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Penn ranks high in PitchBook’s list of top 100 universities for startup founders

No surprise here, but the University of Pennsylvania has produced a whole bunch of venture-backed companies.

Wharton School of Business. (Photo via Flickr user Sergio Carreira, used under a Creative Commons license)
Correction: The article's headline has been updated to reflect that the entire University of Pennsylvania, not just The Wharton School, ranked on PitchBook's list. (1/27/23, 3:10 p.m.)

Google’s CEO. Twitter’s new dad. Josh K. Several Trumps.

What do they have in common? They all learned business at The Wharton School at Philly’s Ivy League, the University of Pennsylvania.

PitchBook just released its 2022 lists of top 100 universities based on the startup founders they produce, and Penn ranked high on all four lists: undergraduate, graduate, female founders undergraduate and female founders graduate. The ranking is based primarily on how many alumni entrepreneurs have founded venture capital-backed companies.

Here’s how Penn fared:

  • Penn ranked fifth among undergraduate schools, with 1,038 founders behind 952 companies and $32 billion raised.
  • It ranked sixth on the list of graduate schools, with 1,456 founders behind 1,244 companies and $57.7 billion raised.
  • It ranked fourth on the list of undergraduate female founders, with 172 founders behind 169 companies and $3.2 billion raised.
  • And it ranked fifth on the list of graduate female founders, with 205 founders behind 182 companies and $5.3 billion raised.
See the rankings

The rankings of each list were determined by how many founders’ companies received a first round of venture funding between Jan. 1, 2012 and Oct. 21, 2022. Per PitchBook, these lists are curated to determine “which colleges have the best track record in producing entrepreneurs.” (Worth noting: Not all entrepreneurs raise VC.)

This year’s lists found that North American schools rank the highest, specifically among women founders. Also, public schools make up a majority of the list, but private schools tend to rank near the top. The findings also saw that larger schools rank higher.

Beyond the aforementioned, internationally known founders and executives, some more recent grads who founded venture-backed startups include Ron Kerbs, behind AI-driven Kidas, and Ryan Frankel, behind the safe driving app This App Saves Lives.

Of note, the rankings encompass stats from across the university; we know that plenty of engineers, for instance, start companies, too. But it has been an active couple of years for the business school: Elsewhere in Whartonland, in 2020, Erika James came on as its new dean. She is the first African American and first woman to hold the position. And last year, Wharton started the Fund for Health, a collaboration between Penn Medicine and Wharton Social Impact Initiative, to invest in health startups.

Companies: University of Pennsylvania / Wharton School
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