UC Berkeley ranks 1st among public schools in producing entrepreneurs who raise venture capital

Photo of SkyDeck building
Gisselle Reyes/Staff
Berkeley SkyDeck, a startup accelerator and incubator program promoting student entrepreneurship, facilitates entrepreneurial education at UC Berkeley in a myriad of ways, according to executive director Caroline Winnett.

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UC Berkeley is ranked first as a public university and second among all universities in the world in its production of entrepreneurs who raise venture capital, according to a ranking by PitchBook.

The PitchBook ranking tracked the number of companies and company founders produced by each university, as well as the venture capital raised by each university’s graduates, between January 2006 and August. UC Berkeley has produced a total of 1,365 company founders, 1,225 companies and more than $36 billion in raised capital, according to the PitchBook website.

“Cal is great not only at building companies but also industries,” said Haas School of Business continuing lecturer Kurt Beyer.It’s built into the DNA of the school. When people hear UC Berkeley, they think of change-makers — it’s part of the roots of the university.”

Venture capital, a form of private equity and financing provided by investors to startups and small businesses with promising prospects of long-term growth, has revolutionized finance in recent years, according to Beyer.

Companies backed by venture capital have changed the world, according to Toby Stuart, faculty director of the Berkeley Haas Entrepreneurship Program. He anticipates UC Berkeley will move into the top spot because of the campus’s size advantage over Stanford University, which ranked first, and the “remarkable” entrepreneurial energy on the Berkeley campus.

“Our students and alumni are truly essential members of the ecosystem that has created so many of the technologies that have built our economy and that will address many of society’s most challenging problems in the future,” Stuart said in an email.

Caroline Winnett, executive director of Berkeley SkyDeck, was also pleased with the rankings, noting that UC Berkeley is “on the path for No. 1!”

SkyDeck, a startup accelerator and incubator program promoting student entrepreneurship, facilitates entrepreneurial education at UC Berkeley in a myriad of ways, according to Winnett.

The program consists of two tracks: the accelerator track, which supports nonstudent startups, and the incubator track, which welcomes undergraduate applications.

SkyDeck hosts many events and workshops for students to further build on their skills, Winnett added. It also has an active intern matching program in which students are matched with startups in the accelerator track and are provided with internships within those companies

Additionally, SkyDeck has invested more than $105,000 into approximately 100 startups, plenty of which started at UC Berkeley, according to Winnett.

Winnett added that while SkyDeck is a private venture capital fund unaffiliated with UC Berkeley, it contractually shares half of the money it raises directly with the campus. According to Winnett, this allows SkyDeck to not only invest in the campus’s startups but also help further develop the UC Berkeley education.

“It’s critical to look at the world from an entrepreneur’s eyes, to not only see problems and challenges but see opportunities within those challenges,” Beyer said.

Contact Katia Pokotylo and Kaleo Mark at [email protected].