Pursuing our American DreamShare on Twitter Share on Facebook
Anji Ismail and Faouzi El Yagoubi are co-founders of Capseo. They first met in their masters degree program in Lyon, France in 2008. Anji, born in France with Tunisian origins, has a Bachelors in International Business. Faouzi, born in Morocco, is an Engineer in Information Technology.
Our U.S. Dream
Like millions of other young people, we grew up exposed to U.S. culture: the movies, the music, the food. But more than those material things we identified with America’s values; the idea of the “self made man” and a country where “dreams come true” if you work hard enough. Even in our short professional career, we've been inspired by entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Marc Benioff, and countless others. For us, the U.S. represents the country where anyone can follow their dream, no matter where you come from, who your parents are, or the color of your skin.
Background & Ambitions
Four years ago we founded Capseo, and today have 9 employees. In March 2013, we launched www.doz.com after over a year in beta. DOZ is our product designed and made for the U.S. market. Shortly after unveiling, DOZ was getting traction in the press and acquiring clients. The unique model of DOZ is to deliver marketing services through a crowdsourced platform, which automates the workflow and the experts selection process.
The U.S. market is the largest in the world and the most mature regarding internet technologies, and we knew we had to develop our activities there in order for Capseo to reach its full potential.
Knowing that we would need to stay in the U.S. to hire a team, build partnerships, and communicate, we applied for L1-A visas. This visa is used for foreigners with at least one year of full time employment in an executive position. The process required to get the paperwork ready is long and required multiple translations, administrative requests, and other efforts.
Attorney fees related to our visa process are high, which is certainly not the first priority of a startup. Any founder would prefer to instead invest several thousands dollars in hiring more team members rather than legal fees. After sending our file, weighing in at 8 pounds, we had to wait for an answer. We also received an RFE (Request For Evidence), which meant more documents, and more fees.
The worst feeling is to be stuck waiting with no timeframe. It affects both professional and personal lives. Professionally, we had to cancel two conferences where we were invited to demo our product. On a personal level, you cannot buy or rent an apartment if you know you will be leaving in a month or two.
Capseo already employs one U.S. citizen in San Francisco, as well as two American contractors. We were planning to recruit two more people by mid-2013, but the slowness of the U.S. immigration process caused us to delay.
In the end, it’s just another difficulty that you have to overcome. But in technology speed is often the key to winning the market. Being slowed down so much by these government procedures is harmful to our business.
We Support FWD.us
As sons of immigrants, ourselves, we understand how complex immigration laws can be. But immigration, when well-managed, is a powerful asset for a country. The American story is impossible without immigration, and so is Silicon Valley, the most innovative and dynamic place for tech in the world.
We both were granted the visas we were asking for and know the opportunity it represents. We will be pursuing our recruiting plan, developing the company as much as we can, and hopefully fulfill the vision we had when starting doing business.
We hope that many other entrepreneurs will be able to build companies now and in the future in the U.S; that's why we are supporting comprehensive immigration reform, so the U.S. can continue to be on the cutting edge of innovation.