QoD: What's the average age of the founders of the fastest growing start-ups (new companies)?

Oct 09, 2019
Entrepreneurship, Question of the Day, Research

Answer: 45


  • Does this answer surprise you? Why? 
  • Who are some of the young founders that you have head of? What companies did they start? 
  • What do you think are the advantages of starting a company when you are middle aged? when you are young? 
  • Would you like to start your own business someday? At what age? 

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from American Economic Review):

Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. Integrating administrative data on firms, workers, and owners, we study startups systematically in the United States and find that successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged, not young. The mean age at founding for the 1-in-1,000 fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are similar when considering high-technology sectors, entrepreneurial hubs, and successful firm exits. Prior experience in the specific industry predicts much greater rates of entrepreneurial success. These findings strongly reject common hypotheses that emphasize youth as a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.


Extend your student's interest in start-up companies with this lesson on Entrepreneurship


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.