The picture of a successful boardroom being one with an older man sitting at the head of the table just got turned on its ear.
A recent study by the venture capital firm First Round Capital compiled data on more than 300 companies and nearly 600 founders. It includes the characteristics of the founders such as gender, age, education, location, and prior work and startup experience. The study proceeded to find many correlations with success, and some may be surprising.
First, high-performing investments normally feature at least one female founder. In today’s day and age, the diversity of teams is a strong recipe for success. It also shows that younger founders, and founders with prestigious educations, are destined to perform better, especially if it is technology-related.
Second, female-founded startups have outperformed all-male teams. Twice as many men have become entrepreneurs, but the number of women is quickly catching up.
Younger founders also have seen significantly more success than older entrepreneurs. The average age of the founders of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft was just 23. Teams with an average founding age of under 25 have performed almost 30 percent above the average investment. Technology has created a boom for young entrepreneurs to be more successful.
Founders from some of the best school’s have also performed better. Although notable founders like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs dropped out of college, teams with at least one founder from a prestigious school have tended to have higher performances.
Another way to achieve success as an entrepreneur is to have been a part of a prominent tech company prior to delving into the startup world. First Round determined teams with at least one founder from companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, or Twitter performed 160 percent better than those without.
To some surprise, location did not have a major impact on the success of a startup. Companies founded outside of New York City and San Francisco have fared almost just as well as those in customary startup locations.
Read the full interview on the Harvard Business Review.
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