. Unshackled has seen numerous immigrant founders graduating from universities like MIT, Harvard, and Babson, who need a broader program to help support their entrepreneurial dreams. With this partnership, they can remain in Boston and still take advantage of Unshackled’s investment capital, access to Silicon Valley, and their highly influential network of LPs and advisors, with the possibility for further visa sponsorship.
“As demand continues to expand, we are buckling up to ensure strong and scalable growth. We are focused on supporting immigrant founders, especially those already educated or employed in our country, in all ways possible. This is a great way to create a presence on the East Coast and create an unfair advantage in the market for everyone" said Manan Mehta, Founding Partner of Unshackled.
Unshackled is offering early-stage (“friends and family”) investment and access to their premier Silicon Valley ecosystem. In this structure, startup teams can raise their early rounds from other investors, in addition to, or instead of Unshackled. More on the terms can be read here.
Without programs like GEIR and Unshackled allowing international students to remain in the U.S. after they graduate, they would have started their companies elsewhere or not at all.
About the Venture Development Center
The VDC opened in 2009 with one simple goal in mind: to make it easier for exceptional entrepreneurial teams with important ideas - no matter what university they attended - to take the strategic step from their university setting to a more commercial environment where they can obtain the data required to secure investment and launch their companies. Today, we are proud to be launching some of the best startup companies anywhere, and to be stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Massachusetts. To learn more, visit http://vdc.umb.edu/.