MORE DIVERSITY IN INDUSTRIES MBA STARTUPS ARE ENTERING
The two contrasting startups at the top of this year’s list represent the diversity among startups coming out of the world’s top business schools. Take Booster Fuels, for example, which is an app-based service that will bring and pump gas in office parking lots for campus-based companies. Booster raised a $56 million Series C round last June to rocket into eighth place on this year’s list. Getaway is a Harvard Business School-founded venture that got its roots at HBS’s new venture competition and has now raised over $40 million in funding, including a $22.5 million Series B round last June. Founded in 2015, Getaway connects city dwellers with nearby cabin and vacation rentals. Fifth Season, which was formally known as Robotany has created a technology to grow vegetables in small places using vertical farming. The Carnegie Mellon Tepper School-founded startup raised a massive $35 million venture round last October and is hellbent on a mission to revolutionalize the Pittsburgh food industry.
While the list has startups from many different areas, two industries, in particular, hold this year’s top startups — real estate and education technology (edtech). Divvy Homes, which was founded by a group from Stanford, comes in third place this year with $180 million in funding raised since being founded in 2017. The real estate company has created a model aimed at helping middle-class Americans go from renting to owning their own home. Following Divvy Homes is FlyHomes, which is also a home-purchasing platform. Seattle-based FlyHomes was founded by a team from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and is coming off a $21 million Series B round last August. Rounding out the top five is Ruangguru, an Indonesian-based technology services for educators. Also a Stanford GSB-founded venture, Ruangguru shot into fifth place on this year’s list thanks to a massive $150 million Series C at the end of 2019.
TOTAL FUNDING RAISED SLIGHTLY LOWER THAN LAST YEAR
From top to bottom, this year’s list had less funding compared to last year. In 2019, Branch Metrics topped the list with $242.10 million in funding compared to Guild’s $228.50 million this year. While Guild was the only venture to top the $200 million mark this year, last year’s list had three break that barrier. Fourth-place Farmers Business Network would’ve also finished ahead of this year’s second-place venture as it had $193.9 million in funding compared to Away with $181 million this year. Last year it to $5.5 million to make the top 100 and this year the 100th-placed startups raised $4 million. In 2018, the 100th-place cutoff was $3.67 million. The year before that it was $4.3 million for 100th and in 2016 the cutoff was $2.65 million.
This year’s total funding of $3.020 billion is down from last year’s $3.173 million. Both numbers were higher than in 2017 and 2018 when the totals were below $3 billion but less than in 2015 and 2016 when the totals were $4.9 billion and $5.18 billion, respectively.
MORE MBAs LAUNCHING VENTURES AT COLUMBIA, CHICAGO BOOTH AND LESS AT STANFORD, WHARTON
Launching ventures while in business school continues to be popular among MBAs at some top programs. In 2019’s graduating class, 65 Harvard MBAs (7%) elected to launch a venture, according to the school’s employment report. The rate was 8% last year and 7% among 2017 and 2016 graduates. Since 2014, the number of Columbia Business School graduates launching companies has grown from 22 in 2014 to 37 in 2018 and 34 this past year in 2019. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has also seen an uptick in MBAs launching ventures immediately after graduation going from nine in 2014 to 19 each of the past three years.
At Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, the numbers have also largely stayed the same. In 2014 and 2015, 65 graduating MBAs from Stanford elected to launch businesses, accounting for 17% and 16% of the classes, respectively. In 2016, that number dropped to 61 before rising back to 63 in 2017. In 2018, the rate hit a six-year high at 68 MBAs starting companies before dropping back to 62 in 2019.
But at others, the numbers have been decreasing over the past five years. At Wharton, some 4% of 2019 graduates elected to start their own companies, which is the same rate as last year, but a slight drop from 5% in 2017 and 6% in 2016. By sheer number, the amount of MBAs electing to start companies immediately after graduating has dropped from 55 in 2014 to 34 in 2018 and 35 in 2019. At Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, the number has dropped from 15 in 2014 to hover around 11 to 13 the previous five years.