Should a 20 year old founder replace himself as CEO for a more experienced person in order to close high valued contracts?
No, but you may want to add a “right hand person” that is older than 20. A VP of Sales can do this easily, for example, or almost any position that can provide a seasoned second chair for the customers.
Here’s the thing: your early adopter customers, even in regulated industries, even in the largest enterprise … know they are taking risks.
That they are taking measured risks in exchange for the potential of disruptive innovative.
In fact, they actively seek out 1–2 new vendors a year to shake things up and bring new innovations inside. And they do understand the risks here.
They don’t run their core processes on brand-new start-ups. But if you are doing something that could be very important, 10x better than their existing solution, they’ll take some measured “Innovating Vendor” risk.
In that case, it’s not that important if the Founder-CEO is 20 or 80. It’s important that the Founder-CEO can sell the vision, is incredibly smart, and truly trustworthy, and will deliver.
Still. Having a set of experienced, grey hairs in the meeting >will< help. But zero need for that to be the founder-CEO.
This dynamic is a solid one. Not necessary. But it can help.