Startups key to post-COVID future: US-India Strategic Partnership Forum


The post-COVID ‘new normal’ presents very significant and unique opportunities for all startups.

Just 12 Indian-born startups have created 634 high-paying jobs in the United States.

Entrepreneurial immigration in the US-India corridor is creating some true win-win opportunities for both countrie.s

These were some of the key takeaways as the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) kicked off its “Startup Connect Program” at its virtually held West Coast Summit.

Focused on strengthening US-India bilateral ties through startups, the summit brought together over 300 executives including 100 startups, 100 Fortune 500 companies, and senior officials from both governments.

Speakers at the launch included India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu; Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment; John Chambers, founder and CEO, JC2 Ventures & chairman of USISPF; Shantanu Narayen, chairman, president, and CEO, Adobe; Raj Subramaniam, president & COO, FedEx Corporation; and several startup founders.

USISPF President and CEO Mukesh Aghi shared data on job creation and entrepreneurial immigration between the US and India.

“A sample of 12 Indian-born startups shows they have created 634 high-paying jobs in the United States, and over 6,200 jobs worldwide,” he said. “For every H1/ L1 visa issued to these startups, they created 40 jobs in the United States at a median income of $175,000, and for each high-paying job in the United States, there are eight jobs that are being created in India. Entrepreneurial immigration in the US-India corridor is creating some true win-win opportunities for both countries.”

Indian ambassador Taranjit Sandhu said he continued to be “very optimistic” about the US-India trade deal.

“The pandemic is a setback. But nevertheless, both sides have been in touch and I feel that a smaller trade deal can still be completed. The two countries have been reliable partners during this crisis and that will be an important foundation for the trade deal,” he said.

Undersecretary Keith Krach spoke about the importance of being able to access talent.

“Being the former chairman of Purdue University, I attended multiple graduation ceremonies, and probably 35 percent of the PhDs in engineering came from India. We would love to be able to stamp that green card right to their diplomas. It’s a very complex issue that we continue to beat the drum on,” he said.

Expressing optimism for US-India ties, Raj Subramaniam of FedEx said: “There is absolutely no reason why the US-India trade cannot be five or 10 times of the current levels. The hope is that a startup like Uniphore, as a part of this community at USISPF, becomes a $100 billion entity in the next five years.”

Speaking about disruptions caused due to the health crisis, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe said: “From my perspective, unprecedented times are the best times for disruption. We are not going back to the old normal and that represents a very significant and unique opportunities for all startups.”

USISPF’s Startup Connect is chaired by Umesh Sachdev, CEO of Uniphore, and co-chaired by Vinod Muthukrishnan (CEO, CloudCherry and now Chief Evangelist at Cisco).

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the USISPF has offices in New York, Silicon Valley, Mumbai, and New Delhi. Check (external link) for more.

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