Older Entrepreneurs, 40+, - More of Them and More Successful

Percentage Founders by Age Group
Older Entrepreneurs More Successful

Think you are too old to become a consultant, founder, solopreneur, or freelancer? Want to start a business, but feel your age is holding you back? You could be wrong.

The latest research published in Harvard Business Review shows that unlike the myths of youthful entrepreneurs, most entrepreneurs are over 40 when they start, and the highest success rates come with the most experience, 50+ years of age.

Harvard Business Review, article

Take Aways

  • Media, VCs, and PR give an unreal view of the ages of founders. 
  • Research using U.S. Census Bureau data shows a picture different from the college aged founder.The average age of founders, after removing general small businesses, was 42.The average age in software was younger, 40, but in other industries it was closer to 47.
  • Success, measured by employment and sales growth, was highest for founders who started at 45.

Action Items

  • Evaluate your odds of success with your experience in mind. 
  • Founders with three years experience in a narrow industry were 85% more successful.
  • Look to the assets you have that youth does not: experience, networks, financial reserves, …
  • Partner with VCs and funders who value the higher success rate that comes with experience. When they fund youthful entrepreneurs they may be trying to squeeze them for more financial leverage.