Ellis's mission is to simplify immigration for the next billion Americans. Our mission is now backed by $5.6M in institutional capital from Kindred Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, V1.VC, 20VC, Will Smith's Dreamers VC, and Nextview Ventures.
The funding round also includes investments from Balaji Srinivasan, Sahil Bloom, Harry Hurst (Pipe), Joshua Browder (DoNotPay), Matteo Franceschetti (EightSleep), Soups Ranjan (Sardine), Tom Blomfield (Monzo), Alexander Leishman (River Financial), Andrew Benson (River Financial), Cyril Berdugo (Landis), Tom Petit (Landis), Jeremy Cai (Italic), Keith Ryu (Fountain), and others.
The Ellis Mission
It is pretty uncontroversial that America's competitive advantage is its historical stance on immigration. What many fail to realize is that college campuses are the modern day Ellis Islands for skilled immigration into the U.S. – Elon Musk, John & Patrick Collison, Noubar Afeyan, Vlad Tenev, Parag Agrawal, Satya Nadella, and Sundar Pichai all held U.S. visas during one point in their lives.
Despite this, immigrants describe an agonizing experience during their relocation to the U.S. To that end, Ellis is building an immigration company, not a fintech company. We are in the business of simplifying the immigration journey. We believe that at the current rate of immigration, America will lose its grasp as the world leader and although its up to the regulators in the public sector to decide immigration policy, we believe the private sector, particularly a company like Ellis, can simplify the transition for international students, and eventually all immigrants, into the U.S. to maintain the global brain-drain of ambitious, high-skilled foreign talent.
Simplifying Immigration for International Students
As an international student, you quickly realize that there is an irreducible amount of work that goes into setting up the foundation to live in the U.S. From the moment students clear US customs, we scramble to get a prepaid phone plan, set up a bank account without a social security number, and apply for a social security card – all with little to no guidance. Students then spend years dealing with arcane visa processes, learning the nuances of tax treatment of non-residents, navigating poorly designed websites, and maintaining their travel and immigration documents in several disjointed systems – all leading to long hours of stress and, in the worst scenarios, risk of deportation.
We believe that the effort to discover, set up, and maintain these fragmented services is, secretly, the root cause of all the anxiety that comes with adjusting to a new life as an immigrant. As a solution, Ellis offers a suite of products that seamlessly interact with one another, with full context over an international student's personal, financial, and immigration related data in one centralized platform.
How does it work for prospective international students? Ellis will ask a simple set of questions, collect basic documents (e.g. Passport, I-20 Form, or DS-2019 Form) and bestow students with a US phone plan, an international checking account, and a debit card – months before their relocation to the US. Ellis then uses the same information and documents to create a cohesive immigration profile to automate all of the paperwork and processes required to be an international student. Applying for a social security card, filing non-resident tax returns (that find every possible tax treaty for their nationality), building a credit profile with the bureaus, renewing a visa, and petitioning for work authorization can be done in a few clicks – with Ellis processing all of the paperwork and payments automatically.
Our goals in the next six to twelve months are to grow our Product team, build a the infrastructure for a globally distributed sales team, and continuously building products that simplify the immigration journey. We're always hiring – check our our open roles here.