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These US Universities Graduate The Highest Number Of Funded Founders

Illustration of graduation cap with money tassel.

There’s no degree required to be an entrepreneur. But when it comes to securing funding, having graduated from a prestigious university sure seems to help.

In particular, founders with degrees from Stanford University, Harvard University and MIT perennially outperform in attracting capital for their startups, a review of Crunchbase data shows. The past 12 months were no exception, with those three universities once again claiming the first three slots in our ranking of top schools for funded founders.

But those weren’t the only schools with a strong track record for graduating entrepreneurs with investor backing. Using Crunchbase data, we ranked 32 U.S. schools that graduated a high number of founders who raised rounds in roughly the past year. 1

As you can see, it’s a diverse assortment of universities, spanning all regions of the country, and encompassing both public and private schools. Student body size also varies widely, from tiny Caltech, with fewer than 2,500 students, to flagship schools like the University of Michigan and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which each have more than 50,000 students.

Among public universities, meanwhile, UC Berkeley was once again the uncontested leader. Berkeley and the University of Michigan were the only public schools in the top 10. Behind them were UCLA and The University of Texas at Austin.

Other details of the data-crunch

Some business schools stand out: Several universities can credit their high rankings largely to graduates of their business schools. This is particularly the case for Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Penn’s Wharton School.

Below, we charted out the top seven business schools for graduated founders funded in the past year.

No big shake-ups in the rankings: We’ve been doing these funded-founder surveys for several years now. And while there’s some fluctuation in the ranks year to year, it’s typically not what we’d consider especially dramatic. The top four, in particular, are quite consistent.

This time around, our dataset is slightly different from last year’s survey. Last time, we looked at companies that have raised $1 million or more to date. This time, we looked at companies that raised rounds of $100,000 or more in the past year, with the intent of getting a closer look at schools graduating founders at the pre-seed or accelerator financing stage. Even with the broader lens, the results didn’t change a great deal.

Funded founders collectively raised $109 billion: Altogether, the companies with founders from the schools we ranked raised $109 billion in total funding since last May, per Crunchbase data. The largest chunk came from companies with Stanford grads as founders, which picked up $14.2 billion, followed by the Harvard alum-founded companies, which landed $12.3 billion.

Of Stanford alumi-founded companies, the largest round went to Inflection AI, which raised $1.3 billion in June. Among Harvard’s alumni-founded companies, ElevateBio raised the biggest round, closing a $401 million Series D nearly a year ago.

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Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

  1. Does not include companies that raised post-IPO, grant, private equity, debt or secondary financing. Query results include graduates of business, medical and law schools associated with each university.

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