Am I too old to be an entrepreneur?
Hello! to all my readers who are in their 30s or above. I receive a lot of queries from my readers that they are in their 30s and are concerned that they have already surpassed the age of becoming an entrepreneur. The concern is also quite obvious as these days we are hearing about a number of entrepreneurs in their 20s like like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Ritesh Agarwal (Oyo rooms), Rahul Yadav (Housing) and definitely makes us wonder- Am I too old to be an entrepreneur?
I believe that the risk profile of individual changes over the time with age and people tend to be more risk-averse as they get married and have children, but they have some other strengths which people in their 20s don’t have. And what are they? They are- their maturity level, their experience, their contacts, their savings and sometimes a well earning partner. You still don’t, believe me, right? Okay then let me post some examples of successful entrepreneurs who made big after their 30s.
Cher Wang (Co-Founder of HTC)
Cher Wang is a Taiwanese entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded HTC in 1997 at the age of 40. HTC is a telecommunications leader and manufactures mobile devices. In May 2011, Forbes ranked her with husband Wen Chi Chen as the wealthiest person in Taiwan, with a net worth of US$8.8 billion. In August 2012, Wang was named #56 on Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. As of 2014, she is listed as the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Evan Williams (Co-Founder of Twitter)
Evan Williams has worked with several tech giants and founded several internet companies, but he became successful at the age of 34 when he co-founded Twitter. He has also served as the CEO of Twitter and has a net worth of around 2.5 billion dollars.
Travis Kalanick (Co-Founder of Uber)
Travis Kalanick is an American entrepreneur who has co-founded Uber in 2009 at the age of 33. He is a dropped out from UCLA and has more than a decade of professional experience which has helped him to make Uber the leading taxi company in the world. In 2014, he entered the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at position 290, with an estimated net worth of $6 billion
Reid Hoffman (Co-Founder of LinkedIn)
Reid Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur. In 2003 at the age of 36, Hoffman launched LinkedIn, the professional social network. Hoffman still serves as executive chairman of LinkedIn. Hoffman, with a net worth of US$4.7 billion, is ranked as #341 on the list of the world’s richest people.
Arianna Huffington (Founder of The Huffington Post)
Arianna Huffington was 55 when she founded The Huffington Post, which has grown to become one of the 30 most highly visited sites in the U.S. The company was one of the first to anticipate the shift away from print and toward digital media, driving millions of users to its affiliated sites. In 2009, Huffington was named as number 12 in Forbes’s’ ’ first-ever list of the Most Influential Women In Media. As of 2014, she is listed as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Sam Walton (Founder of WalMart)
WalMart founder Sam Walton started his first store in Newport, Arkansas, with $20,000. It wasn’t until 1962 that the 44-year-old Walton unveiled the first ever Wal-Mart, in Rogers, Arkansas. Walton presided over the company for the next decades, taking WalMart public in 1970. Today, WalMart employs more than 2.2 million associates and operates 11,000 outlets across the globe.
In some cases, older entrepreneurs have also paired up with the younger founders, like Google (Eric Schmidt was 46 in 2001 when he co-founded with Larry Page and Sergey Brin who were both around 28 at that time). And, many young founders were replaced with more experienced leaders, like with PayPal (Peter Thiel took over from younger founders when he was age 31 in 1998).
Figure below represents the demographics of start-up co-founders in India. (Source: Nasscom). As you can see maximum founders (58%) are above 30 years of age, and 31-35 years being the most common (31%) age of startup founders.
There is definitely no age bar for an entrepreneur. Now with these examples, I believe I have supported my point and if you think of another such successful entrepreneur who has made big in his or her 30s then please leave your comments in the comment section below.