Kno founders launch $3.5M angel fund to back immigrant entrepreneurs in the US

Nitin Pachisia and Manan Mehta, co-founders of education startup Kno Inc., which was acquired by Intel last year, have launched an angel fund worth $3.5 million to support immigrant entrepreneurs in the US. Christened ‘Unshackled’, the fund will invest in entrepreneurial talent by supporting them with a coalition of successful entrepreneurs and investors.

It will work with 20-25 early stage entrepreneurial teams to build a product and raise a seed round. Unshackled investors include First Round Capital; 500 Startups; Structure Capital; Brad Feld of Foundry Group and TechStars; AngelList founder Naval Ravikant; Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale; AME Cloud Ventures led by Jerry Yang; and Emerson Collective founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

The angel fund also aims to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs that will offer access to investors, incubators and accelerators, legal counsel, financial planning, design, and PR/marketing consulting to help grow ideas into a successful company.

It has brought together over 50 investors to guide Unshackled entrepreneurs as they develop and build their ideas, which includes the minds behind companies like Salesforce, Uber, Palantir, Yahoo, AngelList, Twitter, Zynga, Credit Karma, TechStars, Warby Parker, Mint, GroupMe, Chegg, and Makerbot, among others.

“Surrounding entrepreneurs with support from the earliest stage is the difference between success and failure. That can mean connecting them with the right investors and partners, providing health coverage for the family, or sponsoring a visa or green card where needed,” said Mehta.

According to him, Unshackled also unlocks entrepreneurship for people in the US on a work visa by providing the sponsorship they need to pursue their innovative ideas full-time.

A number of Indian startups straddle the Indo-US geography with sales and possibly even headquarters in the US with IT operations in India. Those could get backing from the fund.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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