Which global university has produced the most unicorn executives?

Education | International | Reports


According to CBInsights, there are currently 697 unicorns in the world right now. Former unicorn’s such as Google and Facebook are now household names, but what does it take to get there?

Memery Crystal month banner

SJD Accountancy took to find out if going to an Ivy League school is the path to be a successful founder of a unicorn company. To answer this question, Crunchbase was analysed to discover the educational background of the highest-level employees.

Which University has Produced the Most Unicorn Executives?

Stanford University a private research university in California is at the forefront and has produced 170 executives.

The elite institution has become the cradle of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, among the list of founders; Porter Gale who founded Reddit, Jack Conte who co-founded Patreon and Edward Kim, who is the co-founder and Head of Engineering at Gusto.

  Institution Location No. of Executives
1. Stanford University California, USA 170
2. University of California California, USA 114
3. Harvard University Massachusetts, USA 102
4. Harvard Business School Massachusetts, USA 72
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts, USA 63
6. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania, USA 60
7. Dartmouth College New Hampshire, USA 59
8. Stanford Graduate School of Business California, USA 55
9. Cornell University New York, USA 47
10. Yale University Connecticut, USA 36
11. Princeton University New Jersey, USA 27
12. University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania, USA 25
13. Tel Aviv University Israel 24
13. Brown University Rhode Island, USA 24
14. University of Southern California California, USA 20
15. Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel 19
16 University of Oxford England, UK 18
16. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illinois, USA 18
16. Duke University North Carolina, USA 18
17. University of Washington Washington, USA 17
17. California State University California, USA 17

Ivy League school education is not a requirement to become a successful unicorn. Stanford, which has been shown before to have produced the most founders outright, has further cemented their status as a unicorn staple. In a surprising second place is the University of California, Berkeley with 114 executives originally studying there. Producing the likes of Roseanne Wincek, Investor of Glossier and Peter Sonsini, Board member at Databricks.

Although Harvard finished in third place overall, it is the leader when it comes to Ivy League schools, with 102 unicorn executives overall. Closely followed by its Business School counterpart, the Massachusetts college is famous for the fact that it has produced Facebook founder, and former unicorn, Mark Zuckerberg, but it has also produced such luminaries as Harry Nelis, who is a partner at Celonis, Lexi Reese who is the COO at Gusto and Neeraj Agrawal, who is the General Partner at Sprinklr.

Which Country Has Produced the Most Unicorn Executives?

  Country No. of Executives
1. United States 2757
2. United Kingdom 217
3. China 161
4. India 154
5. Israel 77
6. Brazil 65
7. Canada 50
8. Sweden 29
9. Germany 88
10. France 68
11. Australia 28
12. Japan 6
13. Switzerland 23
14. The Netherlands 20
15. South Korea 17
16. Portugal 13
17. Spain 12
17. Hong Kong 12
18. Argentina 11
19. Mexico 8
19. Austria 8
20. Denmark 6
20. Japan 6

The clear winner is the United States, with 2,757 unicorn executives, including the likes of Christian Lanng, CEO and Co-Founder of Tradeshift, Doug Mack who is the Board Director and CEO of Fanatics and Liza Landsman, General Partner of Squarespace. 279 US executives also come from Ivy League schools

The United Kingdom takes silver, the UK has produced almost 217 unicorn executives and is one of the 2 European countries in the top five. 14 of UK unicorn executives went to the University of Oxford, including Hagan Bayley who is the Founder and Director of Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Jan Hammer who is the main investor and Partner at Robinhood and Collibra, and also Jason Austin who is the President and Co-Founder of Greensill Capital.

China, which has recently had a boom in start-up culture, resulting in a number of unicorns springing up, comes in 3rd place with 161 executives, whilst Hong Kong is 19th place, with only 12 unicorn executives. The majority of China and Hong Kong’s executives also went to University in the United States.

Mexico and Austria come in joint 20th place, with 8 unicorn executives each. Joint last place is Japan and Denmark who closely follow with 6 executives each.

Click here for more content from our special scale-up month, brought you by Memery Crystal.

Did you enjoy reading this content?  To get more great content like this subscribe to our magazine

Tagged with:

Reader's Comments

Comments related to the current article

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *