How smart entrepreneurs manage risk and uncertainty

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that, aggregated across all sectors, 55% of new ventures die within the first five years. Of the remaining, 35% fail during the next five.

While data for VC-backed ventures are spotty, we estimate that failure rates are even higher for such startups. These ventures tend to be much better funded and thus run a much greater risk of not being able to return even the principal amount to the investors. A dry-cleaning shop can continue to survive as a low-profit no-growth lifestyle business for years. This would be . . .

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