Startup Weekend Immigration

I attended (but didn’t participate in) another Startup Weekend this week. This one was focused on immigration. I didn’t really have time to work on this – already had previous commitments. I just stopped by on Friday and Sunday to catch the pitches.

To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed. Most of the ideas focused on legal services and advice. Don’t get me wrong – information and legal issues are the things that almost all immigrants, from anywhere deal with. But I was also disappointed that there weren’t any pitches focused on other aspects of the immigrant experience. I would have liked to see something solving issues in remittances, communication (in this country or with the home country), housing, political engagement, or many other topics.

The two ideas that did seem interesting to me were VisaValet, which would be a platform for companies that cater to (wealthy, I suppose) immigrants who need practical services on arrival in the United States, and VisaLand, an iOS game that teaches potential and current immigrants about what they need to be doing to get in the status they want.