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We Think Support.com (NASDAQ:SPRT) Can Afford To Drive Business Growth

Simply Wall St

Just because a business does not make any money, does not mean that the stock will go down. 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 Support.com (NASDAQ:SPRT) shareholders should be worried about its cash burn. For the purpose of this article, we'll define cash burn as the amount of cash the company is spending each year to fund its growth (also called 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 Support.com

Does Support.com 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. When Support.com last reported its balance sheet in June 2019, it had zero debt and cash worth US$43m. In the last year, its cash burn was US$5.5m. Therefore, from June 2019 it had 7.9 years of cash runway. While this is only one measure of its cash burn situation, it certainly gives us the impression that holders have nothing to worry about. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.

NasdaqCM:SPRT Historical Debt, October 15th 2019

How Well Is Support.com Growing?

Support.com actually ramped up its cash burn by a whopping 94% in the last year, which shows it is boosting investment in the business. While operating revenue was up over the same period, the 7.7% gain gives us scant comfort. Taken together, we think these growth metrics are a little worrying. Of course, we've only taken a quick look at the stock's growth metrics, here. You can take a look at how Support.com has developed its business over time by checking this visualization of its revenue and earnings history.

How Hard Would It Be For Support.com To Raise More Cash For Growth?

While Support.com 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. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash to fund growth. By comparing a company's annual cash burn to its total market capitalisation, we can estimate roughly how many shares it would have to issue in order to run the company for another year (at the same burn rate).

Support.com has a market capitalisation of US$31m and burnt through US$5.5m last year, which is 17% of the company's market value. Given that situation, it's fair to say the company wouldn't have much trouble raising more cash for growth, but shareholders would be somewhat diluted.

So, Should We Worry About Support.com's Cash Burn?

On this analysis of Support.com's cash burn, we think its cash runway was reassuring, while its increasing cash burn has us a bit worried. Cash burning companies are always on the riskier side of things, but after considering all of the factors discussed in this short piece, we're not too worried about its rate of cash burn. While we always like to monitor cash burn for early stage companies, qualitative factors such as the CEO pay can also shed light on the situation. Click here to see free what the Support.com CEO is paid..

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.