Most successful tech entrepreneurs have set up their businesses by the time they're 30

Feb 27, 2017 | City A.M.

Are you a 30-something itching to set up a tech firm? Strike age and lack of experience off of your list of excuses because Europe's top entrepreneurs set up their companies by the age of 30.

Despite often lacking financial expertise, the average age tech titans establish their company by is 29.7 years, according to research by executive search firm DHR International.

Top tech companies include Spotify, Minecraft and Just Eat, whose founders were 23, 31 and 30 respectively when they set up their companies. 

The study found only 14 per cent of Europe's top tech founders ever held a senior role at a major corporate. However, the same proportion holds an MBA degree. Also, less than half (44 per cent) have a technology background, having worked in an IT role or for a tech company previously.

The research also found that 43 per cent of these leading tech entrepreneurs are serial entrepreneurs who have started other businesses prior to launching the companies for which they are most recognised.

On the other side of the pond, the average age of tech entrepreneurs is 31 and 33 per cent of the so-called ‘unicorn’ tech companies (firms with valuations of over $1bn) were founded by MBA alumni.

Gert Stuerzebecher, partner and head of the digital technology practice at DHR International, said: “As tech companies expand, they need to balance vision and creativity with experience in delivering shareholder value.

“Board and senior management composition is something investors are scrutinising more and more, to make sure that they can really handle the growing pains these companies experience and deliver profitability. With valuations in the technology sector slipping, the days of throwing money at a good idea have probably peaked.

“Today investors are increasingly looking for a broad-base of backgrounds and capabilities at top level, with key people in place who are going to make sure the burn rate is not too high, and who will deliver ROI.”

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