In early 2021, the countdown to Sampei Omichi’s deportation begins: he has 60 days to leave the country on his student visa. At the age of 21, his only option was to start a startup that would qualify for international entrepreneur parole, which allows entrepreneurs to stay in the country for more than two years — assuming, of course, that he can raise $250,000 in the next two months. Dollar.
Omichi knows exactly who he wants his nonexistent business to serve. After leaving his native Vietnam at 17 to attend college in Boston, he got lost in the maze of immigration paperwork. So in 60 crazy days, he came up with Ellis. Its name stems from its founder’s belief that the university was the modern-day Ellis Island of many immigrants.The company aims to make life easier for international students with tools like Ellis Money and Ellis Mobile, which provide students with bank accounts and phone plans before they arrive in the U.S.
Raising over $5.7M from investors like 20VC and Balaji Srinivasan was a great idea for Omichi — and securing his U.S. residency