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Founders from elite schools often lead better-performing companies. But any startup can increase its effectiveness through continuous education.

What's the value of a "brand-name" education for a startup? An analysis last year from First Round Capital found that of the companies it had funded, those with a founder from an elite school -- the Ivy League, Stanford or MIT -- beat other companies' performances by about 220 percent.

Obviously, then, a superbly educated leader is an important boost for startups. But whether his or her increased value is singularly due to a degree from a particular school is another matter.

Elite alumni differ from other college graduates in two key ways: First, they benefit from the "network effect." This takes nto account those mentors, investors and co-founders who can increase a startup's chances of success and are easily accessible through the built-in network of other highly successful alumni.

Authors: Gideon Kimbrell

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