January 16, 2015

From The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

With immigration issue solved, entrepreneurial couple are happy to be in St. Louis

David Nicklaus

Their office in downtown St. Louis is little more than four walls, two tables and three chairs, but to Amit ´╗┐Kothari and Pravina Pindoria it looks like the promised land.

The couple, newly arrived from London, saw their space in the T-REx building for the first time on Tuesday. They were supposed to be here in July, but instead they’ve spent six months navigating the U.S. immigration bureaucracy.

Their software company, Tallyfy, won a $50,000 Arch Grant last spring, but the U.S. Embassy rejected the visa applications of its husband-and-wife co-founders. Because Arch Grants winners are required to move to St. Louis, they began to despair of ever receiving the money.

Eventually, with the help of Kansas City lawyer Jeffrey Bell and a letter of support from Sen. Claire McCaskill, ´╗┐Kothari and Pindoria got five-year E-2 visas, reserved for investors who commit “substantial” capital to a business that is “bona fide” and “not marginal.”

The process required 200 pages of paperwork and had a Catch-22 quality about it. They couldn’t invest more capital without the $50,000, but they couldn’t collect the $50,000 without a visa.  

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