Your Startup Idea Got Better With Age
Here’s another win for us gray hairs out there and a slap for the kids.
If all you do is watch or read the mainstream media, you probably think you need to be 25 or younger to make it in a startup. That seems to be the theme of most reporting.
The news is on the side of the kids of the world who, out of their garages or parents’ basements, start some kind of app or tech business and end up gazillionaires.
Just like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg – you know the list, I’m sure. Silicon Valley, and the whole tech space for that matter, seems to be where experience and workplace wisdom are up there with acne and three-piece suits.
Nobody wants them.
But hold your horses. As with most things in the mainstream media, the real numbers have gotten lost in the quest to sell advertising space.
The recent study “Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship” says that it’s all about age… ages over 40, to be exact.
The study looked at 350,000 potential high-growth startups, and guess what?
The most successful were started by people in middle age – 41.9 years.
The mean age of high-tech founders was 43.2.
The more successful startups, those at the upper end of employment growth, had founders with a mean age of 41.8.
The top 10%, top 5%, top 1% and top 0.1% of high-growth firms had founders whose mean ages were 41.6, 42.1, 43.7 and 45, respectively.
Here’s where it gets really interesting: Founders in their early 20s have the lowest likelihood of achieving a successful exit – the sale of their business.
But a 50-year-old founder is almost twice as likely to achieve a successful exit than a 30-year-old founder.
Age does predict success, but in the opposite way most think.
So if you’ve got an idea that your 30 or 40 years of work-world experience tells you is a winner, get out there and do it. Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media, it always has been and always will be about experience and street smarts.
Sorry, kids. I believe the phrase they use is, “just saying.”