3 startup facts budding founders should know

Entrepreneurship and startups are undoubtedly coming into the mainstream. This is great, but it makes it more important than ever to dispel certain myths that could raise the wrong expectations in some young entrepreneurs.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of surprising facts to keep in mind before embarking on your startup journey.

1. Most founders are not young Nore College Dropouts

There are many misconceptions about the typical startup founder, but the image of a young college dropout is the most common.

In reality, this image is not really representative of reality. The age of the average tech founder is 39. In addition, a 60-year-old entrepreneur 3 times more likely to build a successful startup compared to a 30 year old founder.

Moreover, 95% of entrepreneurs have at least a bachelor’s degree.

The obvious implication is that tech startups aren’t just a young man’s game. On the contrary – a lot of work experience, a good professional network and personal savings (more on that later) actually greatly increase your chances of success.

The other implication is that if you are a young, inexperienced founder, it is extremely important to involve a more experienced person in your project. A co-founder or mentor with at least one startup behind their back would make your life much easier.

2. Most early stage startups need to run Bootstrap

Some of the most common startup news is late-stage venture capital funding round announcements. The sheer numbers associated with such deals make them attractive to journalists, especially if the startup is doing something unusual.

That said, the reality is that by far is the most popular financing method for start-up projects personal funds at 77%.

Investor funding is difficult to access for early stage projects, especially those led by inexperienced founders. Therefore, if you are a first-time founder, you should not plan any outside investment until you have the growth phases of your project.

“Stay hungry. And bootstrap.” — Rob Kalin, co-founder of Etsy

3. Don’t keep your good idea a secret

It’s a natural instinct as a founder of a fledgling startup to try to protect your idea because you’re afraid companies with more resources would steal it.

While this makes sense in theory, it rarely works that way in practice.

“The value of an idea lies in its use.” – Thomas Edison, co-founder of General Electric

Many ideas sound great, and the only way to find out which ones would work and which ones wouldn’t is to validate them in practice.

While businesses have access to many resources, they are much more rigid compared to small businesses due to their size and administrative burden. Driving a boat is easier than a ship.

As a result, it is much easier for large companies to buy the startups they see value in, rather than running their own zero-to-one projects. This makes it very unlikely that an established company would steal your idea early on.

In addition, spreading your idea as much as possible makes it more likely that you will find partners, customers or others stakeholders that can add value to your business.

Most importantly, by openly sharing your idea, you expose it to criticism from said stakeholders, allowing you to iterate more efficiently and find a product-market fit faster.

Of course, once your business starts to grow, other companies will try to imitate your model and offer similar products and services. That said, during the growth stages it would be impossible to keep your affairs a secret anyway – at that stage you should be looking at more sophisticated moats to give you a competitive edge.