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Founding a business may be inspired by close entrepreneurial ties, that is, business-owning relatives or friends. We analyze if and when such inspiration is associated with post-entry survival. Drawing on longitudinal data on 942 founders, we find a positive relationship only if founders start by taking over an existing business, or spend considerable time at start-up. Moreover, the impact of close tie inspiration is negative for founders with prior entrepreneurial experience, revealing a dark side to serial entrepreneurship. Our findings show that new firm survival can be better understood by modeling contingency variables.