You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Age Really Is Just a Number When It Comes to Entrepreneurial Success Years of experience in business is a better indicator than age, young or old, when guessing who will complete the trek to success.

By George Deeb

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For years, people have tried to correlate an entrepreneur's age when they launched their startup, with the ultimate success of that startup. Many studies have been done on the topic, including reports by the Kauffman Foundation, Duke University and the Founder Institute, to name a few.

The collective summary of their learnings is: the average entrepreneur is 40 when they launch their startup. People over 55 are twice as likely as people under 35 to launch a high-growth startup. The average age of a successful startup with over $1 million in revenues was 39. Age was less of a driver to entrepreneurial success than previous startup and industry experience.

Related: How to Become a Millionaire by Age 30

Examing the age of a few successful entrepreneurs when they launched their companies shows it runs the gamut. The ages, from youngest to oldest: Facebook (20), Microsoft (20), Apple (21), Google (25), Twitter (30), Amazon (30), Tesla (34), Oracle (35), Netflix (37), Zynga (41), Walmart (44) and McDonald's (53). Experience is a key driver for many of these entrepreneurs but is not required, as seen in the success of Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

I founded an odd jobs business at age 18, a collectible comic books business at age 20, an adventure travel website at age 29, a growth consulting firm at age 41 and a startup excubator at age 44. Success was correlated with how many hours I invested in the business and how passionate I was.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is a Midlife Game (Opinion)

Success is how you define it. Each of the businesses accomplished the goals I set, regardless of how big they got. My largest revenue business was one where I had no past industry or CEO experience, counter to the logic described above. I consider myself more experienced and worthy of making a startup bet today at age 45, with 15 years of CEO experience under my belt and tons of lessons learned along the way.

One of my old venture capital investors said he would never invest in a first time CEO. They make too many mistakes along the way. There is some truth in that, given the learnings gathered from first hand experience, but that has nothing to do with age. There are plenty of examples of entrepreneurs who have achieved success at very early ages, including Emerson Spartz who, at the ripe old age of 12, launched Mugglenet, the largest Harry Potter fan site with more than 10 million unique visitors per month.

My appetite for risk is clearly different at age 45 than it was at age 29. You start thinking about things like not risking the kids' college funds with your capital. Most of the best entrepreneurs are not afraid to throw all their chips onto the table, bet big on their idea, regardless of other concerns. Also, my energy is clearly a lot less. I am no longer burning the midnight oil but I am materially more efficient today. I know how best to invest my working hours to get an even higher return on that investment.

So, does age matter for entrepreneurial success? No, but experience does and that comes with age. Smart entrepreneurs who lack experience can offset that by surrounding themselves with experienced mentors.

Related: Why Being 50 (or Older) Is Just Right for Entrepreneurship

George Deeb

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures

George Deeb is the managing partner at Red Rocket Ventures, a consulting firm helping early-stage businesses with their growth strategies, marketing and financing needs. He is the author of three books including 101 Startup Lessons -- An Entrepreneur's Handbook.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.


I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.


6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.


You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.