categories

HOT TOPICS

NEWSLETTER

If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here.

Subscribe to our Feed

Cloud Stocks: Upwork Improves Monetization

Posted on Monday, Apr 20th 2020

Mountain View-based Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK), the largest online marketplace that enables businesses to find and work with highly-skilled freelancers, has been making several changes to revive its growth rate and improve monetization.

Upwork’s Financials

Upwork’s fourth quarter revenue was up 19% to $80.3 million, beating analyst estimate of $79.42 million. Net loss was $(5.5) million, or $(0.05) per share, compared to a net loss of $5.4 million, or $(0.05) per share, a year ago. Non-GAAP net income was $3.4 million or $0.3 per share, compared to a non-GAAP net income of $2.7 million, or $0.03 per share a year ago.

Marketplace revenue grew 21% to $72.2 million and accounted for 90% of total revenue. Managed services revenue increased 5.3% to $8.1 million.

Gross services volume (GSV) increased by 16% year-over-year to $549 million. Take rate, defined as total revenue divided by GSV, was 14.6%, compared to 14.3% a year ago. Core clients grew 18% to approximately 124,000.

Full year 2019 revenue grew 19% to $300.6 million. GSV grew 19% to $2.1 billion. Net loss narrowed to $16.7 million from $19.9 million a year ago. Non-GAAP net income improved to $5.5 million, compared to net loss of $0.6 million a year ago.

For the first quarter, Upwork expects revenue in the range of $81.5 to $82.5 million. For the full year 2020, it expects revenue in the range of $340-$345 million at a growth rate of 13%-15%. Revenue increased 25% to $253.4 million in fiscal 2018 and 19% in 2019.

Changes at Upwork

Upwork made several changes last year. It introduced new paid client subscription plans, which have higher monetization characteristics both in the subscription fee and take rate. It also changed both the cost of Connects and the number of Connects required to submit a proposal. Lastly, it increased its client payment fee for Upwork Basic and Plus from 2.75% to 3%. As a result of these changes, its monetization has improved. Overall take rate improved in Q4 to 14.6%, from 14.3% a year ago. Its marketplace take rate improved to 13.4% in Q4, compared to 12.8% a year ago.

Another important change is that Upwork has a new CEO Hayden Brown who took over the reins from January 1st this year. Hayden was previously the Chief Marketing and Product Officer of Upwork. To revive the company growth to 20%, she is following a three-pronged strategy: attract more, bigger clients; enable more spend per client; and make more high-quality matches, particularly in its technical categories of web, mobile, and software development.

During the earnings call, she clarified the misconception that Upwork is a site for hiring freelancers for small gigs. In reality, over 85% of its more than $2 billion GSV in 2019 was derived from large engagements and complex projects, not small gig work. About 40% of projects are for technical mobile development and software development and 30% of its clients are Fortune 500 companies.

Last month, Upwork launched a new brand campaign, which targets professional staffing buyers and showcases Upwork platform’s strengths for longer term, high quality work with rated, reviewed talent. To ensure that it is attracting and converting the right clients, Upwork is optimizing its lead funnel for sales, as well as innovating its self-service client on-boarding experience.

Focusing on large enterprise clients is good but another potential growth area is tech startups that use virtual teams excessively to keep costs down, In an earlier post, I had suggested that Upwork should focus on this virtual trend and build an accelerator for startups on its platform that have a high potential for fast growth. 

Its stock is currently trading at $7.4 with a market capitalization of $843.1 million. It touched a 52-week high of $20.9 in May last year. The stock hit a 52-week low of $5.14 earlier this month.

Upwork had listed in October 2018 at list price of $15 and a valuation of $1.5 billion. Prior to the listing, Upwork had raised $170 million in funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Stripes Group, Pequot Capital, Citigroup, Focus Ventures, T. Rowe Price, Sigma Partners, Benchmark, Globespan Capital Partners, DAG Ventures, and SV Angel.

This segment is a part in the series : Cloud Stocks


. Smartsheet Acquiring Bootstrapped Startups to Drive Growth
. Bootstrapped Unicorn Atlassian is Acquiring Capital Efficient Startups
. Netflix Price Hike Ruffles Competition
. How Will Carbon Black Differentiate?
. ServiceNow Grows Through Addition of Capital-Efficient Startups
. Zendesk and Freshworks Follow Different Acquisition Strategies
. Tableau Grows Through Small Acquisitions
. Open Platform Strategy Stands Intuit in Good Stead
. Will GoDaddy Follow the PaaS Route?
. Adobe Delivers Via PaaS
. A Look at Oracle’s 2018 M&A Activity
. What Apps Will Drive More Traction for Cloudera?
. Slack's App Focus Will Be Key to Post-IPO Success
. IBM Counts on its Cloud and Platform for the Turnaround
. Atlassian Acquires From its PaaS Marketplace
. What Should SAP Acquire to Triple its Value by 2023?
. Expect ServiceNow to Acquire From App Marketplace
. Should Alarm.com Follow a PaaS Strategy?
. How Upwork Can Leverage the Virtual Company Trend
. Qualys Scouting For Acquisitions
. Should SAP Acquire Zendesk or Freshworks?
. HubSpot Counts on its API Strategy
. SurveyMonkey Eyes Acquisitions for Growth
. Workday Wants to Disrupt Cloud Computing Using Machine Learning
. Einstein and Open-Source Platform Lead the Charge for Salesforce
. DocuSign Prepares to Beat Rival Adobe
. Veeva Soars, But Dassault Acquires Medidata for $5.8 Billion
. Tableau Acquisition Signals Massive Analytics Push for Salesforce
. Oracle Joins Hands with Microsoft to Take on Amazon
. GoDaddy is Making Strategic Acquisitions for the Next Level of Growth
. Alteryx Sees Strong Momentum
. Adobe Leveraging Magento and Marketo to Deliver Blockbuster Performance
. Is Slack Overvalued?
. How Will Cloudera Address the Competition?
. Zoom is Not Bothered by Cisco or Microsoft
. Domo Counts on Enterprise Revenue for Growth
. Netflix Plays with Pricing and Games to Attract Subscribers
. CrowdStrike Has a Successful IPO
. Atlassian Crosses the Billion Dollar Revenue Milestone
. ServiceNow Believes Strength Lies in Tie-ups
. Partnerships are the Mantra for BlackLine
. SurveyMonkey Counts on Enterprise Segment for Growth
. HubSpot Soars to a New High
. Intuit Pushes AI to Simplify Tax Filing
. Splunk Sees Strong Cloud Momentum
. Forescout Partners with Big Names
. Smartsheet Tapping into the Government Sector
. Salesforce Continues its Shopping Spree
. Palo Alto Networks Targets the IoT Security Market
. DocuSign Focuses on the Mortgage Sector
. Oracle Brags About Autonomous Database
. Blackbaud Acquires YourCause to Grow Addressable Market
. The Market Expects a Lot More from Adobe
. Anaplan Makes its First Acquisition Post IPO
. Activist Investor Drives Market Interest in Box
. MongoDB's Formula for Success
. Coupa Aims for $1B Revenue
. Dropbox on a Rocky Road
. Medallia Banks on Acquisitions
. IBM Banks on AI
. Time For Skepticism with Netflix
. SAP Riding High on the Cloud
. Amazon's Faster Shipping Hurting its Earnings
. ServiceNow CEO Change Signals Focus on Acquisitions
. Will Google Acquire Fitbit?
. HubSpot Focuses on Its Platform
. BlackLine Partners with Google Cloud
. Rapid7’s Focus on Cloud SIEM Pays Off
. Splunk Bets Big on Data Streaming
. Intuit's QBO Scores Big
. VMware Builds Up With Acquisitions
. Palo Alto Targets $5B Revenue by 2022
. Workday Targeting Procure-to-Pay Cycle
. Will Salesforce Acquire DocuSign?
. Okta Targets Enterprise Customers
. MongoDB Eyeing China With Alibaba Partnership
. Twilio Counts on API Upgrades for Growth
. Adobe Revs up its Experience Platform
. Top 20 for 2020
. Anaplan Sees Expanding Use Cases
. Dropbox Gears Up to Regain Lost Valuation
. Forescout Fails to Deliver
. Enterprise Bet Pays Off for SurveyMonkey
. SAP Bets Big on Experience Management
. Twilio Steps up Investment in 2020 to Preserve Growth Momentum
. Zendesk, Freshworks Focus on Marketplaces and Integrations
. Proofpoint Targets Insider Threats Through Acquisition
. RingCentral's Powerful Partner Strategy Would Augment with PaaS
. Qualys Counts on Google and Microsoft for Growth
. Shopify Soars on Improved Merchant Offerings
. HubSpot Believes in the Importance of PaaS
. BlackLine Remains Focused on SAP Integration
. Recently Public Cloudflare has New Edge
. GoDaddy is on a Shopping Spree
. Intuit Targets Online User Base Through Acquisition
. Should Palo Alto Networks Acquire ZScaler?
. Why Salesforce Buying Vlocity Proves the Growing Importance of PaaS
. Datadog Performing Well Post Recent IPO
. Workday Should Open Up About its PaaS Success
. Anaplan Focuses on API Connectors for its Platform
. Veeva
. Five9 Strengthens its PaaS Focus
. RealPage Brings AI and SaaS to Real Estate
. Splunk Should Open up About its PaaS Metrics
. Okta Benefiting from App Diversity
. Oracle Sees Growth Momentum
. Xero Focuses on a PaaS Strategy
. DocuSign Resilient to COVID-19
. Smartsheet Looking up to Enterprise Customers for Growth
. Paylocity Delivers Solid Results
. Q2 Holdings Expands TAM with Acquisitions
. New Relic Focuses on PaaS
. AppFolio Leverages AI for Product Enhancement
. Will Adobe Open Up About its PaaS Statistics?
. Change Healthcare Pushes APIs
. Dropbox Needs to Share API Metrics
. Upwork Improves Monetization
. MongoDB has Miles to go
. Nutanix Needs to Define a PaaS Strategy
. Cloudera Focuses on Hybrid Cloud
. Atlassian Gears Up for Growth, Unfazed by Covid-19
. Shopify Helps Merchants Pivot to Online Stores
. ServiceNow Steady in Turbulent Seas
. RingCentral Sees Strong Traction
. Twilio Hits 52-Week High Amidst COVID Crisis
. HubSpot Lowers Outlook Amidst Virus Concerns
. Proofpoint Acquiring Even Amidst Crisis
. BlackLine Looks Solid At The Face of Covid-19
. GoDaddy Continues to Acquire
. Qualys Expands Cloud Offerings to Soar to New Highs
. Zendesk Struggling Amidst the Downturn
. Alteryx Bounces Back Despite Low Outlook
. Palo Alto Networks Continues to Acquire
. Workday Extends its PaaS Strategy
. Splunk Rides High on Cloud Initiatives
. Salesforce Partners with Workday to Address the New Normal
. Veeva Scales New Highs
. Is Smartsheet’s Pullback a Buying Opportunity?
. MongoDB Soars Even in the Crisis
. Okta Reiterates Outlook
. Is Anaplan a Prospect for Oracle, SAP?
. Oracle Relies on Autonomous Offerings
. Adobe Shifts its Focus
. Paycom Confident Under Current Conditions
. DocuSign Soars to Record Highs
. Paylocity Acquires Amid Crisis
. Datadog's Integrations and Upgrades Help it Soar
. AppFolio Improves Offerings for Current Conditions
. SurveyMonkey Should Get Into PaaS
. Model N Soars to a Record High
. Appian Focuses on RPA for Growth
. Slack Beefs up its Portfolio
. Coupa Expands into Treasury Services
. CrowdStrike Soars to Record Highs
. Guidewire Expands Cloud Offerings
. Dropbox Should Focus on PaaS
. Talend Expands Data Offering Through Partners
. IBM Expands Cloud Partners
. One Medical Supports COVID-19 Care Digitally
. Microsoft Rides High on Teams and Gaming
. Investors Say Yes to nCino’s IPO
. Nutanix Focuses on Government and Media Verticals
. SAP Rethinks Qualtrics Acquisition
. Tenable Expands Into Industrial Cyber-Security
. ServiceNow Expands Ties with Zoom
. Cloudera Powers its Data Platform with Partnerships
. Atlassian Continues to Acquire from PaaS Ecosystem
. Shopify Soars to an All-Time High
. The PaaS Landscape
. HubSpot Focuses on the Enterprise Segment
. GoDaddy Restructures During COVID
. Akamai's Security Solutions Thriving
. Blackline Needs a PaaS Strategy
. Twilio - A Successful PaaS Story
. Zendesk Invests in the Future
. Qualys Continues to Acquire Indian Startups
. ZoomInfo Lists Despite COVID-19
. Analysis of Alteryx PaaS Strategy
. Fastly Needs to Diversify from TikTok
. Way to Go, Salesforce
. Intuit Continues to Acquire
. VMware Continues Buying Spree
. Analysis of Five9's PaaS Strategy
. Okta Expands Alliances to Attract Enterprises
. Palo Alto Continues to Acquire
. Analysis of Splunk's PaaS Strategy
. BigCommerce Goes Big with IPO
. Analysis of Workday's PaaS Strategy
. Analysis of Anaplan's PaaS Strategy
. Bill.com Sees Strong Demand
. Analysis of MongoDB's PaaS Strategy
. Analysis of Wix's Platform Strategy
. New Relic Product Upgrades Deliver Growth
. What Should Proofpoint Acquire?
. Smartsheet Should Follow Atlassian’s Example
. Adobe's Relentless Growth Continues
. SurveyMonkey's PaaS Prospects
. DocuSign Acquires Amid COVID
. Paylocity Counts on Video
. The Unstoppable Veeva
. Magic Software Acquires to Expand in Europe
. What Can Cloud Startups Do To Raise Seed Capital in 2021?
. Guardant Seeks to Disrupt Oncology Testing
. Dropbox Adds Security Capabilities
. Domo Growing Steadily
. Nutanix Focuses on the Hybrid Cloud

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos