Looking to pave your way to startup paradise the same way Mark Zuckerberg did? Or Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat? Well, you might have a hard time if you don't already hold a major position at another big tech firm, or if you didn't go to Harvard, Stanford, or MIT.
But, if you tried really hard, you'll be able to make it either way, right? According to a new report by Reuters, that still isn't likely. Reporters looked at 88 startups in Silicon Valley that got "Series A" funding from the top five firms of 2011, 2012 and the first few months of 2013. (Series A funding usually generates between $2 million to $10 million for the start of a new company.) They found that out of the 88 startups, about 70 were "founded by people who hailed from what could be described as the traditional Silicon Valley cohort."
From the report:
"That means the founders had held a senior position at a big technology firm, worked at a well-connected smaller one, started a successful company already, or attended one of just three universities - Stanford, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The analysis, which looked only at Northern California companies funded by Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital, generally supports academic research showing that tech entrepreneurs are substantially wealthier and better educated than the population at large."
Also, Reuters' report contained analysis that supported allegations of gender, race and class bias in the startup industry.
Though people like Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison, who grew up from working-class families, can make it in Silicon Valley, they're becoming increasingly rare. Most startup entreprenuers have the University/Big Tech Company background, such as Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, who went to Stanford, worked at Google, then got his startup going.
"Who's going to be an entrepreneur?" asks Ross Levine, a professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. "It's going to be a rich person, to a much higher degree."
In Silicon Valley, money talks—but maybe perseverance can talk louder one day.