Four Israeli universities ranked among top 50 in world for graduating VC-backed founders

PitchBook’s rankings reflect Israeli achievement and innovation.

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

Tel Aviv University placed among the top 10 global academic institutions in PitchBook’s 2021 ranking of undergraduate programs yielding the most venture capital-backed founders, one of four Israeli universities named to the global list.

Tel Aviv University (TAU) came in 8th place in the Top 50 rankings, unchanged from last year, and is only non-American university in the top ten. The list was dominated by American institutions, with only ten schools from outside the United States — including Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in 12th place, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 31st, and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in 44th.

The top five of the 2021 PitchBook university rankings were Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Pennsylvania. Founders from the three top colleges in the ranking were also behind three of the largest IPOs in the past year, including Robinhood and DoorDash.

To compile the list, PitchBook collated data on the number of founders of companies who received a first round of venture funding between Jan. 1, 2006 and Oct. 31, 2021. About 912 alumni of the TAU undergraduate program have turned into founders, creating 761 companies who raised a total of $26.8 billion in venture capital, according to the financial data company.

“Our place among the world’s leading institutions reflects the achievements of our alumni and their contribution to the establishment and accelerated growth of many companies,” said Prof. Moshe Zviran, Dean of the Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management. “The extensive knowledge, insight and toolbox acquired by students in all our programs and specializations assist our alumni in their entrepreneurial activities, giving them significant added value in the global technological and business arena.”

The annual PitchBook study ranks the top colleges for founders across four categories: the top 50 undergraduate programs, the top 25 MBA programs, the top 25 undergraduate programs for female founders, and the top 25 MBA programs for female founders.

In PitchBook’s ranking of undergraduate programs churning out female founders, TAU was the only Israeli institution listed, coming in 20th place, together with the University of Illinois. Stanford University, Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley occupied the first three spots in the category.

Tel Aviv University ranked 13th in the category of the top 25 MBA programs yielding the most VC-backed founders, with Harvard University, Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania leading the pack.

Next to the University of Oxford, TAU shared 14th place in the ranking of MBA programs for female founders — thanks to 26 TAU alumna starting companies that have raised $691 million. Harvard University took first spot in that list, with 343 female founders who created 325 companies and raised a total of $17.9 billion in capital.

In a separate global ranking of higher education institutions conducted by innovation policy advisory and research firm Startup Genome, Tel Aviv University last month scored fifth place in the world for entrepreneurship.