Tom Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures recently analyzed the academic backgrounds behind 30 top startups from the past several years. The results show a variety of experiences — and that’s the point.
Tunguz writes that:
- The average founding team has 2.4 founders, with a median of 2
- 54% of founding teams have at least one technical co-founder
- 37% of teams are exclusively computer scientists
- 30% of teams have no technical co-founders
- 15% of founders have dropped out of a graduate or undergraduate degree program
- 10% of founders have an MBA
Keeping in mind the small sample size, we see that a great founder is more likely to have dropped out of a degree that completed an MBA, and also that there is no clear correlation between technical co-founders and success.
Tunguz’s concludes that “great founding teams can come from anywhere,” and his analysis reinforces a lot of anecdotal evidence we’ve seen. In Nathaniel Rich’s New York Times feature on Y Combinator earlier this year, the founders ranged from first-generation American millenials to divorced mothers from Idaho.
So what’s your excuse for not being a great founder? ‘Cuz mine has to do with this pesky silicon allergy, plus I’m scared of risk, yadda yadda….but what’s yours??