Unshackled Ventures: $35 Million Fund III Closed To Help Immigrant Founders Start Companies In The U.S.

By Amit Chowdhry • Jul 3, 2023

Unshackled Ventures – the only pre-seed venture capital fund that enables immigrant founders to start companies in the U.S. – announced the successful close of its $35 million Fund III, backed by high-profile limited partners, 73% of which is institutional LPs. Unshackled Fund III LPs include Cambridge Associates, Cendana, Emerson Collective, California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank), and Sorenson Impact Advisory, which more than doubled its assets under management (AUM).

Immigrant founders are known as some of the strongest job creators out there and many work with top tech giants that fuel our economy. And privately held billion-dollar startups with immigrant founders have created an average of more than 1,200 jobs per company, the vast majority in the U.S.

However, these bright minds in tech are faced with various obstacles that prevent them from staying in the country due to immigration laws if and when they want to leave Big Tech to start their own companies unless they can figure out a way to get a green card — and fast — which is not easy. The H-1B visa lottery was hit with 781,000 registrations of immigrant workers in 2023 alone with only 85,000 slots available. The impact this has is threefold, including fewer jobs on the market, reduced innovation, and a dwindling economy. Unshackled is addressing this issue.

Launched by immigrants, the firm is the only one of its kind that has created a sustainable place for U.S. immigrants to launch a company no matter their current work authorization, whether they are new U.S. citizens or on a student visa. Unshackled ensures that the U.S. maintains a competitive advantage in the global race to produce lasting companies that create jobs through its investment in immigrant founders and unlocks the entrepreneurial talent tied down by immigration regulations.

As of May 2022, 55% of unicorn startups in the U.S. have an immigrant founder. And Unshackled aims to grow this number through its proven track record of investing in founders to raise over $700 million from top funds such as First Round, a16z, YC, 776, General Catalyst, Canaan, Foundation, Canvas, etc.

Unshackled invested in 80 businesses and has created over 1,100 jobs to date because of its unique ability to seek out this untapped super talent that would have otherwise gone undiscovered by venture capital. And the firm has already made 18 investments with Fund III, including Masa Finance, a web3 identify infrastructure layer; Cache Energy, a long-duration energy storage Company; and Formally, a generative AI legal tech company.

On July 18, Unshackled is going to be unveiling Eighteen150, a first-of-its-kind founder-in-residence program, supporting as many immigrant entrepreneurs as possible regardless of their immigration status. And this program will dedicate $5 million of Fund III for complete immigration and employment support, offering founders $150,000 or 18 months of runway, for 10% ownership. Immigrant entrepreneurs from anywhere in the U.S. are encouraged to apply, regardless of status or number of ideas.


“It’s an incredibly taxing and unnatural process to start a company while on a visa in America. We’re proud to be the first text an immigrant sends when they’re ready to start their company. We seek to further leverage our platform by continuing to support founders at the earliest stages of their business with this new fund.”

Co-Founder and General Partner at Unshackled Ventures Manan Mehta

“IBank recognizes the immense value that immigrants bring to the US economy. Unshackled’s commitment to investing in and nurturing immigrant entrepreneurs aligns perfectly with our belief in inclusive innovation. IBank’s Expanding Venture Capital Access program aims to foster an environment where talented individuals from all backgrounds can succeed, turning their ideas into businesses that typically wouldn’t have a chance if it weren’t for a fund manager like Unshackled that provides an ecosystem of resources.”

— Scott Wu, Executive Director of IBank