Grey Hairs Take Note: Young Founders are Proving Their Worth

The opposite of Silicon Valley’s age bias plays out in India. At first, nobody takes you seriously. Youngsters everywhere face this problem. It is particularly bad in India where the grey hairs show the “baccha hai” attitude. But we are seeing this change. There is really no excuse anymore to not treat young startup folks seriously. Need a real reason? I’ll give you four.

Flipkart
A Flipkart advertisement featuring children playing adults!

Young Indian startup founders are already proving their mettle. Take the following founders for instance.

1. Phanindra Sama was 25 when he started redBus, which was sold recently to the ibiboGroup for $138 mn. This was one of the largest acquisition in India’s internet space.

2. Sachin Bansal & Binny Bansal were hardly over 25 when they started Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer. Flipkart is now on track to clocking $1 bn in gross sales.

3.  Deepinder Goyal was 26 when he started Zomato, the restaurant listing service from India which is now valued at over $160 mn and is looking to compete with Yelp.

4. Kunal Bahl who founded Snapdeal was 25 when he started the business. By now, the e-commerce company has raised $102 mn from investors including $50 mn from eBay.

In the much talked about Unicorn club aka startups valued at over a billion dollars, the “twentysomething inexperienced founder is an outlier, not the norm.” Aileen Lee, who wrote the Unicorn post, found that the average age of founders in the Unicorn club is 34. Facebook and Tumblr are the outliers, Lee pointed out.

But hey, there are smaller and fast growing companies (baby unicorns if you wish) being built in the Silicon Valley by very young people. The documentary Startup Kids brings out this aspect very nicely.

Trip Adler who founded Scribd is 29 now. Alexa Andrzejewski the founder Foodspotting was in her twenties when she started the company. Carter Cleveland of Art.sy, Alexander Ljung of Soundcloud and all the others in the documentary who started great companies were in their twenties.

Most Indian tech startups aren’t in the billion dollar league yet but they are getting there. Young founders also have certain advantages over others. For instance, youth is the period of time in someones life when they can take the most risk. It is also arguably the most creative and serendipitous period in someone’s life.

Still not convinced? Read this: Entrepreneurship – What’s Age got to do with it?

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