Dry Powder

Dry Powder Meaning

Dry Powder is cash reserves set aside for the contingencies or the investment opportunity so as to utilize it on the right time and it is also called as reserves set aside for tough times or downfall with the motive of safeguarding the investments made by the investors as it increases the faith of the investors in the company which will give the undue benefit to the business organization in the long run.


Dry powder basically means to set aside for emergencies and includes both monetary and non-monetary things. It is also referred to as liquid funds available for use. It is different for different organizations. For the financial institutionsFinancial InstitutionsFinancial institutions refer to those organizations which provide business services and products related to financial or monetary transactions to their clients. Some of these are banks, NBFCs, investment companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies and trust corporations. read more and business organizations, the dry powder is cash reserves as the financial institutions and business organizations set aside the cash reserves to grab the opportunity or to meet the emergencies. For traders and manufacturers, it is the stock or material as the manufacturers set aside some of their stock or material to be used in times of the unavailability of material or emergency. For Investors, it is liquid assetsLiquid AssetsLiquid Assets are the business assets that can be converted into cash within a short period, such as cash, marketable securities, and money market instruments. They are recorded on the asset side of the company's balance sheet.read more as Investor holds some liquid assets to meet emergencies, etc. the concept is just an explanation to save for an emergency, whether a business organization or otherwise.


The concept of Dry Powder originated from the military wars as the soldiers keep the stock of guns, gunpowder, gunshot, food packets, and other things used in times of war to protect themselves in the emergency situation. But now this concept has widened and used in almost all the areas of business and also it is used in non-business sectors.

Dry Powder in Business Environment

Business organizations usually need funds to meet the day to day expenditure and for investing the funds. The business plans the funds by cash flow and fund flow. The safe players of the business set aside certain funds to use in an emergency situation as they believe that business should not depend upon the single source of income. Some business organizations set aside the funds to meet the opportunity in the future to grab the opportunity they want to invest earlier. It is very important for all the business organizations to set aside the funds to meet the emergencies as the business conditions are always dynamic, and the future cannot be predicted to safeguard and to protect the interest of investors’ the business organizations set aside the funds to meet the emergency situations. Business organizations should maintain the balance between liquid funds and investments to safeguard the opportunity costOpportunity CostThe difference between the chosen plan of action and the next best plan is known as the opportunity cost. It's essentially the cost of the next best alternative that has been forgiven.read more.

The following are some of its advantages in the business environment:

  • Enhance the confidence of the investors.
  • Smoothens the operating activities in tough times also;
  • It can become the savior in times of need.
  • Easy availability of credit because of liquid assets and funds.

Dry Powder in Private Equity

Huge investors invest in Private equities to earn a high rate of return. Private equity or venture capitalistsVenture CapitalistsVenture capital (VC) is long-term finance extended to startups with high-growth potential to help them succeed exponentially. The investors are venture capitalists who bear the excessive financial risk and provide guidance to startups to attain their objectives.read more use the funds for making new investments or for the expansion of the business. But they also keep certain funds aside to grab the opportunity in times of need as their investments are long term, so keeping dry powder is very important in private equities. The fund set aside is also used in tough times or recession to meet the obligations. It ensures the smoothness in the business. It is the responsibility of managers of private equity or venture capitalist to maintain the balance between investment and dry powder to prevent unnecessary idle funds.

What does Dry Powder mean for Reserves?

For Reserves, it means the free reserves which can be used at any time to meet the emergency or grab the opportunities. It includes only those reserves which are available in cash, i.e., liquid reserves and cash reserves. It includes only cash reserves which are available for free use.

How does Dry Powder affect credit?

It affects the credit in the following ways:

Advantages of Dry Powder


  • Because of idle funds in the form of dry powder, there is a loss of opportunity cost.
  • It may reduce the return on investment and can deviate the investors.
  • It increases the risk factor as keeping the heavy cash reserves can prove to be risky.
  • It might discourage investors, and they cannot get market returns.


Dry powder is the concept which is originated from the military fights to protect from the harm and to meet the emergency situations to keep the necessary products with them. Similarly, the concept got recognition in the business environment. The business organizations also set aside certain funds to meet the emergency and to grab the uncertain opportunity. Keeping the dry powder increases the credit standing in the market and ensures the smooth conduct of business in tough times also. It also increases the confidence of investors, but sometimes it might prove to be harmful as there is the loss of opportunity cost of idle funds, and keeping funds idle might prove risky.

Recommended Articles

This article has been a guide to Dry Powder and its meaning. Here we discuss dry powder in the business environment, in private equity, and how does it affect credit along with advantages and disadvantages. You may learn more about financing from the following articles –