BYU was named on a short list of universities that have established a track record of graduating entrepreneurs that are attractive to investors. Using Crunchbase data, Crunchbase News ranked 32 U.S. schools that graduated a high number of founders who raised rounds in roughly the past year. BYU came in at 28 on the list—the only higher ed institution in the mountain region (AZ, NV, ID, UT, WY, CO, MT, NM) to make the list.

See full list below:

Brigham Young University has cultivated a favorable environment for founders. As an institution, BYU has created a culture and context blending academic credit with hands-on entrepreneurial experience.

Sandbox is a good example.

Now in its third year, Sandbox is a for-credit initiative placing students in learning experiences outside of the classroom into real-world tech startup development. It welcomes students across multiple majors, puts them in a culture and context of startup development, and equips them with the practical skills and experience necessary to build successful companies.

Sandbox participants are tasked with creating and launching their own tech companies. Selected startup teams prepare intensively for two semesters for the culminating demo-day showcase, a rapid-paced pitch competition that blends advanced technology, extremely short pitches, with comedy and an enthusiastic audience.

Sandbox as covered recently by TechBuzz here and here. It recently announced it will expand to additional university campuses throughout the state.

Brigham Young University has also appeared on another short, exclusive list—universities that produce founders that go on to create unicorns, i.e. companies valued at $1 billion and higher.

In April 2023, Stanford University published data showing BYU leading the nation, along with University of Washington (UW), on a unique, specific and high-impact metric—the time it takes graduates of a given university to create a unicorn. BYU and UW tied for first on this metric—BYU and UW graduates require less than six years to see their startups reach unicorn status. According to the Stanford University data, as analyzed by a team led by Ilya Strebulaev, Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business of Venture Capital & Private Equity, it takes on average eleven years after graduation for founders to reach unicorn status, considering the 23 colleges with the most unicorn founders. "Brigham Young University and University of Washington graduates manage to do it, when they do it, in less than six years," says Prof. Strebulaev. This report was covered last year by TechBuzz.

"BYU has dominated the state and region in terms of founders of venture backed firms in the mountain region for a long time, and our alumni and students continue to do amazingly well," said Mike Hendron, Director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at BYU's Marriott School of Business.

He added, "in this new Crunchbase ranking BYU is the only mountain region school to make the list, which is impressive considering other schools in AZ and CO are also great startup founder sources. This is a testament to the strength of BYU's pipeline of tech and growth company founders, as well as the growth of the VC community here in the state."

To read Joanna Glasner's May 10th article in Crunchbase News click here.

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