Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurial prowess isn’t just for millennials – meta-analysis shows that age and experience is incredibly beneficial. In one of the most in-depth studies on the subject, conducted by MIT, Northwestern, Wharton and the U.S. Census Bureau, it found the average age of start-up founders was 42 years. The average age of high-tech start-up founders (nope, not 25) was 43. And the average age of founders of the rare ultra-fast growth unicorns was 45.
The study revealed that the older you get, the more likely your chances of success are. A 50-year-old founder is twice as likely to build a thriving business that has either an IPO or a successful acquisition as a 30-year-old founder. And you don’t need to have always been an entrepreneur. Most successful founders have worked in corporate and other jobs before switching things up and starting their venture.
Just ask Vera Wang who didn’t design her first wedding dress until she was 40, Arianna Huffington who founded The Huffington Post at 55, and Kris Jenner who was 52 when she pitched the idea of a little reality show about her family to Ryan Seacrest. Robin Chase co-founded Zipcar at 42, Ava DuVernay directed her first film, Selma, at 39, and Joy Behar, co-host of The View was “a single mother with no job and no money and no job prospects” until she did stand-up comedy for the very first time at 40.
Lynda Weinman founded Lynda.com at 42, and subsequently sold it to LinkedIn for a reported $1.5 billion, while author Toni Morrison wrote her first novel at 40, won a Pulitzer Prize at 56 and a Nobel Prize in Literature at 62. And Julia Child worked in advertising, media, and secret intelligence before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961, saying; “I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate.”
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