As much as we love reading about young entrepreneurs who create killer businesses, these cases are the exception rather than the norm, says a new report.
In reality, the average age of the most successful entrepreneurs is 45, according to “Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship.” The research team that prepared the report used U.S. Census Bureau data to analyze all businesses launched in the U.S. between 2007 and 2014 (which encompassed 2.7 million founders).
The study also found that middle-aged founders dominate successful exits. A 50-year-old founder is 1.8 times more likely than a 30-year-old founder to create one of the highest growth firms.
While these findings may not come as a surprise to readers of this blog, the release of a report confirming the success and value of older entrepreneurs could be beneficial on several fronts.
“If venture capitalists and other early stage investors take our findings to heart, they’ll consider founders from a broader age range and thereby back higher-growth firms,” write Benjamin F. Jones and J. Daniel Kim in this article.
The two researchers also point out that a shift in the narrative about founder age could make older aspiring entrepreneurs “feel more confident about their chances – and more likely to win the resources they need to bring business visions to life.”
Let me add another thought: If the spotlight intensifies on successful older entrepreneurs, younger ones may become more interested in partnering with them. Whereas 40-and-older entrepreneurs have many years of work experience, more extensive networks and (usually) greater financial resources, 20- and 30-somethings tend to be tech savvy, energetic and fresh thinkers. An older-younger combination of founders can be a beautiful thing.
Here’s a link to the full report for those who might like to read it.