Prof. Moshe Zviran, Chief Entrepreneurship & Innovation Officer at Tel Aviv University. (TAU) (TAU)
Moshe Zviran

With alumni establishing a tally of 43 unicorn companies, TAU unexpectedly ranked higher than Britain’s Oxford University.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

Tel Aviv University emerged as the top-ranked institution for nurturing entrepreneurs outside the United States, according to a groundbreaking Stanford University study released on Wednesday.

With alumni establishing a tally of 43 unicorn companies, TAU unexpectedly ranked higher than Britain’s Oxford University, according to research by Prof. Ilya Strebulaev, of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

His research encompassed a dataset of 1,100 startups that have secured over $1 billion in venture capital funding in the USA.

Stanford University is first in the world in the number of unicorns founded by its alumni, primarily because of its proximity and relationship with Silicon Valley. But Tel Aviv University is similarly benefiting from its proximity to startups centered in the Greater Tel Aviv area, often referred to as Israel’s “Silicon Wadi,” or literally riverbed.

“We have attained this status because we serve as home to the best students in a wide range of disciplines, and also because 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,” said Prof. Moshe Zviran, Chief Entrepreneurship & Innovation Officer at TAU.

“We no longer wait for the ‘magic’ to occur. We incorporate entrepreneurship into the curriculum – in the classic disciplines like Computer Science, Engineering, and Management, but also in the Faculties of Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, and the Arts. In fact, 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,” Zviran added.

Stanford’s findings are in-line with other prestigious recognition of TAU’s entrepreneurial education. In 2022, Pitchbook placed TAU at the seventh spot globally and the top outside the USA in terms of venture-capital-backed startups founded by alumni. Startup Genome positioned TAU prominently alongside stalwarts like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley, where it clinched the first position outside the USA.

So far, 2023 has not been the Silicon Wadi’s strongest year. According to figures released in July by the Start-Up Nation Policy Institute, Israeli high-tech companies raised $3.7 billion in the first half of 2023, a 68% drop compared to the first half of 2022.

The Israel Innovation Authority recently reported that the number of tech startups incorporating in the U.S. state of Delaware was 20% higher than in 2022. Delaware’s tax laws make it a popular state for foreign companies looking to gain a foothold in the U.S.



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