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6 July, 2021 - 17:02 By Tony Quested

Cambridge University tops UK in producing business founders

The University of Cambridge has produced more graduate founders than any other UK university, new research reveals.

The city is home to Europe’s largest technology cluster and Cambridge University brain power has driven many of its leading science & technology enterprises from spin-out to superstar status. used LinkedIn’s Alumni Search to identify the US and UK universities that have produced the most start-up founders historically, and the ones that are producing the most founders right now.

Historically, Cambridge University has given birth to 25,366 founders – 4,226 in recent years. Oxford is the nearest challenger with 22,400 founders historically – almost double the total of the Open University (OU) which is in fifth place in the UK.

Cambridge stretches its legs as lead thoroughbred in terms of new founders: Its total of 4,226 is well clear of Oxford (3,891) and third placed OU (2,281).

Most impressively, if you combine the US and UK rankings, Cambridge’s historic track record in producing business founders would put it eighth in a transatlantic table, one place ahead of MIT. 

Cambridge would be ninth in a combined UK-US ranking for recent founders – just shy of the University of Southern California but ahead of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Los Angeles.

This research has been released by Start-up Schools and emphasises that budding entrepreneurs would be wise to think early in the process about which university will give them the best chance of launching a business.

In the US, that means the University of California, Berkeley (44,139 founders historically), Stanford (38,968), New York (37,975) and Harvard (35,596). MIT logs 25,265.

Harvard – in Cambridge Massachusetts – is producing the most new founders in the US right now, with 6,914 in the past three years.

• PHOTOGRAPH: FocalPoint Positioning founder Ramsey Faragher at Queens’ College Cambridge. Dr Faragher, a former senior research associate at the University of Cambridge, was once dubbed “The real life Q” by Top Gear Magazine. Cambridge-based FocalPoint’s mission is to improve every positioning solution on the planet. Image courtesy of Queens’ College, Cambridge.

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