Revenue-Based Financing for Technology Companies With No Hard Assets

August 17, 2016


Revenue-based costs (RBF), aswell accepted as royalty-based financing, is a altered anatomy of costs provided by RBF investors to small- to mid-sized businesses in barter for an agreed-upon allotment of a business’ gross revenues.

The basic provider receives account payments until his invested basic is repaid, forth with a assorted of that invested capital.

Investment funds that accommodate this altered anatomy of costs are accepted as RBF funds.


- The account payments are referred to as ability payments.

- The allotment of acquirement paid by the business to the basic provider is referred to as the ability rate.

- The assorted of invested basic that is paid by the business to the basic provider is referred to as a cap.


Most RBF basic providers seek a 20% to 25% acknowledgment on their investment.

Let’s use a actual simple example: If a business receives $1M from an RBF basic provider, the business is accepted to accord $200,000 to $250,000 per year to the basic provider. That amounts to about $17,000 to $21,000 paid per ages by the business to the investor.

As such, the basic provider expects to acquire the invested basic aback aural 4 to 5 years.


Each basic provider determines its own accepted ability rate. In our simple archetype above, we can plan backwards to actuate the rate.

Let’s acquire that the business produces $5M in gross revenues per year. As adumbrated above, they accustomed $1M from the basic provider. They are paying $200,000 aback to the broker anniversary year.

The ability amount in this archetype is $200,000/$5M = 4%


The ability payments are proportional to the top band of the business. Everything abroad getting equal, the college the revenues that the business generates, the college the account ability payments the business makes to the basic provider.

Traditional debt consists of anchored payments. Therefore, the RBF book seems unfair. In a way, the business owners are getting punished for their harder plan and success in growing the business.

In adjustment to antidote this problem, a lot of ability costs agreements absorb a capricious ability amount schedule. In this way, the college the revenues, the lower the ability amount applied.

The exact sliding calibration agenda is adjourned amid the parties circuitous and acutely categorical in the appellation area and contract.


Every business, abnormally technology businesses, that abound actual bound will eventually outgrow their charge for this anatomy of financing.

As the business antithesis area and assets account become stronger, the business will move up the costs ladder and allure the absorption of added acceptable costs band-aid providers. The business may become acceptable for acceptable debt at cheaper absorption rates.

As such, every revenue-based costs acceding outlines how a business can buy-down or buy-out the basic provider.

Buy-Down Option:

The business buyer consistently has an advantage to buy down a allocation of the ability agreement. The specific acceding for a buy-down advantage alter for anniversary transaction.

Generally, the basic provider expects to acquire a assertive specific allotment (or multiple) of its invested basic afore the buy-down advantage can be acclimatized by the business owner.

The business buyer can exercise the advantage by authoritative a individual transaction or assorted lump-sum payments to the basic provider. The transaction buys down a assertive allotment of the ability agreement. The invested basic and account ability payments will again be bargain by a proportional percentage.

Buy-Out Option:

In some cases, the business may adjudge it wants to buy out and extinguish the absolute ability costs agreement.

This about occurs if the business is getting awash and the acquirer chooses not to abide the costs arrangement. Or if the business has become able abundant to admission cheaper sources of costs and wants to restructure itself financially.

In this scenario, the business has the advantage to buy out the absolute ability acceding for a agreed assorted of the accumulated invested capital. This assorted is frequently referred to as a cap. The specific acceding for a buy-out advantage alter for anniversary transaction.


There are about no restrictions on how RBF basic can be acclimated by a business. Unlike in a acceptable debt arrangement, there are little to no akin debt covenants on how the business can use the funds.

The basic provider allows the business managers to use the funds as they see fit to abound the business.

Acquisition financing:

Many technology businesses use RBF funds to admission added businesses in adjustment to admission up their growth. RBF basic providers animate this anatomy of advance because it increases the revenues that their ability amount can be activated to.

As the business grows by acquisition, the RBF armamentarium receives college ability payments and accordingly allowances from the growth. As such, RBF allotment can be a abundant antecedent of accretion costs for a technology company.


No assets, No claimed guarantees, No acceptable debt:

Technology businesses are altered in that they rarely acquire acceptable harder assets like absolute estate, machinery, or equipment. Technology companies are apprenticed by bookish basic and bookish property.

These abstract IP assets are difficult to value. As such, acceptable lenders accord them little to no value. This makes it acutely difficult for small- to mid-sized technology companies to admission acceptable financing.

Revenue-based costs does not crave a business to collateralize the costs with any assets. No claimed guarantees are adapted of the business owners. In a acceptable coffer loan, the coffer about requires claimed guarantees from the owners, and pursues the owners’ claimed assets in the accident of a default.

RBF basic provider’s interests are accumbent with the business owner:

Technology businesses can calibration up faster than acceptable businesses. As such, revenues can admission up quickly, which enables the business to pay down the ability quickly. On the added hand, a poor artefact brought to bazaar can abort the business revenues just as quickly.

A acceptable creditor such as a coffer receives anchored debt payments from a business debtor behindhand of whether the business grows or shrinks. During angular times, the business makes the exact aforementioned debt payments to the bank.

An RBF basic provider’s interests are accumbent with the business owner. If the business revenues decrease, the RBF basic provider receives beneath money. If the business revenues increase, the basic provider receives added money.

As such, the RBF provider wants the business revenues to abound bound so it can allotment in the upside. All parties account from the acquirement advance in the business.

High Gross Margins:

Most technology businesses accomplish college gross margins than acceptable businesses. These college margins accomplish RBF affordable for technology businesses in abounding altered sectors.

RBF funds seek businesses with top margins that can calmly allow the account ability payments.

No equity, No lath seats, No accident of control:

The basic provider shares in the success of the business but does not acquire any disinterestedness in the business. As such, the amount of basic in an RBF adjustment is cheaper in banking & operational acceding than a commensurable disinterestedness investment.

RBF basic providers acquire no absorption in getting circuitous in the administration of the business. The admeasurement of their alive captivation is reviewing account acquirement letters accustomed from the business administration aggregation in adjustment to administer the adapted RBF ability rate.

A acceptable disinterestedness broker expects to acquire a able articulation in how the business is managed. He expects a lath bench and some akin of control.

A acceptable disinterestedness broker expects to acquire a decidedly college assorted of his invested basic if the business is sold. This is because he takes college accident as he rarely receives any banking advantage until the business is sold.

Cost of Capital:

The RBF basic provider receives payments anniversary month. It does not charge the business to be awash in adjustment to acquire a return. This agency that the RBF basic provider can allow to acquire lower returns. This is why it is cheaper than acceptable equity.

On the added hand, RBF is riskier than acceptable debt. A coffer receives anchored account payments behindhand of the financials of the business. The RBF basic provider can lose his absolute investment if the aggregation fails.

On the antithesis sheet, RBF sits amid a coffer accommodation and equity. As such, RBF is about added big-ticket than acceptable debt financing, but cheaper than acceptable equity.

Funds can be accustomed in 30 to 60 days:

Unlike acceptable debt or disinterestedness investments, RBF does not crave months of due activity or circuitous valuations.

As such, the turnaround time amid carrying a appellation area for costs to the business buyer and the funds disbursed to the business can be as little as 30 to 60 days.

Businesses that charge money anon can account from this quick turnaround time.