The cost of capital is a financial concept you must understand if you want to create an accurate and sound financial projection for your startup. It is an essential part of the process that determines how much money you will receive when you reach out to investors or lenders to help fund your venture.

Cost of capital is the cost of debt and equity capital used to finance a business venture, and it comes with both associated risks and potential returns. It is computed by taking into consideration potential returns and the required rate of return for investors in the given capital structure scenario.

A startup financial projection, on the other hand, is an estimation of the financial performance of a company in the future, based on the current records and analysis. It takes into account factors such as revenue, costs, expenses, capital and liabilities, and is used to inform financial decisions and support the business's long-term goals.

In the following post, we will discuss how the cost of capital affects startup financial projections and how companies can use this concept to make sound financial decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of capital is an important concept for startup business owners to understand.
  • Cost of capital is the money needed to finance a business venture with associated risks and returns.
  • A startup financial projection is a projection of the company's future financial performance.
  • The cost of capital affects startup financial projections and should be considered when making financial decisions.

Sources of Capital

When creating a financial projection for your startup, it is essential to understand the cost of capital and how it affects your business venture. Sources of capital do not only determine the achievable growth trajectory, but they also affect the risk taken on by the entrepreneur or venture capitalist. In deciding where to source capital for a business, there are three primary methods: equity, debt, and hybrid.


Equity capital is sourced by selling a portion of the business to investors. These investors are given a part of the ownership of the business in exchange for capital, but they usually have no say in running it. Equity financing has no limitation on the use of funds once raised, and thanks to relaxed securities regulations, even non-accredited investors can participate in equity financing. Equity capital is generally more expensive than debt capital, as investors are taking on more risk and expect higher returns. Investing in the equity of a business is only safe if the underlying business performs well, so picking winners is essential.


Debt capital, unlike equity capital, is borrowed from a lender. Investors are also not given a portion of the business, only being promised repayment with interest. Debt capital can be used for a variety of business needs, including working capital for operations, expansion, or acquisitions. Debt financing is generally less expensive than equity capital but still requires repayment plus the cost of the loaned funds in the form of interest payments. Debt can also be structured in a variety of ways, but in the end, repayment is always necessary.


Hybrid capital combines elements of both debt and equity financing. Hybrid capital investors are given a stake in the company in exchange for financing capital and in some cases, have certain rights related to operations and obligations. Hybrid capital is often seen as being a combination of the best of both debt and equity financing, but the costs are often higher than the cost of the debt and equity capital components taken separately. Hybrid capital can be seen as a method for companies to raise capital efficiently, although careful consideration of the terms must be undertaken.

Cost of Equity

As a startup, cost of equity is an important factor that affects your financial projections. When allocating funds, it is important to understand what cost of equity means, its role in risk, and the impact it has on financial projections.


Cost of equity is the rate of return a company requires to compensate a shareholder or investor for the risk they are taking. It is calculated on a company's current equity value in the market and can vary greatly depending on the company.

Role of Risk

The size and health of the company, and the level of market volatility all play a role in determining the cost of equity. Companies with smaller market caps and companies with more volatile stock prices tend to have higher costs of equity because they are perceived as higher risk investments.

Impact on Startup Financial Projection

The cost of equity has a direct impact on a startup’s financial projection. The higher the cost of equity, the greater the return required by investors. As a result, it is important for startups to consider both the market volatility and the size of their company when assessing the cost of equity. This will allow them to better understand the financial return required by potential investors.

Your financial projections will be affected by the cost of equity, and it is important to factor it into your overall financial plan. Consider both short-term and long-term goals when calculating the cost of equity, as well as the size and health of the company. By taking the time to analyze these factors, you can ensure your financial projection accurately reflects the potential return required by potential investors.

What is Cost of Debt?

Cost of debt is the rate of return a company must pay to its creditors, irrespective of the debt structure. It is the cost of borrowing money in form of loans, bonds, and other securities. This cost is directly related to the terms of the debt agreement, such as interest rate, maturity, the amount borrowed and repayment plan.

Role of Credit Rating

In order to determine the cost of debt, credit ratings play an important role. Credit ratings are provided by independent agencies to show the probability of a company to repay its debt. Companies with better credit ratings are likely to get a lower cost of debt, as it reflects good financial health. Poorly rated companies, on the other hand, have to pay a premium for borrowing funds.

Impact on Startup Financial Projection

For an early-stage startup, the cost of debt is more relevant as compared to other financing options such as venture capital or equity financing. It is important to understand the cost of debt to accurately project and manage the expenses of a startup. If the cost of debt is calculated incorrectly, it could lead to significant losses.

Moreover, startup financial projections are based on certain assumptions such as cost of capital and expected return on investment. If the cost of debt is higher than projected, the return on equity will be lower, and it can have a significant impact on the success of a startup.

It is important for startups to have a clear understanding of the cost of debt and its impact on the overall financial projections before taking on debt financing. Companies should consider various factors such as current market interest rates, credit rating, loan terms, and repayment plan to ensure that the cost of debt is accurate and within their budget. By understanding the cost of capital, startups can make more informed decisions when it comes to financing and budgeting.

Cost Of Hybrid

The cost of capital, or ‘cost of hybrid’, is a term used to describe the cost of equity and debt used to finance a business. It is a crucial element of the financial structuring of startups and other businesses, and one of the primary determinants of business success. Cost of hybrid affects a company’s ability to raise capital, the cost of that capital, and the potential returns of investments.


Cost of hybrid refers to the overall cost of debt and equity that is used to finance a business. The cost of hybrid is a combination of the costs of equity, such as shareholders’ dividends, and debt, such as interest payments that must be made on loans taken out. Therefore, cost of hybrid is made up of the cost of analyzing whether a company is a good investment (time spent researching, detecting the financial risk, etc), the cost of issuing debt and equity (issuing costs, such as those associated with preparing a prospectus), and the cost of borrowing money.

Role of Risk Tolerance

The risk tolerance of a company is an important factor when calculating cost of hybrid. Companies that are more tolerant to risk (such as startups) tend to be more willing to accept higher costs, as they believe the potential returns make the risk worthwhile. Conversely, mature companies tend to be averse to risk, and so have a lower cost of hybrid. Therefore, risk tolerance has an influence on the cost of hybrid.

Impact on Startup Financial Projection

The cost of hybrid affects the financial projections of any business, but is particularly pertinent to startups. The cost of hybrid increases the cost of capital needed to finance a business and reduces the potential returns of investments. Consequently, it is essential that startups understand the cost of hybrid and how it affects their financial projections, so that they can plan accordingly. A startup should factor in the cost of the hybrid when deciding how much capital is needed, how it will be borrowed, and what the expected returns of the capital should be.

Startups should also consider the role of risk tolerance in the cost of hybrid. The risk tolerance of a startup will affect the cost of hybrid, and it is important to bear this in mind when making any financial plans. Consideration should also be given to the other costs associated with raising capital, such as issuing costs and borrowing costs, as these can add significantly to the overall cost of hybrid.

Benefits of Knowing Your Cost of Capital

As a business owner or startup founder, it is essential to understand the concept of cost of capital and how it affects your financial projection. Knowing your cost of capital can help you make informed decisions about your financials.

Cost of capital is defined as the cost of acquiring or keeping capital, such as equity or debt, for financing. For a business, there are multiple costs associated with raising capital, including interest on debt, dividends on equity, and equity-based compensation costs that are applicable to all forms of finance.

Improves Financial Projection Accuracy

Knowing the cost of capital and how it affects your financial projection can be useful in predicting future returns on investment and other financial goals. With the right information, you can make better decisions on investments, expenses, and other financial calculations, giving you a better understanding of your business’s financial health.

Having an accurate view of your cost of capital will also allow you to identify opportunities for savings, such as debt refinancing or equity investments. Additionally, it can help with budgeting and cash flow management as you’ll have a better understanding of how different finance decisions will affect your future expenses.

Gives Better Insight on Capital Structure

Not only does knowing the cost of capital provide better financial projections, but it can also provide insight into your capital structure. This is important for startups, as their capital structure may be considerably different from more established businesses. By understanding the costs of debt and equity investments and how they affect your overall finances, you can better tailor your capital structure to fit the needs of your business and maximize returns.

In addition, this can help you assess potential risks and returns associated with potential investments and identify potential areas of improvement. Knowing the cost of capital can help you determine the best way to finance your business and maximize its potential for growth.


Cost of capital is an important concept for entrepreneurs to understand in order to assess risk and make informed financial decisions for their startup. It is the total return expected by the stakeholders for putting their capital into a business. It consists of four components – debt, preferred stock, common stock, and retained earnings. Generally, the higher the cost of capital, the greater the risk investors face in providing capital.

The cost of capital affects a startup’s financial projection in multiple ways. It impacts the return on capital, and can determine the structure of the funding or investment offered to the venture. Inclusion of the cost of capital in the financial projection also helps in assessing the risk associated with the venture. Further, the cost of capital is essential in order to decide how long the startup should raise capital and how much capital it should raise.

Understanding the cost of capital is essential for the success of the venture. Businesses must take the time to properly assess the cost of capital so that they can make realistic and informed financial projections for their startup.

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