Successful co-founders a greater chance of success at 45

While there are many stories in the extreme upper tail where young entrepreneurs really shine. We looked at the fastest-growing startups in the U.S., which would be the top 0.1% in terms of their employment growth over five years. In that region, the average age of the entrepreneur was actually higher at around 45.


Craig Martin, one of the co-Founders of Knack Business Inc. was 47 when we started Knack - having started 14 businesses over the prior 30 years.


Looking at a different definition of success, which would be exits through an IPO or an acquisition, then the average age was still in the mid-40s. So, there seemed to be this very consistent finding that the likelihood of entrepreneurial success rises with age.


The study conducted by Knowledge@Wharton also found other peaks and valleys with age and entrepreneurs. Because age reflects many things in life. We know that with age, many benefits accumulate, including your social ties — your relationship with suppliers and potential hires and co-founders — as well as financial wealth and human capital that you gain from working in different companies and the prior experience you accumulate. It’s not that Mark Zuckerberg reached his peak at 19, or that Steve Jobs reached his peak at 21. Jobs did all sorts of things after 21. Elon Musk has done all sorts of things since founding Tesla, Space-X and The Boring Company.


We’re not saying you should only be an entrepreneur when you’re 45 or over 45, but your chance of success seems to be higher if you start a business later in life. But we’re trying to make this general point that this link between entrepreneurship and age is a really strong one.

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