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Entrepreneurship is the engine for American economic growth.  Although sometimes a hindrance, higher education can play an important role in developing individuals that become wildly successful entrepreneurs.

The next two sections detail the top 10 undergraduate programs and the top 10 MBA programs for entrepreneurship.  Before looking, can you guess which universities show up on top?  Would you guess that most of the top 10 universities are Ivy League?  Are most American universities?  Take your guess now because the results follow. 

Top 10 Undergraduate Programs

The following figure has the top 10 undergraduate programs for entrepreneurship.  Drum roll please.  The top university for developing successful founders is Stanford University.  According to data out of financial data provider Pitchbook, a whopping 1,288 founders attended Stanford University.

In second place is another California school – the University of California, Berkeley.  The State of California college produced an amazing 1,235 founders.

Third place belongs to the first Ivy League college on the list – Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  As of writing, MIT had 1,012 success founders. 

Fourth place belongs to the king of Ivy League schools – Harvard University.  Coming out of the bleeding red university were 987 founders.

Rounding out the top 5 undergraduate programs is the University of Pennsylvania.  UPenn produced 910 successful founders. 

Other universities in the top 10 (the founder count is in parentheses) include Cornell University (796), University of Michigan (745), Tel Aviv University (694), the University of Texas (682), and the University of Illinois (563). 

Source: Pitchbook

Top 10 MBA Programs

This section focuses attention on the top 10 MBA programs for developing success entrepreneurs.  Would you guess that the same ranking for undergraduate programs would show up for graduate programs?  Perhaps some universities have better MBA programs for producing founders than do their undergraduate programs?  Here’s a look.

Fascinatingly, although not completely surprising, the top university according to the number of founders companies is Harvard University.  The Ivy League school has 1,446 founders that claim Harvard University as the school where they earned their MBA.

In second place is Stanford University.  Stanford counts 933 founders as graduates from its MBA program.  Overall, Stanford comes out quite good in both lists, placing first in its undergraduate program and second for its MBA program.

In third place is the University of Pennsylvania with 792 founders.

Rounding out the top 5 are MIT (538 founders) and Northwestern University (529 founders).

The other members of the top 10 include (founders count is in parentheses) INSEAD (527), Columbia University (508), University of Chicago (494), the University of California, Berkeley (417), and the University of California, Los Angeles (302). 

Source: Pitchbook


In a fascinating look at success entrepreneurs, some universities produce some very success business founders.  The most successful undergraduate school for business founders is Stanford University, while the top ranking for MBA programs goes to Harvard University.  May entrepreneurship continue to be an important component of the American economy.


In the venture capital and private equity universe, valuations are what matter.  Valuations determine, at least on paper, whether fund managers are doing their job and thereby whether their performance justifies further investments.  Given that 2019 has seen a fair share of massive valuation increases, the question here is as simple as possible – Which companies have won the valuation game in 2019 so far?

A look follows, based upon data gathered by private equity data provider Pitchbook.

The Top Valuation Gains in 2019 by Step-Up Multiple

The following table from Pitchbook has the largest valuation jumps by step-up multiple.  For definitional purposes, a step-up multiple is the result of dividing the company’s current valuation by the valuation of a previous round.  Before looking, take a guess at which company is first on the list. Remember, this is step-up multiple, so companies with small previous post-money valuations will likely show up high on the list.

Interestingly, the top valuation jump according to the step-up multiple is vuori.  The clothing brand had a previous valuation of just $4.7 million.  After a new round of funding, vuori jumped to a post-money valuation of $165 million.  These two figures equate to a step-up multiple of 35.1x. 

In second place is fabfitfun.  The company closed a Series A round on January 30th at a post-money valuation of $850 million, a massive increase in value from its previous valuation of just $25 million.  The resultant valuation step-up is 34.0x.

Third place belongs to THIRDLOVE.  On February 26th, a late-stage investment valued the company at $660 million, well above its previous post-money valuation of $24 million.  The valuation step-up for THIRDLOVE was 27.5x.

Fourth place belongs to SIMPLE Mills, with a Series B valuation of $177 million.  The $177 million post-money valuation was $166.5 million more than its previous $10.5 million post-money valuation, giving it a valuation step-up of 16.9x.

Rounding out the top five is FAST RADIUS, with a Series B valuation of $352 million.  The previous post-money valuation was just $21.8 million, equating to a step-up multiple of 16.1x.

The other members on the list include (step-up multiple in parentheses) NUTRAFOL (14.4x), states title (13.9x), Ike (12.1x), POSTMAN (11.3x), and TaxJar (10.6x).

Source: Pitchbook

The Top Valuation Gains in 2019 by Post-Money Valuation

Shifting the measure to post-money valuation gains, the following figure has the largest valuation gains in post-money valuation.  Take a guess before looking at the list – the top valuation gainers will likely be unsurprising given the financial press’ coverage of many of these companies.

The top post-money valuation gainer in 2019 so far is WeWork.  The space sharing startup saw its valuation expand by a whopping $25.8 billion to $47 billion in its most recent funding found.  We will see whether Wall Street agrees with this private assessment.

In second place is Doordash.  The food delivery service saw its post-money valuation increase by $5.5 billion from a valuation of $7.1 billion.

Rounding out the top three is UiPath.  UiPath saw a valuation increase of $4.1 billion, a more than 100% increase from its previous post-money valuation of $3 billion.

The remaining big valuation gainers (valuation gain in parentheses) include SpaceEx ($3.6 billion/$3.3 billion), Wish ($3.2 billion), Doordash ($3.1 billion), Unity ($3.1 billion), TripActions ($2.8 billion) and Root Insurance Company ($2.7 billion).

Source: Pitchbook


This year has been incredibly strong for valuations, in particular for companies at the top end of the valuation spectrum.  May American entrepreneurism live on forever.


Venture Capital Fundraising

According to data out of private equity and venture capital data provider Pitchbook, the first half of 2019 saw quite robust fundraising.  Although slightly slower than 2018’s massive fundraising year, the first half of 2019 saw almost $21 billion in total funding raised.  Behind the $21 billion were 103 funds closed, 9 mega-funds (funds with $500 million or more raised), and 10 new general partners securing funding. 

The top fundraisers were TVC at $3.2 billion, followed by Andreessen Horowitz at $2.1 billion, Lightspeed Venture Partners at $1.4 billion, Flagship Pioneering at $824 million, and a second Andreessen Horowitz at $791 million. 

Venture capital is big, and it’s getting bigger.

Source: Pitchbook

Fewer Deals but More Capital

The interesting thing of the venture capital boom is the recent shift towards more capital flowing into fewer deals. 

In the first half of 2019, a total of $66 billion was deployed by the venture capital sector.  Of this $66 billion, 44.6% came from mega-deals (deals with $100million or more).  This 44.6% is up a lot from 2014’s 25.4%.

In dollar terms, $20.9 billion of venture capital investment went into late-stage venture capital investments, well ahead of the 754 early-stage venture capital deals that summed to just $8.9 billion.  At the bottom end of the dollar spectrum was angel/seed investment deals, with Pitchbook reporting $1.7 billion invested across 1,001 deals.

This trend of fewer deals but more capital may be a trend the venture capital is moving towards long term.  Hmm.

Source: Pitchbook

The Second Quarter of 2019 Saw the Largest Quarterly Exit Value Ever

The last point here on the state of venture capital is that unicorns are turning to public markets.  The second quarter of 2019 was the largest ever for exit value, with Uber ($68 billion), Slack ($23 billion), Pinterest ($9 billion). Zoom ($9 billion), and CrowdStrike ($6 billion) turning to the public markets for funding. 

The total exit value in the second quarter reached almost $189 billion, of which almost three-fourths (73.4%) came from these five massive unicorns. 

The venture capital world is changing, and it’s changing quickly.

Source: Pitchbook


Venture capital investment activity is booming.  Exit activity from venture capital investors saw its largest quarterly exit value ever in Q2 2019.  Fundraising for venture capital funds is still expanding.  Overall, there’s no evidence that love for what venture capital does will slow down anytime soon.  To sum up, venture capital is, once again, a cool industry to be in.


The Booming VC World in Q2 2019

August 5, 2019

Venture capital (VC) investment is booming.  After a record year in 2018, many analysts thought 2019 would be a letdown.  There would be no way that VC could even come close to the massive 2018 investing.  Well, that view has changed.  A look at the state of VC activity in the U.S. follows. VC Pulls […]

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Private Equity Becomes a Political Issue – Again

July 23, 2019

If you’ve been around the private equity industry long enough, you know that presidential elections bring up strong feelings on the issue.  Based upon what has been said in the past couple of weeks, the private equity industry is again a lighting rod for political posturing.  A look at what some of the recent comments […]

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Startups Becoming VCs Themselves

July 8, 2019

When one thinks of a firm involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the idea of a startup generally does not come to mind.  Rather, when most people think of M&A, they likely think of large, multi-national corporations acquiring a company that has been through multiple rounds of funding and has proven successful at its craft. […]

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A Look at Average Salary Increases in PE, VC, and CVC

June 24, 2019

Average salaries in the private equity (PE), venture capital (VC) and corporate venture capital (VC) are generally high compared to other professions. How well did industry pay do last year and what is expected this years?  A look follows. Average Pay Growth in PE, VC, and CVC What is expected to happen with average pay […]

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The Top 10 Years for Financial Employment

June 10, 2019

The last couple of years have been good for the financial industry.  Financial industry employment is up 1.8 percent since the end of 2017.  Not the strongest growth rate – that title belongs to Natural Resources, Mining, and Construction at 5.8 percent – but stronger than Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, Retail Trade, and Information. The […]

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The Global League Tables are Out – Who’s on Top

May 27, 2019

The Global League Tables – those quarterly reports out of Pitchbook and affinity – are out for the first quarter of 2019. Which companies would you guess showed up on top and which were the bottom-dwellers? Here’s a look. Large Private Equity Investors Across the Globe First up, the large global private equity investors. Large […]

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New IRS Rules on Opportunity Zones Could Bring VCs Back In

May 13, 2019

New IRS Rules on Opportunity Zones Could Bring VCs Back In

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