The Top Universities Producing VC-Backed Entrepreneurs – ValueWalk Premium
Top Universities For VC-backed Entrepreneurs

The Top Universities Producing VC-Backed Entrepreneurs

The Top Universities Producing VC-Backed Entrepreneurs by PitchBook


Third time’s the charm.

We’ve ranked the top universities producing venture capital-backed entrepreneurs twice before, so the challenge has become how to make this particular edition even more interesting, informative and insightful. In our first feature, we ranked the top 10 universities with undergraduate alumni who founded companies that received a first round of VC financing overall, then followed that up with rankings by year. In our second, we expanded our data by quite a bit. We listed the top 50 universities, then looked at the top 25 global MBA programs producing entrepreneurs who garnered VC. In addition, we looked at which programs ranked highest for VC-backed female entrepreneurs.

Both features were very popular, so how did we top that this time around? First, the expected: We’ve updated our previous rankings of undergraduate and MBA programs worldwide to track numbers from the start of 2010 through the end of July 2015, drawing from our expanded VC database of 25,000+ valuations, 970,000+ people and 78,000+ VC-backed companies. To top the tables off, we ranked the top undergrad and MBA programs producing founders of unicorns-companies that have achieved a private valuation of $1 billion or more.

Top Universities For VC-backed Entrepreneurs

At the end of the day, the venture industry is based on relationships. We’ve heard many experienced investors say time and again how crucial a factor the proper team is, or how once they have built a strong enough relationship with certain people, they will follow them nearly anywhere. The interplay between entrepreneur and investor, between startup teams, between limited partner and general partner, all form the human nexus that enables the flow of money to innovation.

Top Universities For VC-backed Entrepreneurs

How does this relate to university programs producing entrepreneurs? There’s a fairly strong case to be made that often it’s not even the degree you graduate with but the personal connections you make in your time at school that determine your future. Which professors you interacted with the most, which classmates you bonded with closely—the people you end up spending the most time with, in short, end up directing your path. For entrepreneurs this is especially true. You may have the technical savvy and know-how that a degree in mechanical engineering confers, but do you know how to construct a 90-day business launch plan? How are your public relations skills? It is easier than ever to connect with people around the world nowadays, but in an era of depersonalized communication, personal connections come at a premium. Direct networks are more highly prized nowadays—especially the networks formed during the formative years of degree programs, when you are surrounded by like-minded individuals.

That is why it’s so interesting to examine the rankings of the programs producing the most entrepreneurs. It’s to be expected that top-notch schools lend themselves to the types of ambitious, inspired innovators who start plenty of companies and rake in plenty of venture capital. Yet that just goes to show just how valuable the networks created by those types of people are while they are at school. It also is impressive to see how many companies have been started by entrepreneurs from those schools, not to mention how much VC they have garnered. Founders from the top 10 undergrad programs alone have created over 3,000 companies and raked in $33.5 billion in VC.

Top Universities For VC-backed Entrepreneurs

Going down the list, things get a bit more interesting. It’s not just globally renowned private universities that can boast plenty of entrepreneurs. Public U.S. state schools such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington and others make a strong showing in the undergraduate tables, all ranking in the top 25. As for MBA programs, it makes sense INSEAD and Tel Aviv University ascend up the list, with their established professional programs unsurprisingly turning out a considerable number of entrepreneurial sorts.

Another interesting insight gleaned from these tables is the confluence of venture capital, established industries and academic hotspots. Silicon Valley is the prime example of all three, but as we noted in our prior Universities feature, the University of Michigan and University of Colorado both represent the intersection of emerging or maturing startup ecosystems and academia. Our geographic breakdown further illustrates such intersections: The strength of Israel’s tech scene is well known by now, while healthy numbers from no fewer than four India-based MBA programs-Indian School of Business, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, IIMCalcutta and IIM-Bangalore-point to the spreading global reach of the maturing venture industry.

See full PDF below.

Comments (79)

  • marcus

    Stanford is the birth place of Silicon Valley and the startup capital of the world… no surprise

    September 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm
    • John C

      It does look like more Stanford people are jumping on the bandwagon than other schools but they are not as successful at the individual level as Harvard or MIT grads. Looking at this table, my conclusion is that Stanford is hardly dominant in producing VC entrepreneurs when compared to other top schools. Just a glance at the table shows Stanford produces a tiny fraction of the total. So much for the “startup capital of the world” LOL Maybe you should bring up your favorite low acceptance rate thing again although that argument also takes a hefty dose of exaggeration.

      September 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm
      • marcus

        lols… every school wants to be the next Stanford…. it’s the university every country and institution is modeling themselves after

        September 24, 2015 at 10:41 pm
        • John C

          delusions of grandeur, manic psychosis

          September 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm
          • marcus

            wonder why Harvard is building an engineering school.. and other Ivies are building tech campuses.. to catch up to Stanford… it’s obvious. follow the leader

            September 24, 2015 at 11:20 pm
          • John C

            Oh, so now Stanford invented engineering, too? LOL
            Look at the table in this article. Stanford = more hype than substance

            September 25, 2015 at 12:27 am
          • marcus

            that’s why silicon Valley is located in Boston.. oh wait

            September 25, 2015 at 12:33 am
          • John C

            Silicon Valley called and said please speak for yourself only

            September 25, 2015 at 3:34 pm
          • marcus

            Boston along with MIT and Harvard are a wannabe Silicon Valley… I know it … you know it
            try harder

            September 25, 2015 at 4:10 pm
          • marcus

            50% of all VC goes through Silicon Valley.. and most of that via the Stanford campus on sand hill road grasshopper

            September 25, 2015 at 4:11 pm
          • John C

            Stanford called and said it doesn’t want you representing it, either.

            September 28, 2015 at 4:24 pm
          • marcus

            hey you know John maybe you’d be more successful if you named the Cambridge area.. Silicon Harbor… catchy don’t you think?

            October 1, 2015 at 7:35 pm
          • John C

            Not really. The word silicon makes most people think of fake boobs. Pretty soon silicon’s physical limits in electronic circuits will be reached, and other things will be the next chip material. I guess then the phrase Silicon Valley will sound obsolete, wouldn’t it?

            October 3, 2015 at 8:05 am
          • marcus

            silicon alley, silicon hills, silicon prairie, silicon beach….. follow the leader

            October 3, 2015 at 9:03 am
          • John C

            Marcus, that’s very nice but that’s all in the present. I am talking about the future when silicon will be replaced with other technologies. Get it? The future? Which is different from the present?

            October 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm
          • marcus

            says the guy with the worthless lib arts degree… love lib arts majors lecturing about the future.. irony

            October 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm
          • marcus

            Harvard is obsolete

            October 3, 2015 at 11:56 pm
  • John C

    It looks like Harvard and MIT grads are the best in raising money. Probably they have the most promising ideas.

    Harvard $4,955 million /404 entrepreneurs = $12.3 million per person
    MIT $4,555 million/435 entrepreneurs = $10.5 million per person
    Stanford $5,896 million/561 entrepreneurs = $10.5 million per person
    Cornell $3,220 million/323 entrepreneurs = $10.0 million per person
    Berkeley $4,107 million/536 entrepreneurs = $7.7 million per person
    U Penn $3,047 million/393 entrepreneurs = $7.8 million per person

    September 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm
  • marcus

    More money flows through Sand Hill Road.. which is on the Stanford campus than Boston and NYC combined

    September 24, 2015 at 10:42 pm
    • John C

      Clearly you can’t do math

      September 24, 2015 at 10:52 pm
  • John C

    Harvard MBAs VC capital raised $6.746 billion
    Stanford MBAs VC capital raised $4.077 billion

    Harvard bachelors VC capital raised $4.955 billion
    Stanford bachelors VC capital raised $5.896 billion

    Total Harvard VC capital raised = $11.7 billion
    Total Stanford VC capital raised = $9.973 billion

    September 24, 2015 at 10:52 pm
    • marcus

      Stanford biz school is half the size of Harvard but still raised more on a per capita basis.
      Stanford undergrad and Harvard undergrad have equivalent class sizes and Stanford clearly dominates
      Stanford’s undergrad class is now larger than Harvard’s and will be 2300 so the gap will widen.

      September 25, 2015 at 12:36 am
      • John C

        Ah, but Harvard MBAs don’t just do VC, but also run Fortune 500 companies (4 times more Fortune 500 CEOs than Stanford MBAs), run the Wall Street banking firms, entertainment, media, and government. Of those Harvard MBAs who decide to pursue VC, they do better than Stanford MBAs at the individual level.
        Harvard MBAs $12.1 million per person
        Stanford MBAs $10.3 million per person

        Likewise, Harvard undergrads don’t just do VC, but also become leaders in politics, law, medicine, education, business, finance, sciences, arts, humanities, journalism, media/entertainment, and government. Of those Harvard undergrads who decide to pursue VC, they do better than Stanford undergrads at the individual level.
        Harvard undergards $12.3 million per person
        Stanford undergrads $10.5 million per person

        And when you add up the VC money together, Harvard graduates account for a larger fraction of the VC money than Stanford
        total Harvard VC capital raised = $11.7 billion
        total Stanford VC capital raised = $9.973 billioin

        Somehow these figures seem to contradict your claims of Stanford supremacy in VC, don’t they?

        September 25, 2015 at 2:08 pm
        • marcus

          Stanford excels in all disciplines.. Harvard is non-existent in engineering but it’s trying.

          September 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm
          • John C

            It’s pretty decent in all disciplines but significantly worse than Harvard in everything except in engineering.

            September 25, 2015 at 2:11 pm
          • marcus

            like I said.. it’s trying. and now that it’s the second most selective university behind Stanford.. it has something to shoot for.

            September 25, 2015 at 2:13 pm
          • John C

            So given up your claims about the VC capital of the world now?

            September 25, 2015 at 2:14 pm
          • marcus

            the MBA count is purely a warm body count. The undergrad where the class sizes are equivalent.. Stanford dominates

            September 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm
          • John C

            Are we looking at the same table? It sure doesn’t look like Stanford dominates. It’s a tiny bit better than others and on a per capita basis, Stanford grads raise less money than Harvard grads. It’s not the kind of domination where Harvard produces more Fortune 500 CEOs than Wharton, Stanford, Chicago, and Northwestern combined, for example.

            September 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm
          • marcus

            on a relative basis Stanford is the top school for startups.. it’s not even close

            September 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm
          • John C

            472 companies from Stanford vs. 468 companies from Berkeley?
            $5.896 billion from Stanford undergrads vs. $4.955 billion from Harvard undergrads? (despite there being fewer Harvard grads doing the VC thing)
            I call that pretty close.

            September 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm
          • marcus

            Stanford dominates undergrad and both have similar class sizes.

            as far as MBA
            Stanford 394 Company 341
            harvard 557 Company 497
            Stanford’s class size is less than half of Harvard’s

            September 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm
          • John C

            You are the king of cherrypicking. Did you read what I wrote above about how Harvard undergrads and MBAs go into important things other than VC, like winning Nobel Prizes or writing poetry or running for public offices or running big, famous companies instead of small start-ups? Here, let me summarize it for you:

            1) Larger percentages of Stanford undergrads and MBAs go into VC than their Harvard counterparts
            2) Fewer Harvard undergrads go into VC, but they raise more money per capita than Stanford
            3) Lower percentages of Harvard MBAs go into VC, but because the class size is bigger, there are more VC entrepreneurs, and they also raise more money per capita than Stanford.
            4) The grand total VC capital raised for Harvard is greater than for Stanford

            Conclusion: Stanford tries harder but Harvard is more successful at the individual level and also as a collective group.

            September 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm
          • marcus

            lols.. you’re the queen of cherry picking.. sorry holmes Harvard is second most selective and loses this battle also

            September 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm
          • marcus

            yeah writing poetry.. that pretty much sums it up.

            September 25, 2015 at 4:13 pm
          • John C

            Since you can’t even write prose, I’m sure writing poetry is well beyond your grasp.

            September 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm
          • marcus

            … I’m sure you’re great at poetry… you graduated from a great liberal arts university. maybe you can get a job at Starbucks.

            September 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm
          • John C

            Engineers have an edge in getting jobs right after graduation. But you do know that Harvard College grads eventually make more money than Stanford grads, don’t you?
            Median salary Harvard College 10 years after graduation = $87,200, Stanford – $80,900
            Average salary Harvard College (male) = $172,000, Stanford = $151,000
            Average salary Harvard College (female) = $112,000, Stanford = $94,000
            Top 10% salary Harvard College = over $250,000, Stanford = $232,000
            Federal loan debt at graduation Harvard College = $6,000, Stanford = $12,224
            (From College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education 2015)

            September 30, 2015 at 10:15 am
          • marcus

            stanford median starting salary $62,900 ranks 6

            harvard median starting salary $57,700 ranks 22


            Starbucks is calling John…btw.. they have good benefits.

            September 30, 2015 at 10:47 am
          • John C

            That data is not reliable because it’s based on surveys of a small number of people while the DOE data is comprehensive. What good is having a little higher starting salary if it’s going to be reversed in a few years and you will make less money for the rest of your life?

            September 30, 2015 at 7:46 pm
          • marcus

            of course it’s not reliable because Harvard is number 22.. lolz! btw.. Stanford is the most selective university in the US with the highest yield, lowest admit rate. In addition Stanford only accepts 1/3 of it’s class EA whereas Harvard accepts over half its class EA to goose its yield… and Harvard started advertising on FB for applications last year… #secondtoStanford #desperate

            September 30, 2015 at 9:03 pm
          • John C

            You didn’t answer my question.
            BTW, the Department of Education data is not a survey. It tracks everyone so it’s nothing like the businessinsider crap.

            October 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm
          • marcus

            oh yeah.. like you’re not posting all your BS analysis there.. YAWWWNNNN

            October 1, 2015 at 7:27 pm
          • marcus

            Hey John,,, why is Harvard advertising on Facebook for applicants? that is desperate

            October 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm
          • John C

            At least Harvard doesn’t send out free applications like Stanford to a bunch of applicants begging them to apply. That’s stooping very low.

            By the way, why all this effort when you have no real connection to Stanford, Marcus? Did you buy a fake Stanford diploma to hang up on your wall?

            October 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm
          • marcus

            Stanford’s application fee is $90
            Harvard’s application fee is $75

            try again.. you’re a BS artist

            October 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm
          • John C

            No, Stanford sends letters to thousands of pre-selected applicants inviting them to apply and waives their application fees. I guess you’ve never gotten one of those invitations, huh?

            October 1, 2015 at 7:41 pm
          • marcus

            lolz… you’re getting desperate.. John.. you’re really bad at BSing… funny to see you squirm like a chump

            October 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm
          • John C

            Hmm, I guess the free application comment stung, huh?
            Why does Harvard accept 57% of its EA applicants? Because the EA applicants are the strongest subgroup and on top of that, they all really want to come to Harvard? Duh…

            October 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm
          • marcus

            they do it to goose their yield.. but thanks for playing….

            October 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm
          • John C

            Hey Marcus, I do apologize for being slow to reply because unlike yourself, I actually have serious work to do.

            If I were you, I would try contacting the Stanford admissions office to see if they might pay you a little bit of money for your tireless work on the internet (unless you are already on their payroll). It might help you move out of your mom’s basement.

            Even if they will never accept you for an actual Stanford degree, I’m sure they appreciate your blind dedication to Stanford.

            October 2, 2015 at 8:06 am
          • marcus

            your second mistake was getting a job. didn’t you read rich dad poor dad? stop being a poor dad.

            btw.. Stanford’s incoming freshman class is now larger than Harvard’s and despite all the EA games and facebook ads is still whooping your butt.

            October 2, 2015 at 9:06 am
          • John C

            You just don’t seem to get that it’s not about acceptance rates and class sizes and so forth. I mean, I sort of understand since you’ve never actually experienced what it’s like to be at an elite university from the inside. You seem to get genuinely excited by the prestige and the brand names and stuff, which is pretty amusing. Keep it up, my friend!

            Just to let you know, there are types of creative and important work in addition to working for someone else (which I assume is what you mean by a “job”) or trying your hand at amateur investing based on some dumb financial advice books. Ever think about why the author makes his money by selling books instead of by investing, if he is really so good at investing? Good luck with your investing career! I still think your best bet is to volunteer at the Stanford Admissions Office. They may not pay you anything at the beginning, but who knows?

            October 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm
          • marcus

            baloney.. that’s why Harvard now finds it necessary to advertise on facebook.. and admits more than 1/2 its class to goose its stats… and Stanford is the main reason. Harvard is probably the worst offender in terms of window dressing its admission stats.. but Yale Princeton and the other ivies play the same game to goose their stats.

            btw.. if you collect a W2 you are not going to ever accumulate wealth… get a clue.. or become a guru and start selling those books you hate.

            October 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm
          • John C

            You sound like a broken record. It always comes back to the admissions stats, doesn’t it, Marcus? Because that’s the only thing you know about these schools. The fact that you think this dumb book is worth anything reveals a lot. Self-respecting individuals would be embarrassed to admit that they have even heard of this book.

            October 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm
          • marcus

            well you sure hate those stats! lolz

            you collect a W2 you’re an idiot

            October 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm
          • John C

            Not really, I just feel sorry for you because all you know are some stats you got off the internet and you think that makes you a Stanford expert or affiliate or whatever. I’m guessing it’s some kind of a psychological compensatory mechanism for never having attended a decent college.

            When did I say I get a W2? Who’s the idiot now? And are all the Stanford professors who collect W2’s idiots based on your premise? How about all the Google executives who get their paychecks from the company?

            October 3, 2015 at 7:59 am
          • marcus

            Stanford has disrupted higher education now leads the country in many metrics… and that pisses you off… since you got eclipsed…. good! lolz

            you’re ignorant.. understand the tax code… and stop working for the man. W2 = idiot

            October 3, 2015 at 9:02 am
          • John C

            You didn’t answer my question, as usual. So are Stanford professors ignorant and idiots because they get W2 forms? How about the CEOs in the Silicon Valley?

            October 4, 2015 at 9:26 pm
          • marcus

            dude… buy that book you hate.. and learn something. and throw out that plaque with your poetry degree.. it’s worthless

            October 4, 2015 at 9:46 pm
          • marcus

            btw… who do you think had the top compensation of any university president? and it wasn’t even a contest. personally I think it’s BS though… so I don’t think it’s a good thing.

            October 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm
          • marcus

            that’s why Harvard is advertising on Facebook… lolz!!!

            October 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm
          • marcus

            hey John, you’re a little slow with the replies.. can you put your Harvard degree to some constructive use and speed it up. thanks mucho

            October 1, 2015 at 8:00 pm
          • marcus

            Harvard is obviously over-rated

            October 1, 2015 at 8:09 pm
          • marcus

            hey why don’t you guys advertise on Craiglist too! along with Facebook.. I’m sure you’ll find some qualified candidates there..

            October 1, 2015 at 7:45 pm
          • marcus

            hey John why does Harvard accept 57% of its applicants EA? LAME

            October 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm
          • marcus

            that’s why Harvard has to resort to begging for applicants on facebook.. LAME!!

            October 1, 2015 at 7:38 pm
          • marcus

            stanford median starting salary $62,900 ranks 6

            harvard median starting salary $57,700 ranks 22

            Starbucks is calling John…btw.. they have good benefits.

            September 30, 2015 at 10:48 am
          • John C

            What’s it to you, marcus? It’s not like you will ever go to Stanford or anything. It’s nowhere as good as Harvard, but you still have to be somewhat intelligent to get in.

            September 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm
          • marcus

            Stanford has taken the pole position… Harvard is still a great East Coast Liberal Arts University though and will never be as good as Stanford in innovation, startups or tech

            September 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm
          • John C

            Is that why there are 74 Harvard College grads and only 18 Stanford grads who won the McArthur “Genius” Award for exceptional creativity?

            Is that why Harvard College and MBA grads got $11.7 billion VC capital and Stanford BA and MBA grads only got $9.97 billion? Please explain.

            September 30, 2015 at 10:11 am
          • marcus

            that’s why Stanford is the most innovative University based on reuters recent study.
            that’s why Silicon Valley is located around Stanford and not Cambridge.

            September 30, 2015 at 10:53 am
          • marcus

            22 billion spend on VC in the valley
            Boston 4.4 billion

            September 30, 2015 at 11:00 am
          • John C

            We are comparing Harvard and Stanford.
            Silicon Valley ? Stanford.

            September 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm
          • marcus

            actually Silicon Valley was an orchard field around the Stanford campus.. .so no Stanford no silicon valley. #getaclue

            September 30, 2015 at 9:06 pm
          • John C

            And yet you desperately keep trying to equate Stanford with Silicon Valley, hoping some of the Silicon Valley mystique will rub off. LOL

            October 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm
          • marcus

            that’s why Stanford is the most selective University in the US.. Try again

            October 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm
          • John C

            Is that your default answer whenever you lose an argument?

            October 1, 2015 at 7:31 pm
  • marcus

    as far as rankings for biz schools by class size which is the most important metric for comparison reasons it’s

    1. Stanford
    2. MIT
    3. Harvard

    October 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm


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