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Instructure (NYSE:INST) Is In A Strong Position To Grow Its Business

Simply Wall St

We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, biotech and mining exploration companies often lose money for years before finding success with a new treatment or mineral discovery. But while history lauds those rare successes, those that fail are often forgotten; who remembers Pets.com?

Given this risk, we thought we'd take a look at whether Instructure (NYSE:INST) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purposes of this article, cash burn is the annual rate at which an unprofitable company spends cash to fund its growth; its negative free cash flow. First, we'll determine its cash runway by comparing its cash burn with its cash reserves.

Check out our latest analysis for Instructure

Does Instructure Have A Long Cash Runway?

A company's cash runway is the amount of time it would take to burn through its cash reserves at its current cash burn rate. In June 2019, Instructure had US$47m in cash, and was debt-free. Looking at the last year, the company burnt through US$25m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had roughly 23 months of cash runway. Importantly, though, analysts think that Instructure will reach cashflow breakeven before then. In that case, it may never reach the end of its cash runway. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

NYSE:INST Historical Debt, October 24th 2019

How Well Is Instructure Growing?

It was fairly positive to see that Instructure reduced its cash burn by 23% during the last year. On top of that, operating revenue was up 25%, making for a heartening combination Considering the factors above, the company doesn’t fare badly when it comes to assessing how it is changing over time. Clearly, however, the crucial factor is whether the company will grow its business going forward. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.

Can Instructure Raise More Cash Easily?

While Instructure seems to be in a fairly good position, it's still worth considering how easily it could raise more cash, even just to fuel faster growth. Generally speaking, a listed business can raise new cash through issuing shares or taking on debt. Commonly, a business will sell new shares in itself to raise cash to drive growth. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.

Instructure's cash burn of US$25m is about 1.6% of its US$1.6b market capitalisation. That means it could easily issue a few shares to fund more growth, and might well be in a position to borrow cheaply.

How Risky Is Instructure's Cash Burn Situation?

It may already be apparent to you that we're relatively comfortable with the way Instructure is burning through its cash. For example, we think its cash burn relative to its market cap suggests that the company is on a good path. And even though its cash burn reduction wasn't quite as impressive, it was still a positive. It's clearly very positive to see that analysts are forecasting the company will break even fairly soon Taking all the factors in this report into account, we're not at all worried about its cash burn, as the business appears well capitalized to spend as needs be. While it's important to consider hard data like the metrics discussed above, many investors would also be interested to note that Instructure insiders have been trading shares in the company. Click here to find out if they have been buying or selling.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.