Have a great idea, investors lined-up and a passion for technology? If you live outside America’s borders, and weren’t born inside them, chance are slim you’ll be launching your company in New York, Silicon Valley or any other high-tech United States city unless you have deep pockets and the right paperwork.
Speaking from first hand experience, Livestream co-founder Max Haot discusses what it takes non-native Americans to pierce though the U.S. border as entrepreneurs in his final Founder Stories interview with Chris Dixon.
After ruling out marrying an American, winning the Green Card lottery or being awarded a Visa for possessing extraordinary talents – basically what’s left is receiving an investor E2 visa – which Haot was handed partially as result of possessing deep pockets following a couple-hundred-thousand-dollar exit. Those of modest means need not apply. Dixon’s not a fan of the legal maze and weighs in by saying, “You could have a top VC, Sequoia or something say I want to fund this person, this person wants to come here, create a company that creates lots of jobs for Americans and the current rules prohibit it unless they happen to be rich.”
As the two continue their conversation below, Hoat reflects on key decisions he’s made. He rates swapping out the name Mogulus with Livestream as one of the most strategic – and humbling. After convincing co-founders, customers and investors that Mogulus was the strongest name for the company “you put your hand up one day and say [naming the company Mogulus] was the worst decision ever.”
A bitter pill to swallow at the time, it turned out to be the right call. Haot says the change helped reposition the company and adds, “I don’t think we’d be around with the current revenue growth, which we need to stay around, if we were called Mogulus.” He ends by telling Dixon as an entrepreneur “you have to be able to say actually I was wrong, and do it in a very public way.”
Make sure to watch episodes I and II of Dixon’s interview with Max Haot, along which past Founder Stories interviews which feature conversations with leaders including Mike McCue, Eric Reis, Seth Sternberg, and Kevin Systrom.