This Israeli university creates more unicorns out of all non-US schools

Stanford research places Tel Aviv University at the forefront of global entrepreneurship.

 Unicorn Business Startup Symbol Vector (Illustration) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Unicorn Business Startup Symbol Vector (Illustration)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Tel Aviv University ranks first in Israel and the world outside of the United States in fostering unicorn startups, according to a recent study conducted by Stanford University.

TAU has secured its leading position thanks to TAU alumni having played a pivotal role in establishing 43 privately held startup companies valued at over US$1 billion, catapulting the university to the forefront of global innovation.

Led by Prof. Ilya Strebulaev from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the study is based on a dataset of 1,100 startups that have raised over $1 billion from venture capital funds in the USA, and counts the total number of unicorns regardless of university size.

Stanford University ranks as the top entry on the list in this regard, with TAU close behind.

Prof. Moshe Zviran, Chief Entrepreneurship & Innovation Officer at TAU, and former Dean of the Coller School of Management, acknowledged the study's findings. "Prof. Strebulaev's findings prove once again that TAU is Israel's entrepreneurial university, nurturing more startups, and specifically more unicorns, than any other university in the country. We have attained this status because we serve as home to the best students in a wide range of disciplines,” he said.

 Tel Aviv University (credit: TAU)
Tel Aviv University (credit: TAU)

Zviran attributed much of the university’s success to its leadership. “In recent years, under the leadership and vision of Prof. Ariel Porat, President of TAU, we have become proactive in the entrepreneurship and innovation arenas,” he explained.

TAU nurtures entrepreneurship

In contrast to the conventional approach of waiting for serendipitous breakthroughs, TAU has proactively integrated entrepreneurship into its academic framework. This effort extends beyond traditional fields to encompass faculties in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, and the Arts.

Consequently, an increasing number of TAU students now have the opportunity to engage in entrepreneurship education, equipping them with essential skills for developing their own startups, with potential for future growth.

“We no longer wait for the 'magic' to occur,” Zviran said. “Most students at TAU can now include an entrepreneurship cluster as an integral part of their studies for a degree, thereby acquiring tools for establishing their own startups, which in the future may become unicorns,” he said.

TAU's recent achievement aligns with a series of well-regarded entrepreneurship rankings that consistently place the university at the forefront of producing entrepreneurs beyond the United States. Last year, Pitchbook acknowledged TAU's contribution by ranking it 7th globally and the top institution outside the US for producing venture-capital-backed startups founded by alumni.

Similarly, Startup Genome recognized TAU's commitment to entrepreneurship, positioning it among renowned institutions such as Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley, and awarding it the first-ranked position outside the United States.

Prof. Zviran emphasized the significance of these accolades. “There are many entrepreneurship rankings, each based on different parameters — All, however, indicate that TAU is the best entrepreneurship incubator in the world outside the USA,” he said. “If so far these achievements have been based solely on the outstanding quality of our faculty, students, and curriculum, the focused activities of our Entrepreneurship & Innovation Ecosystem are expected to bring even greater accomplishments.”