The NY Times reported on a recent study by a team at the Harvard Business School who found that failure in a first venture is an unreliable signpost of future success.
The study looked at several thousand venture-backed companies over a 17 year period. They found that first time entrepreneurs receiving venture funding had a 22% chance of “success”, defined as going public or filing to do so, although they report similar results when other measures like acquisition or merger are used.
Successful entrepreneurs were far more likely to succeed again; their success rate was 34% vs. 23% for those whose companies didn't make it.
There's more to the discussion but the results certainly challenge the age-old aphorism that experience at failure prepares an entrepreneur for success.