burn rate
n. The rate at which a newly-formed company spends cash on startup costs, research and development, and other expenses.
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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 03, 1998
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 06, 1998
1984 (earliest)
Rumors began to fly around..about 'the very high burn rate in cash consumption'.
Businessweek, September 10, 1984 (OED)
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