Bloomberg Data Identifies the “Best” Potential Entrepreneurs

For most of us, the term entrepreneur drums up images of bright, young minds. While it is true that some of our most successful entrepreneurs emerged on the scene while quite young, a new study pokes holes in the stereotypical image of an entrepreneur. Bloomberg Beta, a venture capital fund launched just last year, recently set out to use data to identify people who had a good chance of starting and building a successful company. Bloomberg Data teamed up with Mattermark, a research firm, to use data analytics to find potential entrepreneurs. Here’s how they did it and their surprising results.

The Research

Mattermark explored data on more than 1.5 million potential entrepreneurs, limiting their scope to the San Francisco and New York areas, where Bloomberg does most of its business. First, they looked for people who had already worked at a start-up before, preferably with experience in technology or business management. Secondly, they narrowed their search to people who attended top-tier universities. Eventually, their data-mining yielded a short list of 350 entrepreneurs.

The Results

The Bloomberg/Mattermark research found the typical entrepreneur to be different from our image of a college undergraduate working out of his or her dorm room with no real-world experience.

  • Middle-aged. Their potential entrepreneurs are more likely to be in their late 30’s, and 38 percent were over 40 years of age.
  • Good employment record. The research revealed that people who had stayed in a job long-term were more likely to start their own business later.
  • Not necessarily a former CEO. Two-thirds of entrepreneurs had not held CEO or even senior positions before venturing out on their own.

While Bloomberg’s intention was to gain more potential entrepreneurs in which to invest, the results revealed by their research shed light on the diversity of entrepreneurship. “Contrary to conventional wisdom, being ‘stuck’ in the same company or position for a long time, even a decade, does not diminish your likelihood of becoming a business founder,” says Mattermark Co-founder Danielle Morrill.