Washington, Feb 14 (PTI) America is a land of opportunities where failure is considered not as a stigma but a path to success, a top Indian-American entrepreneur and philanthropist from the Silicon Valley told a group of newly-naturalised US citizens.

Addressing some 200 new citizens, after they took oath at the prestigious John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, M R Rangaswami, a Silicon Valley-based software executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist, narrated his personal story as to how this country offers an opportunity to all who work and want to succeed in life.

He was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Rangaswami, who co-founded Sand Hill Group, one of the earliest ‘angel’ investment firms, told the new citizens about his American story, when he left India at the age of 21 for an MBA in the US with a one-way ticket, a student visa and eight dollars in his pocket.

His brother in New York had to sign a financial guarantee for his tuition and boarding at Kent State University.

“On my way from upstate New York to Cleveland, Ohio on a Greyhound bus, someone stole one of my suitcases which contained my pots and pans and spices.

“I was devastated and told my host family at Kent what had happened and they quickly replaced it all! That’s when I felt the warmth and hospitality of the American community,” said Rangaswami, who in 2012 founded Indiaspora to unite Indian-Americans and to transform their success into meaningful impact in India and on the global stage.

Over the year, Indiaspora has emerged as a catalyst to transform the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact in India and on the global stage.

“In 1982, after I had built a reasonably comfortable life in Texas, I was advised to move to Silicon Valley. A lot of questions went through my mind: what was this place? Did I know anyone there? And on and on,” he said, adding that he decided to take the risk as he had obtained his green card by then.

“I found a job and joined my first company, which held great promises. The company doubled every year, but after three years it went broke. In many other countries, one might be regarded as a failure, and not given a second chance. But, in America, I was able to recover and try again without any stigma attached,” Rangaswami said.

After a few years, he tried his luck at a second startup, only to see it fail.

“Luckily, I recovered once again, and the third time was the charm. I was then able to create my own future in California. Who knew 37 years ago that Silicon Valley would become the center of the universe!” he said.

Rangaswami became a US citizen some 25 years ago.

“For the past 22 years as an investor, I have put my own capital into over 75 startups, many of them started by immigrants. The results have been gratifying, and put me on the Forbes Midas list as a successful venture investor,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.