Graduates from Trinity College Dublin founded more companies than graduates from any other European university over the last five years, according to independent research.
PitchBook’s recently published Universities Report shows that Trinity sits head and shoulders above the chasing pack at number one in the rankings, which rank European institutions on the number of undergraduate alumni who go on to found companies that receive a first round of venture capitalist backing.
Between the years of 2010 and 2015 – the period over which PitchBook conducted its independent analyses – Trinity produced 114 such entrepreneurs, 106 companies, and raised capital of approximately ?US $655 million.
To put Trinity’s achievements into context, second-placed Oxford University produced 72 entrepreneurs. The University of Manchester was ranked third with 71, while University College Dublin (UCD), the only other Irish university in the Top 10, was fourth with 70.
Director of Trinity Research & Innovation, Diarmuid O’Brien, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and underlines the impact our graduates are making as innovators and entrepreneurs whose companies are changing Ireland – and the world – for the better. Trinity is committed to supporting out students develop into entrepreneurs who can create real social and economic impact.”
Among Trinity’s many high-profile success stories are the companies Artomatix and Foodcloud, both of which were nurtured through the College’s Launchbox programme. Launchbox is a three-month student start-up accelerator, which runs through the summer months and provides young entrepreneurs with funding and mentorship to help them develop their business ideas.
Artomatix was founded in 2014 and allows artists to automate low-level creative tasks while putting in the hard graft for the higher-level art components of computer games. Founded by Trinity PhD student in Computer Science, Eric Risser, the company has secured investments of €700,000 from venture capitalists. The team behind Artomatix recently presented their game design app at Silicon Valley’s Tech Crunch disrupt, which is the highest-profile start-up event of its kind.
Foodcloud was founded in 2013 and brings businesses and charities together to reduce food waste and poverty by offering a platform from which the businesses can offer free food for collection. Founded by Iseult Ward and Aiobheann O’Brien, Trinity students in Business and Economics, and Environmental Science respectively, Foodcloud went on to secure numerous investments and has grown into a national success story for Ireland. Last year the team secured a flagship deal that ensured Tesco’s 146 stores would redistribute the supermarket’s surplus food to charities across the country. Iseult was featured in Time Magazine as a young global entrepreneur of the future.
Trinity’s support of entrepreneurism in its students extends far beyond Launchbox. The College this year secured ties with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, to establish the Blackstone Launchpad programme to provide thousands of students with a major network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.
Director of Trinity’s start-up accelerator, Launchbox, Dr John Whelan, said: “These data show that entrepreneurship has now become a valid career choice for many graduates. Current and future Trinity students will be encouraged and inspired by the success of their predecessors. It needs to be shouted from the rooftops that the achievements of our graduates have placed an Irish university number one in all of Europe in generating economic impact through starting their own business.”
Trinity has always placed great emphasis on its approach to research and education, so as to promote creativity and innovation.
One such innovator from a great many is graduate Alister Musgrave. He has recently made waves in the business world, having developed a price-comparison service for online shoppers in Hong Kong, which allows people to assess the options when signing up to credit cards or purchasing mortgages. Musgrave has raised a staggering $40 million from heavy-hitting investors such as Goldman Sachs and Nova Founders to help the service take off.