I assume that by now you are busy with all things DoorDash IPO (pricing, trade, future), C3.ai (pricing, trade, future) and Airbnb (pricing, trade). What follows assumes that you are read.
To kick off the Market Notes this week, some market news: Braze grew 60% in the first three quarters of the fiscal year.
Unfortunately, although the New York-based loyalty software startup joined the $ 100 million ARR club just under a year ago, we can't say it's $ 160 million today. Why not? The company counted GAAP sales instead of ARR, so the growth number doesn't match the old metric.
The period for the 60% was between February 2020 and October (it is common for SaaS companies to start their fiscal year after January so that their fourth quarters don't end right after Christmas). But I wouldn't be surprised if Braze was at an ARR level of $ 160 million or more.
According to its CEO Bill Magnuson, the company has not raised funds since its Series E in October 2018, valued at $ 80 million. The startup grew quickly without needing to raise more capital to fund its growth.
How did COVID-19 affect the company? Magnuson said Braze was likely ahead of its pre-COVID plan, but that it has issued a new forecast on a rolling basis this year as the economy has changed. On the customer side, the CEO said the growth without COVID could have been similar, but different. He used an analogy of a balloon, COVID squeezed some parts of the balloon – market sectors in our analogy – but also enlarged some other parts of the balloon at the same time. Same balloon volume after COVID, but different market shape.
Does the move to GAAP indicate a move to an IPO? Not really, said Magnuson. Braze likes to compare its results with those of other companies to see how and where they can improve, he added, so standard metrics are helpful.
But let's be clear: Braze is big enough to go public, doesn't burn as much money, and watches companies end out with near weird multiples. The temptation is certainly there.
When we talk about IPOs, let's talk about some. I went on the horn with another player from Airbnb and DoorDash debut this week, which I've condensed to their respective key points for today in honor of space:
Why DoorDash's CFO is optimistic about consumer demand for the pandemic: The conversation with Prabir Adarkar was great fun as it is both fleeting and clear. This is a great combination for someone you want to learn from. I wanted to know what DoorDash thought about post-pandemic food demand. I have a somewhat pessimistic attitude. As you expected, Adarkar is more bullish. After discussing how the company's major IPO will give the company a cushion to dig deeper into the grocery market and expand into new industries, we got to the point. The CFO argued that users who downloaded the DoorDash app and used it a few times are very sticky. He expects the stickiness to persist even after COVID-19. And he added that more restaurants have been added in the last few months so the service has improved itself. This could help keep users occupied if allowed outside.
Why Airbnb's Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is positive about consumer demand for a pandemic: Nathan Blecharczyk, one of Airbnb's founders and CSO, spoke to The Exchange about his company's post-pandemic demand thesis. First, the trip will return as soon as people are allowed to go outside. That's good for Airbnb. And, he said, Zoom isn't going away – people can spend a long weekend at an Airbnb and work on Fridays and relax on the weekend, for example. With the return of international travel and a cultural shift towards remote working, Airbnb could get a bigger marker in 2021 than in 2019. We'll see.
Sequoia partner Alfred Lin on this week's IPO prices and results: Finally from our call log, an investor. Sequoia has been on both DoorDash and Airbnb, with Lin on everyone's board. We had a little chat about the IPOs, a convo that made something stand out. In response to my questions about the extreme prices some IPOs had after their debut, Lin stated that Airbnb was expensive in personal life too. Sometimes you have to pay for excellence, the argument seemed to work. From a business perspective, I agree with the point. From the perspective of public investors, I understand less. But that's why the stock market is fun.
Before we dive into a few small things, after reporting on OKR-focused koan that raised another $ 1 million, OKR-focused Ally.io – which I wrote about earlier – released some data on its growth . A sucker for such information, here's the gist: Ally grew sales 3.3x in 2020, added 500 customers, and saw 145 expansions from existing customers. Ally pointed to the need for additional planning tools for a hybrid (office and remote) working environment as a driver of demand. Koan explained a similar situation as the impetus for the release of a free tier of its software.
The OKR market was hot earlier this year. I guess it still is.