Video: Manan Mehta of Unshackled, A New Silicon Valley Angel Fund

Meet Manan Mehta, co-founder of Unshackled, a new angel fund based in Palo Alto. Started in 2014 the company has raised $4.4 million, and they plan to invest their money, effort and time in helping entrepreneurs, especially immigrant entrepreneurs realize their dream of doing a startup. Many immigrant workers are tied to their H1B or “work” visa that generally precludes them from starting their own venture until they get the coveted Green Card.

We interviewed Mehta to find out more about Unshackled and their plan to help entrepreneurs. Typically, they plan to invest about $100k ($185k is the maximum amount)  in a team that has a prototype of an idea and work with them. What that means is helping the team build their product and help gain traction and take them to the next level of funding. Besides capital Unshackled provides the startup team with working space, access to mentors, legal and banking needs.

We wanted to find out how Mehta came up with the idea to start Unshackled and about his previous venture(s) that helped him gain experience and insights in what it takes to build a startup. Mehta has some pretty interesting ideas and plans to raise a new round of funding in a couple of years.

Mehta is born and brought up in Silicon Valley.

You can follow Manan Mehta on Twitter.

CORRECTION: Unshackled has raised $4.4M and not $3.5 million as originally reported. They employ people like their founding entrepreneur for up to 12 months. They make a maximum of $185k.



Video: Omi Vaidya on “For Here or To Go,” Films and Cinequest

Actor Omi Vaidya’s film “For Here or To Go?” will have its world premiere at Silicon Valley’s Cinequest Film Festival this evening. We caught up with the actor last night at Cinequest to talk about his new film, working in Bollywood and his future plans.

For Here or To Go?” captures the angst and uncertainties of young immigrant workers in America. The film is set in Silicon Valley and highlights the unsettling nature of  working on a H1B visa, also known as a work visa. Many of them put their ambitions  and lives on hold given the uncertain nature of their immigrant status. For example, you cannot do a startup when you are on a work visa. The film highlights the other side of the equation of what happens when someone is on H1B and what it takes for them to survive and fulfill their dreams. Not everybody who comes on a H1B visa gets a green card. The one constant refrain in any immigrant life is do they stay in America or go back to their country of origin. Continue reading