The companies where workers are most likely to become founders

You always have to start somewhere. In the case of many successful startup founders, that means working a day job before they’re ready to quit and start their own new business.

So where are the best places to work for would-be founders? A number of large companies top the list, according to a new report from small business lending platform OnDeck, which examines large U.S. companies with a high percentage of former employees starting their own businesses.

These big names include the likes of management consulting giant Bain & Company, financial services giant Goldman Sachs and even Twitter, the social media platform recently acquired by Elon Musk.

Boston-based Bain tops the list with 8.13% of former employees becoming founders, the highest share of any company in OnDeck’s analysis. Notable Bain & Co. alumni who have achieved entrepreneurial success include Zynga founder Mark Pincus and Intuit co-founder Scott Cook.

Here are the top five:

  1. Bain & Company: 8.13% of former employees have started their own business.
  2. Oliver Wyman: 7.93%
  3. McKinsey & Company: 7.75%
  4. Strategy&: 7.44%
  5. Universal Music Group: 7.39%

To determine its rankings, OnDeck started with a list of the 100 largest employers in each state, based on data from job search website Zippia. OnDeck then analyzed the LinkedIn profiles of more than 228,000 employees who previously worked at these US companies to determine how many of them went on to start their own businesses as sole founders or co-founders.

The top four companies on OnDeck’s list come from the consulting world, which is not surprising: Consultants at these companies are often tasked with helping clients refine their management and business strategies.

If they eventually decide to apply these skills to their own startup company, their connections with investors and other deep-pocketed clients can help them access the funding they need to launch and grow a new venture.

Twitter is the highest ranked tech firm on the list, with 6.17% of former employees starting their own businesses. Having a prominent tech company on your resume is one way to get the attention of potential investors, and you’ll meet other talented tech workers you can potentially hire along the way.

Some of the tech workers who left — whether by layoff or choice — amid Musk’s takeover of Twitter are now launching microblogging rivals like Spill. The company’s history of creating entrepreneurs even goes back to its own founders: Jack Dorsey started payments platform Square and Evan Williams founded Medium, both after Twitter.

If you work on Wall Street, you can connect with potential investors who could back future ventures. That was the case for billionaire Jeff Bezos, who quit his job at Wall Street hedge fund DE Shaw in 1994 to move to Seattle and start an e-commerce business that became Amazon, OnDeck noted.

Goldman Sachs leads financial services companies in OnDeck’s rankings, with 5.92% of former employees becoming founders. These notable alumni include private equity billionaire Robert Smith, founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ersam.

Focusing primarily on large companies, OnDeck’s report does not provide an exhaustive list. Working in a startup before starting one can offer invaluable experience of what it takes to launch a new business.

Indeed, entrepreneurs like Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel advise aspiring founders to first work for other startups in the industry they’re interested in before starting out on their own.

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