CEOs of funded startups tend to be a well-educated group, at least as far as university degrees are concerned.
Yes, it's true that university dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates can still do well. But Crunchbase data show that most startup CEOs have a graduate degree, usually from a renowned and prestigious university.
Earlier this month, Crunchbase News examined US universities with strong track records for the graduation of future CEOs of funded companies. This brought to light some discoveries which, although interesting, were not particularly surprising. Stanford and Harvard top the list and graduates of the best business schools are particularly well represented.
In this next issue of our CEO series, we have reduced the dataset. Specifically, we examined the CEOs of US companies funded in the last three years that raised at least $ 100 million in venture capital financing. Our intention was to see if the educational background of the unicorn and quasi-unicorn leaders differs significantly from the large population of start-up CEOs.
Kind of, but not really
Here are the highlights of our analysis: Most CEOs of well-funded startups have prestigious university degrees, and there are many graduates from Harvard and Stanford. However, the CEOs of the companies in our current data set are, on an educational level, a fairly diverse group with degrees from several continents and all regions of the United States.
In total, our dataset includes 193 private US companies that raised $ 100 million or more and closed a venture capital cycle in the last three years. In the table below, we look at the universities most often attended by their CEOs: 1
Rankings are not very different from the general population of funded US startups. In this dataset, we also found Harvard and Stanford vying for first places, followed mainly by Ivy League schools and major research universities .
For heavily funded startups, we also found a high proportion of business school degrees. All of the University of Pennsylvania's alum on the list attended his Wharton School of Business. More than half of Harvard's graduates attended his business school. MBAs were a popular reference among the other schools on the list that offered the degree.
Where Most Funded CEOs Have Been Studied
Regarding the most funded startups, the mix of degrees becomes more bizarre. This makes sense, since we have only examined 20 companies.
In the table below, we examine the alumni affiliations for the CEOs of these companies, all of whom raised hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in risk and growth financing:
One of the surprising results of the dataset on young firms in the United States was the prevalence of Canadian university graduates. Three general managers on the list are alumni of the University of Waterloo . Others have attended several well known universities. The list also offers new evidence that it's not necessary to get out of college to raise billions. WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, just graduated last year, 15 years after his debut. This did not stop the giant collaborator from obtaining more than $ 7 billion in risk and growth financing.
- Several CEOs attended more than one university on the list.