Five Israeli Universities Among Top 50 Producers of Entrepreneurs
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Five Israeli Universities Among Top 50 Producers of Entrepreneurs

Tel Aviv University in top 10 for 5th year; Reichman University a newcomer; Technion, Hebrew U, and Ben-Gurion University are repeat entries, according to PitchBook data.

Students at the Mount Scopus campus at Hebrew University on the first day of the opening of the university year on October 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)
Students at the Mount Scopus campus at Hebrew University on the first day of the opening of the university year on October 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)

Five Israeli universities were listed in the top half of PitchBook’s 2022 ranking of the 100 undergraduate programs that produce the most VC-backed entrepreneurs, including Tel Aviv University, which ranked in the top 10 for the fifth consecutive year.

The 2022 PitchBook study ranked programs across categories such as top 100 undergraduate programs, top 100 graduate programs, top 50 undergrad programs for female founders, and top 50 graduate programs for female founders. The 2022 study was released on Monday.

PitchBook Data is a company that delivers data and research covering mergers and acquisitions, VC and private equity funds.

In the ranking for undergraduate programs, Tel Aviv University came in at 7th place, up one spot from the previous four years when it placed 8th; the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology dropped to 15th place, down three spots from 12th, a ranking it held for the previous two years; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem held its spot at No. 31 for the second consecutive year; Reichman University (formerly the IDC) was a newcomer to this list, ranking in 38th place, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev dropped to the 45th spot, down one from 2021.

Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University nabbed first, second and third place respectively, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Pennsylvania rounded out the top five — all keeping their respective ranks from 2021.

View of the Haifa Bay from the campus of the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, on February 19, 2019 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A majority (43) of the universities in the top 50 rankings were North American, including a handful of Canadian universities like McGill and the University of Toronto. Two outliers were the University of Oxford in 47th place, on the European continent, and Beijing’s Tsinghua University in the 36th spot, in addition to the five Israeli universities.

For the rankings, PitchBook tracked founders of companies that received a first round of venture funding between Jan. 1, 2012, and Oct. 21, 2022, and processed educational data on more than 140,000 founders. All rankings are based on data solely within that timeframe, PitchBook said in a statement. Previous studies looked at data starting in 2006.

This year, Pitchbook also included postgraduate degree holders in their graduate rankings, when previously this study only tracked founders who had an MBA. The company also said it expanded the lists by including more schools and improved the accuracy of its data by tagging founders who attended public US-based universities to their specific campuses rather than the university system as a whole,

According to Pitchbook’s data, the undergraduate programs at Tel Aviv University have helped create 814 graduates-turned-founders who have set up 677 companies and raised a total of $26.5 billion in the period between Jan. 1, 2012, and Oct. 21, 2022. These include companies like retail tech firm Trax, which has raised over $1 billion in funding so far, and Fireblocks, a blockchain fintech firm that has raised a similar amount since it was established in 2018.

Undergraduate programs at the Technion have created 576 founders with 493 companies, including payroll company Deel, and AI startup Gong. Founders who studied at the Technion went on to raise $17.7 billion in the specified timeframe, according to PitchBook.

The programs at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have generated 412 founders, who have set up 361 companies (including cybersecurity unicorns Wiz and Cybereason) and raised a total of $12.4 billion.

An aerial vide of Tel Aviv University. (Tel Aviv University)

Reichman University, which debuted on the list this year in the 38th spot, saw 350 of its undergrads go on to found 293 companies that raised $8.7 billion. Firms founded by Reichman University graduates include AI transcription company Verbit and client management company Honeybook.

In the last place among Israeli universities in the top 50 was Ben-Gurion University, which according to the data has created 292 founders who have set up 259 companies (e.g., logistics tech company Fabric, HR tech firm Hibob, and semiconductor company Vayyar) and raised $8.5 billion.

Bar-Ilan University also featured on the list of undergraduate programs, in the 71st spot out of 100, with 203 entrepreneurs who founded 188 companies.

Among the top 100 graduate programs that churned out entrepreneurs, Stanford University came in first, followed by Harvard and MIT.

Tel Aviv University and its graduate programs came in 14th on this list, Hebrew University 32nd and Technion 36th among the top 50. Bar Ilan University ranked 72nd and Ben-Gurion University 78th. The Weizmann Institute of Science ranked 97th for graduate programs.

In the rankings for the top 50 undergraduate programs for female founders, Tel Aviv University came in 20th and Hebrew University 45th. Israeli companies founded or co-founded by female entrepreneurs who studied at TAU include business management software company Honeybook and cybersecurity foundry Team8, while those with graduate degrees from Hebrew University include online course provider Coursera and cyber insurance company At-Bay.

In the ranking of top 50 graduate programs for female founders, Tel Aviv University ranked highest among the Israeli universities, in the 23rd spot, followed by Hebrew University in 29th place, the Technion in 44th place, and Weizmann Institute in 50th, tied with Purdue University, the California Institute of Technology, University College London, and the University of Maryland.

Stanford, Harvard, and MIT came in first, second, and third, respectively.

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