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Dylan: Imagine if one day, all of a sudden, you learned that you could no longer visit your family. Or perhaps you could no longer come back to the country where you’ve been working — or trying to start a new company. This is the new reality for thousands of people from seven Muslim-majority countries who have been living and working in the U.S., thanks to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. And Boston tech leaders, some of whom have been quiet about Trump before, are now coming out against the temporary immigration ban for the massive disruption and uncertainty it’s causing. 

Tom Hopcroft — who represents more than 500 companies and 300K employees in the Massachusetts tech sector as CEO of MassTLC — sent me a statement over the weekend saying that Trump’s executive order is “bad policy, bad for business, which favors mobility of talent and ideas, and bad from a human perspective, as it breaks families apart and creates fear by targeting a specific religious group.” I talked to him on the phone this morning, and he said he’s been having exhaustive phone conversations with his member companies, and that all of the ones he's spoken to so far have expressed various levels of concerns about the policy’s impact. Hopcroft said some of the companies he’s spoken to have employees who are being impacted by the ban, including Carbonite. BBJ also reported that Brightcove has some impacted employees.

“It has a chilling effect on business if you can’t travel,” Hopcroft said. ”If you’re spending time figuring out what your company policy is, or ‘am I impacted by this,’ or ‘what if I get stuck outside the U.S.,’ it’s all time people could use innovating and moving their businesses forward.” 

Beyond the impact of the policy itself, the haphazard way Trump’s team created and implemented the order — without the full input of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, as The New York Times reported — has created more uncertainty for Boston tech leaders about what other policies Trump could issue, Hopcroft said. “It’s somewhat baffling,” he added.

Hopcroft said research done for MassTLC by the UMass Donahue Institute shows that about a quarter of the Massachusetts tech sector was made up of foreign-born people in 2015. On a country level, more than half of billion-dollar startups were founded by immigrants, according to a study last year by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Others in the Boston tech community have also spoken up against the ban or issued concerns, including New England Venture Capital Association Executive Director Jody RoseCarbonite CEO Mohamad Ali, TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer, Brightcove CEO David Mendels, Humanyze CEO Ben Waber and athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush. “We are against this executive order not just because we are a global business with a diverse workforce, but because we are human beings and citizens who respect and love the fabric of our nation,” Kaufer wrote in a LinkedIn post.


Given the global nature of Boston’s innovation economy, we plan to continue reporting on the impact of Trump’s immigration policies. If your company has issued an internal memo to employees about the immigration ban, please get in touch and send us a copy. Also, let us know what you think of how your company is addressing the issue. Our emails are below.

Olivia:  Mobiquity, a Waltham-based mobile development shop, just launched a lab dedicated to Amazon Alexa. The lab will focus on voice innovation, paving the way for enterprises around the globe to adopt and benefit from these technologies.
 

Dylan: So when you heard that Chris Lynch was leaving Accomplice, you might have been wondering about Cort Johnson, Lynch's co-founder at Hack/Secure who's also been a venture partner at the VC firm. Well, Johnson is also leaving Accomplice, as he revealed in a new LinkedIn post. He told me in an email that he will still be heavily invovled with Hack/Secure and will also keep helping Lynch with his fundraising efforts for pediatric cancer research.

Olivia: Danielle Lackey, co-founder and ex-CEO of LA-based legal services company Cadence Counsel, is joining Motus. She’ll be serving as general counsel for the mobile workforce management software company.

Olivia: Newcomers to our city have told me how they’ve had to adjust to how Bostonians don't greet each other in the streets or start conversations with others when waiting in lines. From these discussions, I thought up a little social experiment: I'd attempt to make small talk with complete strangers and see what happened. Here’s what I've learned. Read more: I Made Myself Talk to Strangers on the T and This Is What Happened

Dylan: If you want to continue to engage in conversations about immigration and innovation, Goodwin Law is hosting a panel tonight that includes Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners. As for tomorrow, Women Who Code is holding a meetup at Jana's Boston office, and there's also a panel on which startup accelerator in Boston might best suit your company. Find the best Boston tech and startup events in BostInno Approved.

Dylan: Bullhorn CEO Art Papas wrote a guest post for VentureBeat on why "force-feeding your hiring managers diversity is a bad idea." My first reaction to the headline was, "what are you talking about, Art?" But he makes some good points: "It’s important to remember that the benefit of diversity is in introducing challenging, progressive discourse and in promoting innovation and new ideas by attracting people of all backgrounds. Focus on creating and fostering diversity of perspective and thought as a business goal, and inevitably your ethnic and gender diversity stats will improve as a result. The smartest, most capable people in the world come from every race, gender, and socioeconomic background. Focus on the team, focus on empowerment, focus on respect, focus on identifying the value and intelligence that all of your employees bring to the table."

And since we've been on the topic of inclusion and supporting immigrants, Margot Mazur, partnership coordinator at Wistia, wrote a good post on Medium about why it's time fo tech companies to stand up and fight.

Dylan: Airing, a Burlington-based maker of a small sleep-apnea device, has raised $1.9M of a $2.5M equity offering, according to a new Form D. Here's a Boston Business Journal story about Airing from 2015.


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GM: Kyle Gross (KG) kyle@bostinno.com
Tech Writer: Dylan Martin dylan@bostinno.com 
Tech Writer: Olivia Vanni olivia@bostinno.com

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