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Private Equity Jobs

Every now and then we review how the financial sector is doing.  Before looking, which U.S. state would you guess is #1 for financial sector employment?  Would you guess New York – the home of Wall Street?  Perhaps Chicago (Illinois), with its heavy focus on insurance services?  What about California, with its heavy focus on venture capital and private equity professionals?

What about growth?  Which states would you guess have the strongest absolute growth in financial sector employment?  Perhaps places with lower income tax burden, such as Florida or Texas?  Perhaps the largest population states – California, New York, Florida, Texas – would lead the pack here?  Or, perhaps the high cost of living in these states is pushing the financial sector to employment in other states?

Take your guesses now, because the answers follow.

Where is the Base of Financial Employment

First, a look at where the base of financial employment is headquartered.  The tree map below is average monthly employment in the financial sector by U.S. state for the first seven months of 2018.  Interestingly, financial firms headquartered in California hold first place, with about 5.9 million employees.

The remaining states in the top five include Texas (5.4 million), New York (5.0 million), Florida (4.0 million), and Illinois (2.7 million).

Unsurprisingly, the financial employment base in a state is moderately related to the population base of a state.  This correlation, though, is not perfect, and the industry is certainly changing where it wants to be headquartered.

Financial Employment1 Source: BLS

Where is Financial Employment Growing?

The relatively moderate connection between the population base and the financial industry employment base means that we need to look at growth measures to see how things are changing.  The following line graph has the growth in financial industry employment by state from 1990 through July 2018.

The chart provides no really big surprises.  The biggest population states show the strongest absolute growth in employment.  On top is California, with approximately 800,000 new financial industry employees in 2018.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is the strength of the financial industry in Texas.  Financial industry employment growth in Texas is closing in on California’s 800,000, and if the economy continues to expand, financial industry employment in Texas may surpass California within the next few years.  Guess it pays to have a reputation of light regulation, no income tax, and a population that is entrepreneurial and independent by nature.

Financial Employment Growth2 Source: BLS

Where is the Growth Rate in Financial Employment Strongest?

The previous two sections had a fair amount of connection with the population base, meaning that financial industry employment grows by more the larger the population of an area is.  Reported here is the growth rate experience.

Before looking, take a guess at which states have the strongest financial industry employment growth rate?  Would you guess small states, such as Massachusetts or perhaps states with no income tax, such as Nevada?  The result follows.

Interestingly, the top state for financial industry employment growth rate is … drum roll please … none other than … New Mexico.  The financial industry has expanded by an average of 4.3 percent for 2018.  Surprised?  We were too.

The other top growing states for the financial industry include Idaho (4.2 percent), Wyoming (3.7 percent), Washington (3.4 percent), and Florida (3.0 percent).  Interestingly, only one of the largest states with a financial industry base also shows up with a strong financial industry growth rate.

Financial Employment, Growth Rate3 Source: BLS


In a look at the financial industry’s employment base, some interesting and unsurprising results appear.  Perhaps the most interesting result is the growth of the industry in certain states, while the weakest of the financial industry in other states.  Times are changing, and so is the financial industry.


Private equity data provider Pitchbook is out with their annual report on which universities produce the most venture capital (VC)-backed companies?  Before looking, which universities would you guess show up on the list?

Would you guess Ivy League schools, with their highly ambitious, academically fresh graduates?  Perhaps you’d guess universities in places where the state government’s tax policy and regulations are more favorable to entrepreneurship?

Here’s the look.

The Top 10

The top university for creating VC-backed companies is – drum roll please – Stanford.  The California-based institution has seen 1,178 VC-backed entrepreneurs, 1,015 companies, and a whopping $28.84 billion in capital raised.  Stanford has been in first place for a while.  Will a university ever knock the Cardinal out of first place?

Interestingly, another California-based university sits in second place.  The University of California at Berkeley has had 1,137 entrepreneurs, 1,012 companies, and $20.78 billion in capital raised.

Rounding out the top five are third place Massachusetts Institute of Technology (941 entrepreneurs/819 companies/$21.24 billion capital raised), Harvard University (900 entrepreneurs/799 companies/$25.35 billion raised), and the University of Pennsylvania (838 entrepreneurs/757 companies/$15.82 billion in capital raised).

Are you surprised by which universities show up at the top of the list?  Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania.  All well-respected universities, two of which are Ivy League institutions and two of which are top California-based schools.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, two states – California and Massachusetts – make up 80 percent of the top 5.  This is generally consistent with the geographic breakdown of venture capital raised by state.

With the top 5 established, which universities would you guess show up ranks six through ten?

The bottom half of the top 10 includes Cornell University (750 entrepreneurs/693 companies/$20.10 billion in capital raised), University of Michigan (712 entrepreneurs/638 companies/$12.07 billion in capital raised), Tel Aviv University (640 entrepreneurs/531 companies/$7.91 billion in capital raised), the University of Texas (636 entrepreneurs/582 companies/$7.70 billion in capital raised), and the University of Illinois (526 entrepreneurs/484 companies/$9.94 billion in capital raised).

Interestingly, the top 10 of VC-backed companies and the universities their founders attended includes only one non-U.S.-based institution, Tel Aviv University.  We wonder how this list will look 20 years down the road with the ambitions of Chinese entrepreneurs.

Perhaps more interestingly is the lack of a European-based university in the top 10.  Given that the European Union is the largest common economic zone (the GDP of the combined European Union nations is about 20 percent higher than the United States).

Ranks1to10 Source: Pitchbook

Ranks 11 through 25

Shifting now to universities ranked 11th through the 25th.  Would you guess some European and China-based companies show up here?  Interestingly, the answer is no.  Of the 11th through 25th ranked universities, only one non-U.S. university shows up on the list – Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Israel).

The 11th ranked university is Yale University – the fourth Ivy League school on the list thus far – with 504 entrepreneurs, 458 companies, and $11.44 billion in capital raised.  The remaining members of the top 25 includes Princeton, University of California at Los Angeles, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin, Columbia University, Brown, University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, University of Waterloo, University of Washington, Brigham Young University, New York University, and Dartmouth College.

11to25 Source: Pitchbook

The Rest of the Top 50

The remaining members of the top 50 (ranks 26 through 50) are given below.  Lots of money being invested in bright-minded college graduates.

26through50 Source: Pitchbook


In an interesting review of the top universities for entrepreneurship, some interesting findings emerge.  Perhaps the most interesting finding is the dominance of U.S.-based universities in garnering capital from venture capital funds.  Of the top 25 universities, 23 of the 25 are U.S.-based.  Still good to be an American.


Happy Memorial Day!  Is there any better way to celebrate the day than to postulate on where venture capital (VC) valuations are heading  for the remainder of 2018?  Well, yes there is, but for the moment let’s think about valuations.

Where Valuations Have Been

First, here’s a look at Pitchbook’s recently released first quarter valuation report.  Valuations ended 2017 on a high note, reaching a decade high in value.  Interestingly, although deal value this past year surpassed the 2015 watermark year, the number of deals declined again in 2017, following a sharp drop-off in 2016.

Also interesting is the detail on angel/seed, early-stage VC, and late-stage VC activity.  Late-stage VC and early-stage VC continued to grow moderately in 2017.  The decline in the number of deals closed stemmed from investments in angel/seed rounds.  Perhaps angel/seed round investments are a predictor of where investing is heading – although it would be hard to show this when doing some real data science on the correlation.

Pic1 Source: Pitchbook

From which stage in the investing cycle is the valuation growth coming from?  Here’s a look at valuations by stage of investment.  Fascinatingly, a large portion of the valuation growth stems from late-stage VC, which expanded to $63.3 million median pre-money valuation in 2017 and, based on the first quarter of 2018, is on clip to reach a pre-money valuation of $75.0 million in 2018.

Valuation growth shows up at the early-stage and angel/seed stage as well.  Early-stage VC median valuations are on track to grow to $27.5 million in 2018, after expanding to $20.0 million in 2017.

Angel/seed stage valuations are the laggard here.  Median valuations for companies in this stage of their business is up to only $6.5 million, a moderate increase from the $6.3 million in 2017.

Pic2 Source: Pitchbook

Shifting to one last point on where we are, the following is a look at the length of time between funding rounds.  Fascinatingly, companies are expanding the length of time between funding rounds, what Pitchbook calls “cash runways”.

Angel/seed stage and early-stage companies generally went for additional funding about 1.1 years after a funding round.  That has expanded to 1.5 (early-stage) and 1.4 (angel/seed) in the most recent data.

The picture is more pronounced for late-stage VC, with years between funding rounds expanding to 1.8 years.

Pic3 Source: Pitchbook

Where Valuations Are Heading

With this background, where would you guess valuations are heading for the remainder of 2018?  The safest guess is up, strongly.  The economy is humming along.  Taxes have been lowered.  Wages are heading upwards.  Now is the boom, and venture capital valuations always move up when the economy is booming.


Overall, the first quarter of 2018 Pitchbook valuation report provides a fascinating look at the state of valuations in the earlier stages of the investing world.  Where things are heading for the remainder of 2018 is, of course, anyone’s guess, although most indications are that valuations are heading upwards for the remaining 7 months of the year.

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What Does the Trend in Private Equity Fees Look Like?

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Private equity data firm Pitchbook is out with their third quarter of 2017 report on trends in global private equity (PE) deal multiples and other interesting data points.  Among the many interesting findings in the report is a section on the trend in PE fees.  Without looking, what would you guess the trend in PE […]

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