Data from global research firm PitchBook shows that some educational institutions have a better track record in producing startup founders who are adept at fundraising than others.

In India, the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Delhi University, and Mumbai University have produced the greatest number of alumni entrepreneurs who have raised venture capital in the last decade. 

IIT-Bombay, at rank 17, is the top Indian entrant in Pitchbook’s global ranking of 100 universities. It has been an early mover in student entrepreneurship efforts and has produced 551 founders who have raised $16.4 billion in VC funding between January 2013 and September 2023. Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal and Cars24 founder Vikram Chopra are among the IIT-B alumni who have scaled their startups to large consumer tech ventures. 

IIT-Delhi occupies 24th rank globally, with 480 founders raising $20 billion in the same period. E-commerce unicorn Meesho’s founders Vidit Atrey and Sanjeev Bharnwal hail from IIT-Delhi. IIT-Madras, whose entrepreneurship cell officially launched in 2013, has 301 alumni who have gone on to raise $14.2 billion for their startups. Arvind Nithrakashyap, the co-founder of cloud and data security firm Rubrik, is today valued at over $3 billion and is an IIT-M alumnus

.Among business schools, the tendency among alumni to turn entrepreneurs and successfully raise VC money is higher at the Indian School of Business (ISB). ISB has graduated 175 founders who have raised $4.5 billion. IIM Calcutta has created 129 founders who have raised $3.3 billion in 10 years. IIM Bengaluru closely follows this, with 117 founders raising $2.2 billion.  

According to analysis of founder profiles of India’s 100+ unicorns , as sourced from analytics firm YNOS Venture Engine, 34 founders are alumni of the various IIMs, 11 are from ISB, 90 entrepreneurs count IITs as their alma mater, and nine founders are from BITS, Pilani. 

“Venture capital (VC) funding is still very much a matter of social and academic networks. The VCs are often alumni of the same colleges, and that opens doors for the founders easily,” Thillai Rajan, head of the Centre for Research on Start-ups and Risk Financing at IIT Madras and founder of YNOS Venture Engine, said.

Ramabhadran Thirumalai, Deputy Dean, Academic Programmes, ISB, said that even if entrepreneurship is not a structured course in a college, the atmosphere in the institution, the initiatives, internal competitions, and other such activities help create a culture. “It is about developing an ecosystem within the business school in which students are encouraged to experiment, brainstorm for ideas, and learn to take risks,” he said.  

Others note that efforts from colleges to support students in their entrepreneurship journey by providing them with the necessary contacts and networks can help at a time when the job market is under strain.

Globally, Stanford, University of California Berkeley, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT have been the home to 6,235 founders who have raised a total of $252 billion of capital among undergraduate institutions, as per PitchBook. Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD (France), and Columbia are the top-ranked business schools in terms of the number of alumni who have raised the highest VC money in 10 years.

PitchBook’s analysis is based on its own data on global VC investment and the educational information of more than 150,000 founders.