From Trump’s U.S. to ‘wel­com­ing city’

Im­mi­grant who moved his startup to town feels ‘at home’

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO -

Sha­roon Thomas moved his cloud soft­ware op­er­a­tion from In­dia to Sil­i­con Val­ley in Oc­to­ber 2015 af­ter it was hand-picked by a high-pro­file ven­ture cap­i­tal fund.

He ar­rived to Cal­i­for­nia on a busi­ness visa that re­stricted him to de­vel­op­ing his busi­ness idea and didn’t al­low paid work. The visa also didn’t give him a chance to be­come a per­ma­nent res­i­dent in the U.S.

Last sum­mer, with the es­ca­lat­ing anti-im­mi­gra­tion and na­tion­al­ist rhetoric from then pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner Don­ald Trump, Thomas ap­proached Toronto-based Ex­treme Ven­ture Part­ners, a tech­nol­ogy ven­ture cap­i­tal firm.

In early June, Thomas, 29, set­tled in Toronto and his Ful­fil is al­ready re­cruit­ing two sales ex­ec­u­tives to pro­mote its soft­ware, which help dis­trib­u­tors and re­tail­ers man­age their in­ven­to­ries along with other ecom­merce prod­ucts.

“Toronto is the world’s most wel­com­ing city. It is so di­verse that I feel right at home,” said the na­tive of Cochin, who has trav­elled and worked in Aus­tralia, Canada, Hong Kong, Spain, the United States and United King­dom.

“Even be­fore Trump was elected, the U.S. (im­mi­gra­tion) did not have pro­vi­sions for startup en­trepreneurs. Af­ter Trump, I felt I made a wise de­ci­sion to ap­ply to Canada. En­trepreneurs al­ready have to deal with a lot of un­cer­tainty. The last thing we need is have our im­mi­grant sta­tus ques­tioned.”

The re­lo­ca­tion is an ex­am­ple of a grow­ing in­ter­est among en­trepreneurs in choos­ing Canada over the U.S., thanks to po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty south of the bor­der un­der Pres­i­dent Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has made a travel ban against seven Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries, cur­rently be­ing chal­lenged in court, and a wall along the Mex­i­can bor­der pri­or­i­ties. Thomas said a wealth of IT tal­ent and lower startup costs give Toronto an edge, and that sta­bil­ity is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for en­trepreneurs in se­lect­ing a lo­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugee and Cit­i­zen­ship Canada, as of March 15, more than 100 for­eign en­trepreneurs have been ap­proved for per­ma­nent res­i­dence in Canada un­der the Startup Visa Pro­gram since its in­cep­tion in 2013.

An­drew FrAn­cis wAl­lAce/torstAr news ser­vice

Ritu Panda, left, and Sha­roon Thomas are co-founders of Ful­fil, a cloud soft­ware com­pany re­cently re­lo­cated to Toronto from Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.