Age and entrepreneurship

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


The stereotypical startup founder is a 20- or 30-something man, probably white, probably wealthy. He wears a fleece vest, rides electric scooters, and drinks Blue Bottle coffee. You could be forgiven for mixing him up with a college frat guy.

So we’ve been told by movies like The Social Network and shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, and accolades like the Thiel fellowship, which hands out $100,000 grants to people younger than 23. Previous academic research has put the mean startup founder age at about 30. But according to a recent working paper (pdf), “Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship,” the tech bros are older than you thought.

The study, from researchers at MIT, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and the US Census Bureau, finds that the mean founder age is actually 42. For the top-performing 0.1% of startups, it’s 45.

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