Every few months someone writes an article reconfirming Stanford as the world’s largest producer of venture-backed startups by volume. The most recent wave of these stories is based on a comprehensive Universities Report by Pitchbook. But is Stanford really the best institution at turning undergraduates into startup founders? Another metric, startup density as defined by the Kauffman Index Startup Activity report (the percentage of members of a population who found or co-found a successfully venture-backed company), would suggest there’s one college all of these articles fail to take into account.
Olin College, a small engineering school in Needham, MA, which graduates around 75 students per year, turns out an alumni population where 2.77% of alumni found a successfully venture-backed startup, more than five times the rate of Stanford (0.51%), MIT (0.75%), Harvard (0.28%), or any other undergraduate institution for which data is available.
With only 16 years of students and 902 total graduates, 37 Olin alumni have founded 28 startups (excluding consulting businesses and self-employment).17 of these have raised significant outside capital from top venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partners, Adams Street, and IVP, angel funding from well-known investors like Naval Ravikant, Keith Rabois, and David Tisch, and matriculation from prestigious accelerators like Y Combinator. Collectively, these 17 Olin Startups with 25 distinct founders have raised $198.8M in venture financing with a combined valuation of $618.4M.
And even though Olin’s three degrees all have “Engineering” in the title, Olin Founders are not only technical co-founders and CTOs; they’re CEOs, COOs, and more.