Start-Ups Led by Fifty Year Olds Do Better

If you're an older CEO running a startup, chances are you're running a Hatcher startup.  Because we "skew older" - we go out of our way to look for entrepreneurs that have a bit of scar tissue, as opposed to 20-year-olds with zero experience dealing with tough times.  

Why?  Partly because we've had a great run of hiring forty-plus guys at our portfolio companies - because when you put someone in charge that has previously been in charge of something bigger than a lemonade stand, stuff like reporting, project management, firing quickly, hiring slowly, realistic modeling, and an ability to stand in front of a room full of people, remove the cheerleader skirt, and tell the truth... well, that kind of behavior tends to create sustainable success.

And not only that... when you connect with an entrepreneur who, at age 42, is starting his first business, you are connecting with someone who has serious skin in the game: kids in school, a mortgage, maybe one or two car payments... for someone with this kind of burden to take the leap takes commitment.  

Previous to this week, we've tended to do this without a lot of scientific backing.  But a few days back, the University of Central Connecticut produced the results of a study which confirms what we've had a gut feeling about for some time: startups led by older founders do better - much better (as the graphic notes below, 50 years olds are consistently better than 30 year olds when it comes to leading startups to a sustainable future.)  

Check out the middle column (the full chart is available at the link above):


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John Sharp

John is a serial entrepreneur and investor, and the co-founding Partner of Hatcher+, a data-driven, globally-focused venture investment platform based in Singapore. In addition to leading capital raising and deal syndication, he is the visionary and architect behind the Hatcher Stack, the company's proprietary research and technology platform. Over the past five years, John has led numerous venture investments in early-stage companies, including ASYX, DocDoc, Dropsuite, Heardable, Invit, Inzen Studio, SocialCops, ThoughtRiver, and Telr - and syndicated over US$100Mn of additional debt and equity co-investment. IPOs and trade sales in which he was acted for the majority shareholder include Dropsuite (ASX:DSE) and Inzen Studio (ASX:ICI). His M&A work includes the merger of payment leader Telr with Dubai-based Innovate Payments, and the merger of Singapore-based companies DocDoc, and DoctorPage. Prior to co-founding Hatcher, John founded cybersecurity technology leader Authentium (acquired by CYREN in 2010), and acted as a director for global payments aggregator Mozido, and an advisor to Africa-based Gateway Communications, satellite technology developer MDS America, Kuwait-based Internet marketplace Sheeel.com, and Orion Partners, a $2B private equity fund manager based in Hong Kong.

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