Are older founders more innovative?

Harland Sanders was 62 when he started KFC. McDonald's founder Ray Kroc jumped into the burger business aged 52. Bernie Marcus was 50 when he opened the first Home Depot store. So how common are successful older entrepreneurs?

Are older founders more successful?

According to a study that ran between 2007 and 2018 in Germany, founders "who start businesses later in life (50 years old and above) are more likely to bring radical innovations to the market than younger business owners."

Why we like backing older founders

At DQventures we talk a lot about older founders.

From more than a decade of investing in and working with startup teams of all ages, we've found that older founders tend to be more coachable, receptive to feedback, less defensive, more willing to admit their mistakes and more likely to ask for help.

Note: Any founders reading this - these are all traits that investors like!

We regularly quote studies run by Harvard Business Review and MIT respectively, which both found that the "average age of a successful startup founder is 45".

Here's a new study though, which goes even further. It says that...

"every ten more years of age increases a founder’s likelihood to introduce a market novelty by up to 30 percent" while the "positive impact of [a] founder’s age on novel products or/and services continues up until their retirement."

It's never too late!

If you're in your 40s or later, we're especially interested in hearing about your company idea. The best way to reach us is via the application form on this website.

Please share and help us spread the word. Thanks!

  • Image is the title image of the article in The Conversation.
  • Find links to the study by Virva Salmivaara and others in The Conversation.