Brian Timar

Est.

Age at founding

Dec 5, 2019

How old are people when they start interesting companies?

Here’s a histogram of ages at founding for some hand-picked (founder, company) pairs:

founding-ages

Details

I made a list of companies I thought were in some way interesting or impressive:

0                      Viaweb
1                    Netscape
2                   Microsoft
3                       Apple
4                      Amazon
5                    Facebook
6                      Stripe
7                      Paypal
8                      SpaceX
9                      Airbnb
10                     Google
11                    Alibaba
12                    Tencent
13                    Netflix
14                     Oracle
15                        IBM
16                      Baidu
17                       Uber
18                   Palantir
19                    Anduril
20                     Oculus
21                  Instagram
22                    Twitter
23                       Lyft
24                      Intel
25                    Walmart
26                    Samsung
27                     Disney
28                     Boeing
29                       Ford
30       Standard Oil Company
31           General Electric
32    Fairchild Semiconductor
33                      Tesla

For each of these companies, I went to Wikipedia and looked up:

I only kept those where Wikipedia provided the relevant data (this is also a good time to point out that Wikipedia dates of birth can have a significant margin of error, up to a year!).

This gave me a table of 76 (name, date of birth, company, company date of founding) tuples. The difference between the date of company founding and birth gives the age at founding for each (founder, company) pair. These differences are histogrammed above in bins of five years.

Note that some people show up more than once, having founded more than one company on the list! Musk, for instance, makes a triple appearance, for Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla.

The min and max ages were 19.5 years and 61.5 years old: Bill Gates and Sherman Fairchild, respectively. The mean and median were both about 30.

Acknowledgements

Alexey Guzey prompted me to post this.