Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are multipotent cells giving rise to all blood lineages during life. HSPCs emerge from the ventral wall of the dorsal aorta (VDA) during a specific timespan in embryonic development through endothelial hematopoietic transition (EHT). We investigated the ontogeny of HSPCs in mutant zebrafish embryos lacking functional pten, an important tumor suppressor with a central role in cell signaling. Through in vivo live imaging, we discovered that in pten mutant embryos a proportion of the HSPCs died upon emergence from the VDA, an effect rescued by inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K). Surprisingly, inhibition of PI3K in wild-type embryos also induced HSPC death. Surviving HSPCs colonized the caudal hematopoietic tissue (CHT) normally and committed to all blood lineages. Single-cell RNA sequencing indicated that inhibition of PI3K enhanced survival of multipotent progenitors, whereas the number of HSPCs with more stem-like properties was reduced. At the end of the definitive wave, loss of Pten caused a shift to more restricted progenitors at the expense of HSPCs. We conclude that PI3K signaling tightly controls HSPCs survival and both up- and downregulation of PI3K signaling reduces stemness of HSPCs.