TAU Ranked Among Top Producers of Startups

TAU graduates among the most successful in the world at securing venture capital funding for new companies, according to new data
04 August 2013

Tel Aviv University ranks among a handful of elite universities that turn out entrepreneurs capable of attracting big venture capital funding, a new study publicly available on the Internet shows. And it's the only non-American university in the top tier.


In a list of the 16 universities that produce the most Americans startups founded with venture capital, TAU is 15th, just below Princeton University and tied with Duke University. Stanford University tops the list with 193 startups to its name, while Harvard University is a distant second with 120.


TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter welcomed the findings, saying, "They are a testament to the innovation and entrepreneurship that permeates TAU culture."


The numbers come from CrunchBase, the online database behind the popular TechCrunch technology business websites. They were analyzed and published by blogger Max Woolf of Minimaxir, who covers US startups, technology and blogging with a statistical bent.


After TAU, the highest ranked Israeli university is the Technion Institute of Technology at 27th, followed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at 67th.


On another list, published as part of the same Minimaxir story, TAU ranks an impressive fourth place in the average funding won by graduates in the all-important first round. TAU graduates that secure such funding reportedly get an average of $5.5 million at this stage, more than graduates of Harvard or Stanford Universities. Ahead of TAU on the list are Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.


Companies founded by TAU graduates also ranked among the global elite in total venture capital funding raised — attracting $882 million overall (16th place) and $227 million (14th place) in the first round.


"There is a general spirit that exists on campus that provides the right atmosphere for such achievements," said  Prof. David Mendalevich of TAU's School of Electrical Engineering, which has helped start companies that have raised more than $50 million from around the world and works to connect the university and its students to commercial opportunities. "Partially it is our location, but partially it is that we give students the tools they need to come up with good ideas and go on to establish their own companies."


Notable companies with TAU-graduate founders included in the data are Waze (bought by American Internet giant Google in June for over $1 billion), 5min Media, Kontera, Palo Alto Networks, and Contendo. The many other startups that were founded without venture capital are not represented in this ranking.


Of the 28 TAU graduates included in the data, 10 studied at the School of Mathematical Sciences or the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, both of which are among the top 50 schools in the world in their respective fields. Eight of the graduates have degrees in business or management, five have degrees in engineering, three have degrees in economics, two have degrees in philosophy, and two have degrees in life sciences. Nine of the graduates studied in multidisciplinary programs, emphasizing the broad academic "toolkit" TAU encourages its students to acquire as part of their studies.


StarTAU, Tel Aviv University's entrepreneurship center, has been contributing to TAU's startup culture since 2009. The biggest Israeli nonprofit organization of its kind, it has provided individual guidance to more than 200 young entrepreneurs and courses and seminars to more than 2,000. StarTAU's chief executive and founder, Oren Simanian, expects TAU to only rise in the rankings.


"We're working every day to create the buzz you feel on campus," he said. "And that's only going to grow in coming years."


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