Some Thoughts On Burn Rates

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

These losses are known in the industry vernacular as “burn rates” – how much cash you burn on a monthly basis. But how much burn is reasonable? Instinctively I feel that many of our portfolio companies, and the startup sector as a whole, operate on burn rates that are too high and are unsustainable. But it is hard to talk to a founder, a management team, or a Board about burn rates objectively.

What is the Right Burn Rate for your Startup?

Both Sides of the Table

One of the hardest decisions entrepreneurs make when they start a company and raise outside capital is figuring out what an acceptable “burn rate” is. The Basics The starting point — the 101 — is knowing the difference between gross burn and net burn.

Trending Sources

Burn Rate vs Runway


Angels Growing Big Management Raising Capital Venture Capital Angel Burn Rate Fundraising mike cassidy XFireRecently a CEO in our portfolio asked me a question that I get often: As a startup with limited capital is it better to be cautious and stretch runway or should you be aggressive and reduce runway? The answer of course is “it depends” You cannot save your way to greatness.

What is the Right Burn Rate at a Startup Company?

Both Sides of the Table

I was reading Danielle Morrill’s blog post today on whether one’s “ Startup Burn Rate is Normal. Danielle goes through some commentary from Bill Gurley, Fred Wilson and Marc Andreessen about burn rate and then goes on to discuss her own burn rate and others publicly weigh in. But what IS the right amount of burn for a company? Gross Burn vs. Net Burn. Net burn is the amount of money you are losing per month.

So What is The Right Level of Burn Rate for a Startup These Days?

Both Sides of the Table

This has led VC & entrepreneur bloggers alike to similar conclusions: start raising capital early and be careful about having too high of a burn rate because that lessens the amount of runway you have until you need more cash. But the hardest question to actually answer is, “What is the right burn rate for your company?” Well if you took that option I would simply advise that you be a little bit more cautious with your burn rate.

Startup Runway Length Depends on Your Burn Rate

Startup Professionals Musings

Your burn rate is the rate at which that money is being spent, and allows an estimate of how long you can go before refueling (runway). Investors also look at your burn rate to see how efficient and effective you are at running the business.

How to Determine What Your Company's Burn Rate Should Be

Inc Startups

Use these pointers to know your risk tolerance. Venture Capital

The 7 Key Metrics Every Business Owner Should Monitor

Up and Running

For example, if you have an eCommerce website , you’ll want to measure unique visitors, referrals, bounce rate, and similar. If you’re running a subscription business , you’ll want to track churn rate, monthly recurring revenue, lifetime value, and so on. What Is Cash Burn Rate?

What is the Appropriate Time Horizon of a Financial Model for VC’s

Ask The VC

Early and pre-revenue: Investors are going to be most interested in your near term burn rate and how long their money is going to last. In early cases, they are going to focus on cash / monthly-burn-rate. Fundraising burn rate gross margin plan projections revenue vc

When Burn Rate Outweighs Enthusiasm

Anything's Possible

Despite that nearly all venture-backed startups burn capital unsustainably, Uber’s level of spending is viewed as particularly problematic among its naysayers. It will be able to sustain its burn rate based on that excitement unless something surprising happens to its business, or it goes public. It doesn’t matter whether a company’s burn rate is $10K per month or $10 million per month, companies die when their burn rates are greater than investor enthusiasm.

Marc Andreessen: "High Burn Rate Companies Will Vaporize"

Inc Startups

Following similar comments made by VCs Bill Gurley and Fred Wilson, Andreessen issued a warning to startups

Don't Get Burned by Your Burn Rate

Inc Startups

It''s far too easy to get burned in the process, says Barry Schuler Companies are going through cash at an incredible pace.

How to Tell If Your Startup's Burn Rate Is OK

Inc Startups

Has the chatter about burn rates got you worried your company is spending too much money? Mattermark co-founder Danielle Morrill offers a self checkup

8 Questions Investors Use to Bypass Startup Hype

Startup Professionals Musings

My advice to founders out there is to not volunteer too much, but be open and honest in the face of direct questions like the following: What is your burn rate and runway today? hype entrepreneur startup investor burn rate business

What's the Right Burn Rate for Your Company?

Inc Startups

Here''s a framework to help you determine how much money your startup should be spending each month

Burn Rate

Fred posted on Burn Rate today. So keep a close eye on your cash, your burn, and your revenue. It's a good read--definitely go read it after this post. But Fred's example is based on a funded company, where the amount of investment is known and up front. For most startups, that stage is a goal we aspire to, but isn't the norm at the beginning. Instead, we raise cash here and there, hoping to get enough to run things smoothly, and maybe combine it with revenue.

How You Should Really Think About Your Company's Burn Rate

Inc Startups

It''s easy to panic as your capital dwindles. Calm down: That money is not just fuel--it''s also opportunity untapped

Rami Korhonen From PlayMySong On Optimizing Your Startup's Burn Rate


Your startup's cashflow is obviously crucial to keep your eye on so we spoke to Rami Korhonen, the CEO of PlayMySong, about how he optimizes their burn rate. Month to month their burn rate stays pretty consistent. After we were able to get into the Tekes Young Innovative Companies that allowed us to decrease our burn rate a little bit to make the necessary adjustments to really start taking our product to the market in a bigger way.".

7 Questions for Determining the Right Burn Rate for Your Startup

Inc Startups

You shouldn't necessarily start raising capital right away

Iteration = Time to Learn, Not Time to Build

Grasshopper Herder

Burn rates are meaningless in isolation. Iteration time is a critical aspect of starting a new business and we've noted a few misconceptions. The post Iteration = Time to Learn, Not Time to Build appeared first on

10 Essentials for Setting Up Your Accounting Function

Early Growth Financial Services

More … Continue reading → Accounting Best Practices accounting function accounts payable accounts receivable burn rate business banking account cash burn chart of accounts coa collect payments entrepreneurs expenses online payments payment provider payments collection pre-funding startup startup accounting startup expenses startup taxes

Don’t Get Burned By Your Startup Burn Rate

Startup Professionals Musings

Your burn rate is the rate at which that money is being spent, and allows an estimate of how long you can go before refueling. Investors look at your burn rate to see how efficient and effective you are at running the business. Cash is the fuel of every startup.

ProfessorVC: Burn Rate

Professor VC

Burn Rate. The burn rates of my portfolio companies is certainly top of mind right now, but thats not what this post is about. Since Im not a fan of any of those genres, I have been looking forward to the release of his latest work, Burn Rate. While there are certainly better books that chronicle the highs and lows of starting a company, Burn Rate does raise some interesting issues on the personal side of entrepreneurship. Burn Rate.

Why High Burn Rates Don't Mean the End of the World Is Nigh

Inc Startups

Startups are burning cash at a staggering rate--while that''s not great, it may not be a sign of a bubble

Market Type and Revenue. 2 Minutes to Find Out Why

Steve Blank

This video describes how “Market Type” affects your revenue and your burn rate. Understanding “Market Type” can save you a ton of money and time.

Burn Baby Burn

Inc Startups

Burn rates are skyrocketing for American startups, and that''s bad news in the long term

5 Steps To Maximizing Your Startup Cash Flow Runway

Startup Professionals Musings

Investors check your burn rate to assess your efficiency, and project your remaining runway before you run out of money and into a brick wall. It doesn’t take a financial genius to recognize that you need to keep your burn rate low.


Feld Thoughts

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen warned in a tweetstorm that startups with high burn rates would “vaporize.” I’m encountering an increasing number of companies with burn rates in the stratosphere. But when I see $2m / month net burn rates, I vomit.

Burn Rate Norms

Thinking About Thinking

When investors and entrepreneurs talk about “burn rate”, they’re generally referring to the amount of cash a company consumes through its normal operations every month. For many venture-backed companies, they have a negative burn rate meaning that they are expending more cash than they are collecting. 0–$250k burn rate: This is still a “capital efficient” company – a $10M round could last 3–4 years which is an eternity.

What's Your Burn Rate Mean?

Ask The VC

The Resetting of the Startup Industry

Both Sides of the Table

The startup industry may be “resetting,” which doesn’t mean a “crash” but rather just a resetting of valuations, timescales, winners/losers, capital sources and the relative emphasis of growth rates vs. burn rates.

Why Smart Startup Founders Shouldn't Pay Themselves

Inc Startups

Investors want their investments to accelerate the company, not just maintain the status quo burn rate

Burn Baby Burn

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

He focuses on burn rates instead. But burn rates are exactly that. Burning cash. We have multiple portfolio companies burning multiple millions of dollars a month. Andy sent me a WSJ piece with Bill Gurley yesterday. I don’t like to link to paid content so here’s a good Business Insider summary of the article that is open for anyone to read. Regular readers know that I’m a huge fan of Bill’s.

The Rich Get Richer

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Round sizes have gone up and burn rates have gone up, but so much of this is limited to a hundred or a couple hundred companies. The 2014 numbers for the VC category are out and it was a huge year, almost $50bn in total VC funding.

Spending money is like getting fat

The Equity Kicker

As with weight, burn rates are very easy to increase but take large amounts of discipline and suffering to decrease. That’s not always so in startups where progress is hard to measure and larger burn rates increase the sense of momentum.

The No Stack Startup

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

We like low capital requirements and low burn rates and extremely high rates of return on invested capital. There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years that the “full stack approach” is the future of startups. My friend Chris Dixon articulated the reasons for going “full stack” very well in this post from last year. But like many things, the best approaches are at both ends of the spectrum.

After Funding, Watch Burn Rates And Beware The Tyranny Of Incrementalism

Anything's Possible

At first the team is small and the initial burn rate barely moves the dial on the capital raised. No one wants to feel underpaid, and how big a deal is an extra $10K a month to the company’s burn rate when one or two million dollars just hit the bank account. The problem now is that the original 15 months of capital you raised will be burned in less than 12 months. Be careful not to burn your own opportunity.

Numbers Can Ruin A Good Story

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

You will also have a burn rate. As I was reading Josh Kopelman ‘s excellent post on the seed boom and Series A bust , I got thinking of some words of wisdom Mike Arrington once shared with me. He said “numbers always ruin a good story.” ” What Mike meant by this is you can raise a seed (or Series A) on a story. But at some point, you will have numbers; users, user growth, revenues, and revenue growth.

7 Best Strategies for Maintaining Equity

Early Growth Financial Services

Keep in mind that your milestones may not be … Continue reading → angel investors burn rate cash burn cash flow dilution entrepreneur equity equity raises financial forecast financial milestones funding milestones funding negotiation staffing costs startup startup business strategy startup finance startup traction term sheets vc venture capitalistsOf utmost concern to many entrepreneurs is how to retain maximum equity in their startups. Rightly so.

What Everyone Should Take Away from Twitter’s 8% Staff Reductions

Both Sides of the Table

” It goes like this: What is your net burn rate? What is your revenue growth rate and what does this imply about your number of months of capital remaining? But I’m certainly willing to say RIP Excess Burn.