Guest blogger Louise Donnelly-Davey is 40 years old, and founder of web startup Scrattch. An active member or our Facebook community, she read recently that famous investor Vinod Khosla thinks that investors should only listen to the young -- implying that you can't succeed in startup culture if you are over 30. She sounded off. Here's her response. Enjoy and make sure to leave us some comments here or in Facebook.
Louise is from New Zealand, where she lives only a very short distance from some great skiing, by the way. Or so she tells us.
Age Ain't Nothing But a Perfect Opportunity to Build a Startup
by Louise Donnelly-Davey,
This article did not make me mad... it kind of made me smile wryly.
The quickest adapters may be the younger people in the room when it comes to new technology but that does not mean that these people are necessarily the best people to be leading the fight.
I am a 40 year old female, currently working on my new start up here in Queenstown, New Zealand. The odds are stacked against me in more ways than one when it comes to securing funding. To be honest my age is 3rd on the list when it comes to barriers to funding. Being so geographically isolated is the first, being a female is a very close second and the fact that I am 40 is somewhat a distant 3rd.
Rightly or wrongly, the venture capitalist (or Angel) who favours the young college graduate over the older, more experienced entrepreneur is discounting a rather large and experienced pool of potentially highly successful investment opportunities. I am not saying all older entrepreneurs are better, nor am I saying all younger graduates are not up to par. I am however saying that with age comes a myriad of traits that only experience can bring.
I have a Masters degree, experience in both public and private sector corporations and 3 successful (non tech) exits under my belt. I also have 3 children and a husband who is more than able to support our family while I work on my start up. My strategic thinking skills are honed, my ability to anticipate problems and quickly pivot is finely tuned, and my tenacity is well exercised. I have had a myriad of experiences and faced a multitude of roadblocks. Each and every milestone hit over the past decade has enabled me to learn through experience.
I don't have to adapt to change- I anticipate it before it comes ! ... there in lies the difference between me and my younger counterparts. I have insight and forethought. I am able to focus on my mission all the while being responsive to the environment. The quick adapters may be amongst the smartest people in the room, but those who anticipate the environment prior to these changes are streaks ahead of them. 🙂