Over the last 13 years, graduates from Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have founded more venture-backed companies than graduates from any other university – according to PitchBook’s most recent Universities Report.
The PitchBook Universities Report is a “fresh compendium of the university programs that have produced the most founders in the venture landscape, ranking programs by their prolificacy across unicorns, female founders and more.”
Additionally, according to the report, TCD is the only European university in the top 50, ranking in 46th place, two places higher than its ranking in 2017. It is the fourth year in a row that TCD has been ranked first in Europe by the venture-focused research firm.
This achievement clearly shows Ireland’s ongoing and confirmed international reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship, a clear advantage for international companies wishing to find Irish businesses to partner with.
John Whelan, ICT commercialisation manager at TCD said of PitchBook’s Universities Report, “This rankings report is simple and quantitative. It is based on real numbers that can be drilled into and verified independently. These hard facts and easy to understand figures put an Irish research institution as first in Europe for the fourth year in a row.”
PitchBook conducted independent analysis from 2006-2018, in which time Trinity College Dublin alumni produced 232 entrepreneurs, formed 212 venture-backed companies and raised approximately $3.26 billion capital. Last year there were 216 entrepreneurs, 201 companies and capital raised increased from $2.372 billion. In 2016, there were 192 entrepreneurs and 180 companies.
Recent successes include Dr Nora Khaldi’s Nuritas company, an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up and client, which raised $20 million in Series A funding in March, bringing total investment to $30 million, including early-round funding from U2’s Bono and The Edge amongst others, and Intercom – which recently achieved unicorn status after being valued at $1.275 billion following a recent $125 million investment round. Other notables include AR/VR-focused Volograms, data specialist DataChemist, food redistribution charity FoodCloud, and Artomatix, a software solution for 3D artists, all of whom are also supported by Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency.
Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, Chief Innovation and Enterprise Officer at TCD said about the announcement, “The news today that Trinity is again Europe’s leading university for graduate entrepreneurship further supports these ambitions and our role as a global leader in enabling the best students to become the best entrepreneurs.”
To foster this entrepreneurial spirit and initiative, Trinity College Dublin plans to build a new campus to foster entrepreneurship and innovation and hopes to be home to more than 400 start ups.
Dr O’Brien continued, “Trinity has placed innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of its strategy – from the development of plans for a new innovation campus at Grand Canal Quay, to the establishment of a University Bridge venture fund to enable investment in new start-up companies, to the creation of Tangent, Trinity’s ideas workspace to enable student and graduate entrepreneurship.”
The new €1 billion campus will be based in what is soon to be known as the Grand Canal Innovation District, modeled after innovation districts in Cambridge Square in Boston and other cities. University College Dublin (UCD) has a similar space and innovation hub on campus – NovaUCD a “purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facility for knowledge-intensive companies.”