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Do You Have Entrepreneur DNA?

The Founder Institute has a vision to launch enduring technology companies that create over one million startup jobs worldwide.

In order to reach this scale, for the last 5 years we have worked with leading social scientists to develop an objective test that predicts the likelihood that someone can become a successful tech entrepreneur - regardless of their idea, locale, or demographic.

Our research, which has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, and Forbes, is described below.

Decoding the DNA

To apply to the Founder Institute, you don't need to submit an idea. Rather, applicants take an hour long test containing a battery of personality and aptitude evaluations.

To date, over 20,000 people have applied, and the Founder Institute has graduated over 1,116 technology companies across 6 continents. Through evaluation of performance both in the program and in the real world, along with frequent calibration, the test has proven to be over 85% accurate in predicting entrepreneurial success.

What Makes a Good Entrepreneur?

We have found many traits that correlate positively with entrepreneurship. Here is a sampling of the major traits:

Professional Experience
You don't have to drop out of college to be a successful founder. Our data shows that 34 year-olds with domain expertise and management experience have the advantage.
High Fluid Intelligence
Can you quickly learn a rule set and apply it to solve a novel problem? With a constantly changing playing field, founders must recognize patterns and quickly adapt to survive.
High Openness
Are you constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge? Does your curiosity cause you to challenge accepted norms? The best entrepreneurs seek change - not the status quo.
Moderate Agreeableness
Can you balance cooperation with antagonism? Are you generally warm and considerate, but straightforward and harsh when necessary? The best equipped founders are flexible.

Bad Founder DNA


Some traits can limit you as an entrepreneur. For example:

Irrelevant DNA


Some major traits have no correlation with entrepreneurship, such as:

I.Q.
As surprising as it may sound, we have seen no correlation between I.Q. and founder success. So much so, we recently removed I.Q. from our test.
Conscientiousness
Conscientiousness measures the responsibility and industriousness of a candidate, but we have not seen a strong correlation with success.
See the full infographic here: English, Spanish and Russian

Think You Have Entrepreneur DNA?