Former Techstars Leaders Launch VC Firm to Back Immigrant Founders

Semyon Dukach believes supporting immigrants is a moral imperative.

That’s not a knee-jerk response to the policies and rhetoric of President Donald Trump, but a long-held belief that stems from Dukach’s own experience of escaping the Soviet Union with his family in 1979 to find a better life in the United States.

Now, after leading the Techstars Boston startup accelerator with fellow immigrant entrepreneur Eveline Butchaskiy for three years, the two plan to back immigrant founders with a new Boston-based venture capital firm called One Way Ventures.

“WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT IT’S A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT TO BE ABLE TO MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND BUILD A BUSINESS.”

“We really believe that it’s a fundamental human right to be able to move to another country and build a business and be entrepreneurial and free,” Dukach, who stepped down from Techstars in May, told BostInno.

With the Trump administration moving to limit immigrants coming into the U.S., immigration has become a top issue for the startup community. One of the reasons is that immigrants have had a large impact on successful businesses in the U.S. According to information compiled by MassTLC, 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Immigrant founders also account for more than half of U.S. startups with a valuation of at least $1 billion.

Dukach said he had been thinking about launching a VC firm for the last couple of years — he has been an angel investor for the last 20 years, having made over 100 investments — but the idea for One Way only came about in February when local angel investor Joe Caruso suggested he combine his passion for supporting immigrants with his ambition to start a firm.

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