Dallas-based immigration startup invited to pitch at SXSW Accelerator event

Earlier this month, Dallas-based FastVisa pitched in front of a crowd of nearly a thousand people for the 10th annual 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event.

“I was like don’t screw up,” said FastVisa co-founder Paul Kang. “All the other companies that I competed with didn’t make any mistakes, so I was like ya this is a big moment for raising awareness and letting people know what we do.”

Among over 600 applicants from around the world, FastVisa was selected to be one of the 50 finalists, making them the only North Texas area startup selected in the past few years.

“What I noticed this year is that there were a lot of agricultural, food, women, technology and social impact related technology,” said Kang, “I think because of that we got into SXSW along that trend of what sort of impact a company can bring and to society in general. That’s what I noticed from the 50 companies that pitched. If they scale, they can have really great impact.”

FastVisa works with organizations and businesses with many immigration applicants to provide an automated process platform for immigration workflow.

“[Our team] thought immigration was an issue with the actual individuals,” said Kang. “Over time, we decided it’s a systematic issue, so we focused on handling organizations.”

To tap into the market of 13 million immigrants who are approved to work in the United States, FastVisa simplifies a process that businesses otherwise would be using six or seven different tools.

“Our goal is to become the Salesforce for immigration,” said Kang.

Kang and his co-founder Ethan Jeong started FastVisa in Dallas just over two years ago after researching areas with many Fortune 500 companies as well as a big influx of immigration.

Over the past two years, FastVisa have taken advantage of opportunities like Tech Wildcatters and Capital Factory, and they are currently officed out of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.

“The Dallas startup community is getting better and better for sure,” said Kang. “Tech Wildcatters helped us have connections with the local mentors and advisors, but if someone moves here completely new, finding those people is probably a little bit difficult.”

In 2018, FastVisa intends to continue scaling through these programs. FastVisa will be one of 84 startups selected to participate in the first MassChallenge Texas cohort, which is a 16-week accelerator that kicks off in April. FastVisa also started 2018 by joining the Texas Venture Labs, an accelerator at the University at Texas, where they will present at the Venture Expo on April 26.

“Participating in these accelerators has allowed me to meet people and have that awareness, and it’s really helping me understand,” said Kang. “All the people that have been through the startup world or built a company have their perspective, so it’s helping me form our own strategy built on that one. Sometimes we come up with some strategy, but it’s probably not perfect.”

Jacquelyn Elias

Editor at Launch DFW | SMU senior studying journalism, creative computing and computer science graduating in May '18 | Twitter: @jacquieeli | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jacquelynrelias