When did you arrive in the United States, and why did you come?

September 1991. I came into the United States as a refugee from the former Soviet Union. My whole family immigrated and we were looking to find a better life and escape from the country where anti-Semitism was encouraged.


Title/Company: Chief executive and founder, Docupace Technologies Inc.

City: West Los Angeles

From: Ukraine

At the time, did you intend to eventually return to your home country?

No. In 1991 we were leaving for good and with the expectation that we would not return.

Why did you start your business in the United States instead of back home?

It was impossible to start a business in the Soviet Union at that time. When we came to the United States, we felt welcome and it quickly became our home for good. It would only be natural to start the business here.

What’s the worst thing about starting a business here?

As an immigrant, starting a new business can be very overwhelming. There is a tremendous amount to learn about the laws and regulations to make sure that everything is done right. I also think that is why Docupace was created by design to include a strong focus on compliance and attention to detail at the highest levels of business.

And the best?

There is a lot of opportunity and with the right mind-set, hard work and a little bit of luck, many doors will open and the sky is the limit. I cannot think of a better environment than the United States to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and give everyone an opportunity to try.

What have been the biggest surprises?

The biggest surprise for me was realizing that running your own business is not the easiest job. The level of responsibilities and obligations are so much higher compared to being in the regular workforce.

Would you tell someone from your home country to start a business here or there?

I always encourage people to start and have business in the United States.

What advice would you give someone from your home country about starting a business here?

There are many resources and organizations available to help with business. Definitely search for those, reach out and use them. It will help tremendously.

Do you go back often?

No. My family and I are very happy here in Los Angeles.

What did you know about the United States before coming here?

We learned about the United States as a country in school. The geography, culture, etc. However, the education about the business environment was nonexistent or distorted.

How did that match with reality once you arrived here?

There were many areas that matched my expectations. However, the openness and freedom in various aspects of our life were something that one cannot compare. You have to live it in order to appreciate what we have here in the United States.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you as a foreign-born entrepreneur?

It’s interesting, people think that since I’m not from here I would have a funny story about my transition, but I have come to find that business is universal.

– Matt Pressberg

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.