How Access to Quality Education can Affect Startup Success in Emerging Markets


How Access to Quality Education can Affect Startup Success in Emerging Markets

Zeb Hastings




We know the classic stories of startup founders dropping out of college, building a startup in their garage, and scaling to world-leading companies with lasting disruption and economic impact. How common is this? Is every successful startup founder dropping out of school? In short, the answer is "no." An EU Startup Monitor report from 2018 confirms that 84% of European startup founders have a degree 4. In addition to this, a study conducted by Kauffman Fellows found that 70% of U.S. startups have at least one C-level person with an advanced post-graduate degree 5. Looking specifically into emerging markets, Seedstars conducted additional research using data from Tracxn on 248 founders who started 110 companies in emerging markets that achieved exits through acquisition in the last ten years6. 100% of startups in this study had at least one founder with a university degree. We will use this report to dive deeper into some of these analyses and data, such as exit size, to determine just how much contribution education has on startup success.

When we look into various studies, which we will highlight in this report, the findings show that founders are not dropping out of school, and education is essential to their success. The types and levels of degrees, specific mentorship and training, quality of education, and professional experience they receive can significantly affect their ability to build sustainable businesses, obtain funding, and eventually achieve a liquidity event through an exit.

Download the report for free here.

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