What's the Best Age to Start a Company?
Do you look at all those 20-somethings at Starbucks on their laptops and feel too old to start a business?While the young-buck-college-drop-out-kids get loads of press, a recent study says you’re making a bad assumption.
The Census Bureau and two MIT professors found that the most successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged - even in the tech center. That’s right, it turns out that experience counts big-time when it comes to starting a new endeavor.
Here are a few tidbits from the findings:
A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.2 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 30-year-old.
A 40-year-old startup founder is 2.1 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 25-year-old.
A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.8 times more likely to found a successful startup as a 25-year-old founder.
A 60-year-old startup founder is 3 times as likely to found a successful startup as a 30-year-old startup founder--and is 1.7 times as likely to found a startup that winds up in the top 0.1 percent of all companies!
There are several reasons middle-aged entrepreneurs are making waves.“If you look at age and great achievement in the sciences in general, it doesn’t peak in the twenties,” says Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School. “It’s more middle-aged.”
One of the main reasons is execution. Ideas and strategy are important, but the ability to execute on the vision as well as assemble and lead a team to build a successful company are critical. Further, investors are more likely to take a chance on a leader with a successful track record than bet on a tech genius without a team.
This doesn’t mean that if you are that 20-something at Starbucks with a brilliant idea and a solid business plan, that you won’t get funding or be the next Bill Gates, it just means you’re going to have to prove your ability to execute.
What it comes down to is experience counts. A lot! Starting any new business isn’t for the faint of heart, even in this self-labeled “gig economy.” Yes, there are more people out there claiming to be entrepreneurs, but the stats say it takes experience, execution, and leadership to win.
Here are a few other characteristics of many late-stage entrepreneurs:
Enjoy a robust network of other founders and opportunities.
Have advanced degrees.
Have decades of industry experience.
Are making more money and can often afford to seed the business.
So if you’re a middle-aged entrepreneur with a great idea and experience to back your business plan, the numbers are in your favor. Layer-on your bigger network, deep resume, and extensive leadership experience and you just may be a VC’s dream come true!
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