The Rise of the Millennial Founder

Posted by: Rupa Ganatra

The tech-savvy Millennial entrepreneur offers a unique and often disruptive approach, says Rupa Ganatra, Founding Partner of Millennial 20/20

Many Millennials graduated college and entered the workforce at the height of the economic recession in 2008. With few new employment opportunities and no guarantee of job security, many young adults turned toward entrepreneurialism to find success.

When leaving school, Randel Darby, founder of travel technology company Portr, was wary of the lack of job security due to the uncertain economic climate. Rather than jumping into a position that did not guarantee stability, Darby decided he would take matters into his own hands.

“It [the recession] made you think differently about work and your approach to risk changes. If you were doing a job that was OK, but not something you were passionate about or did not guarantee income and learning, why stick it out when you could be doing something you love?” he says.

In terms of work culture, Darby attributes the team’s success in problem solving, creativity and collaboration in the workplace to, a very flat, non-hierarchical structure, where the whole team collaborates together. “This encourages creativity and instills a sense of ownership for more junior members of the team, who are able to work directly with people at all levels of the business in shaping a better product,” said Darby.

Millennials have also grown up in an era where technology is embedded in their DNA and they are not afraid of working and adapting in a fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.

Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of clean tech firm Pavegen, believes that Millennial entrepreneurs succeed because they are well-accustomed to rapid change and therefore find adaptation easy in comparison to the previous generations. As a result, Millennial entrepreneurs and business owners are more accustomed to finding innovative solutions to the problems their peers face on a daily basis.

The non-stop Millennial 

Millennial entrepreneurs are known as the 24/7 entrepreneurs. With the rise of social and digital media came a greater accessibility to brands and peer networks. As a result, the traditional 9-5 work day is quickly crumbling. Millennials do not prioritize life over work, but rather aim to find an integration of one into the other

“Whether it be scheduling interesting articles to tweet throughout the week in order to keep your audience engaged, penning relevant blog posts, or managing a team of like-minded people, downtime simply doesn’t exist,” says Ivan Mazour, CEO and founder of Ometria, a leading customer insight and marketing automation platform.

“A Millennial entrepreneur doesn’t balk at the idea of scheduling a Sunday morning Skype session, nor do they shy away from answering emails on holiday,” said Mazour.

From Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, Millennial founders have also been known for some of the world’s most disruptive and innovative business models in existence and for changing the world, as we know it.

Simon O’Kelly, founder of the Unsigned Music Awards, points out, “Millennial entrepreneurs are – on many occasions – looking to enter existing industries, which are held together by long-established business models and usually with a handful of seemingly immovable key players at the top. The job of a Millennial entrepreneur is to disrupt this comfort zone and instil a new trust into an unsuspecting audience – fairly rapidly.”

With Millennial entrepreneurs who embrace change at the forefront of market disruption, brands that are not embracing new ways of thinking outside of the box need to watch out. This is a generation of business owners and decision makers that are not fearful of pushing boundaries.

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About Rupa Ganatra

Founding Partner of Millennial 20/20. Millennial 20/20 is the world's first business summit series looking at the future of nextgen commerce in Singapore (Sept 2016), New York (Feb 2017) and London (Apr 2017). The Summits...See Rupa's full bio.