Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv University Students relax on a sunny day at the Tel Aviv University campus. (Photo: TAU)

The world’s 10 most entrepreneurial college campuses

Some surprising schools join the Stanfords and MITs of the world in this new ranking.

College rankings can take on all shapes and sizes. From the venerable U.S. News & World Report list of best schools to Playboy's list of great party campuses, colleges often find themselves on all sorts of lists. And now there's a new one making headlines.

Several U.S. colleges and two international schools have landed on a list of the top 10 universities producing venture-backed entrepreneurs. The annual ranking is produced by PitchBook, a Seattle-based data and technology provider to the private financial markets.

The ranking is based on the number of founders who received venture capital funding from 2009 through the end of July 2014, based on the founders’ undergraduate programs. Stanford University alumni, who have the advantage of living in Silicon Valley, raised more than $3.5 billion in venture capital. Below is a complete list of the top 10:

college rankingsThe data compiled is from January 2009 to August 2014. (Photo: PitchBook)

Tel Aviv University is a newcomer to this year's list at No. 9. Two other Israeli colleges made the top 50 – Technion-Israel Institute of Technology at 19 and Hebrew University at 37. It's all part of a larger trend of Silicon Valley venture capital heading over to Israel. 

"Israeli universities function as the oxygen of the Israeli technology sector, which typically ranks just behind Silicon Valley as a great place to produce world-leading technology companies," explains Zack Miller, a partner in the online venture capital firm, Israel-based OurCrowd. "Israeli universities are producing the top talent behind the next generation of Apples, Googles and Facebooks."

Andy White, the lead research analyst at PitchBook who helped compile the report, agrees. "Over the past decade there has been an explosion in venture capital activity focused on Israel-based startups," he told From The Grapevine. "As we have seen with other startup hubs around the globe, a community of young growing companies breeds more young growing companies, as businesses mature and early employees leave to found the next round of businesses. The fuel for such a community is the pool of talented young graduates produced by local institutions. In Israel, there is no shortage of young talent to choose from, and the presence of a burgeoning startup community greatly diminishes the urge of a prospective entrepreneur to move to Silicon Valley before starting his or her business venture."

With this report, PitchBook wanted to highlight the institutions that are consistently producing graduates who are helping to drive economic activity across the globe. "Many of the schools on the list are exactly the schools you would expect to see," says White. "Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, MIT. The question then becomes, why? There are many different reasons you could cite – academic rigor, faculty, alumni networks, entrepreneurship programs, etc. – but in reality it is a confluence of many different factors, not the least of which being the people themselves. After all, the universities are not the ones actually founding these companies."

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