TECH ELITE

The list of top schools for producing tech entrepreneurs shows how clubby Silicon Valley really is

You might be forgiven for thinking you’re reading last year’s news.

Every year PitchBook, which tracks data on venture capital deals, publishes a ranking of where new tech entrepreneurs got their undergraduate degrees, based on who got backing from venture capital firms. The latest ranking shows those schools didn’t change at all from last year, at least among the top 10. For the full list of the top 50, “just one new university made it into the rankings” compared to last year, the firm says.

Stanford consistently produces the most tech entrepreneurs of any undergraduate program, while Harvard does among graduate business schools. Berkeley, MIT, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, and several other elite universities make repeat appearances. Besides strong engineering and computer science programs, most of those universities have several important things in common: they are close to hubs of venture capital firms; they have university-affiliated investment funds; and their alumni networks are deeply ensconced in tech.

“Especially in early-stage investing, where ideas and potential may be simply a founder’s pitch than a product, investors often make decisions based on the founder making that pitch,” PitchBook writes in its report. “Interpersonal relationships are in some ways as much a part of venture as the ideas and capital.”

For an industry that pays a lot of lip service to the innovative and new, the venture capital business doesn’t appear to promote much diversity in educational backgrounds. The list is yet another illustration of how clubby the tech industry is.

You can see the rankings below.

Total VC-backed entrepreneurs

Female VC-backed entrepreneurs

VC-backed unicorns

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