Stanford Sweeps Cal In The Battle For VC Cash

With its own top-notch accelerator program, classes like Sam Altman’s How To Start a Startup, and a list of notable alums including Peter Thiel and Marissa Mayer, it’s no secret Stanford is a breeding ground for successful startups.

While Bay Area rival (and world’s top public university) Berkeley trumps Stanford in world reputation ranking, it’s pretty clear that Stanford students have a leg up when it comes to raising cash for a startup.

Investors seem much more keen on backing founders with a Stanford degree, according to CrunchBase data. Stanford startups have taken nearly three fourths of the total money raised by companies in the past four years with at least one Stanford or Cal grad as a founder.

SV Angel appears to be the most bullish on backing Stanford grads, with investments for 61 companies founded by at least one Stanford alum in the past four years.

In the same time period, a16z has backed 44 of these companies, Google Ventures 35 and Sequoia 32.

Compare this to Cal grads, and the numbers look far less promising — we’ve seen only 17 companies founded by Cal alums raise money from SV Angel, 15 from Google Ventures, and 12 from a16z.

And a dismal 7 Berkeley-bred startup founders got Sequoia’s vote of confidence.

With more unicorn startups than you can count on one hand, Stanford was once home to the founders of Snapchat, Palantir, and Cloudera, which have all far surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark.

Recent additions to the billion dollar club Kabam and Good Technology are the only representation so far from the Golden Bears.

Cal may be (far) behind on the all-time scoreboard for the Big Game, and at a slight disadvantage when it comes to churning out startup founders, but this doesn’t mean that Stanford has won the battle of the Bay.

Future ephemeral messaging app founders should probably stick to Stanford, but Cal is still your best bet if you want to win a Nobel Prize.

Image via Flickr user John Loo.

  • Originally published December 11, 2014, updated April 26, 2023