The 13 schools that have spawned the most $1 billion unicorn startups

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Aly Weisman / Business Insider

You might think the most successful startups are born in garages (following the famous HP script), but a lot of the most innovative tech ideas were actually made in college dorm rooms.

Research firm Pitchbook determined which schools have created the most companies with a valuation over $1 billion, the so-called “unicorn” companies, before going public. The firm looked at all the unicorn founders and tallied up which schools had produced the most billion dollar companies (whether the unicorns were actually created at the school or the founders created the companies after leaving the school).

See which schools breed the most unicorns:


13) University of Madras (India)

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Flickr/nagarjun

Number of unicorns founded: 3

Top 3 companies: Bloom Energy, Globus Medical, Apttus

VC capital raised: $1.13 billion


12) University of Southern California

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Stephen Dunn/Getty

Number of unicorns founded: 3

Top 3 companies: Box, Lookout, Instacart

VC capital raised: $1.11 billion


11) Princeton University

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REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Number of unicorns founded: 3

Top 3 companies: AppNexus, Docker, Akamai Technologies

VC capital raised: $581 million


10) Dartmouth College

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Dartmouth/Facebook

Number of unicorns founded: 4

Top 3 companies: Funding Circle, OnDeck, New Relic

VC capital raised: $831 million


9) Brown University

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Flickr/Liz West

Number of unicorns founded: 4

Top 3 companies: MongoDB, Funding Circle, JAND

VC capital raised: $1.01 billion


8) University of Waterloo

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Flickr/jasonparis

Number of unicorns founded: 4

Top 3 companies: Hangzhou Kuaidi Technology, ContextLogic, Instacart

VC capital raised: $1.62 billion


7) Brigham Young University

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Facebook/IAFEngTech

Number of unicorns founded: 4

Top 3 companies: Qualtrics, Pluralsight, Insidesales.com

VC capital raised: $783 million


6) University of Michigan

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REUTERS/Mike Stone

Number of unicorns founded: 4

Top 3 companies: Groupon, Medallia, Twilio

VC capital raised: $1.82 billion


5) MIT

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Flickr via Aranha

Number of unicorns founded: 5

Top 3 companies: Dropbox, A123 Systems, Oscar Health Insurance

VC capital raised: $1.66 billion


4) Cornell University

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Cornell University College of Engineering/Facebook

Number of unicorns founded: 5

Top 3 companies: Lyft, Moderna, Wayfair

VC capital raised: $2.47 billion


3) UC Berkeley

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Elena Zhukova/UC Berkeley/Facebook

Number of unicorns founded: 6

Top 3 companies: Cloudera, Calient Technologies, Machine Zone

VC capital raised: $2.50 billion


2) Harvard University

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Via Wikimedia Commons

Number of unicorns founded: 9

Top 3 companies: Facebook, Cloudera, Zenefits

VC capital raised: $5.2 billion


1) Stanford University

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Thomson Reuters

Number of unicorns founded: 10

Top 3 companies: Palantir Technologies, Snapchat, AliphCom

VC capital raised: $4.92 billion