The University Entrepreneurship is the first-ever effort to track and measure the entrepreneurship activity of top universities. Specifically, this report tracks six universities and the companies founded by or led by their alumni and the venture capital or angel financing they have raised. In total, CB Insights data revealed that these alumni have raised $12.6 billion of financing across 559 financing transactions.
The universities analyzed are detailed below. All of the underlying company & investor data can be found on CB Insights.
- Stanford University
- Harvard University
- University of California, Berkeley
- New York University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The University Entrepreneurship report only counts companies that have received financing and which were founded or are led by an alumni one of the above six universities. Below are some of the highlights:
Stanford Alumni Rake It In
Probably not surprisingly, Stanford was the clear winner among the universities we analyzed data for. Stanford alum companies raised $4.1 billion across 203 financings handily beating all the other universities in terms of deal activity. On funding raised, Harvard was a close #2 when Facebook is included (yes – we included dropouts as well in our alum stats). However, if we strip out Facebook recognizing it for the outlier it is, Harvard’s funding decreases significantly leaving Stanford as the clear #1 registering more than double or triple all the other universities in terms of funding raised. On a percentage growth basis, Harvard and NYU are experiencing the fastest growth rates (5 year CAGR stats below).
Harvard and Penn Have Most “Alumni Leakage”
When we analyze where alumni companies are based geographically, we see that Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley do the best job of keeping alums in their home state. Given their proximity to Silicon Valley, this is not surprising.
On the flipside, however, U Penn and Harvard saw the lowest percentage of their alumni companies established in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts respectively. Both saw 65% of alum companies set up shop elsewhere or what we’ve termed alumni leakage. For Penn, the retention of 35% is actually quite respectable given that the state of Pennsylvania is not a VC/angel investment juggernaut as it is typically ranked 6-9th in VC funding and deals in our quarterly reports.
However, for Harvard which is based in Massachusetts, the 65% alumni leakage stat is a bit more alarming as Massachusetts is consistently a top 2 or 3 market for VC deals and funding. The alumni leakage stat becomes even more interesting when Harvard is compared with its neighbor MIT which sees 59% of alum companies set up shop in Mass.
Tech Dominates. UC Berkeley & MIT Most Diverse
Tech as might be expected see most deal activity and funding across all universities. Although both still are tech leaning, MIT and Berkeley demonstrated the most industry diversity among the universities analyzed.
Top Investors by University are Very Different
Analyzing the top investors by university highlights that VCs are often building relationships with universities that they find in their backyards.
The two top investors for each university were:
- Stanford – DFJ and Kleiner Perkins
- Harvard – Accel Partners and Google Ventures
- UC, Berkeley – (note: 6 investors tied for first)
- NYU – Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital
- U Penn – MentorTech and Bessemer
- MIT – General Catalyst and Highland Capital
Across all 6 universities, Venrock and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) were the most active investors.