If You Want To Build A Billion Dollar Business, You Might Want To Do It Before You Turn 32

Ageism in Silicon Valley

In the past few weeks there has been a lot of hype around ageism in Silicon Valley, with talk of entrepreneurs getting plastic surgery to look younger and 55-year old developers on the verge of homelessness.

With all of these stories going viral, Harvard Business Review decided to check it out for themselves and figure out some hard data behind ageism in the valley.

HBR decided to use The Wall Street Journal’s billion-dollar-club list and the Crunchbase API to generate a list of founders for 35 start-ups. They then manually searched for these founders on LinkedIn to find the year they graduated from college, and assuming most people graduate at 22, they determined the age of the founders. They also filled in some ages from media profiles. HBR ended up with a list of 52 founders with the average age at the time of founding just over 31 and the median a solid 30.

HBR’s list is definitely not all-inclusive or completely thorough, but this does give a decent picture of the rise of the youth in Silicon Valley. Paired with the anecdotal evidence that’s been surfacing, this report points to a somewhat intimidating reality. If you’re going to start a company, do it before you’re 32.