How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?

How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?Read the popular press and you conclude that successful entrepreneurship is the domain of the young, what with the personalities we see so prominently in the news regarding high tech, and information based companies. Folks tend to think youth is favored for really great ideas and innovations.

Consider….would investors bet their money on high–energy youthful entrepreneurs over the older “silverbacks” with lots of hard-knocks experience….thus missing out on some great potential opportunities? Might older entrepreneurs be too ingrained in the status quo as opposed to younger folks who have little to tie them down to what already exists, and thus are better potential “disruptors” that can laser focus on the new business?

A recent study that involved researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau and MIT has developed some interesting facts about entrepreneurship. In a nutshell, the researchers concluded:

  • The best entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged.
  • Among the very fastest-growing new tech companies, the average founder was 45 at the time of founding.
  • A given 50-year-old entrepreneur is nearly twice as likely to have a runaway success as a 30-year-old.

Work done at the Kellogg School seems commensurate with these findings. Basically, the longer you have been around, the better your chances of success.

Industry disruption does not have to come from outsiders. Silverbacks with loads of experience and market savvy can make a big difference.

How Old are Successful Tech Entrepreneurs?

Will this change how investors fund new start-ups and older entrepreneurs? Are we going to see a shift in business investment strategies?

Edison innovated and disrupted things throughout his life, his experience and determination so highly focused on the tasks at hand; and he never let failure stand in his way. Look at these stats about his age and major accomplishments:

  • Revolutionized telegraphy – 27
  • R&D Labs concept – 29
  • Phonograph – 30
  • Light bulb – 32
  • Electric utility – 37
  • Establishes General Electric – 43
  • Movies – 46
  • Edison cement – 52
  • Storage batteries – 63
  • Spreads R&D Labs to U.S. Navy – 68
  • Artificial rubber – 80

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.


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