Seven years ago the Economics Department of BankBoston collaborated with MIT on the first analysis of MIT-related companies. Since then, MIT has maintained a database of companies founded by its graduates. As of the summer of 1996, MIT was aware of 3,998 currently active companies founded by its graduates . To provide more information about these companies and to lay the basis for maintaining current information on sales, employment, industry category, and location, the MIT database was matched against the records of American Business Information, which include employment, sales, and other information on some 10 million U.S. companies listed in the yellow pages. This report's findings with respect to total employment and sales, MIT course of company founders, industry and age of companies are derived from this database of MIT-related companies. A series of comprehensive tables summarizing the database is found in the Appendix to this report .
In its regular alumni surveys, MIT asks graduates if they have founded companies. In 1995, in-depth survey forms were mailed to some 4,000 founders of whom 1,334 (just over a third) responded. Since many of the founders of the largest MIT-related companies are no longer affiliated with their companies or have died, the companies represented in the survey are somewhat more recent and average fewer employees than the universe of MIT-related companies. All told, these surveyed firms employ 100,000 people. By industry and by region, however, they are reflective of the broader whole. The report's findings on why companies locate where they do, what gives them their competitive edge, how they received initial funding, where they sell their product, and how many patents they have are based on this 1995 survey. A comprehensive set of tables summarizing survey results appears in the Appendix.
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