Beyond HumanBig PictureCatalystsConnected WorldExchangeMarketing MixNew MoneyNew SchoolPeople SciencePulse
Company Name
Job Title

Where did the CEOs that are running billion dollar tech companies go to college?

Where did the CEOs of unicorn companies go to college? Where did the CEOs of unicorn companies go to college?
Photo credit:


As the number of billion dollar businesses increases seemingly by the day, here are the universities that have produced the most unicorn CEOs.

10 Universities

Where did the CEOs of unicorn companies go to college?

A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”

Sean Parker – The Social Network

They might have to get a new name for unicorn businesses in the near future. Unicorns, or tech businesses worth north of a billion dollars, once referred to a handful of global businesses that had achieved astronomical valuations.

The problem is, they’re just not that rare anymore.

Now there’s around 100 unicorn businesses in the world, up from 42 at the start of 2014, and that number is set to rise sharply for the foreseeable future.

So what’s cool now? 50 billion; according to a recent valuation of Uber, which despite operating at massive losses, is figured to be the most valuable private business in the world.

Who’s running these billion dollar behemoths then? What do the CEOs of these giant businesses all have in common?

Well, despite there being plenty of business leaders who haven’t needed higher education to get to the top of their game, Virgin founder Richard Branson for one, to be the boss of a unicorn, you’ve probably gone to one of the finest universities in the world.

So, where did the CEOs of unicorn companies go to college? Hot Topics looked at backgrounds of the CEOs that are currently (As of September 2015) heading up the world’s 102 unicorn businesses, and this is what we found.

Harvard, Stanford and Pennsylvania lead the table by a handsome margin with 12, 9 and 9 CEOs produced that are running unicorn businesses respectively.

Harvard’s postgraduate business school has provided the CEOs for Blue Apron, InMobi, DocuSign, SimpliVity, CloudFare, Grabtaxi, Oscar, Coupang, Moderna, Adyen, and Patrick Conrad of Zenefits studied for his undergrad at the Ivy League university.

Stanford’s unicorn alumni include the CEOs of Theranos, Jawbone, Eventbrite, Nextdoor, Proteus Digital Health, Garena, Social Finance and Medallia.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hosted the most ‘valuable’ CEO on the list in Travis Kalanick, boss of the ridesharing app Uber, before he dropped out to start his own businesses.

To get more answers to the question of where did the CEOs of unicorn companies go to college, check out the graphic above to the alma maters of CEOs that run unicorn businesses.