These 9 U.S. Universities Graduate the Most Billion-Dollar Company Founders

America is home to some of the world’s most entrepreneurial institutions of higher education. Built upon top-notch reputations and the curriculums to back them up, the best colleges and universities in the home of the free and the land of the brave churn out some of today’s most profitable businesses, and you can bet there’s no shortage of so-called “Unicorn League” ventures among them.

Unicorn companies are privately held enterprises that are valued at a worth of $1 billion or higher. While some may not have heard of the relatively new and buzzy term Unicorn League, many will surely recognize the biggest names to headline this echelon in recent years, Airbnb, Lyft, SpaceX and Uber among them, to name just a few.

Situated in the heart of Northern California’s tech-startup teeming Silicon Valley, Stanford University, according to a recent analysis completed by a British cloud accounting company by the name of Sage Software, has graduated the highest number of alumni who went on to found astronomically successful unicorn businesses. These include LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman; Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Netflix founder Reed Hastings and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. (WhatsApp, you may recall, was acquired by Facebook for the tidy sum of $19 billion in 2014.)

Harvard University, the crown jewel of the Ivy League, meanwhile, boasts the second most unicorn company founder graduates among U.S. higher education institutions, also reports Sage. Among its most successful founder alumni are Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, Hulu founder Jason Kilar and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. (Technically, “Zuck” did not graduate, although he did receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the school earlier this year).

To compile the research, Sage sourced key metrics from VB Profiles, Crunchbase, and TechCrunch. The top company founders listed in the report were counted toward the institution where they earned their highest-level degree.

If you aim to start up a successful enterprise after you graduate, you’ll definitely want to check out this list, for some serious inspiration at the very least. Here are the top 9 American colleges and universities to graduate the most Unicorn League/billionaire founders, and not all of them hail from the Ivy League. We’ve also added some of the most noted alumni from each to the roundup.

1. Stanford University
Number of Unicorn Founders: 51
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Konstantin Guericke, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
Avery Wang and Dhiraj Mukherjee, Shazam
Brian Acton, WhatsApp

2. Harvard University
Number of Unicorn Founders: 37
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Dustin Moskovitz, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg (honorary degree), Facebook
Jason Kilar, Hulu
Mark Pincus, Zynga
Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb

3. University of California
Number of Unicorn Founders: 18
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Travis Kalanick, Uber
Nicholas Woodman, GoPro
Logan Green, Lyft

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Number of Unicorn Founders: 9
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston, Dropbox
Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post
Brian Halligan, HubSpot

5. University of Pennsylvania
Number of Unicorn Founders: 9
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Elon Musk, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla
Andrew Trader, Zynga
Tory Burch, Tory Burch
Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker

6. Cornell University
Number of Unicorn Founders: 6
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Niraj Shah, Steve Conine, Wayfair
John Zimmer, Lyft
PJ Kirner, Illumio
Renaud Visage, Eventbrite

7. University of Southern California
Number of Unicorn Founders: 6
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com
Mark Stevens, Sequoia Capital
Scott Cook, Intuit, Inc.

8. University of Michigan
Number of Unicorn Founders: 5
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
David Barger, JetBlue Airways
Gregg Kaplan, Redbox
Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Groupon

9. Brigham Young University
Number of Unicorn Founders: 5
Notable Founders of Billion-Dollar U.S. Companies:
Ryan Smith, Stuart Orgill, Qualtrics
Richard Peery, Peery Arrillaga

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Free Enterprise Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:35