1️⃣ Issue #1: The Claremont Colleges & Entrepreneurship
There must be something in the water…
Welcome to issue #1 of Between the Lines
The Claremont Colleges community is near and dear to me. I will never forget the Claremont cohort of technologists and entrepreneurs in the bay area who welcomed me with open arms when I graduated from CMC in 2013 and moved to Northern California to work at a 4-person startup.
Working at a startup out of undergrad seemed like a contrarian thing to do in 2013, particularly amongst my classmates. All of them seemed to be off to the races at prestigious firms or fellowships with names like Deloitte, Goldman, Google, or Teach for America.
However, over the last eight years, it’s become clear to me that the community of Claremont College’s alums working in technology and entrepreneurship is something exceptional. My peers and mentors build and invest in wildly successful companies and technologies. We charter career paths for ourselves in the field even though we had scarcely any on-campus resources for budding technologists when we were in undergrad. As I meet more members of the greater alumni community, I keep hearing stories of how small pockets of close-knit friends from Claremont made all the difference in the success so many in our community are enjoying.
I started working in venture capital in 2016 after the startup I had been working at mostly flamed out. My freshman year dorm-mate Prashant Fonseka had connected me to the managing director. As is typical for a young VC associate, I met many other investors and realized that my new investor friends who had attended elite colleges across the country were already well aware of Claremont. They referred jokingly to the ‘Claremont Mafia’ of young venture capital investors and founders who were thicker than thieves and shared an alma mater. That was pretty cool to hear.
An oft-repeated adage in Silicon Valley circles is that entrepreneurship is a lonely path. Fortunately for me, that hasn’t been my experience with a community like Claremont’s. But I know I’ve been lucky. This newsletter aims to make career paths in entrepreneurship and technology as welcoming as possible for our community. Whether that’s connecting students and recent grads with career opportunities, shining a spotlight on new and exciting products built by Claremont founders, or sharing the stories between the lines of so many of our community members’ successes….welcome to Between the Lines.
My Best, Miles
So you’re telling me we’re a powerhouse?
Authors: Miles Bird & Josh Tatum
Entrepreneurialism has enormous potential to spark technological and social change, all the more so today in our post-globalized, digitally connected world. It’s no surprise, then, that graduates of the Claremont Colleges alums have been drawn like iron filings to a lodestone to the industry; to pursue meaningful work, make an impact, and create wealth for themselves and their loved ones. What is surprising, it turns out, is just how prolific our alumni have been in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship, and the impact that graduates have had on the industry, and the world:
Alums have founded global organizations like Cisco, Github, Juul, TrueCar, and Cruise Automation
Claremont-founded companies have gone onto raise over $40.3B in venture capital funding
This cohort is comprised of ~750 venture-backable companies that today employ over 130,000 people
13 Claremont-founded companies have gone onto IPO, 17 venture-backable companies have been acquired for over $100M, and 16 companies have historically reached ‘unicorn’ status
To put the above into context, from 2006-2019, Claremont alums raised over $26 billion, which made Claremont the 4th most prolific university system in the world for that period by venture dollars raised.
And on a per founder basis, Claremont alums raise more venture dollars than any alumni group in the world by a factor of over 4x. In other words, the average Claremont alum founder raises more money than the average alum from Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and MIT combined.
By this measure at least, the Claremont alumni community is the most entrepreneurial alumni community in the world(!).
But, so much more can be done to support our community. And entrepreneurship certainly does not have to be a lonely path, with a community like this and ties like ours.
What sort of career paths did the founders behind some of these companies chart for themselves leading up to their big wins? How have the companies founded by Claremont alums changed over time? Who is the next generation of great Claremont founders?
We’ll continue to explore these questions and would love to hear your thoughts on them too. Tune in next time to read Between the Lines.
Stay Connected! You’re a part of a uniquely impressive ecosystem for technology and startups and we can all learn from one another.
Keep Smiling! You graduated from one of the most impressive school systems in the world - and you and your peers are building businesses that are changing the face of the biotech, automotive, and infrastructure industries and so much more.
Keep Reading! Stay tuned for issue #2.
IPOs: Aduro Biotech (David Rose, PI), Avalara (Scott MacFarlane, CMC), Cisco (Sandy Lerner, CGU), Editas Medicine (Jennifer Doudna, PO), Extreme Networks (Gordon Stitt, HMC), Homology Medicines (Laura Smith, KGI), Intellia Therapeutics (Jennifer Doudna, PO), Janux Therapeutics (David Campbell, HMC), Limeade (Henry Albrecht, CMC), Marchex (Ethan Caldwell, PI), MaxLinear (Raymond Montemayor, HMC), SI-Bone (Mark Reiley, CMC/CGU), TrueCar (Jim Nguyen, CMC)
Acquisitions: GitHub ($7.5B, Tom Preston-Werner, HMC), Kyphon ($3.9B, Mark Reiley, CMC), Cruise Automation ($1.25B, Dan Kan, CMC), InstaMed ($600M, Chris Seib, HMC), Heptio ($550M, Joe Beda, HMC), Life Fitness ($490M, Augie Nieto, CMC), AdColony ($400M, Randy Saaf, HMC), TheraTx ($354M, Bret Jorgensen, CMC), Bridg ($350M, Sameer Sontakey, HMC), Urban Decay ($350M, Sandy Lerner, CGU), PGP Corporation ($300M, Will Price, PO), Pogo ($150M, Dave King, HMC), Velocify ($128M, Tony Christopoulos, PO), BitTorrent ($126M, Ashwin Navin, CMC), Auditude ($120M, Nicholas Seet, HMC), Nexsan ($120M, Gary Watson, HMC), Whistle ($119M, Kevin Lloyd, HMC).
Unicorns: Aduro Biotech (David Rose, PI), Avalara (Scott MacFarlane, CMC), Crossover Health (Bret Jorgensen, CMC), Cruise Automation (Dan Kan, CMC), DAQRI (Gaia Dempsey, SC), Dremio (Jacques Nadeau, PO), GitHub (Tom Preston-Werner, HMC), Honeybook (Shadiah Sigala, PO), Juul (Adam Bowen, PO), Mammoth Biosciences (Jennifer Doudna, PO), Matterport (Michael Beebe, HMC), PAX Labs (Adam Bowen, PO), Playco (Michael Carter, PO), Resilience (Drew Oetting, CMC), Samumed (Osman Kibar, PO), Zwift (Alarik Myrin, PO).
Benchmarking data for other universities sourced from Pitchbook Universities: 2019, and Claremont-related data gathered from Pitchbook, Crunchbase, and LinkedIn by Miles Bird, Josh Tatum, Adhi Venkatraman, Hank Harvego, Jessica Fang, and Avi Gupta. Please always write in if you believe we have made a mistake and help us improve our data set! All data has been aggregated and analyzed to the best of our abilities.
Claremont Colleges - used to be the best kept secret!
Miles, I will expect that list to grow exponentially as more Silicon Valley Program and Bart Evans ITAB alumni work their way out of early career successes into founding roles. Hope I’m right!!!