Poets&Quants’ Top 100 MBA Startups Of 2023

Poets&Quants' Top 100 MBA Startups Of 2023

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management has four startups on this year’s list of the 100 highest funded MBA startups. Together, the four ventures have raised $484.9 million to date. Courtesy photo

As an Executive MBA candidate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Tim Knickerbocker got the best hands-on learning a student of entrepreneurship could hope for: Building his own company.

He was recruited as a cofounder to join MBX Biosciences, a biotech company working to improve treatment of endocrine disorders through peptide therapies. Decades earlier, MBX’s Chief Science Officer helped lead a peptide revolution and helped discover the new wave of peptide drugs used to combat obesity now making headlines: Think Ozempic and Wegovy.

Tim Knickerbocker, EMBA ’21

Knickerbocker, EMBA ‘21, moved from Los Angeles to Indianapolis, home to a vibrant life science community. As COO, it was his job to figure out the best way to apply the technology. The company raised $2.5 million to begin research based on its scientific credibility and an excellent business plan, he tells Poets&Quants. It closed a $34.5 million Series A funding round and has raised $174.9 million to date, making it the 13th highest funded startup founded by an MBA this year.

“It was quite intriguing to discuss financing deals in the (EMBA) classroom on Sunday, then negotiate a term sheet on Monday. You hear a lot about the real world being the only true education, but at Anderson, the real world was present in the classroom,” Knickerbocker says.

“Many of the professors and guest speakers were active participants in the corporate world. Their lessons were based on real life experiences, and importantly, contemporary examples matched current trends. From finance to leadership to operations, I was able to apply my lessons in real time to MBX, which I’m very grateful for.”

Knickerbocker stepped away from MBX at the end of last year. He relocated to San Diego and is now working to launch two new biotech startups, both aimed at tackling huge health challenges facing people across the world. Knickerbocker went into biotech to do something bigger than himself, and he works on the business side to help talented scientists bring their discoveries to market.

“What I loved most about Anderson is the people and its location in LA. The students are incredibly smart and driven. The city breathes extra life into the halls. Between LA and UCLA, you have access to every resource you need,” he says.


Today, Poets&Quants presents our list of the top MBA startups of 2023. As we’ve done each year since 2014, we solicited startups from the world’s best MBA programs to compile a list based on a single metric: how much funding a startup has raised in the past five years, the most accessible apples-to-apples comparison. (See our 2022 list here.)

To qualify for this year’s list, a startup had to be founded between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2022, and must have had at least one MBA founder during that same timeframe. Funding amounts were cross-checked on Crunchbase.com. Numbers verified at the time of reporting were used to compile the list.

15 Top MBA Startups Of 2023

This table shows the 15 highest-funded MBA startups over the last five years. To qualify for this year’s list, a startup had to be founded between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2022, and must have at least one MBA founder during that same timeframe.
2023 Rank Startup $$ Raised (millions) Founder(s) Industry School
1 Gorillas $1,335.20 Sukru Dagdelen Grocery Delivery INSEAD
2 Capchase $949.60 Luis Basagoiti Marqués FinTech INSEAD
3 Xepelin $567.00 Sebastien Kreis FinTech
UC Berkeley Haas
4 Steady Technologies, Inc. $509.50 Viken Sarkissian FinTech, InsurTech, Rental Property
Columbia Business School
5 Merama $445.00 Sujay Tyle Consumer Goods, E-Commerce Harvard Business School
6 Kyte $299.00 Ludwig Schoenack Automotive/Car sharing
UC Berkeley Haas
7 Ajaib $245.22 Yada Piyajomkwan, Anderson Sumarli FinTech Stanford GSB
8 Pathway Homes $225.00 Kyle Ruane Real Estate UCLA Anderson
9 Brightline $212.00 Giovanni Colella, Naomi Allen Child Care, Family, Health Care, Home Health Care
Columbia Business School
10 Arc Technologies $203.50 Raven Jiang, Nick Lombardo, Don Muir FinTech, Saas Stanford GSB
11 Leyden Labs $187.11 Koenraad Wiedhaup Biotech, Therapeutics
Columbia Business School
12 Forum Brands $178.63 Brenton Howland, Alex Kopco, Ruben Amar E-Commerce Stanford GSB
13 MBX Biosciences $174.90 Tim Knickerbocker Biotech UCLA Anderson
14 Stride Funding $150.70 Tess Michaels FinTech Harvard Business School
15 Voice $150.00 Salah Zalatimo Internet of Things
Columbia Business School


Gorillas, co-founded by INSEAD MBA Sukru Dagdelen, tops the list for the second straight year, raising $1.34 billion to date. It is followed closely by a startup founded by another INSEAD MBA, Luis Basagoiti Marqués. Capchase has raised $949.6 million.

INSEAD’s entrepreneurial power is baked into the schoo’s DNA. It has 10 startups on this year’s list, more than any other international business school, and three more than the seven it scored last year. Together, the startups raised more than $2.5 billion.

Sukru Dagdelen, MBA ’18

Dagdelen, INSEAD MBA ‘18, co-founded Gorillas in 2020, serving as the chief strategy and marketing officer. The online on-demand grocery delivery service promises food at your door within 10 minutes of ordering from their app.

“At INSEAD, your classmates will come from different backgrounds and will think differently. Be ready to have debates with them to create innovative ideas,” Dagdelen told P&Q in 2018, one of our Best and Brightest MBAs of that year. “You might be inspired by your Iranian female group mate, while discussing a go-to-market strategy for an e-commerce platform or you might get valuable organizational behavior insights from a medical doctor in your class. In other words, having an ability to work with completely different profiles is a must to be successful at INSEAD.”

Dagdelen, born in Isparta, Turkey, earned his undergrad degree in industrial engineering and worked at Bain & Company for eight years in Dubai prior to and just after his INSEAD experience. He played chess for the Turkish national team and coached underprivileged primary students on weekends.

Gorillas raised $1 billion in a Series C round with 18 investors in October 2021. It’s had four funding rounds since its founding in 2020, with the second largest coming in March 2021 at $290 million, according to Crunchbase. It’s different from other food delivery leaders in that it uses “riders” – full-time employees with benefits – delivering groceries on bicycles in mostly European metro areas.

NEXT PAGE: Total funding tops $9 billion

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