Age, Education and Experience of the CEO

Entrepreneurship Flash: Age, Education and Experience of the CEO

So how does age, education and experience impact the success of a company? The numbers have always favored experience over enthusiasm, as seasoned investors seldom back inexperienced teams – reinforced by my personal investment experience in 40+ early stage companies, where the best successes came from experienced teams with domain knowledge in their area of pursuit.

A study on unicorns (fast growth start-ups that have exceeded $1 billion in revenue) by Aileen Lee concluded that “Inexperienced, twentysomething founders were an outlier. Companies with well-educated, thirty something co-founders who have history together have built the most successes…” Furthering this research, Jeff Bussgang showed that 82% of successful unicorns had an MBA on the founding and/or executive management teams. Adding to these two articles, a Kauffman Foundation study found the highest rate of entrepreneurship and innovation in America shifting to the 55-64 age bracket while declining amongst those under 35.

Conclusions? When taking that new job, hiring a management team, innovating, or investing in a company look for that magical combination of age, education and experience.