Net Revenue - Confluence.VC

Net revenue, also known as the top line or gross income, is a key indicator of success in the startup world.

It is the total amount of money that a business has earned over a given period of time – typically measured as either quarterly or annually – by selling goods or services, minus any refunds and deductions. Net revenue is important because it provides an understanding of how profitable a business is and how much money it has to invest in new projects, products and services.


By analyzing the net revenue trends of a startup over time, investors can identify areas for improvement and get a better understanding of the overall health of the company.



  • Accounting professionals face complex and critical problems when reporting and recognizing revenue.
  • Investors and financial analysts are also interested in how revenue is reported and recorded.
  • All income from sales is included in gross revenue when it is recorded. It is not possible to include expenditures from other sources.
  • Instead, net revenue reporting is calculated by subtraction the cost of goods from gross revenue. This gives a more accurate picture of the bottom line.



Need to level up your VC skills? We’ve got you covered.

Confluence.VC Resource Library




What exactly is net income?

Revenue is income from business operations.


Profit, however, refers to net profit after subtracting expenses from earnings. Sales revenue can come in many forms, such as sales, income earned from fees, and income from the property. Although a company may generate large amounts of revenue, it will not make any profit if its expenses exceed the revenue. This topic will help you understand the differences between revenue and profit.


Gross Revenue Reporting

All income from sales is included in gross revenue, also known as gross sales. It is not possible to include expenditures from other sources.


The cost of goods sold (COGS) is not included in gross revenue reporting. It only looks at the money made from sales. A company selling software to 1,000 customers at $100 per month would have gross revenue of $1.2 million (1,000 x $100 X 12).


Net Revenue Reporting

Net revenue, or net sale, is the difference between gross revenue and discounts or allowances.


Let’s say that the software company mentioned above has discounts and allowances of $20 per software subscription sold. The net revenue from the sale of the $100 software would have been $80 for the company. The company may also deduct rent, wages for staff, packaging costs, and other expenses from that $80. Any cost the company incurs would be taken out of the $100 gross revenue, resulting in the net revenue.


Revenue vs. Income

Revenue is a company’s money from selling goods and services. This is also known as the top line since it is added at the top of an income statement.


Revenue is the amount of cash a company generates before it incurs expenses. This shows how efficient a business is at selling but doesn’t consider operating profit efficiencies which can significantly impact the bottom line.


If a company claims “top-line growth”, it has experienced an increase in sales or revenue.


Gross or net income refers to the company’s total earnings or profit. Analysts and investors refer to the company’s net income or profit when discussing income.


Sometimes, the terms revenue and income are used interchangeably. However, net income, or the bottom line, is the sum of all earnings after accounting for any extra income.


Net income vs. gross revenue vs. net revenue

Each business should know its success rate at any given moment. Businesses must evaluate their profitability and their ability to manage expenses.


It is also essential to understand the costs of doing business, such as the cost of goods sold, employee payroll and rent, utility bills, office supplies, and utilities.


Investors are most interested in the gross revenue of a business as it shows its ability to generate sales and potential for growth. To assess the viability and profitability of your subscription service, it is essential to keep track of your gross revenue, especially if you have just launched a SaaS product.

This does not mean you should ignore net income or revenue. They provide the best information to make decisions about cost and worth.


You can only determine the true profitability of a service if you subtract the costs associated with it. This can be done for a SaaS company by subtracting your Customer acquisition cost (CAC) and your Customer lifetime value (LTV). You can then determine if the service is profitable or not. This will allow you to identify the costs that can be cut to increase your business’s profitability.


Lenders will consider these metrics before they approve credit for your business. Lenders want to assess your ability to raise capital for your business. These metrics will help you assess your ability to service debt.



What is gross revenue?

Gross revenue is the sum of all your client billings before taxes, expenses, or withholding. It is all client billings before taxes, expenses, or withholding.


Gross revenue is the net amount you have earned from the sale of goods and services minus the expenses.


If your company has 1,000 subscribers at $50 per month, your monthly gross revenue will be $50,000 ($50 x 1,000).


What is net revenue?

Net revenue (called net sales) refers to the company’s total income minus any adjustments like refunds, returns, and discounts.


Let’s use our previous example to show how net revenue is calculated. Let’s say 20 of your subscriptions were canceled mid-month, and you received a full refund.


For a net revenue of $49,000, you will subtract $1,000 (20×50) from the gross revenues.


You offer a price-matching discount vs. your main competition to reduce churn. 10 customers are sent with your competitor’s advertisement at a $40 price. Each customer is then refunded $10.


Net revenue is the revenue less any adjustments. To get $48,900 net revenue, you need to subtract $100. Net revenue gives you a better picture of your revenue.


What is net income?

After deducting expenses, net income is the company’s total profit after taking out allowances. It is the sum of all profit and loss after deductions.


Net income is calculated when the gross income is subtracted from all business expenses like marketing and advertising costs and legal and professional fees. Tax payments and office and travel expenses are also included.


Because net income is the last item in an income statement, it is often called the “bottom line”. Net income is a measure of your business’s profitability.


Net income is calculated by subtracting net revenue from the net revenue. This includes rent, mortgage payments, the cost of materials, and employee salaries. This will give you your taxable income.


Once you have determined the tax amount you owe and subtracted it from your income, you will be left with your net income.


If you have annual net revenue of $150,000 and your business costs are $60,000, your net earnings would be $90,000. ($150,000 – $60,000).


For any business, net income is an important metric. If your gross revenue exceeds your net income by a significant amount, you can evaluate your expenses and find ways to reduce costs.


Bottom line

Gross revenue, net income, and net income are critical financial metrics for any business. All of these numbers are important for operational and strategic decision-making.


These three metrics will help businesses understand where their money is going. This will allow the business to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and improve its profitability.


Gross revenue is the sum of a business’s revenues before it incurs expenses. It is all client billings before taxes, expenses, or withholding.


Net revenue is the amount a company makes from its operations minus any adjustments such as refunds, returns, and discounts.


After deducting expenses, net income is the total profit a company makes. It is the sum of all profit and loss, after excluding expenses.


To learn more about other terms commonly used in venture capital, check out our complete VC Glossary.


Want better VC emails?