33 years old Oxford University graduate from the UK — portrait of European unicorn founder

Davide Sangiovanni, Founder and General Partner at Graffiti Ventures, analyzed the background of 100 European unicorn founders and shared the results on his LinkedIn page. His research is focused on education, business experience, nationality, gender, and age of the founders. According to Davide, the results can be pretty indicative of a certain type of successful founder. AIN.Capital shares the key points of the analysis.

European unicorn founders

  • Turns out, European unicorn founders 85% of the time have university degrees. Furthermore, 23% of them have a Master/PHD degree.
    • This can prove that the stories about successful university dropouts are true in only 15% of the cases, in Europe at the very least.
  • The majority of university graduates-founders share Oxford University as their school (7%), followed by LSE (6%), and Cambridge University (5%).
  • The average age of the founders when they start a unicorn company is 33 years old.
  • At least 10% of the unicorn founders have worked at Goldman Sachs and 7% worked at McKinsey. While the majority have experience of working in investment industry elsewhere before starting their companies.
  • The most of the unicorn founders come from the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, France, Spain, and Estonia.
  • Interestingly, out of the 100 analyzed founders, only 4 are females.

Important to note, that the analysis cannot be indicative of the whole region, as the author does not share the full methodology. As people commented on the original post, the research reveals more about who venture capital investors will fund, rather than the kind of people with the potential for success.