PitchBook’s Top Universities For Startup Founders

Which schools have the most startup founders? PitchBook’s 2022 ranking is in.

PitchBook– a database for mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital – has released its 2022 list of best university programs for startup founders, and you can likely guess which school came out on top, no drum roll needed.

Topping the list for both MBA and graduate students as well as for undergraduate students is Stanford University. The school that created Silicon Valley had the most startup founders among its alumni, the metric Pitchbook uses for its annual list.

It’s a title Stanford has held before. It topped PitchBook’s 2021 top universities list for undergrads, and had the most startups in Poets&Quants’ annual ranking of the top MBA startups.


PitchBook compiles its annual list by tallying the number of alumni from each school who have founded capital-backed companies. This year, it based its analysis of more than 144,000 VC-backed founders.

In 2022, Stanford overtook Harvard University in the MBA and graduate level ranking, a spot Harvard had enjoyed the previous two years. Stanford had 3,710 graduate founders of 2,808 companies. Its top company, JUUL, has raised $15.7 billion to date followed by Robinhood Markets at $5.6 billion. Overall, companies founded by Stanford alumni raised $166 billion over the last 10 years – PitchBook’s ranking parameter.

Harvard had 3,222 founders and 2,713 companies. While it had about 500 fewer founders and almost 100 fewer companies than Stanford, those companies raised more – $173.5 billion. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) came in third with 2,459 founders and 1,863 companies.


Not surprisingly, the top-ranked MBA programs in the world are good at making founders. Six of the universities on PitchBook’s top 10 list have business schools on Poets&Quants’ top 10 MBA programs in the U.S. from our latest ranking: Stanford Graduate School of Business (ranked No. 1 by P&Q), Harvard Business School (No. 5), MIT Sloan (No. 6), Columbia Business School (No. 7), University of Pennsylvania Wharton (No. 3), and Northwestern Kellogg (No. 4).

A little more surprising, perhaps, is that P&Q’s No. 1 MBA for entrepreneurship for the last four years – Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis – ranked just 48th on PitchBook’s list for number of alumni factors. Of course, the size of a school’s alumni base matters since PitchBook is counting the number of startups founded by them, and our entrepreneurship ranking looks at the ecosystem within the school itself. Further, while PitchBook’s ranking looks at alumni founders over the past 15 years, P&Q’s ranking looks back only a few years.

While North American schools still dominate the list, Europe is catching up, PitchBook notes. European schools have 27 universities and institutions on this year’s graduate and undergraduate lists, including two in the top 10 for graduate programs – University of Cambridge (No. 7) and University of Oxford (No. 8). Comparatively, there are 83 American and Canadian universities.


At the undergraduate level, two schools in the San Francisco Bay area top the list: Stanford University had 1,427 alumni founders at 1,271 companies and raised $73.6 billion on first-round venture capital investment. That’s down slightly from last year (when Stanford also topped the list) when it had 1,643 founders, 1,258 companies, and $76.7 billion in capital.

University of California-Berkeley came in second (same as last year) with 1,406 founders, 1,266 companies, and $45.7 billion raised.

Looking across the country to the other coast, the next two schools on PitchBook’s undergraduate ranking are both in the Boston area: Harvard University had 1,184 founders, 1,061 companies, and $49.5 billion to earn the No. 3 spot. Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in fourth with 1,065 founders, 943 companies, and $45.9 billion raised.

In fact, PitchBook’s top five in 2022 is identical to its top five in 2021, save for a few numbers. The University of Pennsylvania came in fifth.

In a repeat of 2021, Tel Aviv University is the only international school to break the top 10, tying with University of Michigan, Ann Arbor at No. 7. In fact, Israeli universities – led by Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University – make up 6% of all schools in the undergraduate and graduate rankings, trailing only the United States and the UK, PitchBook notes.


PitchBook’s annual ranking is based on the number of alumni founders whose companies received a first round of venture funding over the last decade. (Previously Pitchbook looked back 15 years). Its ranking also tracks universities around the world by how much first-round investment their founders have earned over that time period.

Data used comes from the PitchBook Platform or is collected from publicly available and primary sources.

Click the following pages to see breakdowns for the best universities for female founders, as well as the top 25 schools at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

NEXT PAGE: Pitchbook’s best MBA/graduate and undergraduate schools for female founders

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