Saturday, March 6, 2010

Startup Visa update

As I write this, I am traveling at 30,000 feet on Virgin America's excellent IAD->SFO nonstop, following an intense few days of conversations in Washington, DC about the Startup Visa. This trip was designed to build momentum following last week's announcement that Senators Kerry and Lugar have introduced a Senate bill to make the Startup Visa a reality: the Startup Visa Act of 2010. This follows Congressman Jared Polis, who has introduced a similar bill as part of comprehensive immigration reform in the House.

Our trip was bipartisan, bicameral, and bi-branches-of-government. Everywhere we went, the Startup Visa received a fair hearing, despite the fact that we have no lobbyists, no PAC, and no organized presence in Washington. On the flight to DC, we had over 5000 registered voters join our "tweet hall" and generate a huge stack of paper which we delivered to members of Congress, courtesy of 2gov.

Grt Startup Visa team mtg with Senator Udall from Colorado. @... on TwitpicShare photos on twitter with Twitpic

Founders #startupvisa talking at the SBA!! on TwitpicWe are here!! #startupvisa on Twitpic

Your support has been critical to everything that's happened with Startup Visa. After so many of you stepped forward to show your support in last year's 2gov campaign, I got a call out of the blue from a member of Senator Lugar's staff. He gave me the opportunity to answer questions about our proposal, and share the stories of immigrant entrepreneurs who are creating job all over America, including the Senator's home state of Indiana. I firmly believe that without your grassroots organizing, this meeting would never have taken place, and who knows if, months later, the Startup Visa Act would have been introduced?
Having bills introduced in both chambers of Congress is a huge accomplishment. But it's still just the very beginning of the marathon required to get a bill to become law. For those who want to continue to press the case for the Startup Visa, here are five ways you can help today:
  1. Go to our campaign page and voice your support
  2. Write to your local newspapers, and let them know that you support the Startup Visa Bill
  3. Call your senators, and let them know about why you support the Startup Visa legislation
  4. Add the Startup Visa Widget to your blog or website
  5. Contribute to Startup Visa so that we can continue to spread the word!

And, on an unrelated note, we also had an entertaining night at the DC Lean Startup Meetup featuring me and Dave McClure, in what was billed as a "Lean Geek SMACKdown." You can judge for yourself if we lived up to that promise:

Lean Startup SmackDown from Frank Gruber on Vimeo.
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