IITs and Unicorns: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are the premier institutions in the field of technology in India. In all, there are 23 IITs which are governed under the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961.
It is to be noted that all the 23 IITs are autonomous in nature. However, they are all linked through a common council for the purpose of administration.
IITs and Unicorns: The Significant Relationship They Share
Coined by Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, the term unicorn refers to any startup with a valuation of $1 billion. There is a significant relationship between IITs and unicorns.
It is to be noted that as many as 73 unicorns have founders who have studied in as many as 23 IITs. Furthermore, it is also interesting to note that the IIT Delhi is the frontrunner in this aspect, as per available data. One may find at least one founder from IIT Delhi in about 21 unicorns. IIT Bombay has 1 founder in at least 16 unicorns and IIT Kanpur has 12.
IITs in Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati have one in the remaining 24 unicorns.
Though graduation from IITs is not a parameter for having a unicorn, what is that, that makes IITs a churning machine of unicorn founders?
Certainly, not the only thing that is taught within the four walls of the institute. The network that these students get is phenomenal. According to Mayank Kumar, an IIT Delhi graduate and one of the founders of upGrad, an edtech company, a part of the unicorn club, “The network and support system is definitely helpful. Also seeing other batch mates/seniors/juniors build larger companies gives one the confidence of going out and aiming for scale. The access, network and exposure you get is invaluable,” as quoted by the Economic Times.
A candidate coming from IIT surely gets more noticed sheerly because of the reputation these IITs have and also the quality of education they provide. So the candidate carries a lot of merit.
Students graduating from IITs are also exposed to a lot of business climate. As said above the support system is good which triggers and provides the graduates the necessary confidence to approach investors and convince them in converting their startups to the level of unicorns.
The IIT culture provides students an opportunity to be innovative and take up challenges. When a problem arises, they do a lot of research and arrive at a very good solution based on the research. What’s important to note here is that such problems lead to a lot of innovations.
Then comes the hostel culture. Hostels have a lot of like-minded people who discuss a lot in order to know things better. Be it seniors or juniors, both mingle well and indulge in constructive discussions so as to aid each other’s growth. The advantage of such discussions is that seniors with better experience help juniors to structure their ideas correctly.
Challenges also help bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in the students. As per Kalpen Shukla, President – IITD Alumni Association,“I personally feel that this trend will not only continue but become stronger and there are reasons for that. One, the startup ecosystem is now pretty well understood and this has got students tinkering with entrepreneurial ideas, which has led to a change in mindset and employment seekers are now becoming entrepreneurs,” as quoted by Money Control.
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