David Grupper (left) and David Klein with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at the PowerUp! awards ceremony.

David Grupper speaks at HFLS on starting a business.

Seniors' moment

The next generation of upstart entrepreneurs is grayer than you think. Here are 13 with lessons for everyone.

By Judith Messina

 

Marty Gindi found the job market unwelcoming to a man his age. David Klein was looking for a little career reinvention. Michael Isaacman was fed up with an industry obsessed by "how cheap you can make it."

These are just three of the many who have taken what may seem like an especially treacherous leap—starting a business after turning 50. They, and others like them, are defying accepted wisdom that founders, especially those in tech, need to be barely old enough to drink. Or that, as the then 56-year-old venture capitalist Vinod Khosla famously told an audience a few years ago, people under 35 "make change happen" while those over 45 "basically die in terms of new ideas."

Such well-seasoned entrepreneurs are no exceptions. Between 1996 and 2013, Americans between ages 55 and 64 started companies at a higher rate than those 20 to 34, according to research by the Kauffman Foundation. Indeed, 55-to 64-year-olds accounted for a quarter of all new ventures in 2013. And many are serial impresarios, churning out one startup after another.    Continue Reading

 

 

Working for another person or company in a recession-battered economy is similar to “driving with your knees,” says Steve Felix, an expert in real-estate investment management. He worked in that field for more than 30 years before getting laid off in 2011.

It’s an analogy that intrigues David Grupper, an art director and graphic designer who, like Felix, was recently laid off from his job. But Grupper would use a slightly different one.

“If you’re working for someone else, you’re in the back seat,” he says. “You’re not even at the steering wheel.”

Both men are in their 50s — Grupper is now 59, while Felix admits only to being in his fifth decade — an age when landing a new job after losing one is especially tough, according to figures compiled by the AARP’s Public Policy Institute. The average time between jobs for adults 55 or older is 51.5 weeks, the institute reported in early November — a figure that compares to 30.6 weeks for those under 55.

But both Grupper and Felix have gained control of the steering wheel, each launching a 

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