Only in 1947 did entrepreneurship appear in a Harvard Business School course description. But fast-forward 60-odd years and HBS is the best start-up school by a few measures.
Data from PitchBook show 1,069 HBS MBAs have founded 961 companies that have raised $22.4 billion in venture capital — more than any other business school, even Stanford GSB.
These star start-ups include Oscar, the health insurance business backed by $727 million in VC, which is valued at $2.7 billion, and BabyTree, the Chinese parenting website that has scored $534 million in investment, securing a $1 billion dollar valuation and placing it in the “unicorn” club of companies.
The impressive PitchBook stats come hot on the heels of another piece of HBS-endorsing research. Entrepreneurs from HBS have founded 13 unicorns — nearly double its closest competitor, Stanford, according to Nextview Ventures.
Online shopping business Global Fashion Group, for example, is valued at $1.1 billion. Competitor Lazada Group, meanwhile, was snapped up by Alibaba for $1 billion.
Although it should be noted that HBS has biggest class sizes, the data point to a clear transformation at the world’s best-known business school. HBS does not break out data on how many of its MBAs founded companies in official reports, but a survey by the FT this year found 28% of them had launched companies, often on the side of full-time jobs, up slightly on the year before.
And while many HBS alumni are running fledging start-ups, some have achieved outsized exits. Mark Pincus founded video games maker Zynga in 2007 and took it public in 2011 at a valuation of around $7 billion.
At this rate, more will surely follow in his wake.
HBS is already cultivating the next crop of unicorn founders. The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship launched a start-up studio in New York City last year.