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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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StartUp Visa Act Introduced By Senators Kerry and Lugar

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Today, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced the StartUp Visa Act of 2010.  The group of us behind the Startup Visa project have been working closely with key members of each Senators’ staff on this and we are incredibly pleased with the proposed bill. 

Following is the text from the press release announcing the bill:

“Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced legislation to drive job creation and increase America’s global competiveness by helping immigrant entrepreneurs secure visas to the United States.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 will allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a significant sum – a minimum of $250,000 – to the immigrant’s startup venture.

“Global competition for talent and investment grows more intense daily and the United States must step up or be left behind,” said Sen. Kerry.  “Everywhere Dick Lugar and I travel for the Foreign Relations Committee, we see firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit driving the economies of our competitors.  Creating a new magnet for innovations and innovators to come to the United States and create jobs here will offer our economy a double shot in the arm – robust job creation at home and reaffirmation that we’re the world’s best place to do business.”

“Our country should strive to attract to the United States the most talented and highly skilled entrepreneurs.  We should channel the power of innovative thinkers from around the world and American investors towards creating jobs and encouraging economic growth and future prosperity,” said Ranking Member Lugar.

The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 would amend immigration law to create a new EB-6 category for immigrant entrepreneurs, drawing from existing visas under the EB-5 category, which permits foreign nationals who invest at least $1 million into the U.S., and thereby create ten jobs, to obtain a green card.  After proving that he or she has secured initial investment capital and if, after two years, the immigrant entrepreneur can show that he or she has generated at least five full-time jobs in the United States, attracted $1 million in additional investment capital or achieved $1 million in revenue, then he or she would receive permanent legal resident status.

More than 160 venture capitalists from across the country have endorsed the senators’ proposal.  That letter of support is attached.”

The support from the venture capital and super angel community has been fantastic.  Now that we have both a sponsored house bill (HR 4259 – sponsored by Jared Polis (D-CO)) and a sponsored senate bill, it’s time to crank up the grassroots support.  Look for a few specific things to do in the next few days on both this blog and the Startup Visa blog.

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