most tech entrepreneurs aren't kids

A while back I wrote an editorial wherein I quoted Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa about the role of foreign PhD's in U.S. innovation. Wadhwa recently coauthored a report about the character of U.S.-born tech entrepreneurs.

What he found was that they had an average age of 39 and were likely to come from Ivy league schools. But their definition of a tech startup is important. The report authors talked to 652 U.S.-born chief executive officers and heads of product development in 502 engineering and technology companies established from 1995 through 2005. The companies have more than $1 million in sales, twenty or more employees, and company branches with fifty or more employees.

In other words, they only talked to startups that by any definition were overwhelming success stories. Companies started up in the same period that could be considered successful but not overwhelmingly so never got interviewed. And, of course, startups that got acquired by somebody else aren't in the data, nor are those that went belly up. So the best you can say is that the report authors now have data on super-visible tech startups by US-born tech entropreneurs. That's better than nothing.

Here's a link to the report:

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The Editor’s Desk focuses on the engineering profession and its impact on society, trends in engineering compensation, and the education of engineers.


Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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