Among the many entrepreneurs that have become household names over the years, a common characteristic seems to have emerged.
On the list of successful entrepreneurs, we come across names such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. What do these men have in common besides their hunger to go above and beyond in their respective industries?
Their age; all of these men founded unparalleled companies in their early twenties.
This brings in another question - are younger founders more likely to succeed than those who are slightly older and more experienced?
Researchers have been looking into this matter and interestingly, the results revealed that founders who tend to be successful are, on average, in their mid-forties.
According to Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, 32 is the cut-off age for a promising start-up. Investors show hesitation when approached by aspiring entrepreneurs who are beyond the cut-off age.
So could it be possible that the ambitious younger generation has an unfair advantage as suggested on various media platforms?
For a better understanding, the research team at Harvard Business made it their mission to debunk such theories and provide a concrete explanation.
The team was given access to confidential administrative data sets from the US Census Bureau. They focused on indicators such as start-ups' geographical allocation, whether ventures were granted patents, or if start-ups received VC investments.
The research revealed that the average age of founders involved in the high-tech industry was roughly in their early forties. However, among these numbers, there were young founders operating start-ups in various industries.
For other companies (oil or bio-tech) the average cut-off age is 47. It is in the consumer-facing IT industry where younger founders have established a prominent footprint.
According to the data collected by the Harvard team, among the most successful start-ups, the top 0.1 percent were led by 45-year-olds.
Based on the data that focused on the employment growth of such companies, successful entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged.
So, what is the factor that makes such a vast difference?
Well, there are plenty of reasons but the key reason behind this success is simply - work experience.
The knowledge accumulated over the years helps these entrepreneurs to excel in their respective industries.
Research states that founders with a minimum of three years of work experience in their selected industries have an 85 percent more chance of launching a successful startup.