Research Foundation News

October 18, 2016

Purdue, DWD partner to expand startup opportunities for international scholars, students through J-1 Visa program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Research Foundation and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announce an agreement to support increased startup creation through Purdue’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for international researchers and/or students based at the Purdue Foundry.

Purdue University is the second university to be granted the authorization by the U.S. Department of State to the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for this purpose.

"We are using the program to help visiting scholars and international students obtain a J-1 Visa if these individuals are interested in launching a startup in Indiana that is based on a Purdue innovation," said Dan Hasler, president of the Purdue Research Foundation. "These individuals are doing life-changing research and there are many cases where they wish to license innovations which they have been directly involved in developing."

DWD Commissioner Steve Braun, said this program will benefit all of Indiana.

"Our long-term economic success requires us to look for creative ways to retain talent, and support the formation of new businesses," Braun said. "Purdue and Purdue Foundry have an established track record for generating successful startups based on research and development. The J-1 Visa agreement will take this success one step further by encouraging and helping potential entrepreneurs stay in the U.S. and Indiana to create high-tech companies and high-wage jobs for Indiana residents."

Jonathan Grode, U.S. practice director of immigration law for Green and Spiegel LLC, will assist Purdue Foundry in the development of best pathways to utilize the newly established J-1 Visa entrepreneurial program.

"It's a progressive strategy for Purdue and the state of Indiana to utilize the relatively new J-1 Visa program," Grode said. "I'm impressed with their forward-thinking practices and believe this initiative will lay the groundwork that others will follow. This program offers far more flexibility and usability than the modified H-1B program for entrepreneurial activity found at other institutions. It is not a cure all, but a great tool to help potential entrepreneurs realize their full potential."

Greg Deason, senior vice president and director of innovation and entrepreneurship for Purdue, will lead the program at the university.

"We have worked directly with so many talented entrepreneurs from Indiana and around the globe," Deason said. "What they have in common is a desire to be innovative and creative and when they find the type of environment where they can thrive - they stay around. We've been fortunate to retain some outstanding talent and these individuals are proven leaders and job creators. Paroon Chadha is a perfect example of someone who came to Purdue and ended up staying here to grow his startup."

Chadha is an India international who came to Purdue in 1999 to earn an MBA from the Krannert School of Management. After winning $7,000 in a Burton D. Morgan Center Business Plan Competition in 2002, he co-founded Passageways LLC, a software company located in Lafayette, Indiana. The company now employs 50 people with plans to hire 20 more in 2017. Passageways has been placed on the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing private companies and recently opened offices in London and Mumbai. About 50 percent of his employees are Purdue graduates.

"I could have gone to Silicon Valley, or back to India or other places, but I received such strong support over the years from Purdue and Greater Lafayette that I believe there is no better place for my high-tech company to be successful," Chadha said. "I am still highly involved with Purdue Foundry and the entrepreneurial activities and opportunities in this area."

The entrepreneurial activities available through Purdue Foundry that recipients of this program will be able to use include:

* LaunchBox, an ideation program that provides business model creation, commercialization planning and collaboration with entrepreneurs in residence.

* Networking opportunities including Foundry Grounds, Spirited Entrepreneur and FoundryX.

* Educational seminars and programs.

* Startup funding opportunities including Trask Innovation Fund, Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, Foundry Investment Fund, Purdue Startup Fund and Ag-celerator.

* Co-space and leasing space through the Purdue Research Park and other entities.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is providing a grant to fund application fees, administrative costs and legal fees associated with J-1 Visa applications.

It is anticipated that 10 to 12 successful J-1 Visa applications will be accepted into the Purdue program spawning high-tech Indiana-based startups. 

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org 

Sources: Dan Hasler, 765-588-3475, djhasler@prf.org

Jonathan Grode, 215-395.8959- jgrode@gands-us.com

Greg Deason, 765-588-5251, gwdeason@prf.org

Paroon Chadha, 765-532-3820, paroon@passageways.com


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