burn rate
n. The rate at which a newly-formed company spends cash on startup costs, research and development, and other expenses. Also: cash-burn rate.

Example Citations:
One technique is to look at the “burn rate“ — how quickly a company is running through its cash. But this is not really a clue to the intrinsic value of the company, or to the prospects for its technology.
—Michael Gianturco, “How to spot a biotech bargain,“ Forbes, April 6, 1998

There was only one problem. In common with many hi-tech start-ups, Wolff New Media‘s monthly “burn rate“ (its cash expenditure over income) was running at $ 500,000, meaning that however profitable it might be, within a month or two Wolff New Media would still have trouble meeting payroll.
—Melanie McGrath, “ How I managed to lose millions on the Net,“ The Independent (London), August 3, 1998

Earliest Citation:
"Of significance in the quarter," according to Mr. Addison, "was the continued reduction in our ‘cash-burn‘ rate, as reflected in the fact that we used only $700,000 in cash in the first quarter 1985, compared with more than $6 million in the first quarter 1984."
—“Masstor Systems: Financial Results,“ Business Wire, April 22, 1985

The OED has a September 10, 1984 citation from Businessweek: “Rumors began to fly around..about ‘the very high burn rate in cash consumption’.”

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