Universities Creating Most Venture Capital Backed Entrepreneurs

Pitchbook has recently published its latest list of top universities creating most venture capital backed entrepreneurs. Far from being the domain of college dropouts such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the appropriately name Marc Rich, many college graduates also become successful entrepreneurs. You don’t need to be a dropout to succeed!

First published last year, the 2014 edition of PitchBook’s Top Universities for VC-backed Entrepreneurs lists the top universities producing entrepreneurs who used venture capital funding to build their businesses. The list is the result of a close examination of the educational backgrounds of over13,000 company founders worldwide for the five years to August, 2014. .

Top Universities on the Pitchbook List

Not surprisingly perhaps, California based Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley tops the undergrad list. It seems you can graduate, set up your company and get VC funds from your neighbors all in one afternoon! Maybe a slight exaggeration, but it sure is an advantage. As might also be expected, Berkley comes second in the main list, 4th in the women only list. If you want to become an entrepreneur and get venture capital backing, the Bay area is the place to be.

Pitchbook’s list is actually a number of lists, the top 50 undergraduate list being supplemented by separate lists for worldwide universities, graduate and MBA lists, and the same specifically for women graduates. When it comes to VC-funded MBAs, Harvard nips in front of Stanford in all lists.

The actual figures for Stanford alumni showed 378 undergraduate founders started up 309 companies and raised a total of $3.52 billion in venture capital (average of 11.39 million per company.) 352 Harvard MBAs started up 312 companies, raising total funding of $4.2 billion in venture capital (average of $13.5 million each.)

Venture Capital Backed Female Entrepreneurs

Pitchbook includes lists for women only. The figures for Stanford female undergraduates showed 40 women starting 40 companies and receiving $460 million in VC funds. That is an average of $11.5 million each. In percentage terms this equates to 10.6% of total graduates are women, starting 12.9% of companies receiving 13.5% of funding allocated to Stanford undergraduates during the 5-year period. This compares with the equivalent figure of $10.6 million each for the general top 10, so female entrepreneurs tend to get more VC funding on average for each startup.

Although location is a relevant factor, of more importance is the network of friends and like-minded individuals available to graduates. The Bay area is well-endowed with students, alumni and faculty and also with angels and venture capitalists seeking investment opportunities. The amount of support available to anybody attempting a new startup is massive, and while it still takes hard work to leverage all of that to their maximum benefit, it would be much more difficult without it.

Non-American Universities

The Indian School of Technology comes in as the highest non-American college at #4 with Tel Aviv at #9. These compare well with the Ivy leagues colleges such as Cornell at 7, Yale at 11, and Princeton and Columbia at 17 and 18 respectively.

Silicon Valley universities are still ahead of eastern Ivy League colleges for VC-funded startups. The University of Texas and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor also crept into the top 10. The European list is dominated by England, with 8 of the top 10 positions being held by English universities. It will be interesting to find out how these other centers of learning develop with regard to venture capital funding in the next Pitchbook report on universities creating most venture capital backed entrepreneurs.

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