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This post is also available in: Dansk (Danish)

A start-up runway is the period of time a company can carry on its operations with its available liquidity or capital, considering its monthly burn rate.

This post is also available in: Danish

What is Runway?

Runway, in a financial context, refers to the amount of time a company or startup can continue its operations before running low on liquidity or capital resources. It is an important metric for figuring out a company’s financial sustainability and its ability to reach key milestones, secure additional funding and stay afloat.

How Does Runway Work?

Runway is calculated by dividing the available cash or capital by the company’s monthly burn rate (the rate at which it is spending money to cover expenses). The formula is as follows:

Runway = Available Cash / Monthly Burn Rate

For example, if a company has $1 million in available cash and have a monthly burn rate of $100,000, its runway would be 10 months:

Runway = $1,000,000 / $100,000 = 10 months

This means the company can continue its operations for 10 months before running out of funds, assuming no changes in income or expenses during that time.

Why is Runway Significant?

Runway is a critical financial metric for several reasons:

Financial Planning: It helps companies plan and manage their finances effectively by providing a clear timeline for when they may need to secure additional funding or achieve profitability.

Investor Confidence: Investors, including venture capitalists and angel investors, often assess a company’s runway when considering investment opportunities. A longer runway can instill confidence that the company has time to execute its business plan.

Strategic Decision-Making: Runway influences strategic decisions, such as whether to pursue cost-cutting measures, increase revenue generation, or seek additional funding.

Startup Sustainability: Startups, in particular, rely on runway to ensure they can reach key milestones, secure customers, and validate their business model before running out of capital.

Risk Management: Runway allows companies to proactively manage financial risks and make contingency plans if necessary.

Resource Allocation: It helps companies allocate resources efficiently, directing them toward activities that contribute to extending the runway.

Fundraising Timing: Companies often seek additional funding when their runway is nearing its end to ensure a smooth transition to the next stage of growth.

It’s important for companies, especially startups, to monitor their runway closely and take action as needed to extend it, whether through revenue generation, cost management, or fundraising efforts.