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Most startup founders earn less than £32,000

New research has poured cold water on the myth of high-flying startup entrepreneurs, revealing that 73% of startup founders earn less than $50,000 (roughly £32,000) a year.


Of the 11,160 companies surveyed around 8,000 founders said their salary fell in the $0 – 50,000 bracket, whereas only 309 said that they earned over $175,000 (roughly £106,000).


Australia boasted the highest paid founders, where the average salary was over $70,000, whereas Indian founders were the worst paid, with an average salary of around $30,000. Meanwhile, founders in London enjoyed an average salary of $45,611 (roughly £27,750).


Speaking at a startup convention back in 2008 Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, said that the less a founder is paid, the more likely the company is to succeed. He went on to say:


“The CEO’s salary sets a cap for everyone else.  If it is set at a high level, you end up burning a whole lot more money. It aligns [their] interest with the equity holders.  But [beyond that], it goes to whether the mission of the company is to build something new or just collect paychecks.”


The data ties in closely with a report published in 2011 which found that startups have less chance of success if they scale prematurely, often resulting from over-investment in personnel.

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