The most successful entrepreneurs start in their 40s

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:


`Among the 2.7 million founders in their dataset, the average age of a company’s founder at the time of founding was 41.9 years.

However, that analysis included all kinds of firms, from tech companies to nail salons to restaurants. The researchers were chiefly interested in high-growth new ventures—the kinds that can transform the economy—and understanding whether the Silicon Valley mythology was true. So they limited their dataset to include only technology companies, and further winnowed that down to the fastest-growing 0.1 percent—in other words, the one company out of every 1,000 that saw its sales or number of employees increase the most in its first five years.

Among this exclusive subset, the average founder age was 45.0. “It surprised me,” Jones says. “It’s even older than I thought.”

For an alternative measure of success, the researchers also looked at firms that had successfully “exited” the market, either by getting acquired by another company or going public in an IPO. The average founder for that group was even older, at 46.7.

While these results clearly indicate that middle-aged founders dominate among the highest-growth firms, it is also true that forty-somethings are much more likely to try to start a new company than twenty-somethings.

“There are more bites at the apple from 40-year-olds,” Jones says.

To further test their results, the researchers made another calculation looking at the probability of success among those who had founded a firm. They determined what they call “batting averages”— the odds that founders of different ages make it into the top 0.1 percentile.

The data revealed that a founder who is 50 years old is 1.8 times more likely to start a top company than a 30-year-old founder, and that a 20-year-old founder has the worst chance of all.

“The longer you’ve been around, the better your odds,” Jones says.