Yulia Karra
July 1

In a recent study, five Israeli universities were ranked among the world’s best institutions for producing graduates who went on to found United States-based unicorn startups (i.e. startups valued at over $1 billion). The study excluded US-based educational institutions. 

The study was conducted by Ilya Strebulaev, a Russian-American financial economist, researcher and professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is the founder of the Venture Capital Initiative, which advances research on innovation and venture capital.

Strebulaev’s study examined 1,110 US-based, VC-backed unicorn companies founded between 1997-2021, and lists universities where at least 10 unicorn founders studied, as well as each university’s odds ratio of producing a unicorn founder. 

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology was ranked first out of 17 institutions on the list, with its graduates at least 25 times more likely to become founders of US-based unicorns. Thirty one founders of the US-based unicorns out of those examined in the study are Technion graduates.

Reichman University was ranked second, along with China’s Tsinghua University, with its graduates being 11.3 times more likely to become founders of US-based unicorns. Both universities produced 14 founders of the unicorns listed in the research. 

The two were followed by the European Institute of Business Administration, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI).

World-famous British universities of Cambridge and Oxford came in eighth and eleventh respectively, surprisingly falling behind their Israeli counterparts.  

Last year, TAU was ranked first outside of the US when it comes to overall tech unicorn founders’ alma maters. The study, also carried out by Strebulaev, shows that TAU has 43 unicorn-founder alumni. 

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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