Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship, by Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin Jones, J. Daniel Kim, Javier Miranda – #24489 (PR)
Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are
especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. We
use administrative data at the U.S. Census Bureau to study the
ages of founders of growth-oriented start-ups in the past decade.
Our primary finding is that successful entrepreneurs are
middle-aged, not young. The mean founder age for the 1 in 1,000
fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are broadly
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.