We are used to seeing universities evaluated by their volume and quality of scientific production. An English consulting company, Sage, decided to use another term of comparison. They matched the list of universities with the list of the most successful entrepreneurs from the last 12 years, those who founded “startups” that later became “unicorns”. For those who are not familiar with the jargon of the tech sector, startups are embryo companies and unicorns are startups that grew to be worth over 1 billion dollars.
At the top of the list is the University of Stanford, where 51 creators of unicorns come from. Among them is Peter Tiel, who founded the largest online money transfer system, PayPal. An interesting detail about Tiel is that, unlike the majority, he graduated in Philosophy as well as Law. Harvard University comes second on the list, with 37 lucky guys. One of its stars is Jeff Hammberbacher, who graduated in mathematics and whose creation, Cloudera, became one of the largest global providers of systems analysis and data processing in the cloud. The University of California has 25 other innovative entrepreneurs, including one of the creators of the GoPro – Nick Woodman, who graduated in Visual Arts.
The Indian Institute of Technology was in 4th place with 25 billionaire startup founders. Two of them, engineers Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati created the Ola Cab, a rival of Uber in India that leads the service in that country. Drew Houston, with a diploma in Computer Science from MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created Dropbox, a cloud storage, and sharing service ranked 11th on the unicorns list from “Fortune” magazine. The Tel Aviv University is 8th on the Sage Consulting Services list for having shaped up seven startups’ founders who have joined the billion-dollar club. Four of them have partnered – Dror Comay, Oded Comay, Ori Naishtein, Hezy Yeshurun – and created the ForeScout Technologies that offers security services on the net access.
The Sage survey shows that two-thirds of the unicorns were created by two or more partners while only one-third was the work of lone entrepreneurs. Moreover, in 60% of the cases, the startup was the first and only company they have created. The oddness is that the unicorns’ founders club is predominantly masculine — the women represent only 6% of them. This shows that even at the vanguard of the economy there is still much disruption to happen.
The 10 schools where most billion-dollar startups’ founders graduated from:
- 1st Stanford University 51
- 2nd Harvard University 37
- 3rd University of California 18
- 4th Indian Institute of Technology 12
- 5th Massachusetts Institute of Technology 9
- 6th University of Pennsylvania 9
- 7th University of Oxford 8
- 8th Tel University Aviv 7
- 9th Cornell University 6
- 10th University of Southern California 6