Innovation is not just for young entrepreneurs

Many studies have tried to correlate an entrepreneur’s age to start-up success. The facts are revealing.

Studies show that the average entrepreneur is 40 years old when they launch their startup. People aged >55 are 2x as likely as people aged <35 to launch a high-growth startup.  The average age of a successful startup entrepreneur with over $1m in revenues is 39.  Not surprisingly, age is less of a driver of entrepreneurial success than previous startup and industry experience.

In his article printed in Forbes in 2015, George Deeb (himself a serial entrepreneur) cherry picked a few successful entrepreneurs to see how old they were when they launched their companies.  The results form youngest to oldest follow:  Facebook (20), Microsoft (20), Apple (21), Google (25), Twitter (30), Amazon (30), Tesla (34), Oracle (35), Netflix (37),  Zynga (41), Walmart (44) and McDonald’s (53).  So, success does not depend on age and whilst past experience is a factor it is not prerequisite to success.

Deeb’s reflection

As it relates specifically to age, Deeb says  the following about himself.  His appetite for risk is clearly different at age 45 than it was at age 29.  Yet most of the best entrepreneurs are not afraid to throw all their chips onto the table, and bet big on their idea, regardless of other concerns.  He no longer burns the midnight oil. Yet this is offset by the fact that he is today “materially more efficient”, and knows how best to invest his working hours on the things that matter to get an even higher return on that investment. Fair point.

And I would add they know how to access and implement good advice.

The young and the old must work together.  The capability to innovate is not just for the young as it is often portrayed.