I moved from Silicon Valley to Toronto, and now I’m getting others to do the same

I was born in Bombay, but I moved to the U.S. for college, to study computer science. Once I was done with that, I wanted to found a company, but I couldn’t. I was on a student visa, so it wasn’t legally possible. I moved to Singapore in 2006, because it seemed like a more accepting place, and I built a company there: Socialwok, an enterprise collaboration platform, similar to Slack. We won a TechCrunch competition in 2009, which led to a lot of interest from companies in Silicon Valley. We didn’t get any huge acquisition offers, but we caught the eye of someone at LinkedIn. A few months later, I moved to Silicon Valley to work for them.

I stayed at LinkedIn for six years, and I was happy there. But I didn’t feel free in my new home. My H1B work visa was restrictive, so I wasn’t able to start a new company of my own. Plus, the green card process in the U.S. is based on the country of your birth, and since I was born in India it might have taken up to 20 years for me to get permanent residence. During Obama’s time in office, I hoped that things would change, but that never happened. And then Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 election made things seem even more hopeless.

I could have continued working in the valley, but having more freedom during the best years of my life mattered more to me than being in the States. My wife and I started looking for a place where we’d have more freedom to chase all our crazy dreams.

Read the full story at torontolife.com.

Victoria Krisman
Victoria Krisman is Interactive Media Specialist and Communications Manager for the Intelligent Community Forum.
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