Israeli University Makes U.S. List of Schools That Churn Out Startup Founders

Tel Aviv University is the only non-American institution on list of 16 schools that produce successful startup entrepreneurs.

Inbal Orpaz
Inbal Orpaz
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Inbal Orpaz
Inbal Orpaz

Which university produces the most startup founders? Do more entrepreneurs come out of technology-oriented universities?

Max Woolf, the blogger behind Minimaxir, which focuses on startups, the Internet and statistics, set out to answer those questions. He analyzed figures from CrunchBase, the database behind popular blog TechCrunch, which contains information on approximately 2,500 venture capital-funded startups in the United States. The data includes the companies' founders and where they went to school -- which Woolf then used to create a list of the top 16 schools based on the number of startups founded by alumni.

In the top spot is Silicon Valley's hometown university, Stanford, with 193 of the companies listed in CrunchBase founded by graduates. Harvard (with 120 startup founders), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (99), Univeristy of California, Berkeley (85), and the University of Pennsylvania (57) rounded out the top five.

The only non-American university that made the list was Tel Aviv University, which tied Duke at No. 16 (each produced 21 startup founders).

Since Woolf's analysis only includes American-listed startups on CrunchBase, it only provides a small and incomplete sample of the companies founded by TAU or other Israeli university alumni that have raised venture capital. Among the Israeli companies that were included in Woolf's data were Waze, 5min Media, Kontera, Palo Alto Networks and Cotendo.

Not too surprisingly, seven of the U.S.' eight Ivy League schools made it onto the list. After Harvard, Yale and Columbia made the list, ranking Nos. 7 and 8, with 42 companies apiece. The single Ivy school that didn't make the cut was Dartmouth.

Graduates of Carnegie Mellon University (Woolf’s alma mater) and Princeton founded relatively few startups compared to the other elite U.S. schools on the list, but thet startups launched by their alums raised significant first-round funding. Woolf suggests that perhaps graduates from these universities have more ambitious startup ideas. TAU also performed well on this measure: Its graduates raised an average of $5.5 million in first-round funding.

Another measure Woolf examined was the total amount of capital raised by alumni startups. Harvard led the pack with $4.1 billion, followed by Stanford with $3.7 billion, UC Berkeley with $2.7 billion and MIT with $1.6 billion. The remaining universities on the list raised significantly lower sums.

Tel Aviv University.Credit: David Bachar
College attendance of startup founders.Credit: Minimaxir

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