Thanks to Mayur Raichura for sharing this article comparing the relative advantages of youth versus experience when starting a company. But I have a different take on the controversy of ageism in entrepreneurism.
The truth is that success follows neither the experienced nor the youthful, success follows those who are willing to take the risk to act on ideas. Often younger people feel like they have less to lose so they are willing to take risks. But more experienced individuals may have more resources to back them up after planning their careers just for the moment they can leave their jobs and start up a new company.
Anyone who has talked to private equity investors knows that investor money favors two things: good ideas (especially good ideas that are protected by some form of intellectual property action) plus good management. Neither ideas or management by themselves are as promising. But it is rare to find both qualities in one person. So companies started by a team are more likely to succeed.
Good ideas come from contact with the needs of some part of the consuming public. Young people have no lock on generating good ideas. Anyone with open eyes and a creative spirit can come up with improvements in the way things are done today. And management is not found only in experienced people. Some younger folks have a knack for marshaling resources, perhaps because of natural leadership abilities, perhaps because of knowledge of the latest tools.
So don’t worry whether you are too old or too young to start up a company. Gather good ideas and relevant experience and make the jump.