Two-thirds of start-up founders suffer declining health 

67% of start-up leaders attribute personal health issues to their working lives, according to research released today by leading global consumer health companyRB 

The survey of 504 start-up leaders, conducted in collaboration with global start-up community, Startup Grindfound that the working schedules and the stress of starting a business are contributing to declining health: almost half (49%) of start-up founders work over 50 hours per week, with one in four (28%) putting in over 60 hours. This is significantly higher than the 37.1 hours that the average UK worker spends at their job.1 

As a result, over a third (38%) say they suffer with insomnia or poor sleep, whilst one in four (26%) have mental health complaints, including stress, anxiety and depression. Healthy habits also tend to go out of the window, with one in three (34%) start-up leaders believing that their work has a negative impact on their diet.   



The impact on personal health amongst start-up founders comes despite the positive motivation of innovators to improve other people’s health for the better: 78% were inspired to launch their business by a desire to improve people’s lives, with a further one in five (22%) motivated by the condition/health of a family member, friend or loved one.  

Asked what business activities were contributing to their stress levels, almost three quarters (74%) named funding, investment and/or cashflow as a top-three stress factor. Access to talent and recruitment was second, cited by over a third (39%), closely followed by product/service innovation and R&D (33%). 


Alex Gordon-Furse, Director, Startup Program at Startup Grind says: “Stress and burnout are incredibly common within the start-up community and these issues don’t go away as businesses become more established. Leaders are constantly tackling new challenges. Even those that have a concrete business plan and access to funding will be grappling with something, whether it’s regulation or how to take their offering to market. During this period, leaders pour their heart, soul and numerous hours into getting their business off the ground and making it a success. This dedication can have negative repercussions on their health.”  

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, with the results highlighting that many start-up founders reported improved personal lives because of their work. 41% highlighted launching their own business has improved their relationships with family members, whilst one in three (38%) are in a better position financially.  

For start-up founders to continue their positive journey whilst minimising stress, improving their personal health, and making their venture a success, a critical factor is often finding the right partner to work with.   


Dr Philip Bolton, Interim VP Innovation at RB says: “We share start-ups’ passion for wanting to create a world where people lead healthier and happier lives. We understand what goes into developing successful global brands like Dettol and Nurofen, and we want to support start-ups who have started down this road, so they can successfully complete their journey. We can provide access and expertise across many different areas such as R&D, marketing and global supply chain, creating innovation partnerships that can really transform a business. At the same time, we also know that we can learn a lot from start-ups and improve and grow our own business by taking their agility on board and learning from their approach.”   

RB is always looking to partner with healthcare and health tech start-ups and innovators on the next generation of consumer health products. By supporting start-up leaders through some of the most stress-inducing stages of growing their business, RB aims to fast-track the development of effective health solutions for consumers worldwide and support the health of the innovators behind them.   

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