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想创业吗?趁早吧

JP Mangalindan 2011年05月25日

在周一的纽约TechCrunch Disrupt会议上,超级天使投资人罗恩•康韦和大卫•李表示,开始创业时越年轻,成功的可能性越大。

罗恩•康韦 (居中)

    马克•扎克伯格在哈佛大学(Harvard)的宿舍里推出了Facebook;Twitter的杰克•多西和谷歌(Google)的拉里•佩奇以及谢尔盖•布林都是在20多岁时就创立了自己的公司。所有这些人开始创业时都非常年轻,SV Angel的罗恩•康韦和大卫•李发布的一份报告认为这并非巧合。显然,开始创业时越年轻,在一个竞争日益激烈的行业中取得成功的可能性就越高,这些领域中目前高估值已成为常态。

    康韦的话并非空穴来风:今年早些时候,他曾告诉《财富》他参与了硅谷70%的初创企业交易。在此次纽约TechCrunch Disrupt会议上,他和大卫•李公布了一份报告的初步数据,撰写时他们调查了过去15年曾投资过的500多家初创企业。在那些潜在或实际退出价值不低于2,500万美元的初创企业中,47%的创始人不到30岁。潜在退出价值越高,创始人就越年轻。例证:能以不低于5亿美元售出的公司67%创始人都不到30岁。

    “我认为越年轻的创业者越愿意‘慢慢打磨’其业务,” 康韦表示,“Facebook就是一个很好的例子,以充分的耐心慢慢打磨。”他还指出,高朋(Groupon)和Twitter也是创始人早早起步但花多年时间精心打造的成功案例。

    不过,还是要为岁月积淀的智慧说几句。康韦和李以Facebook的联合创始人肖恩•帕克为例。帕克多年来已参与创立了7家初创企业,包括21世纪初一度风行的音乐文件共享网站Napster。

    “早在18岁时,Sean已洞察音乐爱好者的心理,”李说,“但我喜欢如今31岁的他。如今他更有经验,从经历中学到了很多。”

    Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room; Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Google's (GOOG) Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded their respective companies in their twenties. All of them were young when they got their start, and that's not a coincidence according to a report released by SV Angel's Ron Conway and David Lee. Apparently, the younger you are, the higher your odds are at succeeding in an increasingly competitive area of the industry where skyrocketing valuations are the norm.

    Conway is in a good position to know: he told Fortune earlier this year he fields 70% of all start-up deals in Silicon Valley. And at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City, he and Lee revealed early data from a report in which they queried more than 500 start-ups they've invested in over the last 15 years. Of the start-ups with potential or actual exit values of $25 million or more, 47% of those were run by founders who were under 30. But the higher those potential exit values got, the younger the founders became. Case in point: 67% of the companies that could sell for $500 million or more have founders under 30.

    "I think younger entrepreneurs are more willing to 'slow brew' their business," said Conway. "Facebook is the best example of a company that was slow brewed with plenty of patience." He also pointed to Groupon and Twitter as other examples of successful companies whose founders got their starts early but also spent years refining their services.

    Still, there's something to be said for age-old wisdom. Conway and Lee used Facebook co-founder Sean Parker as an example. Parker has been involved with several start-ups over the years, including the once-popular early 2000s music file-sharing service, Napster.

    "At 18, Sean was already wise about what was on the minds of music lovers," said Lee. "But I like him now at 31. He has more experience, and he's learned from it."

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