Start-Up Founders Witness Age Discrimination


Among more than 500 start-up companies, age discrimination is more widespread than sex or racial discrimination, according to founders of those start-ups.  

In a study commissioned by venture investor First Round Capital, 529 founders of venture-backed firms were asked about their experiences.

Some 37 percent of founders say that age bias exists in the start-up community, while the figures were 28 percent for gender bias and 26 percent for racial bias. But when asked about the tech industry as a whole, 89 percent of founders “agree that older people face age discrimination.”

As for what passes as “old” in terms of discrimination, the average age given was 46.

On other workplace issues, answers depended in part on the sex of the respondent. For example, 66 percent of male founders said that tech companies “are inclusive for parents” and their needs; that belief was shared by only 34 percent of female founders.

Founders also took out their crystal balls about the immediate economic future. When asked whether the tech industry is highly overvalued or “in a bubble,” they were roughly evenly divided in three possible responses: “yes, and it won’t pop any time soon” (29 percent); “yes, and it’s close to popping” (33 percent); “no, definitely not (39 percent).

Forecasting the state of development in the bigger world over the next decade, 39 percent of founders predicted that China “will be the center of tech in 2028.”


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