How to Calculate Burn Rate and Runway for Startup

This blog deals with Calculation of Burn rate and Cash Runway for your Startup.

How to Calculate Burn Rate and Runway for Startup

How quickly a startup is losing money, or burning through it, is determined by its burn rate. This is a crucial indicator for startups and venture-backed companies that may be operating at a loss on purpose by reinvesting more of their profits than they are making.

This figure, known as the cash runway, enables managers to understand how long they can keep operating at this rate before running out of cash.

You should examine your cash balances over time from cash flow statements, in order to determine your own burn rate. Enter the cash amount you had at the start of the quarter, the balance at the end of the quarter, and the number of months if you want to evaluate your burn rate based on last quarter's spending.

The figure shown is the rate at which you are using up your monthly cash reserves. The rate will be negative if you are making more money than you are spending.

How to Calculate Burn Rate

When you have a cash flow statement on hand, the burn rate calculation is simple. The equation is as follows:

Burn Rate = (Starting Balance – Ending Balance) / No. Of Months

As you begin to spend that money, you will start to see your cash balances deplete. As a startup, you’ll want to be strategic about what you spend money on and when you might seek more fundraising. So keeping an eye on burn rate will be very crucial to make sure your cash reserve isn’t shrinking too quickly.

There are also variations on the burn rate calculation that can give additional insight into your spending.

Gross Burn

Gross burn displays the total amount spent by your company on operating costs like Payroll, rent, and taxes. This ratio is predicated on the idea that your company isn't producing a positive cash flow. The gross burn rate would be 40,000 per month for the business if monthly expenses for salaries, rent, and utilities were 40,000.

Net Burn

If your company has made any revenue, it is taken into account by net burn rate. Simply deduct your monthly income from all of your outgoing costs to calculate. You'll be left with the amount of money that was lost throughout that month.

Why Does Burn Rate Matter?

Startups and established organizations should both constantly check burn rate, despite the possibility that their reasons for doing so may vary. The burn rate is not a worry for bigger companies as much as it is for startups and early stage companies that are struggling to generate cash flow from operation or from investors.

Startups and Burn Rate

Startups, particularly those in fast-growing industries, frequently need venture-backed capital to support their development and growth because it can take them years to become profitable on their own. On their way to profitability, many businesses may go through numerous rounds of fundraising, frequently getting a higher sum with each successful round.

They'll begin investing that money in projects between rounds that will (ideally) result in future profits. From company to startup, there are differences in how they choose to spend the money and how much they spend.

Investors can tell by a company's burn rate if its expenditure is too loose or too restrained. Spending too slowly could be a warning sign that the company is hesitant to make risky investments or that growth might not occur as soon as they would like. On the other side, excessive spending can cause investors to have doubts about the leadership's capacity to control finances.

Burn rate can aid firms in anticipating when they will need to seek additional capital in addition to investor optics. Since there are often 12 to 18 months between investment rounds, each new round should typically last a startup at least one to two years. Remember that finding new capital for certain startups might take anywhere from 6 to 9 months.

How to reduce Burn Rate for Startup

Here are a few actions to take to help lower your burn rate if you're a startup and notice that it is too high or if you are a small business trying to recover after a few difficult months.

Study your Financial Statement (P&L, Balance sheet and Cash Flow Statement)

Gather the financial reports from the previous few months and take your time reading over them. Has there been a change in spending or revenue? Can you specify when they occurred and where in the company they occurred? When carefully analyzed, your financial reports can provide a wealth of information.

Identify areas to Reduce Costs

This is the most useful lever to turn to change burn rate, especially for startups. Look for unnecessary spending that could be reduced by carefully reviewing your COGS and operating costs.

Sell Non Revenue Generating Assets

Look at your assets closely. Is there anything that could be sold to raise money? Consider selling the third delivery van, for instance, if you truly only need two.

Identify ways to Increase revenue

Finding ways to boost sales will be a more effective long-term solution for startups than just cutting expenses. Before turning to asset sales or budget cuts, examine your marketing and sales procedures and try out some fresh concepts.

Using Burn Rate to Determine Your Cash Runway

Burn rate is a key factor in determining cash runway, or how long your business can continue to operate at that rate before hitting zero money in the bank.

The formula for cash runway is simply:

 Cash Runway = Current Cash Balance / Burn Rate

This ratio should alert leadership that they should definitely reduce expenditure and engage in specific efforts to assist drive them toward profitability since the majority of companies will seek fresh investment within a year.

For startups, burn rate and cash runway go hand in hand. These measurements help companies determine how quickly they are losing money, how long they can keep doing so, and whether they need to make changes in order to meet their objectives.


For any business that is not generating a profit, calculating burn rate and cash runway is a valuable exercise. However, for startups with an eye on the future and a desire to seek more funding, knowing your burn rate is essential to establishing your spending strategy and reaching your goals.

About Jordensky

Jordensky is here to help you to monitor your cash and plan for the future. At Jordensky, we specialize in Accounting, Taxes, MIS, and CFO services for Startups and Growing business and are focused on delivering an experience of unparalleled quality. When you work with Jordensky, you get a team of finance experts who take the finance work off your plate – ”so you can focus on your business.”

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