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Ex-Apple staff are behind hundreds of top tech startups

Many former Apple employees went on to form startups

Many Apple alums have gone on to found startups in climate, health, and other areas, and they attribute their acquired skills and knowledge to their time spent at Apple.

Apple has played a significant role in the emergence of numerous startups. Former employees have founded an estimated 597 venture capital-backed companies, collectively valued at over $180 billion.

In conversations with BusinessInsider, former Apple employees highlighted that Apple imparted valuable qualities such as determination, adaptability, and the ability to generate innovative ideas. These attributes have proven instrumental in their journeys as entrepreneurs.

For example, Evgeny Bik, a previous Apple employee who has since founded the career coaching startup Day One Careers, noted that "Apple brands itself as a company of thousand nos." The company encourages its employees to consistently advocate for their ideas, emphasizing the need to justify their relevance and value.

Apple places emphasis on developing strong interpersonal skills among its employees. "At Apple, interacting with each other is how they work," Bik said. "That's what motivated me to find and stay with a business partner."

Positive and negative experiences

Insiya Jafferjee, the co-founder of Shellworks, an alternative packaging company, highlights that Apple nurtures a sincere passion and a culture of striving to create aesthetically pleasing products.

"That's something I also really wanted to create at Shellworks, a love for making with your hands, a culture of prototyping, the culture of experimenting," she said. "I think there was a huge portion of that when I worked there."

However, some former employees weren't as positive about their time at Apple. Some described the corporate environment at Apple as "slow," and the tech giant has faced criticism for fostering a culture of secrecy, resulting in departments being highly compartmentalized and isolated from one another, according to an anonymous former employee.

Apple is also known for its stringent protection of intellectual property. Startups that have recruited former Apple employees, including chip companies like Rivos and Nuvia, have faced allegations from Apple of stealing ideas and infringing upon copyrights.

Despite these challenges, former Apple employees haven't been discouraged from venturing into the tech startup scene. Between 2010 and 2015, there were 163 registered startups founded by former Apple employees.

That nearly tripled to 419 startups between 2016 and 2022, and former staffers have also spread to other countries besides the US. Numerous European startups led by former Apple employees in various sectors, such as Acamp, Caura, Origin, and PowerZ, have thrived.

It shows that while Apple's company culture may have criticisms, the evidence indicates that the company has been a hotbed for nurturing entrepreneurs, instilling a spirit of determination, adaptability, and innovation in them.