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REVEALED: Top 50 Universities producing entrepreneurial talent

by wrich

Stanford University in California produces the most entrepreneurial alumni

Founding alumni include Peter Thiel, Kevin Hartz and Elon Musk

UK’s Oxford & Cambridge rank in Top 20

American Universities produce the most entrepreneurial alumni in the world, a new study shows.

Seeking to find universities with the highest number of alumni that have gone on to become start-up founders, research carried out by B2B advertising experts N.Rich studied data drawn from Crunchbase to compile a global “Top 50” of the highest entrepreneur-generating universities.

At the top of the list is Stanford University in California, best known for producing entrepreneurial figures such as Peter Thiel (co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund), Kevin Hartz (co-founder and chairman of Eventbrite) and Elon Musk. N.Rich found that Stanford University registers 3,647 alumni that are founders of new organisations.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranks second highest on the list for alumni that have become founders of new companies, with a total of 2,287 founding alumni. Focusing on courses in science, technology, and engineering, the university has “given birth” to current Google Vice President Bradley Horowitz, Andrew W. Houston ( co-founder and CEO of Dropbox) and Nat Friedman, co-founder of both Ximian and Xamarin – the latter of which was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Friedman is the current CEO of GitHub.

In fact, a total of 37 American universities feature in the Top 50 database. The sole exception within the Top 10 of the list is Israel’s Tel Aviv University, which gave birth to Eran Zinman, founder of the cloud-based sales and CRM solution, Monday.com.

Within the United Kingdom, the prestigious universities of Oxford and Cambridge rank 12th and 14th respectively.

1,117 of Oxford’s alumni have later become founders of new businesses. The educational establishment has generated entrepreneurial individuals such as Monzo founder Tom Blomfield, and indeed, despite studying his undergraduate Bachelor’s degree of Arts and Science at Stanford, Kevin Hartz also studied a Master’s degree in British History at Oxford University.

Slack founder Stewart Butterfield studied at Clare College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, which has garnered 1,064 alumni that have gone on to create new businesses. The University itself has also generated the likes of Nickyl Raithatha – founder of the popular personalised greeting card and gift store Moonpig.

Speaking of the research, a representative of N.Rich comments: “America has always been an enviable “factory” that creates a wealth of successful individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations. One hopes that the next generation of young founders will find their way to such lucrative educational establishments as those featured in this list.”

The study was conducted by N.Rich, which offers a rich array of intent data and ad inventory that enable marketers to drive awareness and lead generation effectively.  

Top 20 Universities creating entrepreneurial talent

University Name Location Number of Alumni Number of Founders
Stanford University California, United States 6,722 3,647
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts, United States 4,044 2,287
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, California, United States 4,692 2,253
Harvard Business School Boston, Massachusetts, United States 5,341 2,230
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States 4,343 2,063
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States 3,406 1,429
Cornell University Ithaca, New York, United States 2,895 1,303
Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel 2,195 1,230
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States 2,753 1,171
Stanford Graduate School of Business Stanford, California, United States 2,305 1,150
Columbia University Manhattan, New York, United States 2,580 1,148
University of Oxford Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom 2,363 1,117
University of Southern California Los Angeles, California, United States 2,291 1,093
University of Cambridge Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom 2,275 1,064
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, California, United States 2,288 990
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States 1,870 975
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States 2,076 949
New York University New York, New York, United States 2,127 938
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut 2,016



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