This paper investigates the relationship between the level of pre-entry experience of managers and founders, and the survival of their new firms. Using a comprehensive dataset covering the entire Danish labor market from 1980 to 2000, we are able to trace prior activities of all employees working in all Danish start-ups with at least one employee. We examine whether spin-offs from surviving parents, spin-offs from exiting parents or other start-ups are more likely to survive. Moreover, we investigate whether firms managed and founded by teams with higher levels of industry-specific experience have a higher chance of surviving. We find that spin-offs from a surviving parent and to a lesser degree industry-specific experience positively affects the likelihood of survival. We also find that spin-offs from a parent that exits are less likely to survive than either spin-offs from surviving parents or other start-ups.