How To Start & Grow Your Business

Correcting the Myth of the Billionaire Drop-out, with Data

  • Estimated reading time: 2 min read
  • Hummy's

    1Get a top-tier education. 2Apprentice with the best. 3Build your success one step at a time.
  • Must login to save


Startups-Little boy waits at window for Santa Photo Credit: Kletr

There is a great American myth about the driven young rebel with a brilliant mind and a great business idea—the prodigy who rejects formal education and goes on to build a billion dollar company.

An article by Michael Conover, published on the Linkedin Official Blog, pokes holes in this common fantasy with actual data. Although examples of successful CEO’s who dropped out of college are highly romanticized and celebrated, he says that statistically, it isn’t a formula for success.

On the contrary, research shows that the opposite may be true. Conover summarized the findings from demographic studies on the principals of 1200 funded startups. This group had many things in common, including an Ivy League degree.

Knowledge is power

“The majority of these VC-backed entrepreneurs list a college education on their LinkedIn profile, with nearly 30% having attended top-tier universities such as Stanford, MIT or Harvard,” Conover writes.

Experience counts

The numbers showed that the successful entrepreneurs had substantial work experience at large tech firms (40% of whom held a prominent role at the company). Working for others provides them the opportunity to shadow leaders in the industry and model them.

1 out of 5 of the VC-funded entrepreneurs had previously founded another startup.

Older is better

A final blow to the illusion of the wunderkind dropout being a VC’s favorite? Entrepreneurs are more likely to get funded after entering their 30’s and the likelihood increases as they age.

Conover continues, “…this analysis sheds light on the popularized image of a young, unstoppable founder and replaces it with the educated, experienced business leader.”

The author concludes, “Good things come to those who wait – investing wisely in professional and educational development now will yield economic dividends as you age.”

To view the original article in its entirety, please visit Linkedin Official Blog.

About the Author

From the Editor's Desk

This article was written by a bizHUMM Staff Writer. We aim to provide practical tips that help solve your burning small business questions. If you have any suggestions or ideas for articles, please email them to: