The best Poets & Quants MBA startups in 2021


When it comes to supporting and guiding entrepreneurial MBAs launching startups, the Stanford Graduate School of Business is killing it.

The centrally located business school in Silicon Valley has outdone itself in this year’s roundup of top MBA startups by Poets and quants. Of the 100 startups that have attracted the most funding from angel investors and venture capitalists over the past five years, Stanford GSB holdings claim 39. Included in those 39: Divvy Homes, which raised nearly $ 300 million since its launch in 2017.

Divvy’s rise to the top was supported by a $ 110 million Series C funding round announced in February. The rent-to-buy platform buys homes for the buyer and then rents them to that buyer, which can reduce the cost of the home as little as 2%. The individual buyer can then rent the house from Divvy while they build equity to buy the house outright from Divvy.

Divvy was founded by 2016 Stanford graduate Adena Hefets and a team of engineers. Its fundraising total of $ 299.04 million is the highest amount for the top startup on our annual list since 2017, when Wharton-founded food delivery platform Deliveroo raised 474.59 million dollars at time of publication.

Adena Hefets of Divvy Homes received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2016. Photo courtesy


Every year since 2014, Poets and quants huddled with the world’s best MBA programs to compile a list based on one data point: the funding a startup has raised. The result recognizes the hottest startups from the best MBA programs on the planet. To qualify this year, a startup had to be founded between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2020 and have at least one MBA founder during that same period. Some startups, like Divvy, only have one MBA founder. Others have only MBA founders – like financial services start-up Ethos, which was founded by, you guessed it, Stanford graduates.

2021 has produced another list of incredibly diverse startups across a wide range of industries. Divvy is trying to make home buying more accessible to Americans and people around the world. Second-place (formerly ClimaCell), calling itself the world’s only ‘weather intelligence platform’, aims to help businesses become more resilient to climate change; Founded by a team from Harvard Business School, it has raised $ 183.9 million, including a $ 77 million Series D round announced less than a month ago. Viz, which uses artificial intelligence to streamline healthcare, came in third place this year, raising $ 149.19 million; another startup founded by Stanford GSB, about a month ago, it raised $ 71 million in Series C funding.

Divvy joins an exclusive roster of previous winners, including last year’s winner, Guild Education, another Stanford-founded company focused on making education more accessible and fairer. Other recent winners include Branch Metrics, founded at Stanford, Farmers Business Network, founded by HBS, Deliveroo, founded by Wharton, and SoFi, founded by Stanford.


This year’s list continues two undeniable trends: Women-founded and co-founded companies are strongly represented among top startups, and Stanford GSB continues to widen the entrepreneurial gap with other elite MBA programs.

Women were founders or co-founders of 28 startups on this year’s list, down slightly from 29 last year but still higher than any year before 2020. This is the third year in a row that a Stanford GSB startup with at least one female founding team tops our list, after Guild Education last year and Branch Metrics in 2019.

Stanford also ties its highest number of startups on our annual list; GSB had 39 startups on the list two years ago, in 2019. The 39 are up from 34 on last year’s list. After Stanford with the second highest number of startups on the list, Harvard Business School, with 19 startups, up from 23 last year. This is the lowest number Harvard has had in the list’s eight-year history. In 2016, HBS had 42 startups on the list; since then, Harvard’s numbers have ranged from 21 startups to 26. This was the first year the number fell below 20. The result: The gap between Stanford and Harvard for successful MBA startups has never been so big.

After Stanford and Harvard, Columbia Business School had seven startups on the 2021 list, up from five last year. The University of California at Berkeley Haas Business School, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and INSEAD in France all had five startups on this year’s list. Wharton had nine startups on last year’s list, while UC-Berkeley Haas had seven. INSEAD’s five startups are not only top performing for school, but also top for any non-based school. in the USA

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