Senior Founders

January 2019

Who says you have to be young to have a young company?

In fact, a recent study by the KfW, Germany’s state-owned development bank, found that one in six founders of innovative, growth-oriented startups in Germany is over 50 years old.

Although there has been a sharp decline in conventional business startups in recent years (such as setting up your own café), the study found that the number of companies entering the market with innovative products and expectations of high growth has actually gone up. While 93,000 founders launched 54,000 such startups in 2016, 108,000 founders launched 60,000 such startups in 2017.

More than half of the new startups have something to do with the Internet or digital trends, and a good share of these were in the insurance and financial (i.e., fintech) sector. One study author told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that one of the reasons that there were many older entrepreneurs is that many of the startups benefit from having – or are legally required to have – a certain amount of professional expertise.

Another interesting finding was that having friends or family members who are founders was more important than educational background in term of increasing the likelihood that one would become a founder oneself.