Am I too old to start a tech company and get funding from investors? I’m 53. It seems like investors only want to fund the hot company by the college drop out. Should I hide my age in the business plan?
Here’s my fast answer to your questions. No, I don’t recommend that you hide your age in your business plan because age is not at all a liability in the eyes of deep pocket investors. Yes, you will get a fair hearing. And most importantly, you are not too old to start a tech company and get funding from investors!
Smart investors are highly opportunistic. They know that the most innovative companies are not just born by twenty-something entrepreneurs but older entrepreneurs who have a deep understanding of how to make money within their industries with the least amount of guess-work. Investors also like to back entrepreneurs who have already made their share of beginner’s mistakes on someone else’s dime and time.
One of my closest friends started her company in her late fifties. She didn’t have an MBA. Her office was not in the heart of Silicon Valley. And, she wasn’t wired into networks of lawyers, head hunters, board members or incubators. Yet, she raised funds from the big boys of venture capital: Khosla, Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Vulcan and more.
How did she do it? She had deep dive technical expertise in an often overlooked industry that was about to explode. Investors respected her opinion and her proven ability to develop patentable technologies in a highly efficient way. She didn’t have to cold-call key partners and customers because she already knew them and they already knew of her. That’s the advantage of experience.
The twenty-year olds always have to blaze new trails because they don’t yet have a network and reputation in place to give investors comfort.
There is another reason why investors are funding entrepreneurs who are over the age of 40. It is demographics. Today the majority of new companies are formed by entrepreneurs who are over the age of 45 with over 23 percent founded by entrepreneurs over the age of 55. So you are in good company. Now go for it!