Startups Speak: GoodApril Founder Says Reward Risk-Takers With Visas


It is a near-universal fact that no one enjoys filing their taxes. It’s usually difficult and most definitely a boring way to spend our too-scarce time.

GoodApril wants to change all that by disrupting the way that Americans plan for and file their income taxes. Like any founder with an idea who wants to make our lives better, Benny Joseph wanted to assemble the best possible team to execute his idea.

So that’s what he did. But right when the company was ready to take the next step, and incorporate as an official business entity, Benny realized that there was no way through the visa issue he was facing with his best engineer. The result? “We had to part ways; we couldn’t go forward together.”

Unable to hire his top-choice engineer, Benny lost the knowledge and talent he wanted, and an individual with the nerve and desire to take the risks associated with starting a company. As a result, it took the team at GoodApril longer to build their first product, and to raise funding to hire the people they needed -- including more engineers, writers, and marketers.

From the perspective of the engineer in question, he was tied, through the terms of his existing visa, to a company he didn’t want to work for. With a soon-to-expire H1B visa, and a stalled green card application, he is still being held hostage as an employee with no freedom to pursue other job opportunities.

From Benny’s point of view, and from ours, we should be rewarding risk takers, and that needs to happen through thoughtful reform. “I think the Startup Visa Act (included in Startup Act 3.0) is a good step in the right direction,” says Benny. “Immigrant entrepreneurs should be encouraged to build new businesses. If you take a look at many of the great companies in our country, a sizable amount are founded by immigrant entrepreneurs. They create jobs and value to the economy and help America keep a step ahead of the rest of the world.”

The current immigration system, with no visas for startups, and caps on existing visa classes for high-skilled workers, is harming entrepreneurs, would-be employees and the American ability to build successful businesses and innovate at capacity.

Startups Speak: Benny Joseph from Engine Advocacy on Vimeo.