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I’ve often wondered which of the tech giants breed the most entrepreneurs. Now, the social recruiting company TopProspect takes a closer look at that question, analyzing the amount of venture capital that has flowed to the startup ventures of former employees of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook over the past five years.

Of course, the amount of venture capital money raised is not necessarily the best metric to track entrepreneurial success. (Just ask the folks at PopCap Games about that). But — as the authors of the report write: “money talks, baby.”

As pointed out below, TopProspect misses a few key deals.

By far, the most amount of venture capital money has gone to former employees of Google, which according to TopProspect has seen 13 founders raise $309 million. Among the companies led by former Googlers are Color, Foursquare and Factual.

“One thing is for sure – investors love former Googlers (maybe it’s because Google keeps buying them back for millions of dollars),” the authors write.

Microsoft is next on the list, spawning 14 founders who have attracted $189 million. Its alumni who’ve gone on to raise money include the founders of Wishpot, Z2Live, Zoosk and PubMatic.

That was followed by Yahoo, which saw 15 founders raise $126 million. Facebook — the youngest of the bunch (and because of that has the most incentive for employees to stick around) — spawned seven founders who raised $65 million.

Now, before I go further, I’ve got a few quibbles with TopProspect. First, they label Microsoft as a “Silicon Valley giant.” (Granted, it has an office there, but last we checked the company is firmly rooted in Redmond with more than 40,000 employees in the Seattle area).

Secondly, they passed over quite a few notable companies that have been started in the Seattle area by former Microsoft employees in the past five years, several of which just raised cash. The apparent reason for this is that TopProspect only included companies that have 10 employees in its database, which the company admits is Silicon Valley centric.

Here are some of the companies they missed: Motif Investing, which just raised $20 million; Livemocha, founded by former Microsoftie Shirish Nadkarni, which just raised $5 million; Glympse, the mobile location startup which just reeled in $7.5 million; Buuteeq, led by a group of Microsofties who just landed $3.5 million; Adapx, the maker of software for digital pens which just scored $5 million.

And that’s just some of the deals I’ve tracked in the past few months.

(Note: Inrix — which just scored $37 million and is led by former Microsoft general manager Bryan Mistele– was founded more than five years ago and therefore is not included. And companies such as iTegris, which just landed $4.6 million, might not be included because it doesn’t have 10 employees).

Finally, I’d love to see TopProspect include another Seattle giant: Anecdotally, I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurial talent coming out of Amazon over the years, though not sure whether that translates into those startups raising money (Some have such as Lockerz — which just scored $30 million — as well as Jambool, TeachStreet, Pelago, Foodista, etc.).

Hat Tip: The TopProspect research was reported in Alley Insider’s  Chart of the Day.


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