"There are a lot of good things in this country that allow you to innovate faster and be able to set up a company very fast and efficiently," he said.
There is less bureaucracy than in Mexico and the physical and virtual infrastructure like – USPS or PayPal – make creating and running a startup attractive.
"Shipping is very reliable," he pointed out. "In Mexico you cannot ship with Correos de Mexico, the equivalent to USPS, because the package gets lost. It never arrives. They take forever. Infrastructure is what puts the United States in a very good position compared to other countries."
That reliability has allowed 3D Robotics to expanded multiple times since its start. Not long ago it moved into a bigger – 10,000 square foot – facility, but is already looking to move into something around 20,000 square feet. At a second location in Tijuana, 3D Robotics has set up a manufacturing base. There it assembles ready-to-use drones for customers who care more about flying the crafts and less about tinkering and customizing them.
Last November, Anderson became full-time CEO of 3D Robotics. He'll be working from Berkeley on the company's broader strategy. San Diego remains home base, where research and development happens and the warehouse that builds parts that are shipped worldwide.
In the years since starting his business, Muñoz has still not become a U.S. citizen. The same lengthy process that allowed him to start tinkering with the helicopter that led to 3D Robotics also gives him pause. He says he recognizes the citizenship process may be just as bad.
The young Mexican entrepreneur, aware of stereotypes that paint immigrants as job takers, points out that he has been creating them all along. He opened his company at the peak of the recession. At that time, 80 percent of what he sold was exported, which also brought money into the U.S.
"I'm happy to say that as an immigrant I came to this country and I'm creating jobs. That's something to think about. It asks American citizens to give us an opportunity to benefit the country."