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Source: Harvard Business Review
Published: August 2018

The Age of Startup Founders

Circulated: January 9, 2020

Researchers looked at U.S. Census Bureau data to identify the average age of a successful startup founder.

  • Entrepreneurs average age is 42 (e.g., dry cleaners and restaurants).
  • Software startup founder is 40.
  • Biotechnology founder is 47.
  • The top 0.1% based on first five year growth is 45.


Work experience plays a critical role in starting a successful company. Relative to founders with no relevant experience, those with at least three years of prior work experience in the same narrow industry as their startup were 85% more likely to launch a highly successful startup. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg truly are outliers.

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