The University of Waterloo ranks as number one amongst Canadian universities for producing the most successful entrepreneurs with undergraduate degrees according to the 2023 PitchBook university rankings. Waterloo remains ranked 21st in the world for founders.

The 2023 results show that Waterloo has produced 511 founders with undergraduate degrees who have gone on to raise US$17 billion. The University also secures a place in the top 100 for graduate-degree founders, counting 173 entrepreneurs from Waterloo who have collectively raised US$3.8 billion in capital.

Waterloo nurtures talent and empowers aspiring entrepreneurs through innovative programs tailored for startups. Waterloo graduates have become some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs and have founded unicorn companies like ApplyBoard, CoinTracker, Clearco and Instacart. Velocity, Waterloo’s flagship entrepreneurship program, has played a key role in accelerating innovative companies like Vital Bio and Float at their early startup stage.

Further cementing Waterloo’s dedication to entrepreneurship and innovation, Waterloo’s Board of Governors approved an investment of up to $5 million into the Velocity Fund II from its endowment, a new, for-profit VC fund operated independently from the Velocity incubator and campus programming.

"Looking through an investment lens, founders coming out of Waterloo are very mature when it comes to understanding how startups work and how to experiment around finding product-market fit,” says Akash Vaswani, a general partner for the Velocity Fund. “We’ve had companies that have done really well but there is still giant, untapped potential and Waterloo and Velocity can help shape the next generation of companies be bolder with bigger outcomes.”

Ground also broke on the University’s Innovation Arena, located on Waterloo’s Health Sciences Campus in downtown Kitchener. Anchored by Velocity, this new space is designed to foster collaborations to launch new ventures, adapt and deploy technologies, and fast-track commercialization. This space will empower founders and community partners to engage researchers, students and entrepreneurs to solve local, national and global health challenges and advance innovation and technology solutions.

“Energizing students' entrepreneurial ambitions creates a positive ripple effect on the Canadian economy — these innovators are launching highly marketable products and services, and commercializing groundbreaking research that can reshape industries," says Adrien Côté, Velocity’s executive director.

PitchBook says they develop their annual university rankings by comparing schools by the number of alumni entrepreneurs who have founded venture capital-backed companies. The undergraduate and graduate rankings are based on PitchBook data using analysis of more than 144,000 VC-backed founders.

View the 2023 Pitchbook rankings for the complete list and methodology.