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.
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
Here’s what you need to know to navigate the market today.
•Shares will open Tuesday morning, as US equity futures rose late Monday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures have gained 183 points, or 0.6%, while the S&P 500 futures are up 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite Futures was also up 0.5%. Investors have a week full of income come, as CVS Health,
Newmont, Roku, and Walmart report on Thursday, and Deere closes the week on Friday.
•US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that a September 11-style independent commission will investigate the January 6 attacks on the US Capitol. The Commission will examine all aspects of what happened during the deadly attack, “including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State and local law enforcement”, Pelosi said Monday. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, one of seven Republicans voted to convict the former President Donald Trump In one count of incitement, calling for a complete investigation, including “what is known, who knows and when they know, all of that, because it builds the foundation so that this never happens again.”Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré has led a review of Capitol security protocols. The Senate released Trump on Saturday, but lawmakers have signaled that more action will be taken to investigate the incident.
•The World Health Organization has agreed AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine for emergency use.The designation means that a vaccine is deemed safe and effective, and will allow poorer countries who cannot afford the more expensive vaccines that are permitted for use in the US to initiate mass vaccination once doses become available. Nearly 130 countries with a total population of 2.5 billion people have yet to start vaccinating their citizens. AstraZeneca‘s
• Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, warned Americans to become complacent about the pandemic as more dangerous variants begin to emerge. “You don’t want people to be complacent,” she says, adding, “we may still have stumbling blocks with the appearance of a variant that will dominate the image.” Fauci, 80, also said he considered the risk of infection himself during the Trump administration. “I’m not fixated on that, but it’s on my mind … especially when I go to the White House every day when the White House is kind of a very scattered location.”
•Jaguar Land Rover announced on Monday it will launch six electric Land Rover models over the next five years and its luxury Jaguar brand will be fully electric by 2025. JLR, belonging to India Tata Motors,
said zero-emission e-models from its entire lineup will be available by 2030. JLR will spend about $ 3.5 billion per year on electrification technology and will keep all three factories open in the UK. Competitors, including Bentley Motors and General Motors, has also been announced plans for a zero-emission vehicle in recent months.
The UK government’s mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers arriving from “red list” countries will go into effect on February 15. Since then, travelers have had to pay to isolate for 10 days in a room at the hotel and be accompanied by security if they wish to leave the hotel – just as I did when I was quarantined at a hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, in December. 2020.
Led by health secretary Matt Hancock, the government said on February 4 that it had asked hotels near the port and airport to submit bids with proposals for how they would manage their facilities. More details are expected next week, particularly regarding how passengers can book rooms prior to arrival.
Apart from the administrative details, what exactly is a hotel quarantine like? Well, the first thing you should know is that you have to find a way to keep your mind busy. That, and a steady supply of coffee and fresh air helped me get through the 15 day quarantine.
Hancock has spoken with her Australian counterpart to ask about how the country is implementing a quarantine system, and has plans to talk to New Zealand officials as well. Australia launched its system at the start of the pandemic March 28, 2020 while the New Zealand system was launched April 9, 2020.
When I returned home to New Zealand in December last year, I was sent straight from the airport to the four-star Rydges hotel – also known as the “Management and Isolation Quarantine” facility – in downtown Auckland with other travelers on my flights. In the United Kingdom, the program name is similar, with hotels being dubbed “Managed Quarantine Facilities”.
Since April 9, 2020New Zealand has a strict quarantine on all citizens and permanent residents entering the country – the only people allowed to arrive in my 4.9m wide home country. Initially, quarantine was mandatory for free, but now travelers staying less than 90 days in the country will have to pay NZD $ 3,100 (about £ 1,620).
Upon arrival, a large and somewhat intimidating information pack explaining what I will and cannot do over the next two weeks, with the extra privilege granted if I test negative after my two Covid-19 tests. The test rules have changed and the government now requires three tests: On the first, third and 12th day.
I have to stay two meters away from everyone and be unable to share rides with anyone other than those in my travel bubble. We were allowed into the outdoor area just in front of the hotel lobby which was double fenced from the public: one held us back and two meters away from people.
After the third day’s test came back negative, we were given two privileges: Sitting on the rooftop bar and the “park walk”, where groups of 10 to 15 people were taken by bus to a fenced soccer field where we could take a walk 45 minutes.
Another highlight of the quarantined travelers day is food. In New Zealand, food is plentiful and arrives three times a day in a brown paper bag that is dropped at your door.
Even though the staff delivering him were long gone, it was a tradition to shout thanks in the empty corridors. In the middle of the quarantine period, I was treated to a surprise cake shop to congratulate me on making it this far.
Work is also a welcome distraction – knowing it’s about 10 meters from the door to the furthest wall in my room. Walking there and back 50 times is a kilometer so I make sure to keep going under any circumstances.
Throughout my time in hotel quarantine, I have and continue to respect front line workers, medical staff and defense forces. Everyone cares for you: they’ll congratulate you when you’re halfway through and celebrate with you while you’re away.
Random strangers walking past the hotel would wave and cheer, raising everyone’s spirits. Seeing some of my friends and family between the fences makes me emotional and gives me extra energy to get through.
The best part? Hugged my Mother as I left quarantine in the bright New Zealand sun.
it is now trading almost 90% on it initial public offering price such as a vaccine that is widely distributed in the US and restaurants in some of its largest markets are poised to reopen outdoor dining. So why isn’t this stock too short?
The answer may be more about comfort than taste. Apart from restaurant deliveries, DoorDash has built its market share in third-party shipments for other goods, such as items from 7-Eleven, Wawa, Circle K and CVS. Post-pandemic, those additional opportunities could prove more important to DoorDash’s growth thesis than bearish investors appreciated.
Much of DoorDash’s appeal ahead of its December IPO is how quickly it can go from 0 to 60 in food delivery. The company said it had only a 17% share of the US market in terms of total sales in January 2018 but that share had grown to 50% in October – nearly double that of its next biggest competitor, Uber Eats. Now it turns out that in newer markets such as practical freight forwarding, DoorDash has grown even faster.
A report from Edison Trends Thursday shows DoorDash now owns 58% of US convenience store spending via third-party delivery apps, more than double that of its next biggest competitor, goPuff. Last January, Edison Trends had DoorDash’s share of around 5% and goPuff’s 70%. For all of Uber’s talk of leaning heavily on additional delivery services, Uber Eats’ market share in third-party convenience goods is now just 8%, according to the report.
For DoorDash, the supermarket may be more than just the icing on the cake. According to Edison Trends’ analysis, overall online consumer shopping at convenience stores grew by nearly 350% in 2020, almost three times faster than online restaurant consumer sales. DoorDash customers increased their convenience store spend by 162% sequentially from the third to fourth quarters, according to EdisonTrends data – a good sign for DoorDash’s first earnings report as a public company to come later next month.
Opportunities beyond traditional food delivery appear to be a big part of what differentiates analysts who have remained positive at DoorDash from those who feel they are overvalued. In his initiation report, Truist analyst Youssef Squali pegged the potential addressable markets in groceries and convenience, including e-commerce and bricks and mortars, about $ 50 billion for the industry as a whole, with an additional $ 22 billion coming from specialty food stores and $ 60 billion came from beer, wine and liquor stores. With regards to a highly concentrated wholesale market, he notes that more fragmented areas such as fast delivery could be more profitable. Meanwhile, Angelo Zino from CFRA Research initiated coverage on DoorDash with a sale rating, not to mention the convenience opportunity.
Cautious investors worry that demand for food deliveries will ease as the pandemic eases, but that doesn’t mean demand in other areas will shrink. Analyst forecasts compiled by Visible Alpha show DoorDash’s average order value decreased 23% from 2020 to 2025, but monthly orders per active customer grew by nearly 30% during that period. More options should continue to bring more customers to the DoorDash platform, that is very strong in the suburban market practical shopping is not necessarily walkable Analysts estimate DoorDash’s monthly active customers will grow by 21% this year alone.
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Doug Anmuth called food delivery a “forever changing category,” noting that while growth may slow, activity will still pick up, given the value of convenience and consumer choice. He cites new verticals, such as convenience, grocery stores and pharmacies, as key growth drivers.
When it comes to restaurant outings, visiting a corner shop is always more of a chore than a gift. It’s possible that even though visitors are racing to return to eat after the pandemic, they will continue to order everyday items.
To DoorDash, that is indeed a comfortable narrative.