PitchBook names top entrepreneurial schools of 2019

Nick Robertson
Senior Producer

Aspiring business moguls, get your elevator pitch ready.

PitchBook has released new rankings for the top universities that produce entrepreneurs who then go on to obtain venture capital funding. And according to the data firm, the San Francisco Bay Area remains a Mecca for those trying to bring the next “big idea” to life.

Stanford University landed in the No. 1 spot in PitchBook’s report, which was conducted PitchBook by tracking the founders of companies that received a first round of venture funding between January 1, 2006 and August 31, 2019.

Graduates from the elite school have raised about $37.8 billion during that period — led by companies like social media giant Snap (SNAP), and on-demand food delivery service DoorDash.

The University of California-Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and University of Pennsylvania all rounded out the top five, respectively.

“When you’re a venture capitalist and you’re going to try something on a young person coming from school, you hope they go to a great school,” branding expert and BigEyedWish Founder Ian Wishingrad told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM.

To be certain, big name schools aren’t everything. However, “If they’re able to get their way to Wharton, Harvard, or Stanford that is the easiest way to mitigate risk,” he added.

Finding “rock stars”

Wishgrad said that “these schools are great because they pull in great people—like how a great director makes a good movie because he knows how to cast good people.

The more elite schools “know how to find rock stars from a young age and bring them in to help give them the tools.”

Stanford comes in as No. 1 in PitchBook's new 2019 rankings for the top universities for entrepreneurs. Its graduates have raised $37.8B in startup capital between Jan. 1, 2006 and Aug. 31, 2019.

And the schools on PitchBook’s rankings extend far beyond the ivory tower. The University of Texas comes in at No. 9 with alumni, including Niantic’s CEO — best known as the developer of Pokémon GO.

The University of Illinois finishes out the top 10, which has produced the founders of startups like the biotech firm Grail, which is making major strides in cancer screening.

“It shows how important brand and provenance really is,” Wishingrad said about universities attracting young visionaries to their schools.

“There’s going to be a referendum with college debt. All the weak [college] brands will all fall away. But these brands are going nowhere, and they’ll mean more than ever.”

Nick Robertson is a senior producer at Yahoo Finance.


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