Which School Generated The Most Startup/Tech Forbes 30 Under 30 Phenoms?

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I was pleased and proud when I learned that two of my former UC Santa Barbara students, Sieva Kozinsky, Founder of StudySoup and Eric Posen, Co-founder of Naritiv, made Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 list.

This caused me to wonder which schools generated the most awardees. To this end, with the help of Cameron Dennis, (one of my outstanding current students who will likely end up on the 30 Under 30 list someday), we researched the alma maters within Forbes’ startup and tech categories.

Startup And Tech Game Changers 

Forbes names at least thirty notable young people in twenty categories, resulting in over 600 awardees (some companies have multiple Co-founders who make the list as a team). We focused our research on the categories most closely related to entrepreneurship and technology - Financial, Consumer Tech, Retail & E-commerce, Games, Enterprise Tech, Social Entrepreneurship, and Education.

Of these awardees, we were able to identify the colleges attended by 287 individuals, via their Forbes’ bios and LinkedIn. In the majority of cases, the undergraduate school was cited, but some graduate programs are also included in our data. In addition, several people are not associated with a university, such as Thiel Fellows and Y Combinator alumni.

Though our findings do not reflect a definitive analysis of all 600+ 30 Under 30 designees, it does provide a general indication of the schools which generate high-achievement students who are making a difference in the startup and tech worlds.

As shown below, thirteen schools had five or more alumni on the Forbes’ 2017 list. Stanford tops the list with 25 "30 under 30" alum, followed by three Ivy League schools, Penn (18), Harvard (17) and Columbia (15), respectively. In total, the Ivies dominated, accounting for 70 alum, or 25% of the group we examined.

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California schools accounted for roughly twenty percent of the field we reviewed, while international schools produced approximately six percent of the total list (Forbes produces a separate, Eurocentric list). Ninety four schools are represented in total, many of which only generated a single awardee.

Curious as to the impact of making the list, I reached out to Sieva and asked him if he's seen any positive results arising from his inclusion in the exclusive Forbes list.

"It may be a bit early to see the full effects of making the list, however, we've had a few PR opportunities come up with partners in the education industry, as well as opportunities to collaborate with Forbes. A little bit of PR can go a long way in our business!

Furthermore, I think having your startup CEO named "Forbes 30 Under 30" validates your business in the eyes of your customers, which can lead to increased participation, sales or more."

Sieva went on to note that the recognition has cause him to reach out and thank those who have helped him along the way. "More importantly, I've taken this opportunity to think of what got me to where I am today. This has been a valuable exercise in helping me identify events that were key stepping stones, and others that were deterrents, which will help guide my decisions moving forward.

Making the list has caused me to think back to the people who shaped who I am today: Professor Greathouse, you are on that list, along with my high school basketball coach Coach Carl Jacobs, my high school math teacher Netta Maclean... and many others along the way that have been generous enough to share their time and support me along my journey. I'd like to make sure I surround myself with more of these types of people as my career grows, and I hope to play the same supportive role to other people in their lives to help them achieve their dreams."

You can follow John on Twitter: @johngreathouse. You can also check out his hands-on startup blog HERE.

Image credit: Courtesy of Forbes

John Greathouse is a Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage, web-based businesses. Previously, John co-founded RevUpNet, a performance-based online marketing agency sold to Coull. During the prior twenty years, he held senior executive positions with several successful startups, spearheading transactions that generated more than $350 million of shareholder value, including an IPO and a multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisition.

John is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara's Faculty where he teaches several entrepreneurial courses.

Note: All of my advice in this blog is that of a layman. I am not a lawyer and I never played one on TV. You should always assess the veracity of any third-party advice that might have far-reaching implications (be it legal, accounting, personnel, tax or otherwise) with your trusted professional of choice.

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