CORRECTION: This story has been substantially updated since its original publication to reflect the fact that several business schools have come back to Poets&Quants to inform us of other MBA startups that met our criteria for inclusion.
Have a startup idea you know is sure to takeoff? Need some fast cash to get going? We have some suggestions on where to look. Below is the list of the top funders for Poets&Quants’ Top 100 MBA Startups.
This year the two top investors come from opposite sides of the country. BoxGroup, a boutique angel fund out of New York City, put money into 13 startups on our list, and tied last year’s top investor, San Francisco-based SV Angel, which also funded 13 MBA startups. Just under BoxGroup and SV Angel is the Founder Collective of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has put money into 10 of the top 100 startups.
BoxGroup, which typically provides $50,000 to $250,000 in seed money for startups, is headed up by Adam Rothenberg and David Tisch, the grandson of successful entrepreneur Laurence A. Tisch. In fact, regardless of which school you have graduated from, Tisch might be the first person you should arrange a pitch with. Between BoxGroup and his individual investments, Tisch played a role in the funding of 20 of the top 100 ranked MBA startups.
Tisch, who graduated from New York University with a law degree, began investing in startups when he was just 16 years old, taking his bar mitzvah money and plowing it into eBay’s IPO for a 15x return. Besides his angel investing at BoxGroup, he also heads up the Startup Studio at Cornell Tech, Cornell University’s new New York City-based graduate campus focused on digital technologies and the information economy. Startup Studio is the capstone of the experiential learning curriculum at Cornell Tech, where students complement their classroom experience through deep, hands-on engagements with entrepreneurs, companies, nonprofit organizations, early stage investors, and ultimately their own startup projects.
BACKING ‘DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES’
BoxGroup, where Tisch is managing partner, says it backs the best entrepreneurs regardless of location or stage who are building “disruptive technology companies and with visions to create the next generation of category defining businesses.” Among its many investments are Wharton’s eyewear maker Warby Parker, Stanford and Michigan’s social mobile commerce company Karma Science, and Harvard’s meal delivery service provider Blue Apron.
Interestingly, Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley up to San Francisco did not produce as many top investors this year. After being home to 19 of the 26 top investors last year, the Bay Area can only claim 10 of the 20 top investors this year. The shift has gone to the Northeast with 9 of the top investors coming from New York City or the Boston area. The outlier was Techstars of Boulder, Colorado, funding six top startups.
The other top individual funder is Wall Street Journal columnist and managing partner of Slow Ventures, Kevin Colleran. He funded six of the top 100 MBA startups.
There were some celebrity-status investors again this year. LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman invested in VigLink. Additionally, veteran tech analyst Esther Dyson invested in PayPerks.
The Top 20 Investors In Leading MBA Startups
|Investor||Location||Number of Startups||Select Investments|
|BoxGroup||New York City||13||Warby Parker, Karma Science, Blue Apron|
|SV Angel||San Francisco||13||Okta, RelateIQ, Warby Parker|
|Founder Collective||Cambridge, Massachusetts||10||ThredUP, CustomMade, Infinio|
|New Enterprise Associates||Menlo Park, California||9||CloudFlare, Branch Metrics, 42Floors|
|Bessemer Venture Partners||Menlo Park, California||9||Skybox Imaging, Blue Apron, Insight Squared|
|Sequoia Capital||Menlo Park, California||9||Okta, Karma Science, OsComp Systems|
|Khosla Ventures||Menlo Park, California||8||Ginger.io, Peek, Okta|
|David Tisch||New York City||7||ID.me, Pillpack, Vengo Labs|
|Red Swan Ventures||New York City||7||Warby Parker, Birchbox, Cabify|
Lerer Hippeau Ventures
|New York City||7||Cotopaxi, Warby Parker, Birchbox|
|First Round||San Francisco||7||Warby Parker, Birchbox, Blue Apron|
|Techstars||Boulder, Colorado||6||Ginger.io, ThinkNear, Plated|
|Accel Partners||Palo Alto, California||6||RelateIQ, PeerTransfer, Baublebar|
|Google Ventures||Mountain View, California||6||RelayRides, VigLink, CustomMade|
|Kevin Colleran||Boston, Massachusetts||6||Birchbox, Stitchfix, Plated|
Kleiner, Perkins, Vaufield & Byers
|Menlo Park, California||5||Rent the Runway, Ambiq Micro, Zumper|
|Felicis Ventures||Palo Alto, California||5||RelateIQ, Karma Science, Piazza|
|Great Oaks Venture Capital||New York City||5||Plated, EAT Club, Peek|
|Atlas Venture||Cambridge, Massachusetts||5||PillPack, ScienceInbox, InsightSquared|
|Nextview Ventures||Boston||5||ThredUP, InsightSquared, CustomMade|