Based on the research of Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda:

Based on the research of Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim and Javier Miranda:
Silicon Valley’s tech workers can go to great lengths to appear youthful—from having plastic surgery and hair transplants, to lurking in the parking lots of hip tech companies to see how the young and promising dress, as chronicled a few years ago by the New Republic.
 
 While this may seem extreme, there is clearly a bias among many in the tech sector toward the young. Take Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that “young people are just smarter,” or the $100,000 fellowships that Paypal cofounder Peter Thiel hands out each year to bright entrepreneurs—provided that they are under 23.
 
 “There’s this idea that young people are just more likely to have more valuable ideas,” says Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School.
 
 But is this notion accurate?
 
 “If you look at age and great achievement in the sciences in general, it doesn’t peak in the twenties,” he says. “It’s more middle-aged.” Even Nobel Prize winners are having their breakthrough successes later and later in life, Jones found in earlier research. Are the startups of Silicon Valley really an exception?
 
 In a new study, Jones, along with Javier Miranda of the U.S. Census Bureau and MIT’s Pierre Azoulay and J. Daniel Kim, use an expansive dataset to tackle that question. The researchers find that, contrary to popular thinking, the best entrepreneurs tend to be middle-aged. Among the very fastest-growing new tech companies, the average founder was 45 at the time of founding. Furthermore, a given 50-year-old entrepreneur is nearly twice as likely to have a runaway success as a 30-year-old.