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?
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|
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.