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Always have 18 months of cash in the bank 创业公司至少应有18个月现金 December 7, 2011

Posted by Ian Cheng in Funding.
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Chris Dixon

I was once told by an experienced entrepreneur (I can’t remember who) to always have at least 18 months of cash in the bank. The logic behind this is: 1) as a rule of thumb it takes 3 months to raise money, 2) building/marketing/selling technology always takes longer than you think. Subtracting 3 months for fundraising and 3 months for things taking longer than expected, this gives you 12 months to execute your plan. (Also you never want to raise money “with your back against the wall” – when you are near the end of your runway.)

More adventurous entrepreneurs might argue 18 months is too conservative. It’s true that following the 18 month rule can be extra dilutive. At SiteAdvisor, we raised our Series A about three months before we were acquired. So we gave up equity for cash that we never spent. But in retrospect, given what we knew at the time, I think it was the right decision.

The question of when to raise money is one of the few times that entrepreneurs and early-stage investors have somewhat divergent economic interests. If you control a large investment fund, you always have the option to extend a company’s runway. The entrepreneur doesn’t have this option. I’ve even heard some entrepreneurs whisper about Machiavellian VCs who deliberately try to get you to the end of your runway so they can negotiate harder. I think this is a bit of a conspiracy theory. Almost all VCs I know care primarily about the success of their companies and not about extracting every last point of equity.

对互联网创业者来说,现金流控制是一个非常重要的问题。那么手里有多少现金才能保证公司的正常运营呢?

Hunch(已被eBay收购)联合创始人兼CEO Chris Dixon是一个连续创业者,参与创建并投资过多家创业公司,他分享了自己的看法。他认为创业公司的银行账户上至少要有18月的现金。理由是:首先融资需要3个月时间;其次开发、运营、销售产品的时间往往超出预期。除去3个月的融资时间和3个月预留时间的话,你只有12个月的时间执行你的计划。此外,谁也不想等到走投无路时才回去融资。

Chris认为创业者和早期投资者在选择融资时机时存在经济利益冲突。如果你控制着一个大型投资基金,你总有办法帮一家公司走得更远。但创业者没有这种选择。有些狡猾的VC故意把创业公司拖到路的尽头,这样他们就可以压低价格。不过还好,Dixon认为几乎他见过的所有VC都更在乎所投公司的成败,而不会在股权上斤斤计较。

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