This university has produced the most VC-funded female startup founders

September 25, 2015, 11:45 AM UTC


A record 18% of this year's graduating class at Stanford started their own companies, solidifying this business school's position as the leading incubator for MBA startups. Its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, not far from Sand Hill Rd., the epicenter of the venture capital world, has made Stanford startups the most generously funded of all new ventures coming out of business school. This year's entering class at Stanford is among the most distinguished its ever had. The average grade point average of the first-year MBAs crept ever higher, to an impressive 3.73, the highest of any U.S. business school and up from Stanford's 3.69 average last year. The average score on the Graduate Management Admission Test is also a new record: 732, up from 729 last year.
Courtesy: Stanford University

A new report out Thursday from PitchBook, a venture capital and private equity research firm, crunches the numbers on which colleges and universities have produced the largest numbers of VC-backed female founders. The firm’s Universities Report also looks at how much venture capital these women’s startups have raised, breaking the rankings out by undergraduate and MBA alumnae.

PitchBook’s data goes back to 2010. To qualify for inclusion, startups had to receive their first round of VC funding at some point between Aug. 1, 2010 and July 31, 2015. Each company must have at least one female founder who is an alumna of the school’s undergrad or b-school program.

So, how did the schools fare?

Undergraduate schools

Let’s start with the undergrad programs. Given its Silicon Valley connections, it’s perhaps not surprising that Stanford University comes in at the top of the ranking in terms of total VC-backed female founders. Then come the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkeley, followed by Harvard at No.4. That’s still an impressive showing from the Pilgrims when you consider that Harvard has about 6,700 undergrads, vs. Penn’s 10,400 and Berkeley’s 27,000.


The ranking shifts when you focus on how much funding has been raised by alumnae’s companies since 2010. Stanford remains a power player, but it drops to No. 2 behind Harvard. Several schools that didn’t make the previous rankings appear in the top 10. Despite producing just 22 VC-backed female founders, according to PitchBook, Boston University comes in at No. 3, with more than $315 million.


Business Schools

The business school list features many of the same names, though in a different order. Harvard Business School tops the list for the largest number of founders since 2010, with Stanford coming in at No. 2 and Penn in third. Also notable: Columbia University nudges into the top five on this list (Columbia doesn’t make the top 10 in the undergrad ranking).


Looking at total funding dollars, Harvard dominates once again, while Penn grabs the No. 2 slot. INSEAD, the only international school to crack the top 10, puts in a good showing at No. 5. Dartmouth makes its first appearance on this ranking, squeaking in at No. 10.


Of course, while it’s great to see the focus on female founders, it’s far too soon to start celebrating these numbers. Compare the number of female founders to PitchBook’s data on the total number of founders per school and the gender gap cannot be ignored. Take Stanford: PitchBook puts the total number of founders who graduated for the undergraduate program at 561, just 70 of whom are women. For Harvard, the top MBA program, the total number of founders comes in 557, 90 of women are women. Let’s hope that we see that gap begin to narrow in future PitchBook reports.


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