"Burn rate" is a term that is used when talking about the amount of money that a new company uses to pay for overhead before a profit is realized. These companies are typically associated with venture capital and this is a statistic that is used to gauge the viability and the early success of a new business.

In most cases, the burn rate is quoted as a monthly figure. For example, if a company has a burn rate of $100,000, this means that they are spending $100,000 per month on overhead without seeing any profit.

If you are a venture capitalist, you will be very concerned about the burn rate of companies that you invest in. Ideally, you would like to see a company that has a very low burn rate potential. The higher the burn rate of the company, the more money you will have to come up with as a venture capitalist in order to allow the business to succeed.

If a company has a burn rate that continues to grow or stays the same, they will generally cut back on expenses by laying off employees. They can also eliminate costs by reducing the size of the business. 

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