So averages can be a bit misleading, especially once you are looking at the Best of the Best.  The SaaS companies that actually IPO’d.

But those ones are the ones we have great data on.

And how old is the average SaaS CEO at … founding?  The answer is 33:

Some were younger, some older, of course.

  • Scott and Michael were 22 when they started Atlassian.
  • Henry Schuck was 23 when he started ZoomInfo.
  • Andrew Bialecki was 23 when he started Klaviyo.

Some were further in their careers:

  • Peter Gassner had already been SVP of Technology at Salesforce before starting Veeva at 42.
  • Eric Yuan had already led WebEx engineering at Cisco when he started Zoom at 41.
  • Jay Chaudhry started Zscaler at 48.

And I suspect with so many SaaS and Cloud veterans now, we’ll see the average stay about the same, but more and more SaaS leaders started by folks at 40+.

Personally, to do it as a founder, IMHO you need to be young at heart.  You need to have incredible energy and intensity.  You have to be able to commit to 10+ years, 6+ days a week.  But if you can, experience really helps in SaaS, all things being equal.

The top SaaS CEOs, the ones that IPO, start on average at 33.  They IPO at 44.  And they are staying at the helm for a decade or longer.  It takes 20+ years to go big in SaaS.

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