What is the average age of a typical unicorn founder?
The notion of tech entrepreneur in teens and twenties is very important. In fact, the most successful businesses are most often founded by people in their thirties or older. Among startups valued at $ 1 billion or more created in the past 15 years, the median age of founders when starting their business was 34, according to a study published in a new book called Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups.
This finding offers new evidence that executives with some experience bring benefits, said Ali Tamaseb, author and partner at venture capital firm DCVC. “There are, indeed, many founders of successful billion dollar startups in their early twenties,” Tamaseb writes in the book, “but most are not.” His takeaway: age does not matter.
The profile of a successful tech founder in the minds of many is distorted by large outliers. Steve Jobs was 21 when he co-founded Apple. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were 19 when they dropped out of Harvard University to start their business. It’s often forgotten that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the two most tech-savvy men, were in their 30s when they started their most successful businesses.
A widely cited study three years ago in American Economic Review: Insights shook the popular perception that Silicon Valley’s greatest entrepreneurs are all recent college dropouts. Researchers found that the average age of a successful start-up founder was 45. The authors of the article defined success primarily based on growth rather than evaluation and compiled a list of the 1,700 fastest growing US companies.
“Super talented people are going to do great things even when they’re young,” said lead author Pierre Azoulay, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. better things when they’re older. “He pointed out that Apple’s biggest success, its iPhone, only happened when Jobs was 52 years old.
Yet the myth of youth persists. Tamaseb therefore took a narrower view of success that reflects the business world’s obsession with unicorn startups and looked at several factors, including age. Its pool is limited to around 200 companies. Although this group of founders is ten years younger than the average in the previous study, it shows that the best entrepreneurs often benefit from the experience gained earlier in their careers.
For example, the founder of Zoom Video Communications Inc., Eric Yuan, started the company at age 41 after leaving an executive position at Cisco Systems Inc. The co-founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, created his application of messaging at 32 after spending a decade as an engineer at Yahoo.
The founders of unicorn health and biotech are on average older than those of other types of startups, Tamaseb said. The oldest in the group is Philip Greenberg, who was 68 when he started Juno Therapeutics, later bought by Celgene Corp. for $ 9 billion.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.
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