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Jessica Leber

A View from Jessica Leber

Stanford Grads Raise the Most Startup Capital

A report compares the fundraising success of alumni startups at top universities

  • October 29, 2012

Universities of all ilk have started incubators and accelerator programs to nurture student startups in the last few years. But aside from fanfare demo days, it’s hard to track the success of these kinds of programs.

That may be one reason for today’s report by the firm CB Insights. It claims to be the first-ever effort to track and measure entrepreneurship activity from top universities. The firm limited itself to six schools—Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, and MIT—and looked at money raised over the last five years by companies founded or led by alumni (or dropouts, in the case of Facebook founder and erstwhile Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg).

Stanford, with its proximity to Silicon Valley, unsurprisingly dominated the list. Companies associated with the school raised  $4.1 billion across 203 financing rounds from 2007 to 2011, the report says. In total, companies associated with all six universities raised $12.6 billion through 559 transactions in that same period.

Reflecting overall priorities for investors for the last few years, most funding went to software, semiconductor and chip-focused startups. But MIT and U.C. Berkeley-associated companies also were able to mix it up more, attracting a greater number of investors to the healthcare and energy sectors. NYU, which operates in the heart of New York City’s resurgent startup scene, had one of the faster funding growth rates.

As much as football games, report like these are sure to stoke the competitive fires between entrepreneurship programs at these schools.

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