15 year old Olo is not a name your average eater will know. From a consumer’s point of view, that is largely behind their experience of ordering online from a restaurant, helping the chain with things like third-party order integration and fulfillment. It competes with online delivery platforms in some aspects of its business, but considers it a significant customer on the other. It also boasts another key difference: Its business is designed to be more like a software as a service company.
Food delivery, but make it SaaS, basically. In filing its initial public offering last month, Olo gave investors an idea of the advantages most food delivery platforms have yet to achieve on a sustainable basis. Even DoorDash, which increased revenue by 226% in 2020, is still losing money for the year. But Olo says it generates more than $ 3 million in net revenue in 2020 from revenue growing at less than half the rate of leading US food delivery platforms.
However, it is not clear how easily the profits can be recovered. Unlike typical SaaS models, where the business has significant visibility into future revenue thanks to up-front paying contracts, Olo calls itself a “transactional SaaS” model, where revenue comes not only from subscriptions but also from costs per transaction. This last source of income is important because it now forms the majority of its business: Although Olo says less than 7% of its revenue came from transactions in 2018, that percentage is growing to nearly 57% in 2020.
That mix of businesses alone should make SaaS investors bite their fingers. But things become even more uncertain when you consider that food delivery platforms that hope to see a significant moderation in their pace of growth over the next year are some of Olo’s biggest customers. According to its filing, Olo provides DoorDash access to its order fulfillment, aggregator and channel management solutions. Transaction revenue from DoorDash accounted for at least 19% of Olo’s overall top line last year, up from 2.6% in 2018.That likely means the DoorDash pandemic-driven business boom was a key factor in Olo’s ability to turn a profit – Olo lost money in two the year before 2020.
Slows down growth not the only risk associated with DoorDash. Olo also disclosed in his public offering that his party was being sued by the company, which alleges a breach of contract related to fees. While Olo said the allegations were baseless, the more than $ 7 million DoorDash was seeking would be insignificant if given. Furthermore, the lawsuit could threaten to injure what is clearly a significant financial relationship for Olo.
Olo may be the newest food trading technology company to hit the public market, but it’s nothing new. Preceding DoorDash, Uber Eats and even Grubhub, the company says its name actually stands for “online ordering,” which in the dial-up era used to be three words.
Olo started his business long before, sending text message orders to printers before the world owned iPhones. Investors must now wonder if it has taken a front on its own.
The National Football League is close to signing a new rights deal with media partners who can check out Amazon.com Inc. brought lots of games exclusively and TV networks paid as much as double their current rates, said those with knowledge of the matter.
New deals could be made as early as next week, people said. TV deals for the Sunday and Monday league franchises with Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN will likely run for 11 years, they said.
The ESPN deal will take effect after the 2021-22 season while the Fox, CBS and NBC deals will take effect after the 2022-23 season.
will produce a large number of Thursday night matches exclusively on its Prime Video platform and represent the league’s deepest foray into streaming, some say. The games will not be available on traditional television outside of the local markets of the two playing teams, they said.
Amazon has been an aggressive bidder for sports rights here and abroad. The company already has ties to the NFL as it has held the streaming rights for Thursday night football since 2017. The games have also been televised by the league’s NFL Network and most recently by the Fox network, whose parent Fox Corp. FOXA, + 3.64%
shares co-ownership with News Corp, the holding company of Wall Street Journal publishers Dow Jones & Co.
When completed, the Amazon deal won’t go into effect until after the 2022 season, when Fox’s current pact on Thursday night football ends. Fox is now paying $ 660 million per season for the package, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. If Thursday’s match goes to Amazon and there is no other video component outside the local TV market of the team playing, the annual fees Amazon pays could be as high as $ 1 billion, said people with knowledge of the discussion.
Roblox’s debut is coming as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted people to do so spend more money and time on video games than before. Tech valuations have surged over the past year – Roblox was personally worth $ 29.5 billion in January, up more than seven times from early 2020 – although the stocks have recently faltered amid shifting investor sentiment that an improved economy will benefit the sector other.
Instead of relying on Hollywood-like budgets and rock star talent to produce a few blockbuster games each year, Roblox is shifting game development to its own players. These players, especially teenagers and preteens, in turn produce their own hits and earn 70% of the revenue their work generates.
“We are like YouTube, except our content is a game, and our content allows everyone to play together,” Baszucki said in 2018 while speaking at his alma mater, Stanford University. The 58-year-old man himself often appears at Roblox, using the name “Builderman”.
This approach has earned Roblox an estimated 33 million daily users who can choose between tens of millions of multiplayer games, ranging from obstacle challenges and catch the flag iterations to contests based on popular characters like Peppa Pig and Sonic the Hedgehog. The company provides free tools and instructions that players – even those with no coding experience – can use to create games for its platform.
Samuel Jordan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a hiatus from college about a year ago to focus on creating games and other digital content for Roblox with his business partners. The 21-year-old, who participated in the company-run accelerator program in the summer of 2019, says he made about $ 600,000 last year from his Roblox creations, up from $ 30,000 in 2019.
“This is crazy,” Jordan said, adding that the pandemic was likely to contribute to a tremendous increase. More than 300 Roblox developers made $ 100,000 or more last year, the company said.
The health crisis provided significant fuel for Roblox’s business. Revenue grew 82% last year to $ 923.9 million, while orders – sales of virtual items on the platform – more than doubled to about $ 1.9 billion.
London’s Alan and Sinéidin Cooper said their two daughters, ages 5 and 10, and 7-year-old son each spent about five hours a week at Roblox before the pandemic. Now that time is doubled because they are using the platform to connect with friends. The couple treated their kids to Robux worth around $ 40 to $ 45 per month.
“It’s a great way for them to socialize,” Mr said. Cooper.
Roblox hasn’t been able to turn user loyalty into profit, as its net loss in 2020 swelled to $ 253.3 million from $ 71 million a year earlier. The company has said it plans to continue investing in the platform, which can be used for distance learning, conferences and other group experiences, such as concerts.
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Like other online hangouts featuring user-generated content, Roblox has to contend with predators and troublemakers who target children with inappropriate material – a particular concern given that more than half of the platform’s users are under 13. The company says it has made significant steps to keep users safe, such as by adding a communication filter to eliminate offensive speech.
Supporters include the large venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Altos Ventures and Greylock Partners. David Sze, a Greylock partner, said the company invested in Roblox partly because of Mr. Baszucki. While other CEOs may have switched from business models after modest initial growth, Mr. Baszucki remains confident in Roblox’s user-created mission, says Sze.
“It’s like 10 years walking through the desert without anyone trusting you,” he said. “Dave against all odds.”
Mr. Baszucki, who declined to be interviewed for this article, started and then sold a software company that specialized in physics simulation before founding Roblox with fellow programmer Erik Cassel, who died of cancer in 2013. They started making games for the platform, but soon invite other players to create their own. Roblox was released to the public in 2006.
“We immediately realized what they were building was much more interesting and exciting than anything we had ever made,” Baszucki wrote in a Roblox securities filing. Mr Baszucki is the largest shareholder of the company and holds 70% of the voting rights. He will forego cash and equity compensation for seven years after Roblox goes public, and in return qualify for a performance-based stock award, which he intends to donate for philanthropic causes.
Mr. Baszucki was an investor in Friendster, an early competitor for
and he sees Roblox as a combination of Second Life’s social networking platform and online virtual world, said Matt Dusek, a Roblox start-up employee who left the company in 2019. “He sees things as further away than anyone else around him often does,” Said Mr. Dusek.
In the following years, Roblox gradually expanded its user base. Mr. Baszucki, as “Builderman,” will greet new players digitally, appearing as one of the platform’s signature box avatars and offering tips on how to get started. Popular games inspire players to become developers, who then make more games, attracting more users – the so-called network effect.
Roblox’s user-generated gaming strategy has won praise from industry leaders. Tim Sweeney, CEO of “Fortnite” creator of Epic Games Inc., credits the company for helping gamers become game makers. “Roblox has done a tremendous job building the ecosystem,” he said in an email.
Although the company has warned that people may spend less time with its games as the pandemic fades, it wants to continue to add to its base of more than 8 million developers. Similar to other videogame publishers, Roblox is also looking to join more brands like
Booking Holdings Inc.’s operations continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2020, but held up better than analysts expected. Booking BKNG, + 3.57%, known as Priceline before changing its corporate name to one of its other online travel brands, said fourth-quarter losses on Wednesday of $ 165 million, or 4 .02 dollars per share, down from earnings of $ 27.75 per share. in the same quarter a year ago. Sales fell to $ 1.24 billion from $ 3.34 billion during the 2019 holiday season. After adjusting for some tax impacts and other costs, Booking recorded a loss of 57 cents per share, down compared to adjusted earnings of $ 23.30 per share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted losses of $ 4.28 per share on sales of $ 1.2 billion, according to FactSet. Shares gained around 2% after hours of trading following the release of results. The travel industry came under fire during the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline worsened in the last quarter of the year, with the coronavirus causing more lockdowns. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel issued a note of hope in a statement during Wednesday’s announcement. “The travel environment continued to be difficult during the fourth quarter of 2020 and through January 2021 as the number of COVID-19 cases remained very high and travel restrictions were reimposed in many. regions of the world, ”Fogel said. “However, in recent weeks we have started to see improvements in booking trends which we will continue to monitor.” Although Booking did not provide a forecast for the first quarter in Wednesday’s announcement, analysts expected any recovery to start further into 2021. “Given the likelihood of lockdowns extending as far as in March (notably in the UK) we expect a reset is needed for 1H: 21 Street forecasts (with our estimates) as intra-quarterly travel is muffled, although this should be to some extent within the expectations, ”Stifel analysts wrote in an online travel revenue snapshot earlier this month. “We believe the situation looks more favorable over a 12 to 18 month period for Booking, given the strong leverage effect on leisure travel, exposure to alternative accommodation and the ability to generate revenue.” Investors have been betting heavily on a possible turnaround, as Booking shares jumped over 27% last month and are now up over 36% last year, while the S&P 500 SPX index, +1, 14%, increased by 20.3%. Some of these gains appear to be linked to the initial public offering and early trading by Airbnb Inc. ABNB, + 6.72%, which sells full-residence accommodation instead of hotels – Booking and another rival, Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, + 1.93%, offer similar options in their brand portfolios. “A public assessment of Expedia’s alternative accommodation portfolio in the form of Airbnb seems to suggest a significant pricing error one way or the other” and “a similar argument can be made for Booking on a sum basis parts relating to Airbnb, ”Wedbush analysts wrote earlier this month, while improving Expedia’s stock and raising their reservation price target. Airbnb, which is worth more than Booking despite being considerably smaller, is expected to publish its results for the first time as a public company on Thursday afternoon. Airbnb stock, which sold for $ 68 when it went public in December, closed at more than $ 200 on Wednesday. .
Airbnb Inc.’s business was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, but quickly rebounded to the point that it had one of the biggest initial public offerings of 2020. Now is the time to find out what is expected. for 2021. Airbnb ABNB, -5.19% will report financial results for the first time since going public on Thursday afternoon, ending a blistering year for the company and a difficult year for the travel industry. So far, it appears that the online accommodation booking platform has been better positioned to deal with the pandemic than other companies in the travel industry, as travelers have finally sought out getaways near their homes where they could. avoid other people. Airbnb “has shown it to be more resilient to this particular shock of traveling,” said Tom White, analyst at DA Davidson. Airbnb reported third-quarter profit of $ 219 million, in part thanks to aggressive cost-cutting measures it implemented, on revenue of $ 1.34 billion – its second largest quarter never recorded. But an increase in COVID-19 cases in the fourth quarter led to further travel restrictions, which weighed on other companies in the industry, such as Expedia EXPE, -0.73%, and could also be reflected in Airbnb results – Analysts expect less than $ 750 million in fourth quarter revenue. The prospects offered by Airbnb could be greater for Airbnb and the travel industry. Airbnb released a report at the end of January in which it cited the results of its own survey as saying, “A majority of Americans (54%) have already booked, are currently planning to travel, or are planning to travel in 2021.” It remains to be seen whether travelers will still be pitted against Airbnb’s main competition: hotels. “Unless there is a structural change in traveler behavior, the change in preference is likely to be gradual, especially when hotels are back on a level playing field,” KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Justin Patterson wrote in a recent note. What to expect Profits: Analysts polled by FactSet are forecasting an average loss of $ 8.41 per share, largely thanks to the equity compensation costs of Airbnb’s IPO. Estimize, which brings together estimates from analysts, hedge fund managers, executives and more, expects a loss of $ 6.09 per share on average. Revenue: Analysts are expecting an average of $ 739.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet. The estimate is $ 775.9 million. Stock movement: Airbnb shares gained 35% during their period in public markets, while the S&P 500 SPX index, -0.49%, rose 6.5% during this period. a quarter-over-quarter slowdown in the fourth quarter in Europe and “lingering weakness” in the first quarter. But they said they believed Airbnb would withstand a downturn better than other online travel companies “given its focus on alternative accommodation inventory.” Growth: Airbnb continued to outperform hotels and OTAs in December year over year, KeyBanc analysts wrote in a note, which also said Airbnb and its smaller rival Vrbo had experienced positive growth year-over-year spending in January. The CFRA said in a note that it expects a strong rebound in bookings in 2021, including monthly bookings exceeding previous peak levels by the end of the summer. Regulatory risks: Airbnb faces bans and restrictions on stays or listings in different regions of the world. In his home country, he may also be affected by efforts to amend or reject section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which, among other things, protects him and other companies based in line, of any responsibility for the words and actions of their users. Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester, said that if Section 230 “was canceled, it would dramatically change all markets.” Without Section 230, she said Airbnb would have “a lot more than it needs to master,” as it could potentially face lawsuits for rental clauses, property damage and violence. Of 29 analysts polled by FactSet, 10 have a buy rating on Airbnb stock, while 16 have a hold, two say sell and one considers the stock’s overweighting. The average price target was $ 164.65 on Monday, when the stock closed at $ 195.34. .