Companies That Produce The Most Startup Founders [Infographic]


Every year, millions of startups are created globally. The story is no different in the United States where a record 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021 alone.

While Silicon Valley is known as a melting pot for entrepreneurial talent, big tech giants like IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft are established enough to produce a generation of new startup founders. But which companies are future entrepreneurs most likely to come from?

To find out which US companies produce the most start-up founders, the team at OnDeck analyzed the LinkedIn profiles of more than 228,000 American workers to find out which companies have the most employees who go on to start their own businesses. The result is an infographic of the 100 largest companies in every state and the number of employees who started their own companies.

The infographic below shows, the majority of employees that go on to launch their own startups appear to come from just a handful of companies.

More Ex-Twitter Staff Create New Startups Than Any Other Tech Company

The relentless innovation culture within the tech industry makes it a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent. Major players in the sector, like Google and Microsoft, have produced several successful future business founders as a result of years at the top of the game. The OnDeck data also shows that 6.17% of former Twitter employees moved on to set up their own businesses.

Major Consulting Firms Produce the Most Future Founders

When it comes to entrepreneurship, one might think that future startup founders would cut their teeth in the big-tech world of Silicon Valley. After all, many of Apple’s former employees have left the company to form billion-dollar ventures over the years. However, our research shows that six of the ten businesses that produce future business founders are consulting firms.

Major Findings:

  • Bain & Company produces more start-up founders than any other company studied. Thirteen percent of the international management consulting firm’s former employees have left to launch their own businesses.
  • More ex-Twitter staff members go on to become founders after leaving (6.17 percent) than at any other tech company.
  • Six of the ten companies that produce the highest percentage of business founders are consulting firms.

Companies with former employees starting their own businesses

Finally, the OnDeck research also shows that at least one company in each state has seen 25 or more of its former employees start their own businesses. With 22,000 ex-staff in charge of their own ventures, IBM is the most prolific company in both their home state of New York and the U.S. overall at producing future startup founders. On the West Coast, 15,000 former staff at Washington-based Microsoft and 10,000 at California-based Google went on to start their own companies.

You can read the rest of the report here.

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