Why UNSW is Australia’s best university for building successful entrepreneurs

- November 14, 2022 3 MIN READ
David Burt
David Burt, head of entrepreneurship at UNSW Founders
People from UNSW know how to build. UNSW was originally founded to meet Australia’s need to have a university specialised in training high-quality engineers and technology professionals.

Since then we’ve grown into a comprehensive university, but we’ve kept in our DNA the important truth that the value of an idea is how we put it into practice.

So it came as no surprise when The Australian ranked UNSW as the number one Australian university for producing successful entrepreneurs.

The rankings, released in the 2023 Research Magazine this week, rated universities by the number of venture capital funded start-ups founded by their graduates, adjusted for size of the university. UNSW was the clear winner, with an impressive 105 VC funded founders per 100,000 graduates over the past 10 years. UNSW also has the highest raw number of graduate founders who have attracted VC funding – 143 in the past decade.

The Australian’s ranking comes off the back of PitchBook’s annual university rankings last week. After analysing data from 144,000 VC backed founders, UNSW was revealed as #1 in Australia for total capital raised and #2 (#84 globally) for most founders and startups in 2022.

With a whopping US$5.6 billion capital raised by UNSW startups, Rocket Internet led the charge with $1.1 billion, Xendit with US$535 million, followed by Rokt with US$487 million. At UNSW Founders, earlier this year we had the honour of hosting an exclusive Ask Me Anything session with Xendit cofounder and CEO Moses Lo (read about it here). 

UNSW also recently recorded the highest number of new spinouts (value-creating companies founded by licensing or assignment of university intellectual property) launched in 2021 and 2022 in Australia and New Zealand. Knowledge Commercialisation Australia’s Survey of Commercialisation Outcomes from Public Research (SCOPR) reports UNSW boasted 10 new spinouts established in 2021.

Collectively, the 43 Australian universities in the SCOPR raked in $250 million in research commercialisation revenue last year, achieving positive impact in society in a wide range of technologies from life sciences through to MedTech, IT and engineering solutions.

Six startups led by UNSW researchers::

  • EnerJin Pty Ltd                               N.J. Ekins-Daukes
  • Infinity Avionics Pty Ltd                   Igor Dimitrijevic
  • OLIM RESEARCH Pty Ltd               Bill Walsh
  • CHELTech Pty Ltd                          Sean Smith
  • RadioDynamic Therapeutics Inc.      Ewa Goldys
  • Zyteum Pty Ltd                               Joe Dong

Four others based on UNSW technology :

  • Kandui Technologies Pty Ltd           Veena Sahajwalla’s Green Ceramics
  • Vesi Group Pty Ltd                          Rakesh Joshi and Graphene Oxide
  • LM Plus Pty Ltd                              Kourosh Kalantar Zadeh
  • Healthy@Home Pty Ltd                   Branko Cellar

The number of UNSW spinouts in 2021 is double that of 2020 and speaks to the impact of the university’s tireless work to embed an entrepreneurial ethos in our students, staff and alumni. 

UNSW has always been a powerhouse institution at the forefront of research and discovery. Our students, researchers, entrepreneurs and graduates are paving the way into the future with their innovations. The university is laser focused on facilitating an entrepreneurial and innovative culture that helps turn ideas into reality, better than any other higher education institution in Australia.

In particular, with expediting the complex and at times arduous journey of bringing brilliant ideas to market and commercialising research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge and technology to improve lives around the world. Here at UNSW Founders it is our sole mission to embed entrepreneurship on campus and support UNSW students, staff and alumni to build entrepreneurship skills, found and grow real companies.

In 2022 alone, UNSW Founders seeded companies raised $23.4 million with a total of $110 million raised to date since 2018.

UNSW Founders is Australia’s most comprehensive university entrepreneurship program. We offer support to entrepreneurs who take their ideas from the curiosity stage to a fast-growing startup. Since 2018 we’ve supported over 600 startups, and seed funded over 70 of them through our flagship 10x Accelerator programs.

Just last month it was announced a quarter of The Australian’s Top 100 Innovators were affiliated with UNSW.

This news came off the back of The Australian’s report that UNSW was ranked the best university overall for aspiring entrepreneurs with ~100 startup founders attracting VC funding.

For more about UNSW Founders, click here.