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Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Delhi and Bombay have produced the highest number of technology entrepreneurs in the country over the past two decades, finds a new study.

Four engineering colleges—IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur and BITS Pilani—accounted for the majority of entrepreneurs in the past decade, shows data compiled by Tracxn, an analytics firm.

Students from other IITs take to technology entrepreneurship in far lower numbers.

IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay are well-known startup hubs. Flipkart was founded by IIT Delhi graduates, while Ola was founded by two IIT Bombay software engineers.

IIT Kharagpur is a close third. Since 2015, graduates from the institute have launched 258 startups, compared with 277 and 310 for IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi, respectively.

Members of the founding teams at three unicorns, Swiggy, Udaan and PolicyBazaar, studied at IIT Kharagpur. BITS Pilani graduates launched 221 startups in the same period.

For startups, which have founding members from more than one institute, the Tracxn study named all the institutes involved.

After the success of startups, such as Flipkart and Ola, more and more engineering students are now pursuing entrepreneurship soon after graduation rather than seeking employment, compared with a decade ago.

This is reflected in the Tracxn study: Since 2015, the top four engineering colleges have produced 1,066 startups, compared with just 914 in the 15-year period between 2000 and 2015.

Among funded startups, IIT Mumbai topped the list, followed by IIT Delhi and IIT Kharagpur. But in terms of successful startups, IIT Delhi again takes the lead, the study showed.

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Paras Jain/Mint

In the absence of a large number of successful exits, the funding raised by startups is considered to be a measure of success.

Startups founded by IIT Delhi graduates have raised $13.3 billion, compared with $7.6 billion for IIT Bombay, according to Tracxn.

Unlike in the past, when it was the norm for IIT Delhi graduates to move to Bengaluru for work, or to start their companies, many of them now tend to stay in the national capital region (NCR). “NCR is the clear preference of IIT Delhi graduates," Tracxn founder Neha Singh said.

This has helped NCR come up as a rival startup hub to Bengaluru, which has several prominent engineering colleges, but none of the IITs.

Tracxn data shows that there are about 9,000 startups in NCR compared with 6,700 in Bengaluru.

However, when it comes to Mumbai, several prominent startups, such as Ola and Quikr, which were founded in the financial capital, were inclined to shift base to Bengaluru, as their home city did not have enough engineering talent.

According to Tracxn, three branches of the IIMs—Bangalore, Calcutta and Ahmedabad—also ranked among the top 10 suppliers of founders.

This was not surprising as some engineering graduates go on to pursue management studies before taking up employment or entrepreneurship.

For instance, some of the founding members of the unicorns Swiggy, Delhivery, PolicyBazaar and Quikr studied at IIM Calcutta after obtaining their engineering degrees.

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