UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-36383
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
3001 Bishop Drive, Suite 350
San Ramon, CA 94583
(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
|Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:|
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.001 par value||FIVN||The NASDAQ Global Market|
|Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None|
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes: ☒ No: ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes: ☐ No: ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes: ☒ No: ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes: ☒ No: ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||(Do not check if a smaller reporting Company)||Smaller Reporting Company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of
the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.
7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes: ☐ No: ☒
The aggregate market value of registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant based upon the closing sale price on the NASDAQ Global Market on June 30, 2021, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $10,269.5 million. Shares held by each executive officer, director and their affiliated holders and by each other person (if any) who owns 10% of the outstanding common stock or more have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.
As of February 22, 2022, there were 69,149,622 shares of the Registrant’s common stock, par value $0.001 per share, outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting, which the registrant expects to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of December 31, 2021, are incorporated by reference into Part III (Items 10, 11,12, 13 and 14) of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which involve substantial risks and uncertainties. These statements reflect the current views of our senior management with respect to future events and our financial performance. These forward-looking statements include statements with respect to our business, expenses, strategies, losses, growth plans, product and client initiatives, market growth projections, and our industry, including those set forth under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this report. Statements that include the words “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “project,” “forecast,” “estimate,” “may,” “should,” “anticipate” and similar statements of a future or forward-looking nature identify forward-looking statements for purposes of the federal securities laws or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements address matters that involve risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. These factors include the information set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report, and include the following:
•our quarterly and annual results may fluctuate significantly, including as a result of the timing and success of new product and feature introductions by us, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business and may result in decreases in the price of our common stock;
•if we are unable to attract new clients or sell additional services and functionality to our existing clients, our revenue and revenue growth will be harmed;
•our recent rapid growth may not be indicative of our future growth, and even if we continue to grow rapidly, we may fail to manage our growth effectively;
•failure to adequately retain and expand our sales force will impede our growth;
•if we fail to manage our technical operations infrastructure, our existing clients may experience service outages, our new clients may experience delays in the deployment of our solution and we could be subject to, among other things, claims for credits or damages;
•our growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties and our failure to successfully maintain, grow and manage these relationships could harm our business;
•we have established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master agents and resellers to sell our solution; our failure to effectively develop, manage, and maintain this network could materially harm our revenues;
•the markets in which we participate involve a high number of competitors that is continuing to increase, and if we do not compete effectively, our operating results could be harmed;
•adverse economic conditions may harm our business;
•the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have materially affected how we, our clients and business partners are operating, and the duration and extent to which it will impact our future results of operations and overall financial performance remain uncertain;
•security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of our data or our clients’ data, or other cyber attacks on our systems, could result in litigation and regulatory risk, harm our reputation and our business;
•we may acquire other companies, or technologies or be the target of strategic transactions, or be impacted by transactions by other companies, which could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders or use a significant amount of our cash resources and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results;
•if our existing clients terminate their subscriptions or reduce their subscriptions and related usage, our revenues and gross margins will be harmed and we will be required to spend more money to grow our client base;
•we sell our solution to larger organizations that require longer sales and implementation cycles and often demand more configuration and integration services or customized features and functions that we may not offer, any of which could delay or prevent these sales and harm our growth rates, business and operating results;
•because a significant percentage of our revenue is derived from existing clients, downturns or upturns in new sales will not be immediately reflected in our operating results and may be difficult to discern;
•we rely on third-party telecommunications and internet service providers to provide our clients and their customers with telecommunication services and connectivity to our cloud contact center software and any failure by these service providers to provide reliable services could cause us to lose clients and subject us to claims for credits or damages, among other things;
•we have a history of losses and we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability;
•the contact center software solutions market is subject to rapid technological change, and we must develop and sell incremental and new solutions in order to maintain and grow our business;
•we may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs;
•failure to comply with laws and regulations could harm our business and our reputation; and
•we may not have sufficient cash to service our convertible senior notes and repay such notes, if required.
The foregoing factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read together with the other cautionary statements included in this report. If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, our actual results may differ materially from what we anticipate. You should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements you read in this report reflect our views only as of the date of this report with respect to future events and are subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this report to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this report or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.
ITEM 1. Business
Five9 is a pioneer and leading provider of intelligent cloud software for contact centers. We were “born in the cloud,” and since our inception, we have exclusively focused on delivering our platform in the cloud and are disrupting a significantly large market by replacing legacy on-premise contact center systems. Contact centers are vital hubs of interaction between organizations and their customers and, therefore, are essential to delivering successful customer service, sales and marketing strategies. Our mission is to empower organizations to transform their contact centers into customer engagement centers of excellence, while improving business agility and significantly lowering the cost and complexity of their contact center operations. Our purpose-built, highly scalable and secure Virtual Contact Center, or VCC, cloud platform delivers a comprehensive suite of easy-to-use applications that enable the breadth of contact center-related customer service, sales and marketing functions. We have become an established leader in the cloud contact center market, facilitating more than nine billion call minutes between our more than 2,500 clients and their customers per year. We believe our ability to combine software and telephony into a single unified platform that is delivered in the cloud creates a significant advantage.
We believe there are three key industry trends driving growth in the cloud contact center market.
First is the rapid increase in adoption of cloud contact center software solutions as a result of several distinct factors. The increasing adoption of cloud computing, especially within customer relationship management, or CRM, is creating strong demand for integrated cloud contact center software solutions. In addition, cloud contact center software solutions now offer the functionality required by large, complex enterprise contact centers. Furthermore, we believe organizations typically refresh their on-premise contact center systems every eight to 10 years, which provides an opportunity for cloud solutions to replace legacy on-premise contact center systems when these replacement decisions arise. On-premise systems require large up-front investments, long deployment cycles, and are burdensome to maintain. These systems are also often inflexible, complex, and require significant duplication of effort and integration across multiple sites. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the prevalence of agents working remotely which presents a challenge to premise-based systems that, by design, are focused on a particular physical location. This creates substantial challenges for clients with on-premise contact center systems. As a result, cloud contact center software solutions are continuing to replace legacy on-premise contact center systems.
Second is digital transformation. Consumers have the ability to easily and quickly switch brands after experiencing poor customer service. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to provide the tools and technologies to meet consumer demands for a seamless experience across their engagement channels of choice. Cloud contact center software solutions provide organizations with the agility to adapt to a rapidly evolving environment and innovative functionalities to reimagine the way they engage with customers.
Third is cloud-based technology advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence, or AI, which are enabling improved customer experience, significant operational efficiencies and business insights. For example, real-time, accurate and increasingly cost-effective automatic speech recognition and natural language processing are increasingly allowing mundane contact center tasks to be handled efficiently and effectively by virtual agents, allowing live agents to focus on more complex issues.
Our solution, comprised of our VCC cloud platform, AI and automation portfolio, including Interactive Virtual Agent, or IVA, Agent Assist, Workflow Automation, or WFA, and Workforce Optimization, or WFO, allows simultaneous management and optimization of customer interactions across voice, chat, email, web, social media and mobile channels, either directly or through our application programming interfaces, or APIs. Our VCC cloud platform matches each customer interaction with an appropriate agent resource and delivers relevant customer data to the agent in real-time through integrations with adjacent enterprise applications, such as CRM software, to optimize the customer experience and improve agent productivity. Our solution ensures our clients always have the latest version of our software. Delivered on-demand, our solution enables our clients to quickly deploy agent seats in any geographic location with only a computer, headset and broadband internet connection, and rapidly adjust the number of contact center agent seats in response to changing business requirements. Unlike legacy on-premise contact center systems, our solution requires limited up-front investment, can be rapidly deployed and are maintained by us in the cloud.
Our sales model consists of a field sales team that sells our solution into larger opportunities and a telesales team that sells our solution into smaller opportunities. We have developed a proven, high velocity, metrics-driven sales and marketing strategy, designed to effectively identify, qualify and close sales opportunities. To complement this go-to-market strategy, we have developed a large ecosystem of technology and system integrator partners and independent software vendors to help increase awareness of our solution in the market and drive additional sales opportunities with new and existing clients. We have also established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master sales agents, which provide sales leads and resellers that sell our solution to new clients. This network has helped us attract additional clients. Our resellers have assisted us in expanding in both domestic and international markets.
We provide our solution through a software-as-a-service, or SaaS, business model with recurring revenue made up of subscription revenue, based primarily on the number of agent seats, and usage, based on minutes, as well as the specific functionalities and applications our clients deploy such as virtual agents.
We have achieved significant growth in recent periods. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, our revenue was $609.6 million, $434.9 million and $328.0 million, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 40% and 33%, respectively. We incurred net losses of $53.0 million, $42.1 million and $4.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, as a result of increased investment in our growth, along with higher stock-based compensation and interest expense. As of December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, our total assets were $1,192.9 million, $1,063.7 million and $482.4 million, respectively. Our recurring revenue model combined with our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate, which was 122% as of December 31, 2021, have enhanced our ability to forecast our financial performance and plan future investments. For a description of how our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate is calculated, please refer to ITEM 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We operate in a single reportable segment. Please refer to the geographical information for each of the last three years in Note 11 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements. Please refer to the discussion of risks related to our foreign operations in the section entitled “ITEM 1A. Risk Factors.”
We deliver a comprehensive, end-to-end cloud software solution for contact centers, which includes cloud software that allows automation of customer interactions leveraging technologies such as natural language processing and automatic speech recognition. Our solution enables organizations of all sizes to enhance customer experience through voice as well as digital engagement channels, improve customer service and retain loyal customers. Our solution is designed to enable our customers to increase their sales performance and improve the efficiency of their operations.
Our solution is designed to enable our customers to comprehensively and seamlessly engage through voice, video, website, mobile, chat, email, click-to-call, callback, social and messaging. Our agent interface is an intuitive modern browser-based design that provides easy visualization of customer profile, context and cross channel history. This solution is built on a modern SaaS architecture, leveraging both our own data centers and the public cloud. Our VCC platform is based on a modern micro services-based open enterprise architecture built with representational state transfer, or REST, APIs and software development kits, or SDKs, that enable customers, partners and developers to bridge any operational gaps within their unique systems. We provide high voice quality at low cost with our Agent Connect service and our call-by-call carrier optimization routing. Our complete end-to-end capabilities include Computer-Telephony Integration, or CTI, IVA, Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, WFA, Agent Assist, Automatic Call/Contact Distribution, or ACD, with skills-based routing, reporting, dashboards, agent and supervisor desktops, outbound dialer, pre-built third-party integrations, quality management, speech and desktop analytics, customer surveys and workforce management.
Our cloud contact center solution, which we refer to as our solution, provides the following key elements:
•Rapid implementation, seamless updates and pre-built integrations. Our solution is designed to be deployed quickly and seamlessly with minimal disruption to a client’s operations. The pre-built integrations with leading CRM and other enterprise applications reduce the complexity and burden of integrating with the client’s business applications. Our solution is designed to be seamlessly updated so that clients are always operating on the latest version of the software, while maintaining their existing configurations, ensuring minimal disruption to the client’s contact center operations.
•Highly flexible platform. Our solution provides easy administration, configuration and role-based functionalities for agents, supervisors and administrators enabling the rapid adjustment of contact center resources to meet a changing mix of contact channels and peaks-and-troughs in contact center volumes.
•Scalable, secure and reliable multi-tenant architecture. Our solution provides organizations of all sizes with the robust contact center functionality, scalability, flexibility and security required in the most sophisticated and distributed environments.
Our solution is designed to provide the following key benefits to clients:
•Higher agent productivity. Our solution empowers agent productivity and effectiveness by allowing agents to handle both inbound and outbound calls and interact with customers across multiple digital engagement channels, including voice, chat, email, web, social media and mobile. Our solution gives agents the ability to switch between media channels through an easy-to-use, unified interface that provides agents with all of the relevant content and tools needed to complete the task at hand. Furthermore, our AI enabled automation features enable agent efficiency and other cost reductions, including by utilization of natural language processing, or NLP.
•Improved customer experience. Our intelligent contact routing and self-service IVA and IVR capabilities, pre-built CRM integrations, and multichannel engagement ensure that customers receive an omnichannel experience. Each new contact is quickly routed to an appropriate agent resource. Using the rich contact history and additional context through integrations with CRM applications, agents have immediate access to the most current, relevant and accurate information about the customer, resulting in increased first contact resolutions and a more satisfying experience for the customer.
•Enhanced end-to-end visibility. Our solution provides clients’ operations staff, quality team and leadership with a complete view of contact center performance through a comprehensive set of historical reports, real-time dashboards, and quality and performance management tools. Clients can also extract reporting data from our solution for further analysis using a spreadsheet application or using the sophistication of an enterprise business intelligence application. This insight provides an organization-wide view of customer engagement performance and allows clients to quickly determine the appropriate actions required to address changing circumstances.
•Greater operational efficiency. Our solution provides contact center managers and supervisors with significant visibility into their agents’ productivity and effectiveness and the performance of their inbound queues and outbound campaigns. Our solution has robust intelligence and analytics capabilities to help supervisors optimize operations and campaigns in real-time to drive increased efficiency. Our role-based interfaces deliver specific functionality to both desktops and mobile devices to meet the unique needs of agents, supervisors and administrators.
•Compelling value proposition. We provide a unified cloud-based software and telephony platform for contact center operations, including software applications, technology infrastructure, maintenance, monitoring, storage, security, client support and upgrades, which enables our clients to simplify their technology infrastructure and streamline IT costs. We manage upgrades and deployments remotely, resulting in lower total cost of operations relative to legacy on-premise contact center systems that often require in-house technical support staff.
Our Competitive Strengths
We believe that our position as a leading provider of cloud contact center software results from several key competitive strengths, including:
•Cloud-based, enterprise-grade platform and end-to-end application suite. We deliver a cloud-based enterprise-grade platform and applications suite with multi-channel capabilities that allows our clients to manage their entire contact center operation. Our highly scalable, secure and multi-tenant architecture enables us to serve large, distributed enterprises with complex contact center requirements, as well as smaller organizations, all from a single cloud platform.
•Rapid deployment and support of our comprehensive solution. Our high-touch engagement model for larger implementations accelerates agent activation and targets desired business outcomes by leveraging a proven lifecycle approach including detailed discovery, design, testing, training and optimization. Through the use of tools and processes that have been refined over thousands of customers, we can also efficiently
meet the needs of our smaller clients. We offer flexibility and integrate with a number of leading CRM vendors, including: Microsoft Corporation, or Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, or Oracle, Salesforce.com, Inc., or Salesforce, ServiceNow, Inc., or ServiceNow, Zendesk, Inc., or Zendesk, and others. We also offer integrations into UC partners such as Microsoft Teams, Nextiva, RingCentral, Zoom Video Communications, or Zoom, and others. We combined these comprehensive integrations with out-of-the-box application adapters that allow our customers to easily build workflow integrations without the need for dedicated developers. Once operational, we offer a high touch premium support service where we assign a technical account manager who has intimate knowledge of the customers’ operations so we can quickly resolve issues and fine tune the solution. As a result, our clients’ contact centers become fully operational faster and they recognize time to value more quickly than with legacy on-premise contact center systems.
•Reliable, secure, compliant and scalable platform. Our platform delivers what we believe is industry leading reliability utilizing public and private cloud technology; cybersecurity using a defense-in-depth approach; scalability to accommodate the requirements of larger clients; and legal and regulatory compliance features designed to assist our clients in complying with applicable laws, regulations and industry standards.
•Proven, repeatable and scalable go-to-market model. We engage with our clients through a highly scalable and metrics-driven sales and marketing organization that effectively identifies, qualifies and closes sales opportunities. The deep domain expertise of our field sales team is instrumental in selling to larger opportunities, and our highly efficient telesales model enables us to cost-effectively identify, qualify and close a high volume of smaller opportunities. Our ecosystem of technology, system integrator and channel partners increases awareness of our solution and helps generate new sales opportunities. We believe our go-to-market model gives us an efficient and effective means of targeting organizations of all sizes.
•Established market presence and a large, diverse client base. We have a large, diverse client base of over 2,500 organizations across multiple industries. We believe our clients view us as a key strategic solutions provider. The performance, reliability, ease-of-use and comprehensive nature of our solution has resulted in high client retention.
•Extensive partner ecosystem. We have cultivated a robust ecosystem of partners including a variety of leading CRM software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, ServiceNow and Zendesk; WFO vendors such as Calabrio, Inc., or Calabrio, and Verint Systems Inc., or Verint; unified communications vendors such as Microsoft Teams, Nextiva, RingCentral and Zoom; system integrators such as Accenture PLC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, IBM, PwC LLP and Slalom Consulting, LLC; master agents and value-added resellers such as AT&T Inc. and CDW Corporation; independent software vendors; and telephony providers globally. We believe this ecosystem has enabled us to increase our brand awareness and enhance the functionality and value of our solution for our clients.
•Focus on innovation and thought leadership. Since our inception, we have been an innovator of intelligent cloud contact center software. Our investment in research and development has driven our growth and enabled us to deliver a cloud contact center software solution with the features and functionality to power the most complex contact centers. We strive to be a thought leader in our industry, identifying and developing cloud capabilities to transform traditional contact center operations into customer engagement centers of excellence. Contact centers are a rich source of the data that powers AI, from call detail records to full recordings of calls and customer interactions. With recent advances in automatic speech recognition, voice recordings are becoming a source for training machine-learning models. We believe that AI is having, and is likely to have, an increasingly profound impact in how businesses deliver service to their customers.
We have a large and diverse client base comprised of more than 2,500 organizations as of December 31, 2021, with no single client representing more than 10% of our revenues in 2021, 2020 or 2019. Our client base spans organizations of all sizes across multiple industries, including banking and financial services, business process outsourcers, retail, healthcare, technology and education.
Sales and Marketing
Marketing. To build client awareness and adoption of our solution, our lead generation activities consist primarily of search engine marketing, internet advertising, digital marketing campaigns, social media, trade shows, industry events, co-marketing with strategic partners, account-based marketing, client referrals and out-of-home campaigns. We have adapted to various COVID-19 restrictions by converting our user group meeting from in-
person to virtual and switching from in-person to fully virtual or hybrid attendance at various trade shows. In addition, our industry analyst, press and media outreach programs, and web site marketing initiatives are designed to build brand awareness and preference for our solution. We offer online self-service demos to allow prospective clients to learn about the features and functionality of our VCC cloud platform in more detail. We also offer proof of concept service packages to allow prospects to experience the quality and ease-of-use of our cloud solution and quantify the potential benefits of our deployment.
Direct Sales. Our sales model consists of a field sales team that sells our solution into larger opportunities and a telesales team that sells our solution into smaller opportunities. Our field and telesales teams are also responsible for selling to existing clients that may renew their subscriptions, increase the number of agents using our cloud solution, add new applications from our solution and expand the deployment of our solution across their contact centers.
Indirect Sales. We have cultivated strong partner relationships with master sales agents, system integrators and resellers to drive sales of our solution. We have established, and continue to increase, our network of master sales agents, which provide sales leads, system integrators, which also provide sales leads and help integrate our solution with our client systems, and resellers, which sell our solution to new clients. This network has helped us attract additional clients.
We offer comprehensive professional services to our clients to assist in the successful implementation and optimization of our solution. Our professional services include application configuration, system integration, and education and training. Our clients may use our professional services team for implementing our solution or, in limited cases, they may also choose to perform these services themselves or engage third-party service providers to perform these services. Our cloud solution allows us to eliminate the need for lengthy and complex technology integrations, such as deploying equipment or maintaining hardware infrastructure for individual clients. As a result, we are typically able to deploy and optimize our solution in significantly less time than required for deployments of legacy on-premise contact center systems.
Research and Development
Our ability to compete depends in large part on our continuous commitment to research and development and our ability to improve the functionality of, and add new features to, our VCC cloud platform. Our core research and development center is based in our San Ramon, California headquarters, with additional engineers located in Australia and Russia, which allows us to benefit from relatively low-cost and highly skilled software developers. Our engineering team has deep software and telecommunications skills, and works closely with our sales team to identify our clients’ product requirements. In addition, continuous interactions with our partners enable our engineers to enhance the usability and performance of our platform and its integration with best-in-class CRM and other business applications and telephony technologies.
Technology and Operations
Our highly scalable and flexible cloud platform is the result of our extensive research, development, client engagement and operational experience. Our platform is comprised of in-house developed intellectual property, open source products and commercially available hardware and software. Our platform is designed to be redundant. We believe that all components can be upgraded, expanded or replaced with minimal or no interruption in service.
We currently deliver our services globally from third-party co-location data center facilities located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia and from public cloud locations in Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe. We also host some of our voice services on the public cloud in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. Our infrastructure, including our third-party co-location facilities, is designed to support real-time mission-critical telecommunications, applications and operational support systems. Our infrastructure is built with redundant, fault-tolerant components divided into distinct security zones forming protective layers for our applications and customer data.
We have designed and maintain an operations, capacity and security program to monitor and maintain our platform, ensure efficient utilization of our platform capacity and protect against security threats or data breaches. Our operations team monitors our data centers for potential performance issues, unauthorized attempts to access secure data or applications and the overall integrity of the platform.
The market for contact center software is fragmented, highly competitive and evolving rapidly in response to shifting consumer behavior, especially the rapid adoption of mobile devices and new channels of engagement, such as social media. The proliferation of each is driving change in contact center technology, as customers expect companies to give them the option of seamless communication across all channels without losing the overall context of customer interactions according to their preference and needs. Combined with the disruptive nature of the cloud in the contact center, this has resulted in competitors who come from different market and product heritages, and who vary in size, breadth and scope of the products and services offered. We currently compete with large legacy vendors that offer on-premise contact center systems, such as Avaya Inc., or Avaya, and Cisco Systems, Inc., or Cisco. These legacy telephony vendors are increasingly supplementing their traditional on-premise contact center systems with competing cloud offerings, through a combination of acquisitions, partnerships and in-house development. Additionally, we compete with vendors that historically provided other contact center services and technologies and expanded to offer cloud contact center software such as Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., or Genesys, and NICE Ltd., or NICE. We also face competition from many smaller contact center service providers such as Content Guru and Talkdesk, as well as vendors offering both unified communications and contact center solutions such as Zoom. In addition, Amazon.com, Inc., or Amazon, Twilio Inc., or Twilio, and most recently, Microsoft, have introduced solutions aimed at companies who wish to build their own contact centers and/or contact center components with developers. In addition, CRM vendors are increasingly offering features and functionality that were traditionally provided by contact center service providers. CRM and customer experience vendors also continue to partner with contact center service providers to provide integrated solutions and may, in the future, acquire competitive contact center service providers. These factors could cause CRM vendors to reduce or terminate their partnerships with us, and could result in increased competition. Because CRM integration and partnerships are critical to the success of our solution, these factors could harm our revenue and results of operations.
Our actual and potential competitors may enjoy competitive advantages over us, including greater name recognition, longer operating histories and larger marketing and product development budgets, as well as greater financial and technical resources. With the introduction of new technologies and market entrants, we expect competition to continue to intensify in the future. Our recent, and any future, acquisitions will subject us to new competitors and cause us to face additional and different competition in the markets served by these businesses. We believe the principal competitive factors in our market include:
•breadth and depth of solution features;
•reliability, scalability and quality of the platform;
•ease and speed of deployment;
•ease of application administration and use;
•level of client satisfaction;
•domain expertise in contact center operations;
•integration with third-party applications;
•ability to quickly adapt and upgrade to new and evolving technologies, including AI;
•ability to quickly adjust agent seats based on business requirements;
•breadth and domain expertise of the sales, marketing and support organization;
•ability to keep pace with client requirements;
•extent and efficiency of professional services;
•ability to offer multiple channels of engagement; and
•size and financial stability of operations.
We believe we currently compete effectively with respect to each of the factors identified above.
We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, and trade secret laws in the U.S. and other jurisdictions, as well as license agreements, confidentiality agreements and other contractual protections, to protect our proprietary technology. We also rely on a number of registered and unregistered trademarks to protect our brand. In addition, we
require our employees and independent contractors involved in development of intellectual property on our behalf to enter into agreements acknowledging that all works, or other intellectual property generated or conceived by them on our behalf, are our property, and assigning to us any rights, including intellectual property rights, that they may claim or otherwise have in those works or property, to the extent allowable under applicable law.
As of December 31, 2021, our intellectual property portfolio included three registered U.S. trademarks, 14 issued U.S. patents, two pending U.S. patent application, two pending international Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, patent applications and one registered U.S. copyright. As of December 31, 2021, outside the U.S. we also had five issued patents and 10 trademark registrations. The expiration dates of our issued patents range from 2030 to 2041. In general, our patents and patent applications apply to aspects of our VCC cloud platform.
We are also a party to various license agreements with third parties that typically grant us the right to use certain third-party technology in conjunction with our solution. We expect that software and other applications in our industry may be subject to third-party infringement claims as the number of competitors grows and the functionality of applications in different industry segments overlaps. Any of these third parties might make a claim of infringement against us at any time.
We believe that there are seasonal factors that cause our revenues in the first half of a year to be lower than our revenues in the second half of the year. During 2021, 2020 and 2019, 54%, 55%, and 54% of our total revenues were generated in the second half of each year. We believe this is due to increased activities in retail, healthcare and education in the second half of each year.
Employees and Human Capital Resources
Our employees and the culture we have established are the key to our success. As of December 31, 2021, we had 2,138 full-time employees. 46% of our employees are in various cost of revenue functions, 19% in research and development, 25% in sales and marketing and 10% in general and administrative. Our employee turnover for the last three years has averaged 6.9%.
The key human capital measures and objectives that we focus on in managing our business are maintaining our company culture, increasing our diversity and inclusion, our compensation philosophy and our employees’ safety, including as a result of COVID-19, and our talent development.
We have built a culture of high performance based upon our values:
1.Always do the right thing for the customer.
2.Good enough isn’t good enough.
3.We value diversity.
4.We are relentless learners.
5.We bias toward action, “kick the bolt”.
6.We treat it like we own it.
7.A spirit of service guides us.
8.We believe in the servant leader.
9.We act with integrity and humility and as a team.
10.We keep it simple. Less is more.
Our values are woven through the entire employee lifecycle and used in the interview process to ensure we hire candidates that have personal values that align with ours. Our values are instrumental in the semi-annual employee performance self-reflection cycle, and we request that employees share how they have lived our values. In addition, we regularly celebrate employees that live our values through recognition and rewards. We introduce new employees to our values during new hire orientation and our values are visible in the offer package as well as company employee resources pages. Our CEO also weaves these values into quarterly company meetings and regular meet ups, such as “Thursdays in the Cloud” where one of the values may be highlighted through a story and employee example.
We regularly collect feedback to better understand and improve the employee experience and identify opportunities to continually strengthen our culture. 76% of employees participated in our most recent employee
survey in 2021. Last year we achieved the highest level of employee engagement according to our vendor, Culture Amp, as noted in its Engagement and Inclusion benchmark (top quartile) based upon responses from approximately 2,000 companies. Employees’ highest rated areas were the following: contribution to broader purpose (96%) and diversity (91%).
Diversity & Inclusion at Five9
We value diversity and hold ourselves accountable to create a culture where our employees represent humanity. We embrace authenticity and trust and lead with transparency, empowering our employees to have a voice that's heard. We are committed to learning, empowering, advocating, allying and supporting each other within our company and in our communities. Our recruiting programs support and encourage diversity. We recruit from various diversity organizations, including historically black colleges and universities, the Career Cast Diversity Network of Women, Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQIA, the Career Cast Disability Network, and the Career Cast Veteran Network. In addition, we have several Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs, that are committed to diversity and creating and fostering a culture of inclusion. Our ERGs include Women In Tech, Blatinx, Five9 Faith and Pride @ Five9. We are currently working with Black Girls Code to offer an online educational session for underserved girls enlisted in their program and our female employees are facilitating the class. We have also created a mentorship program with a specific eye towards diversity. Executive sponsors of the program reach out to employees from underrepresented groups to promote the program and encourage employees to participate. Our human resources team pairs mentors with mentees to enable employees to receive opportunities for growth and development.
Women represent 30% of our worldwide employees and racial and ethnic minorities represent 31% of our U.S. employees as of December 31, 2021. Women and ethnic minorities represent 30% and 17%, respectively, of our leadership team and Board as of December 31, 2021.
We strive to attract and retain the best employees by providing a total rewards package that is at or above market rates to enable us to attract and retain employee talent needed to accomplish our goals and objectives. Our competitive rewards packages include cash, bonus programs dependent upon the position, equity awards and benefits aligned to prevailing market practices, and in cases where business demands are unique, we may lead the competitive market.
Full-time employees and their family members enjoy comprehensive benefits programs and perks. In an effort to attract and retain the best talent, we strive to offer benefit programs that will enable our employees to thrive both at work and at home. We cover 100% of the employee portion of our healthcare benefits and share a high portion of the dependent costs. Our competitive global benefits include a Parental Leave Policy, flexible schedules, financial and physical wellness programs, fertility benefits and 401(k) matching.
COVID-19 and Employee Safety
During the COVID-19 pandemic our primary focus has been the health and safety of our employees and their families. We enabled all of our global employees to transition to a work from home environment and we provided two COVID-19 relief bonuses to all employees Sr. Director and below to help offset the financial impact of the pandemic. In addition, we assisted employees with a work from home stipend that employees could use to make their home office more conducive to comfortably working from home. During the fourth quarter of 2021, we also provided a wellness cash benefit for our global employees. We also offered our employees’ health and wellness resources such as yoga, meditation and counseling resources if needed.
Employee development is a key focus in the attraction, retention and management of our talent. Semi-annually, we facilitate employee self-reflection cycles where employees have development conversations with their manager. The purpose of these conversations is to foster the employee’s development plans and career goals. Managers and employees discuss growth and development opportunities in these sessions and conversations and development plans are tracked via the employee performance platform. We also host a quarterly development series for all employees to enhance their career development. The development series topics have included mentorship, communicating for shared success, the art of influence and a career workshop. This development series aims to provide educational opportunities for leadership and growth for our employees. We also have a succession planning
program that focuses on identifying employees that are high potential and high performing and plans for developing them into future leadership roles by creating action plans and a path for the employee’s progression.
Workplace Practices and Policies
We are committed to providing a workplace free of harassment or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, caste or other legally protected characteristic. We are an equal opportunity employer committed to inclusion and diversity.
The following summarizes important, but not all, federal, state and foreign regulations that could impact our operations. Federal and state regulations are subject to judicial review, administrative revision and statutory changes through legislation that could materially affect how we and others in this industry operate.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 vests the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, with jurisdiction over interstate telecommunications services, while preserving state and local jurisdiction over many aspects of these services. As a result, telecommunications services are regulated at both the federal and state levels in the United States.
We are classified as a telecommunications service provider for federal regulatory purposes. Since our business is regulated by the FCC, we are subject to existing or potential FCC regulations relating to privacy, disability access, porting of numbers, automatic number dialing, contributions to the federal Universal Service Fund and related funds, or USF, and other requirements. If we do not comply with FCC rules and regulations, we could be subject to FCC enforcement actions, fines and possibly restrictions on our ability to operate or offer certain of our services. Any enforcement action by the FCC, which may be a public process, would hurt our reputation in the industry, possibly impair our ability to sell our services to clients and could harm our business and results of operations. The FTC also has jurisdiction over some of our business practices, including advertising, trade practices, privacy and telemarketing. If we do not comply with FTC rules and regulations, we could be subject to an FTC enforcement action, fines or restrictions on our business practices.
We must comply with numerous federal regulations, including:
•Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, or TCPA, which regulates the use of automatic dialing equipment and pre-recorded messages to contact consumers, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, which has similar obligations as to telemarketing activities;
•The TRACED Act and corresponding regulations from the FCC, which requires carriers to authenticate incoming calls using the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID framework and correspondingly compels providers of telecommunications services to implement capabilities to certify as authentic the traffic they provide to those carriers;
•CALEA, which requires telecommunications service providers to assist law enforcement in undertaking electronic surveillance;
•KARI’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act, which require telecommunications carriers to ensure their users can directly dial 911 emergency services and, if technically feasible, automatically convey dispatchable location information with the call;
•contributions to the USF, which requires that we pay a percentage of our revenues resulting from the provision of interstate telecommunications services to support certain federal programs;
•payment of annual FCC regulatory fees based on our interstate and international revenues;
•rules pertaining to access to our services by people with disabilities and contributions to the Telecommunications Relay Services fund;
•FCC rules regarding Customer Proprietary Network Information, or CPNI, which require that we not use certain information received from customers as a result of a service provider/customer relationship without customer approval, subject to certain exceptions;
•Federal Trade Commission Act and rules promulgated thereunder, which generally relate to avoiding unfair and deceptive trade practices, our advertising, and privacy practices; and
•State privacy laws require compliance with privacy frameworks and include disclosure obligations to consumers for whom we hold or process personal data including:
◦The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or the CCPA,
◦The California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or the CPRA, which will take effect on January 1, 2023;
◦Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, or the VCDPA, which will take effect on January 1, 2023; and
◦Colorado Privacy Act, or the CPA, which will take effect on July 1, 2023.
In addition, we must make contributions and other payments on our usage-based fees to state and local governmental entities. The tax and fee structure for communications services such as ours is complex, ambiguous and subject to interpretation. If taxing and regulatory authorities enact new rules or regulations or expand their interpretations of existing rules and regulations, we could incur additional liabilities. The amount that we are required to pay under certain of these tax and regulatory structures also continues to increase as a percentage of our telecommunications revenues. The collection of additional taxes, fees or surcharges in the future could increase our prices or reduce our profit margins. Compliance with these regulations may also make us less competitive with those competitors who are not subject to, or choose not to comply with, these regulations. See Note 10 of the notes to consolidated financial statements under ITEM 8 of this Form 10-K for a discussion of our liabilities related to USF matters.
As we expand internationally, we will be subject to laws and regulations in the countries in which we offer our services. Regulation of the solutions we provide outside the U.S. varies from country to country, is often unclear, and may be more onerous than those imposed on our services in the U.S. For example, the European Union adopted a law governing data protection and privacy called the General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, which became effective on May 25, 2018. The law requires companies to meet new and extended requirements regarding the processing of personal data. Non-compliance with the GDPR can trigger steep fines of up to €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher. In addition, among other comprehensive privacy laws, we are subject to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, and the analogous provincial laws, which similarly impose data privacy and security obligations on our processing of personal data. Our regulatory obligations in foreign jurisdictions could impact the use or cost of our solution in international locations as data protection and privacy laws and regulations around the world continue to evolve.
The legislative and regulatory scheme for telecommunications service providers and other solutions we provide will continue to evolve and can be expected to change the competitive environment for these services. It is not possible to predict how such evolution and changes will affect our business or our industry. If we do not comply with current or future rules or regulations that apply to our business, we could be subject to substantial additional fines and penalties, we may have to restructure our service offerings, exit certain markets, accept lower margins or raise the price of our services, any of which could harm our business and results of operations. See “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Regulatory Matters” under ITEM 1A of this Form 10-K for more information.
We were incorporated in Delaware in 2001. We operate in a single reportable segment. Our principal executive office is located at 3001 Bishop Drive, Suite 350, San Ramon, CA 94583 and our telephone number is (925) 201-2000. Our website address is www.five9.com. Our website and the information contained therein or connected thereto shall not be deemed to be incorporated into this annual report on Form 10-K. We own or have rights to trademarks or trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our business, including our corporate names, logos and domain names. In addition, we own or have the rights to copyrights, trade secrets and other proprietary rights that protect the content of our solution. Solely for convenience, some of the copyrights, trademarks and trade names referred to in this annual report on Form 10-K are listed without ©, ® and ™ symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights to our copyrights, trademarks and trade names.
Our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy and information statements and amendments to reports are filed with, or furnished to, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. The SEC maintains a website at https://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding Five9 and other companies that file materials with the SEC electronically. Copies of our reports on Form 10-K, Forms 10-Q and Forms 8-K, may be obtained, free of charge, electronically through our internet website, http://investors.five9.com/sec.cfm as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is filed
electronically with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information on our website is not a part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this report. If any of the following risks or other risks actually occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects could be materially harmed, and the price of our common stock could decline.
Risk Factors Summary
The following is a summary of the principal risks that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects.
•Our quarterly and annual results may fluctuate significantly, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business and may result in decreases in the price of our common stock.
•If we are unable to attract new clients or sell additional services and functionality to our existing clients, our revenue and revenue growth will be harmed.
•Our recent rapid growth may not be indicative of our future growth, and if we continue to grow rapidly, we may fail to manage our growth effectively.
•Failure to adequately retain and expand our direct sales force will impede our growth.
•If we fail to manage our technical operations infrastructure, our existing clients may experience service outages, our new clients may experience delays in the deployment of our solution and we could be subject to, among other things, claims for credits or damages.
•Our growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties and our failure to successfully maintain, grow and manage these relationships could harm our business.
•We have established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master agents and resellers to sell our solution; our failure to effectively develop, manage, and maintain this network could materially harm our revenues.
•The markets in which we participate involve a high number of competitors that is continuing to increase, and if we do not compete effectively, our operating results could be harmed.
•Adverse economic conditions may harm our business.
•The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have materially affected how we, our clients and business partners are operating, and the duration and extent to which this will impact our future results of operations and overall financial performance remains uncertain.
•Security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of our data or our clients’ data, or other cyber attacks on our systems, could result in litigation and regulatory risk, harm our reputation and our business.
•We may acquire other companies, or technologies or be the target of strategic transactions, or be impacted by transactions by other companies, which could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders or use a significant amount of our cash resources and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results.
•If our existing clients terminate their subscriptions or reduce their subscriptions and related usage, our revenues and gross margins will be harmed and we will be required to spend more money to grow our client base.
•We sell our solution to larger organizations that require longer sales and implementation cycles and often demand more configuration and integration services or customized features and functions that we may not offer, any of which could delay or prevent these sales and harm our growth rates, business and operating results.
•Because a significant percentage of our revenue is derived from existing clients, downturns or upturns in new sales will not be immediately reflected in our operating results and may be difficult to discern.
•We rely on third-party telecommunications and internet service providers to provide our clients and their customers with telecommunication services and connectivity to our cloud contact center software and any failure by these service providers to provide reliable services could cause us to lose clients and subject us to claims for credits or damages, among other things.
•We have a history of losses and we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability.
•The contact center software solutions market is subject to rapid technological change, and we must develop and sell incremental and new solutions in order to maintain and grow our business.
•We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs.
•Failure to comply with laws and regulations, including those related to import and export controls, could harm our business and our reputation.
•We may not have sufficient cash to service our convertible senior notes and repay such notes, if required.
Risks Related to Our Financial Results
Our quarterly and annual results may fluctuate significantly, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business and may result in decreases in the price of our common stock.
Our quarterly and annual results of operations, including our revenues, profitability and cash flow have varied, and may vary significantly in the future, and period-to-period comparisons of our operating results may not be meaningful. Accordingly, the results of any one quarter or period, or series of quarters or periods, should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Our quarterly and annual financial results may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside our control and, as a result, may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Fluctuation in quarterly and annual results may harm the value of our common stock. Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results include, without limitation:
•market acceptance of our solution, including new features that are added to our solution;
•our ability to attract new clients and grow our business with existing clients;
•client renewal rates;
•client attrition rates;
•network outages or security incidents, which may result in additional expenses or losses, legal or regulatory actions, the loss of clients, the provision of client credits, and harm to our reputation;
•our ability to make technological advancements and add more features to our solution;
•our ability to adequately expand our sales and service team;
•our ability to acquire and maintain strategic and client relationships;
•the timing and success of new product and feature introductions by us or our competitors or any other change in the competitive dynamics of our industry, including consolidation, partnership or collaboration among competitors, clients or strategic partners;
•our ability to successfully integrate companies, businesses and technology that we acquire and achieve a positive return on our investment;
•general economic, industry and market conditions;
•the amount and timing of costs and expenses related to the maintenance and expansion of our business, operations and infrastructure;
•seasonal factors that may cause our revenues in the first half of a year to be relatively lower than our revenues in the second half of a year;
•inaccessibility or failure of our cloud contact center software due to failures in the products or services provided by third parties;
•the amount and timing of costs and expenses related to our research and development efforts or in the acquisition of technologies or businesses and potential future charges for impairment of goodwill from acquired companies;
•our ability to expand, and effectively utilize, our network of master agents, resellers and systems integrators;
•the timing of recognition of revenues under current and future GAAP;
•changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;
•increases or decreases in the costs to provide our solution or pricing changes upon any renewals of client agreements;
•the level of professional services and support we provide our clients;
•fluctuations or changes in the components of our revenue;
•the addition or loss of key clients, including through acquisitions or consolidations;
•compliance with, or changes in, the current and future domestic and international regulatory environment;
•the hiring, training and retention of key employees;
•the outcome of litigation or other claims against us;
•the ability to expand internationally, and to do so profitability;
•our ability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms if and when needed;
•the timing of expenses related to any future acquisition transactions; and
•advances and trends in new technologies and industry standards.
Because a significant percentage of our revenue is derived from existing clients, downturns or upturns in new sales will not be immediately reflected in our operating results and may be difficult to discern.
We generally recognize subscription revenue from clients monthly as services are delivered. As a result, the vast majority of the subscription revenue we report in each quarter is derived from existing clients. Consequently, a decline in new subscriptions in any single quarter will likely have only a small impact on our revenue results for that quarter. However, the cumulative impact of such declines could negatively impact our business and results of operations in future quarters. Accordingly, the effect of significant downturns in sales and market acceptance of our solution, and potential changes in our pricing policies or renewal rates, will typically not be reflected in our results of operations until future periods. We also may be unable to adjust our cost structure to reflect the changes in revenue, resulting in lower margins and earnings. In addition, our subscription model makes it difficult for us to rapidly increase our revenue through additional sales in any period, as revenue from new clients will be recognized over time as services are delivered. Moreover, many of our clients initially deploy our solution to support only a portion of their contact center agents and, therefore, we may not generate significant revenue from these new clients at the outset of our relationship, if at all. Any increase to our revenue and the value of these existing client relationships will only be reflected in our results of operations as subscription revenue is recognized, and if and when these clients increase the number of agent seats and the number of components of our solution they deploy over time.
Shifts over time or from quarter-to-quarter in the mix of sizes or types of organizations that purchase our solution or changes in the components of our solution purchased by our clients could affect our gross margins and operating results.
Our strategy is to sell our solution to both smaller and larger organizations. Our gross margins can vary depending on numerous factors related to the implementation and use of our solution, including the features and number of agent seats purchased by our clients, the increasing reliance on public cloud providers, and the level of usage and professional services and support required by our clients. For example, our larger clients typically require more professional services, and because our professional services offerings typically have lower margins, any increase in sales of professional services could harm our gross margins and operating results. We also have lower margins on our usage revenues. Sales to larger organizations may also entail longer sales cycles and more significant selling efforts and expense. Selling to smaller clients may involve smaller contract sizes, fewer opportunities to sell additional services, a higher likelihood of contract terminations, lower returns on sales and marketing expense, fewer potential agent seats and greater credit risk and uncertainty. If the mix of organizations that purchase our solution, or the mix of solution components purchased by our clients, changes unfavorably, our revenues and gross margins could decrease and our operating results could be harmed.
We have a history of losses and we may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability.
We have incurred losses in each annual period since our inception in 2001. We incurred net losses of $53.0 million, $42.1 million and $4.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
As of December 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $228.4 million. These losses and our accumulated deficit reflect the substantial investments we have made, and continue to make, to develop our solution and acquire new clients, among other expenses. We expect the dollar amount of our costs and expenses to increase in the future as revenue increases, although at a slower rate. We expect our losses to continue for the foreseeable future as we continue to invest in sales and marketing and research and development and expand our business. In addition, as a public company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses. Our historical or recent growth in revenues is not necessarily indicative of our future performance. Accordingly, there is no assurance that we will achieve profitability in the future or that, if we do become profitable, we will sustain profitability.
Risks Related to Our Growth
Our recent rapid growth may not be indicative of our future growth, and if we continue to grow rapidly, we may fail to manage our growth effectively.
For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, our revenues were $609.6 million, $434.9 million and $328.0 million, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 40% and 33%, respectively. In the future, as our revenue increases, our annual revenue growth rate may decline. We believe our revenue growth will depend on a number of factors, including our ability to:
•compete with other vendors of cloud-based enterprise contact center systems, including recent market entrants, and with providers of legacy on-premise systems;
•increase our existing clients’ use of our solution, including additional and new features of our solution;
•further develop our partner ecosystem;
•strengthen and improve our solution through significant investments in research and development and the introduction of new and enhanced features and functionality, such as our AI enabled automation features;
•introduce our solution to new markets outside of the United States and increase global awareness of our brand;
•selectively pursue acquisitions that enhance our solution offerings;
•address the challenges of recent widespread increases in employee resignations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
•respond to general macro economic factors and industry and market conditions, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If we are not successful in achieving these objectives, our ability to grow our revenue may be harmed. In addition, we plan to continue to invest in future growth, including expending substantial financial and other resources on:
•sales and marketing, including a significant expansion of our sales and professional services organization;
•our technology infrastructure, including systems architecture, management tools, scalability, availability, performance and security, as well as disaster recovery measures;
•solution development, including investments in our solution development team, the development of new solutions and in the acquisition of companies and technologies to enhance our solution, as well as new applications and features for our existing solution;
•international expansion; and
•general administration, including legal, regulatory compliance and accounting expenses.
Moreover, we continue to expand our headcount and operations. We grew from 983 employees as of December 31, 2018 to 1,210 employees as of December 31, 2019, to 1,549 employees as of December 31, 2020, and to 2,138 employees as of December 31, 2021. We anticipate that we will continue to expand our operations and headcount in the near term and beyond. This growth has placed, and future growth will place, a significant strain on our management, administrative, operational and financial resources, company culture and infrastructure. For example, we have continued to expand our international operations, including the formation of new legal entities, which will increase the complexity of our operations, administration and infrastructure. Our success will depend in part on our ability to manage this growth effectively while retaining personnel. To manage the expected growth of our operations and personnel, we will need to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls and our reporting systems and procedures. Failure to effectively manage growth could result in difficulty or delays in adding new clients, declines in quality or client satisfaction, increases in costs, system failures, difficulties
in introducing new features or solutions, the need for more capital than we anticipate or other operational difficulties, and any of these difficulties could harm our business performance and results of operations.
The expected addition of new employees, particularly outside the United States, and the capital investments that we anticipate will be necessary to help us grow and to manage that growth will make it more difficult for us to generate earnings or offset any future revenue shortfalls by reducing costs and expenses in the short term. If we fail to manage our anticipated growth, we will be unable to execute our business plan successfully.
Our growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties and our failure to successfully maintain, grow and manage these relationships could harm our business.
We leverage strategic relationships with third parties, such as CRM providers, WFO providers, other technology providers, systems integrators, and telephony providers. For example, our relationship with CRM providers and systems integrators provide significant lead generation for new client opportunities. These relationships are typically not exclusive and our partners often also offer products of our competitors. As we grow our business, we will continue to depend on both existing and new strategic relationships. Our competitors may be more successful than we are in establishing or expanding relationships with third parties or may provide incentives to third parties to favor their products over our solution. Our competitors may also have deeper or broader relationships with third parties, including a broader suite of products that are outside our core markets, that could give these competitors an advantage in establishing and maintaining relationships with these third parties. These strategic partners may cease to recommend our solution to prospective clients due to actual or perceived lack of features, technological or security issues or failures, reputational concerns, economic incentives, or other factors, which would harm our business, financial condition and operations. Furthermore, there has and continues to be a significant amount of consolidation in our industry and adjacent industries, and if our partners are acquired, fail to work effectively with us or go out of business, they may no longer support or promote our solution, or may be less effective in doing so, which could harm our business, financial condition and operations. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our strategic relationships with third parties, or these partners fail to recommend our solution, our ability to compete in the marketplace or to grow our revenues could be impaired and our operating results may suffer. Even if we are successful, we cannot assure you that these relationships will result in increased client usage of our solution or increased revenue.
In addition, identifying new partners, and negotiating and documenting relationships with them, requires significant time and resources. As the complexity of our solution and our third-party relationships increases, the management of those relationships and the negotiation of contractual terms sufficient to protect our rights and limit our potential liabilities will become more complicated. We also license technology from certain third parties, including through OEM relationships. Certain of these agreements permit either party to terminate all or a portion of the relationship without cause at any time and for any reason. If one of these agreements is terminated by the other party, we would have to find an alternative source or develop new technology ourselves, which preclude, limit or delay our ability to offer our solution or certain product features to our clients, result in increased expense and harm our business. Our inability to successfully manage and maintain these complex relationships or negotiate sufficient and favorable contractual terms could harm our business.
Our recent growth makes it difficult to evaluate and predict our current business and future prospects.
While we have been in existence since 2001, much of our employee, revenue and operations growth has occurred in recent years. Our recent growth may make it difficult for investors to evaluate our current business and our future prospects. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks and difficulties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries, including increasing and unforeseen expenses as we continue to grow our business.
Our ability to forecast our future operating results is limited and subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to predict revenue and expense levels, and plan for and model future growth. These uncertainties may be exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries, such as the risks and uncertainties described in this annual report. If our assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties, which we use to plan our business, are incorrect or change due to adjustments in our markets or our competitors and their product offerings, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our operating and financial results could differ materially from our expectations and our business could suffer.
Risks Related to Our Clients
If we are unable to attract new clients or sell additional seats, functionality and services to our existing clients, our revenue and revenue growth will be harmed.
To increase our revenue, we must add new clients, add additional agent seats and sell additional seats, functionality and services to existing clients, and successfully get existing clients to renew their subscriptions on terms favorable to us. As our industry matures, as our clients experience seasonal trends in their business, or as competitors introduce lower cost or differentiated products or services that are perceived to compete favorably with ours, our ability to add new clients and renew, maintain or sell additional services to existing clients based on pricing, cost of ownership, technology and functionality could be harmed. As a result, our existing clients may not renew our agreements or may decrease their number of agent seats, and we may be unable to attract new clients or grow or maintain our business with existing clients, which could harm our revenue and growth.
Furthermore, a portion of our revenue is generated by acquiring domestic and international telecommunications minutes from wholesale telecommunication service providers and reselling those minutes to our clients. As telecommunications rates continue to decrease, we may not be able to resell more minutes to maintain our level of usage revenue.
If our existing clients terminate their subscriptions or reduce their subscriptions and related usage, our revenues and gross margins will be harmed and we will be required to spend more money to grow our client base.
We expect to continue to derive a significant portion of our revenues from existing clients. As a result, retaining our existing clients is critical to our future operating results. We offer monthly, annual and multiple-year contracts to our clients, generally with 30 days’ notice required for reductions in the number of agent seats. Increases in the number of agent seats can be provisioned almost immediately. Our clients, therefore, are able to adjust the number of agent seats used to meet their changing contact center volume needs. Subscriptions and related usage by our existing clients may decrease if:
•clients are not satisfied with our services, prices or the functionality of our solution;
•the stability, performance or security of our solution are not satisfactory;
•the U.S. or global economy declines;
•our clients’ business or demand for our services declines due to industry cycles, seasonality, business difficulties or other reasons, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
•clients favor products offered by other contact center providers, particularly as competition continues to increase;
•fewer clients purchase usage from us;
•alternative technologies, products or features emerge or gain popularity that we do not provide; or
•our clients or potential clients experience financial difficulties, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If our existing clients’ subscriptions and related usage decrease or are terminated, we will need to spend more money to acquire new clients and still may not be able to maintain, or increase, our existing level of revenues. We incur significant costs and expenses, including sales and marketing expenses, to acquire new clients, and those costs and expenses are an important factor in determining our profitability. There can be no assurance that our efforts to acquire new clients will be successful.
The loss of one or more of our key clients, or a failure to renew our subscription agreements with one or more of our key clients, could harm our ability to market our solution.
We rely on our reputation and recommendations from key clients in order to market and sell our solution. The loss of any of our key clients, or a failure of some of them to renew or to continue to recommend our solution, could have a significant impact on our revenues, reputation and our ability to obtain new clients. In addition, acquisitions of our clients could lead to cancellation of our contracts with those clients, thereby reducing the number of our existing and potential clients and key reference clients.
Our clients may fail to comply with the terms of their agreements, necessitating action by us to collect payment, or may terminate their subscriptions for our solution.
If clients fail to pay us under the terms of our agreements or fail to comply with the terms of our agreements, including compliance with regulatory requirements and intellectual property terms, we may terminate clients, lose revenue, be unable to collect amounts due to us, be subject to legal or regulatory action and incur costs in enforcing the terms of our contracts, including litigation. Some of our clients may seek bankruptcy protection or other similar relief and fail to pay amounts due to us, seek reimbursement for amounts already paid, or pay those amounts more slowly, all of which risks may be exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and any of which could harm our operating results, financial position and cash flow.
Our business could be harmed if our clients are not satisfied with the professional services and technical support provided by us or our partners.
Our business depends on our ability to satisfy our clients, not only with respect to our solution, but also with the professional services and technical support that are required for our clients to implement and use our solution to address their business needs. Professional services and technical support may be performed by our own staff or, in a select subset of cases, by third parties. Our professional services offerings have lower or negative margins. Accordingly, any increase in sales of professional services could harm our gross margins and operating results. We will need to continue to considerably expand our professional services and technical support in order to implement and support new and larger global client installations. Identifying and recruiting qualified service personnel and training them in our solution is difficult and competitive and requires significant time, expense and attention. We may be unable to respond quickly enough to accommodate short-term increases in client demand for support services. We also may be unable to modify the format of our support services or change our pricing to compete with changes in support services provided by our competitors. Increased client demand for these services, without corresponding revenues, could increase our costs and harm our operating results. If a client is not satisfied with the deployment and ongoing services performed by us or a third party, we could lose clients, miss opportunities to expand our business with these clients, incur additional costs, or suffer reduced (including negative) margins on our service revenue, any of which could damage our ability to grow our business. In addition, negative publicity related to our professional services and technical support, regardless of its accuracy, may damage our business by affecting our ability to compete for new business with current and prospective clients.
Risks Related to the Sale of our Solution
Failure to adequately retain and expand our direct sales force will impede our growth.
Key to our success is the continuity and growth of our direct sales force. We need to continue to retain key members of our direct sales force while expanding and optimizing our sales infrastructure and headcount in order to grow our client base and business. We plan to continue to expand our direct sales force, both domestically and internationally. Identifying and recruiting qualified personnel and training them in the use and sale of our solution requires significant time, expense and attention, all of which are exacerbated as a result of remote working in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. It can take several months before our sales representatives are fully trained and productive. Our business may be harmed if we fail to retain key members of our direct sales force or if our efforts, and the expense incurred, to expand and train our direct sales force do not generate a corresponding increase in revenues. In particular, if we are unable to hire, develop and retain talented sales personnel or if new sales personnel, including those joining our company as a result of an acquisition, are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, we may not be able to realize the expected benefits of this investment or increase our revenues.
We have established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master agents and resellers to sell our solution; our failure to effectively develop, manage, and maintain this network could materially harm our revenues.
We have established, and are continuing to increase, our network of master sales agents, which provide sales leads, and resellers, which sell our solution to new clients. This network has helped us attract additional clients. Our resellers have assisted us in expanding in both domestic and international markets. These master agents and resellers sell, or may in the future decide to sell, solutions for our competitors. Our competitors may be able to cause our current or potential master agents or resellers to favor their services over ours, either through financial incentives, technological innovation, solution features or performance, by offering a broader array of services to these service
providers or otherwise, which could reduce the effectiveness of our use of these third parties. If we fail to maintain relationships with current master agents and resellers, fail to develop relationships with new master agents and resellers in new and existing markets, if we fail to manage, train, or provide appropriate incentives to our existing master agents and resellers, or if our master agents and resellers are not successful in their sales efforts, sales of our subscriptions may decrease or not grow at an appropriate rate and our operating results could be harmed. Additionally, in order to effectively utilize our resellers, we must enhance our systems, develop specialized marketing materials and invest in educating resellers regarding our systems, product offerings and services. Our failure to accomplish these objectives could limit our success in marketing and selling our solution.
In addition, identifying new resellers, and negotiating and documenting relationships with them, requires significant time and resources. As the complexity of our solution and our reseller relationships increases, the management of those relationships and the negotiation of contractual terms sufficient to protect our rights and limit our potential liabilities will become more complicated. Our inability to successfully manage these complex relationships or negotiate sufficient contractual terms could harm our business.
We sell our solution to larger organizations that require longer sales and implementation cycles and often demand more configuration and integration services or customized features and functions that we may not offer, any of which could delay or prevent these sales and harm our growth rates, business and operating results.
As we continue to target our sales efforts at larger organizations, we face greater costs, longer sales and implementation cycles and less predictability in closing sales. These larger organizations typically require more configuration and integration services, which increases our upfront investment in sales and deployment efforts, with no guarantee that these clients will subscribe to our solution or increase the scope of their subscription. Furthermore, with larger organizations, we must provide greater levels of education regarding the use and benefits of our solution to a broader group of people in order to generate a sale. As a result of these factors, we must devote a significant amount of sales support and professional services resources to individual clients and prospective clients, thereby increasing the cost and time required to complete sales. Our typical sales cycle for larger organizations is four to six months, but can be significantly longer, and we expect that our average sales cycle may increase as sales to larger organizations continue to grow as a percentage of our business. Longer sales cycles could cause our operating and financial results to be less predictable and to fluctuate from period to period. In addition, many of our clients that are larger organizations initially deploy our solution to support only a portion of their contact center agents. Our success depends on our ability to increase the number of agent seats and the number of applications utilized by these larger organizations over time and requires the expenditure of additional sales and marketing expenses in these efforts. There is no guarantee that these clients will increase their subscriptions for our solution. If we do not expand our initial relationships with larger organizations, the return on our investments in sales and deployment efforts for these clients will decrease and our business may suffer.
Furthermore, we may not be able to provide the configuration and integration services that larger organizations typically require. For example, our solution does not currently permit clients to modify our software code, but instead requires them to use our set of APIs. If prospective clients require customized features or functions that we do not offer, and that would be difficult for them to deploy themselves, they will need to use our services or third-party service providers or we may lose sales opportunities with larger organizations and our business could suffer.
The markets in which we participate involve a high number of competitors that is continuing to increase, and if we do not compete effectively, our operating results could be harmed.
The market for contact center solutions is highly competitive. Generally, we do not have long-term contracts with our clients and our clients can terminate our service and switch to competitors’ offerings on short notice.
We currently compete with large legacy technology vendors that offer on-premise contact center systems, such as Avaya and Cisco. These legacy technology and software companies are increasingly supplementing their traditional on-premise contact center systems with competing cloud offerings, through a combination of acquisitions, partnerships and in-house development. Additionally, we compete with vendors that historically provided other contact center services and technologies and expanded to offer cloud contact center software such as Genesys and NICE. We also face competition from many smaller contact center service providers such as Content Guru and Talkdesk, as well as vendors offering unified communications and contact center solutions such as Zoom. In addition, Amazon, Twilio and, most recently, Microsoft, have introduced solutions aimed at companies who wish to build their own contact centers and/or contact center components with developers. In addition, CRM vendors are increasingly offering features and functionality that were traditionally provided by contact center providers. CRM
vendors also continue to partner with contact center service providers to provide integrated solutions and may, in the future, acquire competitive contact center service providers. These factors could cause CRM vendors to reduce or terminate their partnerships with us, and could result in increased competition. Because CRM integration and partnerships are critical to the success of our solution, these factors could harm our revenue and results of operations.
Some of our competitors can devote significantly greater resources than we can to the development, promotion and sale of their products and services and many have the ability to initiate or withstand substantial price competition. Current or potential competitors may also be acquired by third parties with significantly greater resources. Many of our competitors have stronger name recognition, longer operating histories, larger marketing budgets, greater financial or technical resources, better established relationships with clients, more comprehensive product offerings, larger installed bases and major distribution agreements with consultants, system integrators and resellers. Our competitors may also establish cooperative relationships among themselves or with third parties that may further enhance their product offerings or resources and ability to compete. With the introduction of new technologies and market entrants, we expect competition to continue to intensify in the future. Our recent, and any future, acquisitions will subject us to new competitors and cause us to face additional and different competition in the markets served by these businesses. If our competitors’ products, services or technologies become more accepted than our solution, if they are successful in bringing their products or services to market earlier than ours, or if their products or services are less expensive or more technologically capable than ours, our revenues could be harmed. Pricing pressures and increased competition could result in reduced sales and revenues, reduced margins and loss of, or a failure to maintain or improve, our competitive market position, any of which could harm our business.
If we fail to grow our marketing capabilities and develop widespread brand awareness cost effectively, our business may suffer.
Our ability to increase our client base and achieve broader market acceptance of our cloud contact center software solution will depend to a significant extent on our ability to expand our marketing operations. We plan to continue to dedicate significant resources to our marketing programs, including internet advertising, digital marketing campaigns, social media, trade shows, industry events, co-marketing with strategic partners, telemarketing and out of home campaigns. In addition, we have shifted certain events, such as our user group meetings, from in-person to virtual and various trade shows from in-person to fully virtual or hybrid attendance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The effectiveness of our internet advertising has varied over time and may vary in the future due to competition for key search terms, changes in search engine use and changes in the search algorithms used by major search engines. All of these efforts will continue to require us to invest significant financial and other resources in our marketing efforts. Our business will be seriously harmed if our efforts and expenditures do not generate a proportionate increase in revenue.
In addition, we believe that developing and maintaining widespread awareness of our brand in a cost-effective manner, both in the United States and internationally, is critical to achieving widespread acceptance of our solution and attracting new clients. Brand promotion activities may not generate client awareness or increase revenues, and even if they do, any increase in revenues typically occurs after the expense has been incurred, and may not offset the costs and expenses of building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote, maintain and protect our brand, or incur substantial costs and expenses, we may fail to attract or retain clients necessary to realize a sufficient return on our brand-building efforts, or to achieve the widespread brand awareness that is critical to increasing client adoption of our solution.
Risks Related to Our Solution
If we fail to manage our technical operations infrastructure, our existing clients may experience service outages, our new clients may delay or decide against deployment of our solution, existing clients may decide to move to another vendor, and we could be subject to, among other things, claims for credits or damage.
Our success depends in large part upon the capacity, stability, security and performance of our technical operations infrastructure, which currently relies upon a mix of external data centers and, increasingly, public cloud providers. From time-to-time, we have experienced interruptions in service, and may experience such interruptions in the future. These service interruptions may be caused by a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, telecom network outages, viruses, security attacks, fraud, spikes in client usage and denial of service issues. In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these performance problems, and remediate them within an acceptable period of time. Our failure to achieve or maintain expected
performance levels, stability and security, particularly as we increase the number of users of our service and the product applications that run on our system, could harm our relationships with our clients, result in claims for credits or damages, damage our reputation, significantly reduce client demand for our solution, cause us to incur significant expense and personnel time replacing and upgrading our infrastructure, cause customer attrition, and harm our business.
We have experienced significant growth in the number of agent seats and interactions that our infrastructure supports. As the number of agent seats within our client base grows and our clients’ use of our service increases, we need to continue to make additional investments in our capacity to maintain adequate and reliable availability and stability and performance, the availability of which may be limited or the cost of which may be prohibitive, and any failure may cause interruptions in service that may harm our business. In addition, we need to properly manage our operations infrastructure in order to support version control, changes in hardware and software parameters and the evolution of our solution. If we do not accurately predict our infrastructure requirements or efficiently improve our infrastructure, our business could be harmed.
We host our solution at geographically redundant data centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia and from public cloud locations in Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe. Any failure or downtime in one of our data center facilities could affect a significant percentage of our clients. While we control and have access to our servers and all of the components of our network that are located in our external data centers, we do not control the operation of these facilities. The owners of our data center facilities have no obligation to renew their agreements with us on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. If we are unable to renew these agreements on commercially reasonable terms, or if one of our data center operators is acquired, closes, suffers financial difficulty or is unable to meet our growing capacity needs, we may be required to transfer our servers and other infrastructure to new data center facilities, and we may incur significant costs and service interruptions in connection with doing so. While our data centers have redundant power, cooling and infrastructure, they are subject to various points of failure. Problems with cooling equipment, generators, uninterruptible power supply, routers, switches, or other equipment, whether or not within our control, could result in service interruptions for our clients as well as equipment damage. Our data centers are subject to disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes, acts of terrorism, sabotage, break-ins, acts of vandalism and other events, which could cause service interruptions or the operators of these data centers to close their facilities for an extended period of time or permanently. The destruction or impairment of any of our data center facilities could result in significant downtime for our solution and the loss of client data. Because our ability to attract and retain clients depends on our providing clients with highly reliable service, even minor interruptions in our service could harm our business, revenues and reputation. Additionally, in connection with the continuing expansion of our existing data center facilities, there is a risk that service interruptions may occur as a result of server addition, relocation or other issues.
We also host some of our voice services on the public cloud in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. We are also establishing new public cloud deployments of our platform in certain additional international markets. We develop, test and deploy our technology to offer a full stack of services on the public cloud in certain international markets. Our public cloud-based platform offering is critical to developing and providing our solution to our clients, scaling our business for future growth, accurately maintaining data and otherwise operating our business. We have little or no control over public cloud providers. Any disruption of the public cloud, deficiencies in the design, implementation, maintenance, or migration from one public cloud provider to another, or any failure of our public cloud providers to effectively design and implement sufficient security systems or plan for increases in capacity could, in turn, cause delays or disruptions in our services. In addition, using the public cloud presents a variety of additional risks, including risks related to sharing the same computing resources with others, reliance on public cloud providers’ authentication, security, authorization and access control mechanisms, a lack of control over the public cloud’s redundancy and security systems and fault tolerances, and a reduced ability to control data security and privacy.
Development of our AI solutions to make agents more efficient and improve customer experience may not be successful and may result in reputational harm and our future operating results could be materially harmed.
We plan to continue to increase and provide our customers with AI-powered applications, including conversational virtual agents, agent assistance and business insights. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we enhanced our AI-powered applications with the acquisition of Inference Solutions Inc., or Inference, and now offer an integrated IVA platform with AI-enabled omni-channel service solutions. While we aim for our AI-powered applications to make agents more efficient and improve customer experience, our AI models may not achieve sufficient levels of accuracy. In addition, we may not be able to acquire sufficient training data or our training data may contain biased
or otherwise inaccurate information. Furthermore, the costs of AI technologies, such as speech recognition and natural language processing, may currently be too high for broad market adoption. Our competitors or other organizations may incorporate AI features into their products more quickly or more successfully and their AI features may achieve higher market acceptance than ours, which may result in us failing to recoup our investments in developing AI-powered applications. Should any of these items or others occur, our ability to compete, our reputation and operating results may be materially and adversely affected.
If our solution fails, or is perceived to fail, to perform properly or if it contains technical defects, our reputation could be harmed, our market share may decline and we could be subject to product liability claims.
Our solution may contain undetected errors or defects that may result in failures or otherwise cause our solution to fail to perform in accordance with client expectations and contractual obligations. Moreover, our clients could incorrectly implement or inadvertently misuse our solution, which could result in client dissatisfaction and harm the perceived utility of our solution and our brand. Because our clients use our solution for mission-critical aspects of their business, any real or perceived errors or defects in, or other performance problems with, our solution may damage our clients’ businesses and could significantly harm our reputation. If that occurs, we could lose future sales, or our existing clients could cancel our solution, seek payment credits, seek damages against us, or delay or withhold payment to us, which could result in reduced revenues, an increase in our provision for uncollectible accounts and service credits, an increase in collection cycles for accounts receivable, and harm our financial results. In addition, since telecommunications billing and associated telecom taxes and the related calculations and billing of telecom taxes are inherently complex and require highly sophisticated information systems to administer, our billing system may experience errors or we may improperly operate the system, which could result in the system incorrectly calculating the fees owed by our clients or related taxes and administrative fees. Clients also may make indemnification or warranty claims against us, which could result in significant expense and risk of litigation. Product performance problems could result in loss of market share, reputational harm, failure to achieve market acceptance and the diversion of development resources.
Any product liability, intellectual property, warranty or other claims against us could damage our reputation and relationships with our clients, and could require us to spend significant time and money in litigation or pay significant settlements or damages. Although we maintain general liability insurance, including coverage for errors and omissions, this coverage may not be sufficient to cover liabilities resulting from such claims. Also, our insurers may disclaim coverage. Our liability insurance also may not continue to be available to us on reasonable terms, in sufficient amounts, or at all. Any contract or product liability claims successfully brought against us would harm our business.
The contact center software solutions market is subject to rapid technological change, and we must develop and sell incremental and new features and components of our solution in order to maintain and grow our business.
The contact center software solutions market is characterized by rapid changes in client requirements, frequent introductions of new and enhanced products and features and continuing and rapid technological advancement. To compete successfully, we must continue to devote significant resources to design, develop, deploy and sell new and enhanced contact center solutions, applications and features that provide increasingly higher capabilities, performance and stability at lower cost. If we are unable to develop or acquire new features for our existing solution or new applications that achieve market acceptance or that keep pace with technological developments, our business would be harmed. For example, we are focused on enhancing the reliability, features and functionality of our contact center solution to enhance its utility to our clients, particularly larger clients, with complex, dynamic and global operations. Cloud-based technology advancements in areas such as AI are designed to enable improved customer experience, significant operational efficiencies and business insights. For example, real-time, accurate and increasingly economical automatic speech recognition and natural language processing increasingly allow mundane contact center tasks to be handled more economically and efficiently by virtual agents and make live agents more efficient. The success of these enhancements depends on many factors, including timely development, introduction and market acceptance, as well as our ability to transition our existing clients to these new solutions, applications and features. To the extent that these enhancements are made as a result of acquisitions, our success also depends on our ability to integrate the acquired technology with our existing solution. Any failure may significantly impair our revenue growth. In addition, because our solution is designed to operate on a variety of systems, we need to continuously modify and enhance our solution to keep pace with changes in hardware, operating systems, the increasing trend toward multi-channel communications and other changes to software technologies. We may not be successful in developing, acquiring or integrating these modifications and enhancements or bringing them to market in a timely fashion. Furthermore, uncertainties about the timing and nature of new network platforms or
technologies, or modifications to existing platforms or technologies, could delay introduction of changes and updates to our solution and increase our research and development expenses. Any failure of our solution to operate effectively, including with future network platforms and technologies, could reduce the demand for our solution, result in client dissatisfaction and harm our business.
Our ability to continue to enhance our solution is dependent on adequate research and development resources. If we are not able to adequately fund our research and development efforts, we may not be able to compete effectively and our business and operating results may be harmed.
In order to remain competitive, we must devote significant and increasing resources to develop new solution offerings, features and enhancements to our existing cloud contact center software, which will increase our research and development and operating expenses. Our research and development expenses totaled $106.9 million, $68.7 million and $45.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Maintaining adequate research and development personnel and resources to meet the demands of the market is essential. If we are unable to develop products, applications or features internally due to constraints, such as high employee turnover, insufficient cash, other cash needs of our business, inability to hire sufficient research and development personnel or a lack of other research and development resources, we may miss market opportunities. Furthermore, many of our competitors have greater financial resources and expend considerably greater amounts on their research and development programs than we do, and those that do not may be acquired by larger companies that would allocate greater resources to our competitors’ research and development programs. Our failure to devote adequate research and development resources or compete effectively with the research and development programs of our competitors could harm our business.
If we are unable to maintain the compatibility of our software with other solutions and technologies, our business could be harmed.
Our clients often integrate our solution with their business applications, particularly third-party CRM solutions. These third-party providers or their partners could alter their products so that our solution no longer integrates well with them, or they could delay or deny our access to technology releases that allow us to adapt our solution to integrate with their products in a timely fashion. Such third-party providers could also favor integration of our competitors’ products over our solution, making our solution less attractive to our clients. If we cannot adapt our solution to changes in complementary technology deployed by our clients, it may significantly impair our ability to compete effectively.
We are subject to many hazards and operational risks that can disrupt our business, some of which may not be insured or fully covered by insurance.
Our operations are subject to many hazards inherent in the cloud contact center software business, including:
•damage to third-party and our infrastructure and data centers, related equipment and surrounding properties caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and other natural disasters, explosions and acts of terrorism;
•security breaches resulting in loss or disclosure of confidential client and customer data and potential liability to clients and non-client third parties for such losses on disclosures; and
•other hazards that could also result in suspension of operations, personal injury and even loss of life.
These risks could result in substantial losses and the curtailment or suspension of our operations. For example, in the event of a major earthquake along the West Coast of the United States (where our corporate headquarters and one of our data centers are located), hurricane, tropical storm, flooding or severe weather in the southeastern United States (where our other U.S. data center is located) or catastrophic events such as fire, power loss, telecommunications failure, cyber-attack, global pandemic, war or terrorist attack, we may be unable to continue our operations and may endure system and service interruptions, reputational harm, delays in product development, breaches of data security and loss of critical data, any of which could harm our business and operating results.
We are not insured against all claims, events or accidents that might occur. If a significant accident or event occurs that is not fully insured, if we fail to recover all anticipated insurance proceeds for significant accidents or events for which we are insured, or if we or our data center providers fail to reopen facilities damaged by such accidents or events, our operations and financial condition could be harmed. We may also incur significant expense in enforcing our rights against our insurance providers, whether or not successful. In addition to being denied
coverage under existing insurance policies, we may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance of the type and amount we desire at reasonable rates.
Risks Related to Third-Party Technology Providers
We rely on third-party telecommunications and internet service providers to provide our clients and their customers with telecommunication services and connectivity to our cloud contact center software and any failure by these service providers to provide reliable services could cause us to lose clients and subject us to claims for credits or damages, among other things.
We rely on third-party telecommunication service providers to provide our clients and their customers with telecommunication services. These telephony services include the public switched telephone network, or PSTN, telephone numbers, call termination and origination services, and local number portability for our clients. In addition, we depend on our internet bandwidth suppliers to provide uninterrupted and error-free service through their telecommunications networks. We exercise little control over these third-party providers, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide.
When problems occur, it may be difficult to identify the source of the problem. Service disruption or outages, whether caused by our service, the products or services of our third party service providers, or our clients’ or their customers’ equipment and systems, may result in loss of market acceptance of our solution and any necessary repairs or other remedial actions may force us to incur significant costs and expenses.
If any of these service providers fail to provide reliable services, suffer outages, degrade, disrupt, increase the cost of or terminate the services that we and our clients depend on, we may be required to switch to another service provider. Delays caused by switching our technology to another service provider, if available, and qualifying this new service provider could materially increase our costs, as well as harm our client relationships, business, financial condition and operating results. Further, any failure on the part of third party service providers to achieve or maintain expected performance levels, stability and security could harm our relationships with our clients, cause us to lose clients, result in claims for credits or damages, increase our costs or the costs incurred by our customers, damage our reputation, significantly reduce client demand for our solution and seriously harm our financial condition and operating results.
Our clients and their customers rely on internet service providers to provide them with access and connectivity to our cloud contact center software and changes in how internet service providers handle and charge for access to the internet could materially harm our client relationships, business, financial condition and operations results.
In 2015, the FCC released an order, commonly referred to as network neutrality, that, among other things, prohibited (i) the impairment or degradation of lawful internet traffic on the basis of content, application or service and (ii) the practice of favoring some internet traffic over other internet traffic based on the payment of higher fees. In June 2018, the FCC repealed the network neutrality regulations imposed by the 2015 order. Internet service providers in the U.S. may now be able to impair or degrade the use of, or increase the cost of using, our solution. The FCC’s 2018 repeal was largely upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a decision issued in October 2019. That same court rejected the FCC’s attempt to preempt states from adopting their own network neutrality requirements. As a result, network neutrality regulations vary widely among both the domestic and international jurisdictions in which we operate. While certain jurisdictions have strong protections for services such as ours, others either lack a network neutrality framework or otherwise do not enforce network neutrality regulations. The impairment, degradation or prioritization of lawful internet traffic by internet service providers could materially harm the performance of our solution, our client relationships, business, financial condition and operating results.
Risks Related to Our International Operations
We continue to expand our international operations, which exposes us to significant risks.
To date, we have not generated significant revenues outside of the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Latin America and Australia. However, we already have significant operations outside these countries and regions, and we expect to grow our international presence in the future. Our international employees are primarily located in the Philippines, where technical support, training and other professional services are performed, Russia, where portions of engineering and operations are currently performed, but where production access is being reduced in 2022, and Australia, after our acquisition of Inference, where additional portions of engineering and operations are now
performed. The future success of our business will depend, in part, on our ability to expand our operations and customer base to other countries. Operating in international markets requires significant resources and management attention and will subject us to regulatory, economic, and political risks that are different from those in the U.S. In addition, in order to effectively market and sell our solution in international markets, we will be required to localize our solution, including the language in which our solution is offered, which will increase our costs, could result in delays in offering our solution in these markets and may decrease the effectiveness of our sales efforts. Due to our limited experience with international operations and developing and managing sales and distribution channels in international markets, our international expansion efforts may not be successful.
In addition, our operations in Russia are subject to additional regulatory and political risk and additional compliance costs in connection with sanctions and other trade controls imposed by the United States and other governments in response to Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. These government measures include export controls restricting certain exports, re-exports, transfers or releases of commodities, software, and technology to Russia, and sanctions targeting certain Russian individuals and entities, including certain large Russian banks. Relevant governments continue to express an interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution to these issues and in holding negotiations regarding a cessation of military operations in Ukraine, but we cannot be certain that these negotiations will occur, continue, or succeed in forestalling additional hostilities or additional trade controls. Although we have taken steps designed to ensure that the company complies with applicable regulations and that these events will not affect the services that we offer customers, these steps involve additional compliance costs and operational costs. If the relationship between Russia and the United States significantly worsens, or if Russia, the United States, or other countries impose additional economic sanctions, supply chain restrictions, or other restrictions on doing business, and we are restricted or precluded from continuing our software development operations in Russia, our costs could increase, and our product development efforts, business and results of operations could be harmed.
In addition, compliance with laws and regulations applicable to our international operations increases our cost of doing business outside the United States. We may be unaware or unable to keep current with changes in foreign government requirements and laws as they change from time to time, which often occurs with minimal or no advance notice. Failure to comply with these regulations could harm our business. In many countries outside the United States, it is common for others to engage in business practices that are prohibited by our internal policies and procedures or United States or international laws and regulations applicable to us. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and policies, there can be no assurance that all of our employees, contractors, strategic partners and agents will comply with these laws and policies. Violations of laws or key control policies by our employees, contractors, strategic partners or agents could result in delays in revenue recognition, financial reporting misstatements, fines, delays in filing financial reports required as a public company, penalties, or prohibitions on selling our solution, any of which could harm our business.
Sales to clients outside the United States or with international operations and our international sales efforts and operations support expose us to risks inherent in international sales and operations.
A key element of our growth strategy is to expand our international sales efforts and develop a worldwide client base. Because of our limited experience with international sales, our international expansion may not be successful and may not produce the return on investment we expect. To date, we have realized only a small portion of our revenues from clients outside the United States, with approximately 91% of our revenue for the year ended December 31, 2021 derived from clients with billing addresses in the United States.
We have increased and are continuing to increase our sales, marketing and support personnel in both the U.K. and the European Union. We have enlarged our data centers in the U.K. and Amsterdam and are increasing our use of public cloud solutions in the European Union as well. Operating in international markets requires significant resources and management attention and subjects us to intellectual property, regulatory, economic and political risks that are different from those in the United States. As we increase our international sales efforts and continue and increase our other international operations, we will face increased risks in doing business internationally that could harm our business, including:
•the need to establish and protect our brand in international markets;
•the need to localize and adapt our solution for specific countries, including translation into foreign languages and associated costs and expenses;
•difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations, particularly hiring and training qualified sales and service personnel;
•the need to implement and offer customer care, in various languages;
•different pricing environments, longer sales and accounts receivable payment cycles and collections issues;
•weaker protection for intellectual property and other legal rights than in the U.S. and practical difficulties in enforcing intellectual property and other rights outside of the U.S.;
•privacy and data protection laws and regulations that are complex, expensive to comply with and may require that client data be stored and processed in a designated territory;
•increased risk of piracy, counterfeiting and other misappropriation of our intellectual property in our locations outside the U.S.;
•new and different sources of competition;
•general economic conditions in international markets;
•fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies, which may make our solution more expensive in other countries or may increase our costs, impacting our operating results when translated into U.S. dollars;
•compliance challenges related to the complexity of multiple, conflicting and changing governmental laws and regulations, including employment, tax, telecommunications and telemarketing laws and regulations;
•increased risk of international telecom fraud;
•laws and business practices favoring local competitors;
•compliance with laws and regulations applicable to foreign operations and cross border transactions, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and other anti-corruption laws, supply chain restrictions, import and export control laws, tariffs, trade barriers, economic sanctions and other regulatory or contractual limitations on our ability to sell our solution in certain foreign markets, and the risks and costs of non-compliance;
•increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities;
•restrictions or taxes on the transfer of funds;
•adverse tax consequences; and
•unstable economic and political conditions and potential accompanying shifts in laws and regulations.
These risks could harm our international operations, increase our operating costs and hinder our ability to grow our international business and, consequently, our overall business and results of operations.
The results of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union may have a negative effect on global economic conditions, financial markets and our business.
The U.K. formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020, or Brexit, and a transition period followed which ended on December 31, 2020. Brexit has resulted in significant economic and political uncertainty in both Europe and the U.K. The U.K. entered into a trade and cooperation agreement, or the U.K.-E.U. Trade Agreement, with the European Union which came into effect on January 1, 2021. Even though the U.K.-E.U. Trade Agreement has come into effect, there may be increased costs on regulatory compliance between the U.K. and other countries, including those in the European Union, as the U.K.-E.U. Trade Agreement only provides for limited market access with respect to services. The lack of a comprehensive trade deal that governs services, along with future unanticipated trade disputes between the U.K. and the European Union, including the equivalency of regulations and standards, may also disrupt the provision of services between the U.K. and member states of the European Union. In addition, the U.K. will also need to negotiate new trade and tax treaties with other countries, and such negotiations may not complete for a number of years. The U.K.-E.U. Trade Agreement creates legal uncertainty and the possibility of divergent national laws and regulations in the U.K., Europe and globally. These factors could contribute to instability in global financial and foreign exchange markets, including weakening in the value of the British pound relative to the U.S. dollar, making our solution more expensive to U.K. and international clients. Brexit could also cause disruptions to, and create uncertainty surrounding, the global economy, which could harm our ability to sell our solution and may harm our results of operation, financial condition and cash flows. Brexit could also affect our relationships with our existing and future clients, owners of our data center facilities in the U.K. and the Netherlands and our data center partners’ ability to retain and hire qualified employees, which could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Changing immigration laws due to Brexit could result in our or the owners of our data center facilities in the U.K. and the Netherlands finding it difficult to retain and hire qualified employees, which could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Risks Related to COVID-19
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have materially affected how we, our clients and business partners are operating, and the duration and extent to which this will impact our future results of operations and overall financial performance remains uncertain.
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 was reported and on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization, or WHO, characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in a widespread health crisis that has continued to significantly harm the U.S. and global economies and has caused significant fluctuation in financial markets, including those on which our common stock and other securities trade, and may impact demand for our solution.
In accordance with the various social distancing and other office closure orders and recommendations of applicable government agencies, all of our employees transitioned to work-from-home operations and we canceled all business travel by our employees except where necessary and properly authorized, which changed how we operate our business. Our clients and business partners are also subject to various and changing social distancing and office closure orders and recommendations and travel restrictions or prohibitions, which have changed the way we interact with our clients and business partners. Recently, we have re-opened our U.S. offices for employees to voluntarily return, subject to capacity restrictions and applicable government regulations. Appropriate measures are being taken to protect the health of employees who return to the office. We have also reinstated business travel on a voluntary basis and subject to prior approval. Our efforts to re-open our offices and reinstate business travel safely may not be successful; could expose our employees, customers and clients to health risks and us to associated liability; and will involve additional financial burdens.
Moreover, the conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the extent of which depends upon its prolonged impact, has or may:
•harm our ability to renew and maintain our relationships with our existing clients;
•cause our existing clients to reduce the number of seats to which they subscribe, seek price concessions, or go out of business, which would harm our revenue;
•result in some of our clients failing to comply with the terms of their agreements, including payment terms, due to economic uncertainty, financial hardship, and even failure of these businesses, which could result in us being required to take action to collect payments, terminate their subscriptions for our solution, increase accounts receivable, and reduce collections, any which would increase our expenses and harm our revenues and results of operations;
•make it more difficult for us to sell increased services or functionality to our existing clients;
•reduce the rate of spending on enterprise software solutions or cloud-based enterprise contact center systems generally;
•delay prospective clients’ decisions to subscribe to our solution, increase the length of sales cycles, or slow the typical growth in the use of our solution once clients have initially deployed our solution;
•harm our ability to effectively market and sell our solution, particularly to the extent that our clients remain subject to office closure orders;
•change the mix and sizes or types of organizations that purchase our solution;
•delay the introduction of enhancements to our solution and market acceptance of any new features and components;
•harm our ability to grow our international sales and operations;
•harm our ability to recruit, onboard and successfully integrate new employees, including members of our direct sales force, both domestically and internationally, as a result of not being able to interface in person while we continue to transition to fully re-opened facilities that are not subject to capacity restrictions;
•harm our ability to maintain our corporate culture with a portion of our employee base temporarily working remotely while we remain subject to capacity restrictions on re-opening our offices and facing unique personal and professional challenges;
•increase costs in returning to work as our offices continue to re-open, including changes to the workplace, such as space planning, food service, and amenities, and the design, implementation and enforcement of new workplace safety protocols;
•increase the burden on our technical operations infrastructure, which could harm the capacity, stability, security and performance of our operations infrastructure and potentially leave us more vulnerable to security breaches;
•increase the risk that we may experience cybersecurity-related events such as COVID-19 themed phishing attacks, exploitation of any cybersecurity flaws that may exist, an increase in the number of cybersecurity threats or attacks, and other security challenges as a result of our employees and service providers continuing to work remotely from non-corporate managed networks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and potentially beyond as remote work and resource access expand;
•limit our ability to efficiently provide professional services to our larger clients to the extent that they remain subject to office closures, as those services have typically been performed onsite, which could delay implementation of our solution at new clients;
•harm our ability to manage, maintain or increase our network of master agents and resellers to sell our solution, and make it more difficult for them to effectively assist us with their sales efforts;
•impact the health and safety of our employees, including our senior management team, and their ability to perform services;
•cause our management team to continue to commit significant time, attention and resources to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to mitigate its effect on our business and workforce;
•lead to the adoption of additional new laws and regulations that we are required to comply with and that could harm our results of operations, and we may be subject to COVID-19 related litigation; and
•cause the price per share of our common stock or the trading price of our convertible senior notes to continue to experience substantial volatility, and potentially decline, based on developments and announcements related to COVID-19 and its impact on the global and U.S. economy in general or our industry in particular, our failure to meet our guidance or analyst expectations or withdrawal or modification by us of previously issued guidance.
Any of the foregoing factors could significantly harm our future sales, operating results, gross margins and overall financial performance, which could cause us to experience a decreased level of growth of our business and make our future financial results and prospects difficult to predict. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on us and the U.S. and global economies could limit our ability to forecast our future operating results, including our ability to predict revenue and expense levels, and plan for and model future results of operations. Moreover, because a significant portion of our revenue is derived from existing clients, downturns in new sales will not immediately be reflected in our operating results and may be difficult to discern until future periods. Our competitors could experience different impacts as a result of COVID-19, which could result in changes to our competitive landscape.
The duration and extent of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, such as the ongoing severity and transmission rate of the virus and variants of the virus, the extent and effectiveness of vaccine programs and other containment actions, the duration of social distancing, office closures, office capacity restrictions and other restrictions on businesses and society at large, and the specific impact of these and other factors on our business, employees, clients and partners. If we are not able to respond to and manage the impact of such events effectively, our business will be harmed. There are no comparable recent events that provide guidance as to the effect the COVID-19 pandemic may have and, as a result, the ultimate impact of the pandemic on our business and operations is highly uncertain and subject to change. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could have a material impact on our results of operations and increase many of the other risks described herein.
Other Operational Risks
Adverse economic conditions may harm our business.
Our business depends on the overall demand for cloud contact center software solutions and on the economic health of our current and prospective clients. In addition to the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Australia, we plan in the future to market and sell our solution in Asia and other international markets. If economic conditions, including currency exchange rates, in these areas and other key potential markets for our solution remain uncertain or deteriorate, including as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, clients may delay or reduce their contact center and overall information technology spending. If our clients or potential clients experience economic hardship, this could reduce the demand for our solution, delay and lengthen sales cycles, lower prices for our solution, and lead to slower growth or even a decline in our revenues, operating results and cash flows.
Security breaches and improper access to or disclosure of our data or our clients’ data, or other cyber attacks on our systems, could result in litigation and regulatory risk, harm our reputation and our business.
Our solution involves the storage and transmission of our clients’ information, including information about our clients’ customers or other information treated by our clients as confidential. Unauthorized access, unauthorized use of our systems, security breaches or other cyber attacks could result in the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability of such information, leading to litigation, governmental investigations and enforcements actions, indemnity obligations, increased expense, and other liability. Such incidents could also cause interruptions to the solutions we provide, degrade the user experience, or cause clients to lose confidence in our solution.
We are required to comply with laws and regulations that require us to maintain the security of personal data and we may have contractual and other legal obligations to notify customers or other relevant stakeholders of security breaches. While we have implemented security measures to protect client information and minimize the risk of security breaches and other cyber attacks, if these measures fail as a result of a cyber-attack, other third-party action, employee error, malfeasance or otherwise, and someone unlawfully or without authorization obtains access to our clients’ information, including personal data, our reputation could be damaged, our business may suffer and we could incur significant liability. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access or sabotage systems change frequently and generally are not identified until they are launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. In addition, third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or users to disclose information in order to gain access to our data or our users’ data. Such disclosures could lead to negative publicity, may cause our customers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures and require us to and other resources to respond to and/or mitigate the security breach. Accordingly, if our cybersecurity measures fail to protect against unauthorized access, attacks, compromise or the mishandling of data by our employees, then our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected. Moreover, any failure on the part of third parties, including our clients, to maintain appropriate security measures for their own systems could harm our relationships with our clients, result in claims against us for credits or damages, damage our reputation and significantly reduce client demand for our solution. Any or all of these issues could harm our ability to attract new clients, cause existing clients to cancel, reduce or not renew their subscriptions, result in reputational damage or subject us to third-party lawsuits, governmental investigations and enforcement actions, regulatory fines or other action or liability, including orders or consent decrees forcing us to modify our business practices, all of which could materially harm our business, reputation or financial results.
We depend on our senior management team, and the loss of one or more key employees or an inability to attract and retain highly skilled executives and other employees could harm our business and results of operations.
Our success depends, in part, upon the performance and continued services of our executive officers and senior management team. If our executive leadership team fails to perform effectively or if we fail to attract or retain our key executives or senior management, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be harmed. We also rely on our leadership team in the areas of research and development, marketing, sales, services and general and administrative functions, and on mission-critical individual contributors. The loss of one or more of our executive officers or key employees could seriously harm our business. We currently do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our employees.
To execute our growth plan, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel and we may incur significant costs (including stock-based compensation expense) to do so. Competition for these personnel is intense, especially for senior executives, engineers highly experienced in designing and developing cloud software and for senior sales personnel. We have, from time to time, experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty
in hiring and retaining employees with appropriate qualifications, and this risk may be exacerbated by factors related to, among other things, the termination of our proposed merger with Zoom, the much publicized “Great Resignation,” and increased recruiting efforts by other companies. We invest significant time and expense in training our employees, which increases their value to competitors who may seek to recruit them and increases our costs.
We believe that our corporate culture is a critical component to our ability to attract and retain employees. As we grow, we will need to continually enhance our efforts to maintain our corporate culture, which is more difficult due to our work from home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We may experience increased attrition of employees to other opportunities, particularly as we reopen our offices, as certain employees may seek more flexible work alternatives than we offer, may seek positions with companies outside of the geographic area in which they live that offer remote work opportunities, or may decide to scale back their work life for personal reasons. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, particularly our executive officers and senior management team, our business and future growth prospects would be harmed. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have and may offer more flexible work alternatives such as permanent remote work or work from home. If we hire employees from competitors or other companies, their former employers may attempt to assert that these employees or we have breached legal obligations, resulting in a diversion of our time and resources and, potentially, damages.
Volatility or lack of performance in the trading price of our common stock, including the recent volatility in our trading price during the pendency, and after termination, of the Merger, may also affect our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel because job candidates and existing employees often emphasize the value of stock awards when considering whether to accept or continue employment. If the perceived value of our stock awards is low or declines, it may harm our ability to recruit and retain highly skilled employees.
We may acquire other companies, or technologies or be the target of strategic transactions, or be impacted by transactions by other companies, which could divert our management’s attention, result in additional dilution to our stockholders or use a significant amount of our cash resources, and otherwise disrupt our operations and harm our operating results.
We may acquire or invest in businesses, applications or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our solution, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities. For instance, in 2019, we acquired substantially all of the assets of Whendu LLC, or Whendu, including its iPaaS platform, and in 2020, we acquired both Virtual Observer and Inference. The pursuit of potential acquisitions may divert the attention of management, and cause us to incur various costs and expenses in identifying, investigating and pursuing acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated. We may not be able to identify desirable acquisition targets or be successful in entering into an agreement with any particular target. In addition, there has been a number of recent transactions in our industry and adjacent industries, which could have a negative impact on us.
To date, the growth in our business has been primarily organic, and we have limited experience in acquiring other businesses. With respect to our recent acquisitions and any future acquisitions, we may not be able to successfully integrate acquired personnel, operations, product features and technologies, or effectively manage the combined business following the acquisition. We also may not achieve the anticipated benefits from these or any future acquisitions due to a number of factors, including:
•inability to integrate or benefit from acquisitions in a profitable manner;
•unanticipated costs or liabilities associated with the acquisition, including legal claims to enforce our rights under the acquisition agreements or arising from the activities of the companies or businesses we acquire;
•difficulty converting the clients of the acquired business to our solution and contract terms, including due to disparities in the revenue, licensing, support or professional services model of the acquired company;
•difficulty integrating the accounting systems, operations and personnel of the acquired business;
•difficulties and additional costs and expenses associated with supporting legacy products and the hosting infrastructure of the acquired business;
•diversion of management’s attention from other business concerns;
•harm to our existing relationships with our partners and clients as a result of the acquisition;
•the loss of our or the acquired business’s key employees;
•diversion of resources that could have been more effectively deployed in other parts of our business; and
•use of substantial portions of our available cash to consummate the acquisition.
In addition, a significant portion of the purchase price of companies and businesses we acquire may be allocated to acquired goodwill and other intangible assets, which must be assessed for impairment at least annually. If our acquisitions do not yield expected returns, we may be required to take charges to our operating results based on this impairment assessment process, which could harm our results of operations.
Acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of equity securities, the use of our available cash, or the incurrence of additional debt to fund such acquisitions, which could harm our operating results. To the extent that we determine to issue stock in any acquisitions, volatility in our stock price could make it more difficult or dilutive to make these acquisitions. If an acquired business fails to meet our expectations, our operating results, business and financial condition could suffer.
In addition, third parties may be interested in acquiring us. We will continue to consider, evaluate and negotiate any such transactions as we deem appropriate. Such potential transactions may divert the attention of management, and cause us to incur various costs and expenses in investigating, evaluating and negotiating such transactions, whether or not they are consummated.
We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs.
To date, we have financed our operations, primarily through sales of our solution, lease facilities and the net proceeds from our equity and debt financings, including the sale of our convertible senior notes. We do not know when or if our operations will generate sufficient cash to fund our ongoing operations. We may require additional capital to respond to business opportunities, challenges, acquisitions, a decline in sales, increased regulatory obligations or unforeseen circumstances and may engage in equity or debt financings or enter into credit facilities.
We have a substantial amount of debt. As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately $781.7 million in principal outstanding under our convertible senior notes issued in May 2018 and in May and June 2020. See Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements.
Any debt financing obtained by us in the future would cause us to incur additional debt service expenses and could include restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and pursue business opportunities and could be secured by all of our assets. If we raise additional funds through further issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution in their percentage ownership of our company, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges senior to those of holders of our common stock. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to grow and support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly harmed.
If we are unable to maintain and further develop effective internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock may decrease.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or Section 404, requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report and attestation from our independent registered public accountant on our internal control over financial reporting. This attestation has and will continue to increase our independent public accountant costs and expenses.
If we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective, which could cause our stock price to decline. A “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
If we have material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis and our financial statements may be materially misstated. If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner, if we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective or if our independent
registered public accounting firm is unable to attest that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could decrease. We could also become subject to stockholder or other third-party litigation as well as investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources and could result in fines, penalties, trading suspensions or other remedies.
Changes in financial accounting standards or practices may cause adverse, unexpected financial reporting fluctuations and affect our reported operating results.
U.S. GAAP is subject to interpretation by the FASB, the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in accounting standards or practices can have a significant effect on our reported results and may even affect our financial statements issued before the change is effective. New accounting pronouncements and varying interpretations of accounting pronouncements have occurred and will occur in the future. Changes to existing rules or the questioning of current practices may harm our reported financial results or the way we account for or conduct our business.
For example, in August 2020, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update, or ASU, No. 2020-06, Debt-Debt with Conversion and Other Options (Subtopic 470-20) and Derivatives and Hedging-Contracts in Entity’s Own Equity (Subtopic 815-40): Accounting for Convertible Instruments and Contracts in an Entity’s Own Equity ("ASU 2020-06"), which simplified the accounting for convertible instruments by removing the separation models for (1) convertible debt with a cash conversion feature and (2) convertible instruments with a beneficial conversion feature. We elected to early adopt ASU 2020-06 as of January 1, 2021 using a modified retrospective transition method. Applying the transition guidance, we were required to apply the guidance to all impacted financial instruments that were outstanding as of January 1, 2021 with the cumulative effect recognized as an adjustment to the opening balance of accumulated deficit. See Notes 1 and 6 to consolidated financial statements for more information.
The application of any new accounting guidance is, and will be, based on all information available to us as of the date of adoption and up through subsequent interim reporting, including transition guidance published by the standard setters. However, the interpretation of these new standards may continue to evolve as other public companies adopt the new guidance and the standard setters issue new interpretative guidance related to these rules. As a result, changes in the interpretation of these rules could result in material adjustments to our application of the new guidance, which could have a material effect on our results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, any difficulties in implementing these pronouncements could cause us to fail to meet our financial reporting obligations, which could result in regulatory discipline, cessation or disruption of trading in our common stock and harm investors’ confidence in us.
In addition, certain factors have in the past and may in the future cause us to defer recognition of revenues. For example, the inclusion in our client contracts of non-standard terms, such as acceptance criteria, could require the deferral of revenue. To the extent that such contracts become more prevalent in the future our revenue may be harmed.
Because of these factors and other specific requirements under U.S. GAAP for revenue recognition, we must have precise terms and conditions in our arrangements in order to recognize revenue when we deliver our solution or perform our professional services. Negotiation of mutually acceptable terms and conditions can extend our sales cycle, and we may accept terms and conditions that do not permit revenue recognition at the time of delivery.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property
Any failure to protect our intellectual property rights could impair our ability to protect our proprietary technology and our brand.
Our success and ability to compete depend in part upon our intellectual property. As of December 31, 2021, our intellectual property portfolio included three registered U.S. trademarks, 14 issued U.S. patents, two pending U.S. patent applications, two pending international PCT patent applications and one registered U.S. copyright. As of December 31, 2021, we also had five issued patents and 10 trademark registrations outside the U.S. The expiration dates of our issued patents range from 2030 to 2041. We primarily rely on copyright, trade secret and trademark laws, trade secret protection and confidentiality or license agreements with our employees, clients, partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. However, the steps we take to secure, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights may be inadequate. We may not be able to obtain any further patents or
trademarks, our current patents could be invalidated or our competitors could design their products around our patented technology, and our pending applications may not result in the issuance of patents or trademarks. We have pending patent applications and trademark registrations outside the U.S., and we may have to expend significant additional resources to obtain additional protection and maintain current registrations as we expand our international operations. Furthermore, legal standards relating to the validity, enforceability and scope of protection of intellectual property rights in other countries are uncertain and may afford little or no effective protection of our proprietary technology, and the risk of intellectual property misappropriation may be higher in these countries. As we expand into additional countries, these risks will be further enhanced. Consequently, we may be unable to prevent our proprietary technology from being infringed or exploited abroad, which could affect our ability to expand into international markets or require costly efforts to protect our technology.
In order to protect our intellectual property rights, we may be required to spend significant resources to monitor and protect these rights. Litigation brought to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights will be costly, time consuming and distracting to our management and could result in the impairment or loss of our intellectual property. Furthermore, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims and countersuits attacking the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property rights, which could weaken our intellectual property protection. Accordingly, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property. Our failure to secure, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights could substantially harm the value of our technology, solutions, brand and business.
We will likely continue to be subject to third-party intellectual property infringement claims.
There is considerable patent and other intellectual property development activity and litigation in our industry. Our success depends upon our not infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. Our competitors, as well as a number of other entities and individuals, may own or claim to own intellectual property relating to our industry. From time to time, third parties have claimed that we are infringing upon their intellectual property rights.
Certain technology necessary for us to provide our solution may be patented, copyrighted or otherwise protected by other parties either now or in the future. In such case, we would have to negotiate a license for the use of that technology. We may not be able to negotiate such a license at a price that is acceptable, or at all. The existence of such a patent, copyright or other protections, or our inability to negotiate a license for any such technology on acceptable terms, could force us to cease using such technology and offering solutions incorporating such technology.
Others have claimed, or in the future may claim, that our solution and underlying technology infringe or violate their intellectual property rights. However, we may be unaware of the intellectual property rights that others may claim cover some or all of our technology or solution. Any claims or litigation could cause us to incur significant costs and expenses and, if successfully asserted against us, could require that we pay substantial damages or ongoing royalty payments, require that we refrain from using, manufacturing or selling certain offerings or features or using certain processes, prevent us from offering our solution or certain features thereof, or require that we comply with other unfavorable terms, any of which could harm our business and operating results. We may also be obligated to indemnify our clients or business partners and pay substantial settlement costs, including royalty payments, in connection with any such claim or litigation and to obtain licenses, which could be costly. Even if we were to prevail in any such dispute, any litigation regarding our intellectual property could be costly and time consuming and divert the attention of our management and key personnel from our business operations.
Indemnity provisions in various agreements potentially expose us to substantial liability for intellectual property infringement and other losses.
In the ordinary course of business, we enter into agreements of varying scope and terms pursuant to which we agree to indemnify clients, vendors, lessors, business partners and other parties for third party claims with respect to certain matters, including, but not limited to, losses arising out of breach of such agreements, certain claims related to third-party privacy or cyber security breaches or from intellectual property infringement claims made by third parties. In addition, we have entered into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers and certain employees that will require us, among other things, to indemnify them against certain liabilities that may arise by reason of their status or service as directors, officers or employees. Large indemnity payments or damage claims from contractual breach could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. Although we typically contractually limit our liability with respect to such obligations, we may still incur substantial liability related to them. Any dispute with a client with respect to such obligations could be expensive, even if we ultimately
prevail, and could harm our relationship with that client and other current and prospective clients, reduce demand for our solution and harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We employ third-party licensed software for use in or with our solution, and the inability to maintain these licenses or errors in the software we license could result in increased costs, or reduced service levels, which could harm our business.
Our solution incorporates certain third-party software obtained under licenses from other companies. We anticipate that we will continue to rely on current and new software from third parties in the future. Although we believe that there are commercially reasonable alternatives to the third-party software we currently license, this may not be the case, or may not be the case for new software that we license, or it may be difficult or costly to transition to other providers. In addition, integration of the software used in our solution with new third-party software may require significant work and require substantial investment of our time and resources. To the extent that our solution depends upon the successful operation of third-party software in conjunction with our software, any undetected errors or defects in this third-party software could prevent the deployment or impair the functionality of our solution, delay new product or solution introductions, result in increased costs, or a failure of our solution and injure our reputation. Our use of additional or alternative third-party software would require us to enter into license agreements with third parties and to integrate such software to our solution.
There can be no assurance that the technology licensed by us will continue to provide competitive features and functionality or that licenses for technology currently utilized by us or other technology that we may seek to license in the future, including to replace current third-party software, will be available to us at a reasonable cost or on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Third-party licensors may also be acquired or go out of business, which could preclude us from continuing to use such technology. The loss of, or inability to maintain, existing licenses could result in lost product features and litigation. The loss of existing licenses could also result in implementation delays or reductions until equivalent technology or suitable alternative solutions could be developed, identified, licensed and integrated, and could increase our costs and harm our business.
Our solution utilizes open source software, and any failure to comply with the terms of one or more of these open source licenses could negatively affect our business.
Our solution includes software covered by open source licenses, which may include, for example, free general public use licenses, open source front-end libraries and open source applications. The terms of various open source licenses have not been interpreted by United States courts, and there is a risk that such licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to market our solution. By the terms of certain open source licenses, we could be required to release the source code of our proprietary software, and to make our proprietary software available under open source licenses, if we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner. In the event that portions of our proprietary software are determined to be subject to an open source license, we could be required to publicly release the affected portions of our source code, re-engineer all or a portion of our technologies, or otherwise be limited in the licensing of our technologies, each of which could reduce or eliminate the value of our technologies and solutions. In addition to risks related to license requirements, usage of open source software can lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or controls on the origin of the software. Given the nature of open source software, there is also a risk that third parties may assert copyright and other intellectual property infringement claims against us based on our use of certain open source software programs. Many of the risks associated with the usage of open source software cannot be eliminated, and could harm our business.
Risks Related to Regulatory and Tax Matters
Failure to comply with laws and regulations could harm our business and our reputation.
Our business is subject to regulation by various federal, state, local and foreign governmental agencies, including agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing laws and regulations related to employment and labor laws, workplace safety, environmental protection, privacy or data security, consumer protection, telecommunications services, anti-bribery, import/export controls, federal securities and taxes. In certain jurisdictions, these regulatory requirements may be more stringent than those in the United States and in other circumstances these requirements may be more stringent in the United States. Noncompliance with applicable regulations or requirements could subject us to investigations, sanctions, mandatory recalls, notification obligations, enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, fines, damages, civil and criminal penalties or injunctions. If any
governmental sanctions, fines or penalties are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any civil or criminal litigation, our business, operating results, financial condition and reputation could be harmed. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and an increase in professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could further harm our business, operating results, financial condition and reputation.
Alleged or actual failure to comply with the constantly evolving legal and contractual environment surrounding calling consumers and wireless phone numbers by other companies or our competitors or governmental or private enforcement actions related thereto, could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The legal and contractual environment surrounding calling consumers and wireless phone numbers is constantly evolving. In the United States, two federal agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, and the FCC, and various states have laws including, at the federal level, the TCPA that restrict the placing of certain telephone calls and texts to residential and wireless telephone subscribers by means of automatic telephone dialing systems, prerecorded or artificial voice messages and fax machines. These laws require companies to institute processes and safeguards to comply with these restrictions. The legal interpretation of certain of the requirements of these laws continue to be in dispute before the courts and federal agencies, and it is possible that legal decisions and agency actions may further alter the legal requirements involved. Some of these laws, where a violation is established, can be enforced by the FTC, FCC, State Attorneys General, or private party litigants. In these types of actions, the plaintiff may seek damages, statutory penalties, costs and/or attorneys’ fees.
We have designed our solution to comply with these laws. To the extent that our solution is viewed by clients or potential clients as less functional, or more difficult to deploy or use, because of our solution’s compliance features, we may lose market share to competitors that do not include similar compliance safeguards. Our contractual arrangements with our clients who use our solution to place calls also expressly require them to comply with all such laws and to indemnify us for any failure to do so. We take numerous steps to reasonably confirm that the use of our services complies with applicable laws. Even with these efforts, it is possible that the FTC, FCC, private litigants or others may attempt to hold our clients, or us as a software solution provider, responsible for alleged violations of these laws. To the extent any court finds that the software solution violated a controlling legal standard, we could face indemnification demands from our clients for costs, fees and damages with respect to calls placed using that solution. It also is possible that we may not successfully enforce or collect upon our contractual indemnities from our clients. Defending such suits can be costly and time-consuming and could result in fines, damages, expenses and losses. Additionally, these laws, and any changes to them or the interpretation thereof, that further restrict calling consumers, including to wireless phone numbers, adverse publicity regarding the alleged or actual failure by companies, including our clients and competitors, to comply with such laws or governmental or private enforcement actions related thereto, could result in a reduction in the use of our solution by our clients and potential clients, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
On December 12, 2018, the FCC issued an order concluding that the Short Message Service, or SMS, or text messages, is an information service under federal law and not a telecommunications service. The regulatory significance to us is that the FCC’s decision gives wireless carriers the flexibility to block SMS messages if the carriers identify the messages as unwanted by their wireless customers. Such blocking efforts by carriers may make it more difficult for our clients to use SMS messages that are provided by us as a part of our overall communications and outreach solution for our clients. Thus, although SMS comprises only a very small portion of our revenue base, its future availability as an effective tool for communication and outreach for our clients and their customers is uncertain and could cause our solution to be less valuable to clients and potential clients.
Increased taxes on our service may increase our clients’ cost of using our service and/or increase our costs and reduce our profit margins to the extent the costs are not passed through to our clients, and we may be subject to liabilities for past sales and other taxes, surcharges and fees.
Based on analysis of our activities, we have determined that we are obligated to collect and remit U.S. state or local sales, use, gross receipts, excise and utility user taxes, as well as fees or surcharges as a communications service provider in certain U.S. states, municipalities or local tax jurisdictions. We are registered for collecting and remitting applicable taxes where such a determination has been made. Prior to our making such determination, we neither collected nor remitted these taxes, fees or surcharges to applicable local, municipal or state jurisdictions. We continue to analyze our activities to determine if we are subject to these taxes in additional jurisdictions and based
on our ongoing assessment of our U.S. state and local tax collection and remittance obligations, we register for tax and regulatory purposes in such jurisdictions and commence collecting and remitting applicable state and local taxes and surcharges to these jurisdictions.
We have accrued a contingent liability of $1.0 million for our best estimate of the probable amount of taxes and surcharges that may be imposed by various states and municipalities on our activities, including our usage-based and subscription services, prior to registration. This contingent liability is based on our analysis of a number of factors, including the source location of our usage-based fees, the taxability of our subscription services and the rules and regulations in each state. The actual amount of state and local taxes and surcharges paid may differ from our estimates. See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements.
While we have accrued for these potential liabilities in each period, such accruals are based on analyses of our business activities, the operation of our solution, applicable statutes, regulations and rules in each state and locality and estimates of sales subject to sales tax or other charges. State and local taxing and regulatory authorities may challenge our position and may decide to audit our business and operations with respect to state or local sales, use, gross receipts, excise and utility user taxes, fees or surcharges, which could result in our being liable for taxes, fees, or surcharges, as well as related penalties and interest, above our recorded accrued liability or additional liability for taxes, fees, or surcharges, as well as penalties and interest for our clients, which could harm our results of operations and our relationships with our clients. In addition, if our international sales grow, additional foreign countries may seek to impose sales or other tax collection obligations on us, which would increase our exposure to liability.
The applicability of state or local taxes, fees or surcharges relative to services such as ours is complex, ambiguous and subject to interpretation and change. If states enact new legislation or if taxing and regulatory authorities promulgate new rules or regulations or expand or otherwise alter their interpretations of existing rules and regulations, we could incur additional liabilities. The amount that we are required to pay under certain of these tax and regulatory structures also continues to increase as a percentage of our telecommunications revenues. The collection of additional taxes, fees or surcharges in the future could increase our prices or reduce our profit margins. Compliance with new or existing legislation, rules or regulations may also make us less competitive with those competitors who are not subject to, or choose not to comply with, such legislation, rules or regulations. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, substantial ongoing costs associated with complying with state or local tax, fee or surcharge requirements in the numerous markets in which we conduct or will conduct business.
Our ability to maintain compliance with complex rules and technological requirements intended to prevent robocalls and caller ID spoofing poses a significant business risk due to possible blocking of client voice traffic.
The FCC has adopted rules based on federal statute that require all providers of voice communications services, with limited exceptions, to implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification authentication framework designed to reduce fraudulent robocalls and illegal phone number identification, or ID, spoofing. STIR stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited. SHAKEN stands for Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs. We have completed our implementation of STIR/SHAKEN technology, but the implementation process was complex and involved compliance with a number of related regulatory regimes.
STIR/SHAKEN is a series of protocols and a governance framework in which the originating voice service provider attests to the calling party’s identity and is intended to ensure the caller’s ID has not been spoofed in order to reduce the number of illegal robocalls. The STIR/SHAKEN regulatory framework creates a significant business risk for companies such as ours that include clients that originate large volumes of telephone calls to consumers because, if an intermediate or terminating carrier is unable to verify the authenticity of an incoming call from one of our clients, they may block the call, preventing it from reaching the intended party, which would damage our relationship with our clients, and make our solution less attractive to our clients and potential clients.
In addition, the FCC is requiring voice service providers to implement other robocall prevention measures, including registering with the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Database and maintaining a robocall mitigation plan that includes conducting due diligence on customers to ensure they do not engage, or appear to engage, in robocalling or caller ID spoofing. Third party complaints and unusual calling patterns on end user bills must be investigated and the services of non-compliant clients terminated. Voice service providers must also participate in an Industry Traceback Group program to further demonstrate their commitment to preventing robocalls and caller ID spoofing. We have implemented these remedial measures to ensure that other carriers do not misidentify or block voice traffic originated by our clients. Although we believe we have achieved full compliance, the regulatory measures to prevent robocalling and caller ID spoofing are relatively new and complex and therefore pose a risk to all voice service providers with respect to the possible misidentification and blocking of voice calls originated by their clients. These new compliance measures have and will increase our regulatory compliance and other costs, could make our
solution less attractive to our clients, and any non-compliance could subject us to fines, damages and penalties, or injunctions precluding the use of our solutions or certain features thereof.
Our ability to offer services outside the United States is subject to different regulatory and taxation requirements, which may be complicated and uncertain.
As we continue to expand the sale and implementation of our solution internationally, we will be subject to additional regulations, taxes, surcharges and fees. Compliance with these new complex regulatory requirements differ from country to country, and are frequently changing and may impose substantial compliance burdens on our business. At times, it may be difficult to determine which laws and regulations apply and we may discover that we are required to comply with certain laws and regulations after having provided services for some time in that jurisdiction, which could subject us to retroactive taxes, fees and penalties, and we may be subject to conflicting requirements. Additionally, as we expand internationally, the risk that governments will regulate or impose new or increased taxes or fees on our services increases. Any such additional regulation or taxes could decrease the value of our international expansion, or impede our ability to expand internationally, and therefore harm our results of operations.
We are subject to assessments for unpaid USF contributions, as well as interest thereon and civil penalties, due to our late registration and past failure to recognize our obligation as a USF contributor and as an international carrier.
We are classified as a telecommunications service provider for regulatory purposes and we are required to make direct contributions to the USF based on revenue we receive from the resale of interstate and international telecommunications services. In order to comply with the obligation to make direct contributions, we are registered with the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC, which is charged by the FCC with administering the USF, and have been remitting the required contributions to USAC since our registration with USAC in April 2013.
In June 2015, in connection with our late registration with the USAC and past failure to make USF contributions prior to 2013, we entered into a consent decree with the FCC Enforcement Bureau. In the consent decree, we agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2.0 million to the U.S. Treasury, which was paid in installments ending on December 31, 2018. We also agreed to make USF contributions of $3.9 million based on our revenues for the period from 2008 to 2012. We are still in dispute with the FCC regarding whether we are liable for USF contributions related to the period from 2003 through 2007. As of December 31, 2021, we had accrued $0.1 million in interest related to the disputed assessments for the period of 2003 through 2007. See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements.
Although the effective period of the FCC consent decree has terminated, the FCC routinely imposes a higher expectation of regulatory compliance on companies that were previously subject to consent decrees and any further violations of FCC rules could subject us to heightened enforcement action, including higher fines and penalties.
Our ongoing obligations to pay federal, state and local telecommunications contributions and taxes may decrease our price advantage over, and ability to compete with our competitors who are not subject to, or choose not to comply with, those requirements. In addition, if we are unable to continue to pass some or all of the cost of these contributions and taxes to our clients, our profit margins on the minutes we resell will decrease. Our federal contributions and tax obligations may significantly increase in the future, due to new interpretations by governing authorities, governmental budget pressures, changes in our business model or solutions or other factors.
If we do not comply with FCC rules and regulations, we could be subject to further FCC enforcement actions, fines, loss of licenses and possibly restrictions on our ability to operate or offer certain of our services.
Since our business is regulated by the FCC, we are subject to existing or potential FCC regulations relating to privacy, disability access, porting of numbers, USF contributions and other requirements. If we do not comply with FCC rules and regulations, we could be subject to further FCC enforcement actions, fines, loss of licenses and possibly restrictions on our ability to operate or offer certain of our services. Any further enforcement action by the FCC, which may be a public process, would hurt our reputation in the industry, could impair our ability to sell our services to clients and could harm our business and results of operations.
The regulations to which we are subject (in whole or in part) include:
•the TRACED Act and corresponding regulations from the FCC, which requires carriers to authenticate incoming calls using the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID framework and correspondingly compels providers of telecommunications services to implement capabilities to certify as authentic the traffic they provide to those carriers;
•the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, which requires covered entities to assist law enforcement in undertaking electronic surveillance;
•KARI’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act, which require telecommunications carriers to ensure their users can directly dial 911 emergency services and, if technically feasible, automatically convey dispatchable location information with the call;
•contributions to the USF which requires that we pay a percentage of our revenues resulting from the provision of interstate telecommunications services to support certain federal programs;
•payment of annual FCC regulatory fees based on our interstate and international revenues;
•rules pertaining to access to our services by people with disabilities and contributions to the Telecommunications Relay Services fund; and
•FCC rules regarding CPNI which prohibit us from using such information without client approval, subject to certain exceptions.
If we do not comply with any current or future rules or regulations that apply to our business, we could be subject to additional and substantial fines and penalties, we may have to restructure our solution, exit certain markets, accept lower margins or raise the price of our solution, any of which could harm our business and results of operations.
Reform of federal and state USF programs could increase the cost of our service to our clients, diminishing or eliminating our pricing advantage.
The FCC and a number of states are considering reform or other modifications to USF programs. The way we calculate our contribution may change if the FCC or certain states engage in reform or adopt other modifications.
Should the FCC or certain states adopt new contribution mechanisms or otherwise modify contribution obligations that increase our contribution burden, we will either need to raise the amount we currently collect from our clients to cover this obligation or absorb the costs, which would reduce our profit margins. Furthermore, the FCC has ruled that states can require us to contribute to state USF programs. A number of states already require us to contribute, while others are actively considering extending their programs to include the solution we provide. Currently our USF contributions are borne by our clients, which could result in our solution becoming less competitive as compared to products provided by our competitors.
We may not be able to utilize a significant portion of our net operating loss or research tax credit carryforwards, which could harm our profitability and financial condition.
As of December 31, 2021, we had federal, state and foreign net operating loss carryforwards due to prior period losses of $495.3 million, $306.8 million and $18.8 million, respectively, available to reduce future income subject to income taxes. If not utilized, the federal and state net operating loss carryforwards will begin to expire in 2024 and 2028, respectively, while the foreign net operating loss carryforwards do not expire. As of December 31, 2021, we also had gross research credit carryforwards for federal and California state tax purposes of $8.4 million and $5.8 million, respectively. If not utilized, the federal research credit carryforwards will begin to expire in 2022. The California research credit carryforwards do not expire. If we are unable to generate sufficient taxable income to utilize our net operating loss and research tax credit carryforwards, these carryforwards could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities, which could harm our profitability and financial condition in future periods.
Beginning in 2022, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) eliminates the option to deduct research and development expenditures currently and requires taxpayers to capitalize and amortize them over five years pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 Section 174. Although Congress is considering legislation that would defer the amortization requirement to later years, it is not certain that the provision will be repealed or otherwise modified. If
the requirement is not modified, it will reduce our net operating losses beginning in 2022. Given our carryover attributes, this is not expected to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
In addition, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or IRC Section 382, our ability to utilize net operating loss carryforwards or other tax attributes, such as research tax credits, in any taxable year may be limited if we experience an “ownership change.” An IRC Section 382 “ownership change” generally occurs if one or more stockholders or groups of stockholders who own at least 5% of our stock increase their ownership by more than 50 percentage points over their lowest ownership percentage within a rolling three-year period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. We experienced an ownership change prior to 2014 and the disclosed amounts of our net operating losses and research credit carryforwards have been reduced for the resulting effect of the IRC Section 382 limitations. Subsequent or future issuances or sales of our stock (including certain transactions involving our stock that are outside of our control) could cause an “ownership change” again, which would impose an annual limit on the amount of pre-ownership change net operating loss carryforwards and other tax attributes we can use to reduce our taxable income. This could potentially cause those tax attributes to expire unused or to be reduced, which would increase and accelerate our liability for income taxes. It is possible that such an ownership change could materially reduce our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards or other tax attributes to offset taxable income, which could require us to pay more income taxes than if we were able to fully utilize our net operating loss carryforwards and harm our profitability.
Privacy concerns and domestic or foreign laws and regulations may reduce the demand for our solution, increase our costs and harm our business.
Our clients use our solution to collect, transfer, use, and otherwise process, collectively, Process or Processing, personal data regarding their customers and potential customers. The Processing of personal data and other types of protected data subjects us and our customers to a number of domestic and international laws that govern and regulate the Processing of personal data and other types of protected data. These laws regulate and address a range of issues including data privacy (e.g., restrictions or technological or process requirements regarding the Processing of data), cybersecurity (e.g., requirements for the protection of personal data against compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of personal data), breach notification, data governance, and risk management and reporting. These laws can vary substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and are rapidly evolving. Domestic and international government authorities are considering adopting, or may adopt, laws and regulations in the future, regarding the Processing of personal data obtained from consumers and individuals.
In the U.S., there are numerous federal and state laws governing the privacy and security of personal information. For instance, we may be subject to FTC enforcement actions if the FTC has reason to believe we have engaged in unfair or deceptive privacy or data security practices in violation of the FTC Act. There are also new state privacy laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, the Colorado Privacy Act, or CPA, and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, or VCDPA, that set forth comprehensive privacy obligations regarding the Processing of personal data. It is possible that other states may pass their own versions of data privacy laws.
Moreover, data protection laws and regulations outside the United States, including Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and particularly in the EU, often are more restrictive than those in the United States. Such laws and regulations may have more stringent compliance obligations in regards to data protection. While some aspects of these laws are similar to the new U.S. state privacy laws in terms of providing for data subject privacy rights of access, deletion, correction, and portability, the EU laws often require affirmative consent for some types of data processing, and broader requirements for informing data protection authorities and individuals of security breaches that affect their personal data. We also may be bound by additional, more stringent contractual obligations relating to our collection, use, disclosure and data transfers of personal, financial, and other data outside the EU. It is possible that a governmental authority may implement a new law or interpret an existing law in a manner that limits our customers’ ability to use our solution or that requires us to make costly or detrimental changes in our solution and services, whether on a one-time basis or as an ongoing increase in our operating costs and expenses. Further, some laws might require us to disclose proprietary or confidential aspects of our solution in a manner that compromises the effectiveness of our solution or that enables our competitors or bad actors to gain insight into the operation of our technology, enabling them to copy or circumvent our solution and thereby reducing the value of our technology.
The costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, such laws and regulations that are applicable to us and the businesses of our clients may limit the use and adoption of our solution and reduce overall demand for our solution. Also, failure to comply with such laws may lead to significant fines, penalties or other regulatory
liabilities, such as orders or consent decrees forcing us or our clients to modify business practices, and reputational damage or third-party lawsuits for any noncompliance with such laws. Our business could be harmed if legislation or regulations are adopted, interpreted or implemented in a manner that is inconsistent from country to country and inconsistent with our current policies and practices, or those of our clients.
Furthermore, privacy and data protection concerns may cause consumers to resist providing the personal data or other types of protected data that may be subject to laws and regulations that is necessary to allow our clients to use our solution effectively. Even the perception of privacy concerns, whether or not valid, may inhibit market adoption of our solution in certain industries or countries.
The European Union’s GDPR may continue to increase our costs and the costs of our clients to operate, limit the use of our solution or change the way we operate, exposes us to substantial fines and penalties if we fail to comply, and has led to similar laws being enacted in other jurisdictions.
The GDPR replaced the EU Data Protection Directive, also known as Directive 95/46/EC, and is intended to harmonize data protection laws throughout the EU by applying a single data protection law that is binding throughout each member state. We and many of our customers are subject to the GDPR based upon our processing of personal data collected from EU data subjects, such as our processing of personal data of our customers in the EU and our processing of our EU employees’ personal data.
The GDPR enhances data protection obligations for processors and controllers of personal data, including, for example, expanded disclosures about how personal information is to be used, limitations on retention of information, mandatory data breach notification requirements and onerous new obligations on services providers. Non-compliance with the GDPR can trigger steep fines of up to €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher. The member states of the EU were tasked under the GDPR to enact certain implementing legislation that would add to or further interpret the GDPR requirements and this additional implementing legislation potentially extends our obligations and potential liability for failing to meet such obligations.
Given the breadth and depth of changes in data protection obligations, our compliance with the GDPR’s requirements will continue to require time, resources and review of the technology and systems we use to satisfy the GDPR’s requirements. We have ongoing procedures to maintain GDPR compliance. We continue to deliver product features that enhance our data management and security in support of GDPR compliance.
Among the compliance obligations the GDPR raises for us and our customers are requirements regarding the transfer of personal data from the EU to other jurisdictions, including the United States. We continue to rely on Standard Contractual Clauses, or SCCs, and have updated our use of use of SCCs to the EU’s latest versions, as well as separate U.K. versions of the SCCs. Even still, there continue to be EU legal decisions and certain regulatory guidance that cast doubt on the legality of EU-U.S. data flows in general. Any inability to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S. in compliance with data protection laws may impede our ability to attract and retain customers and adversely affect our business and financial position. As a result, it may be necessary to establish additional systems and business operations in the EU to avoid the transfer of personal data out of the EU. Should a change in the conduct of our business be required, it may involve substantial expense and the diversion of resources from other aspects of our business, all of which may harm our business and results of operations.
Jurisdictions outside of the EU are also considering and/or enacting comprehensive data protection legislation. For example, on July 8, 2019, Brazil enacted the General Data Protection Law, or the LGPD, and on June 5, 2020, Japan passed amendments to its Act on the Protection of Personal Information, or the APPI. Both laws broadly regulate the processing of personal information in a manner comparable to the GDPR, and violators of the LGPD and APPI face substantial penalties. We also continue to see jurisdictions, such as Russia, imposing data localization laws, which under Russian laws require personal information of Russian citizens to be, among other data processing operations, initially collected, stored, and modified in Russia. Similarly, on November 1, 2021, China’s Personal Information Protection law came into effect, which places restrictions on the transfer of personal information to third parties within China or overseas. These regulations may deter customers from using services such as ours, and may inhibit our ability to expand into those markets or prohibit us from continuing to offer services in those markets without significant financial burden.
The GDPR and other laws or regulations associated with the enhanced protection of certain types of personal data, could greatly increase our cost of providing our solutions and services, require significant changes to our operations or even prevent us from offering certain services in jurisdictions in which we operate. Failure to comply with data protection regulations may result in data protection authorities and other privacy regimes imposing additional obligations to obtain consent from data subjects by or on behalf of our customers. Additionally, the
inability to guarantee compliance or otherwise provide acceptable privacy assurances may inhibit the sale and use of our software in the EU and certain other markets, which could, were it to occur, harm our business and operating results.
Because the interpretation and application of many privacy and data protection laws (including the GDPR), commercial frameworks, and standards are uncertain, it is possible that these laws, frameworks, and standards may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data protection practices. If so, we and our customers are at risk of enforcement actions taken by EU data protection authorities or litigation from consumer advocacy groups acting on behalf of data subjects. In addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits, breach of contract claims, and other claims and penalties, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our solutions, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Any inability to adequately address privacy and security concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable privacy and security or data security laws, regulations, and policies, could result in additional cost and liability to us, damage our reputation, inhibit sales, and adversely affect our business.
The CCPA and the CPRA could increase our costs and the costs of our clients to operate, limit the use of our solution or change the way we operate, and expose us to substantial fines and class action risk if we fail to comply, and lead to similar laws being enacted in other states.
The CCPA applies to certain for-profit entities doing businesses in California. We and our qualifying customers were required to comply with the requirements of the CCPA on January 1, 2020.
The CCPA established a new privacy framework for covered businesses by creating an expanded definition of personal information and creating new data privacy rights for consumers in the State of California. As required by the statute, covered entities doing business in California have disclosure obligations to consumers for whom they collect or process personal data. Businesses must also provide consumers with the right to dictate how their personal information is used and shared. Complying with these obligations involves continued expenditures that could increase as more consumers exercise their rights under the statute.
The CCPA created a new and potentially severe statutory damages framework for violations of its provisions. The CCPA also creates a private right of action for consumers whose personal data is subject to a data breach. This private right of action has the potential to create significant class action liability for businesses, like ours, that operate in California. To protect against these new risks, it may be necessary to change our insurance programs.
The CCPA has been amended on multiple occasions, and is the subject of the regulations of the California Attorney General, which could be subject to additional modifications. The CCPA was most recently modified by the final regulations, which took effect in August 2020. In addition, voters in California approved the ballot initiative known as the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or CPRA. The CPRA creates certain obligations relating to consumer data beginning on January 1, 2022, with implementing regulations expected on or before July 1, 2022, and enforcement beginning July 1, 2023. The CPRA significantly amends the CCPA by creating additional privacy rights for California consumers and additional obligations on businesses, which could subject us to additional compliance costs as well as potential fines, individual claims and commercial liabilities. Further, the CPRA establishes the California Privacy Protection Agency which has the power to implement and enforce the CCPA and CPRA through administrative actions, including administrative fines. The effects of the CCPA and the CPRA are potentially significant and may require us to modify our data collection or processing practices and policies and to incur substantial costs and expenses in an effort to comply and increase our potential exposure to regulatory enforcement and/or litigation.
Certain other state laws, including Colorado and Virginia’s data privacy laws, impose similar privacy obligations and will take effect beginning in 2023. We anticipate that more states may enact legislation similar to the CCPA, by providing consumers with new privacy rights and increases the privacy and security obligations of entities handling certain personal information of such consumers. The CCPA has prompted a number of proposals for new federal and state-level privacy legislation. Such proposed legislation, if enacted, may add additional complexity, variation in requirements, restrictions and potential legal risk, require additional investment of resources in compliance programs, impact strategies and the availability of previously useful data and could result in increased compliance costs and/or changes in business practices and policies.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Convertible Senior Notes
Servicing our debt may require a significant amount of cash. We may not have sufficient cash flow from our business to pay our indebtedness, and we may not have the ability to raise the funds necessary to settle for cash conversions of the convertible senior notes or to repurchase the convertible senior notes for cash upon a fundamental change, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
In May 2018, we issued $258.8 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2023 convertible senior notes in a private offering. In May 2020, we repurchased or exchanged $181.0 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2023 convertible senior notes through individually negotiated private transactions in the 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions. As of December 31, 2021, after giving effect to the 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions and other settlements, we had approximately $34.2 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2023 convertible senior notes outstanding. The 2023 convertible senior notes mature on May 1, 2023 and the interest rate of the 2023 convertible senior notes is fixed at 0.125% per annum, payable semiannually in arrears on May 1 and November 1 of each year.
In May and June 2020, we issued $747.5 million in aggregate principal amount of the 2025 convertible senior notes in a private offering, all of which were outstanding as of December 31, 2021. The 2025 convertible senior notes mature on June 1, 2025, and the interest rate of the 2025 convertible senior notes is fixed at 0.500% per annum, payable semiannually in arrears on June 1 and December 1 of each year, beginning on December 1, 2020.
Our ability to make scheduled payments of principal and interest, or to refinance our indebtedness, including the convertible senior notes, depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control. Our business may not generate cash flows from operations in the future that are sufficient to service our debt and make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows, we may be required to pursue one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring debt or obtaining additional debt financing or equity capital on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive to existing holders of our common stock. Our ability to obtain additional financing or refinance either or both series of the convertible senior notes, or any future indebtedness, will depend on conditions in the capital markets and our financial condition at such time, among other factors. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities on favorable terms or at all, which could result in a default on our debt obligations or other material adverse effects on our business and financial condition.
Subject to certain conditions, holders of both series of the convertible senior notes have the right to require us to repurchase for cash all or any portion of their convertible senior notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change (as defined in the indentures governing the convertible senior notes) at a fundamental change repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the applicable series of convertible senior notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but excluding, the applicable fundamental change repurchase date.
Upon conversion of either or both series of convertible senior notes in accordance with their terms, unless we elect to deliver solely shares of our common stock to settle such conversion (other than paying cash in lieu of delivering any fractional share), we will be required to settle a portion or all of our conversion obligation through the payment of cash. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases in connection with such conversion and our ability to pay may be further limited by law, regulatory authority or agreements governing our future indebtedness. Our failure to repurchase any convertible senior notes at a time when the repurchase is required by the applicable indenture or to pay any cash payable on any future conversions as required by the applicable indenture would constitute a default under such indenture. A default under either such indenture would lead to, and the occurrence of the fundamental change itself may also lead to, a default under agreements governing our future indebtedness. If the repayment of the related indebtedness were to be accelerated after any applicable notice or grace periods, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness or repurchase any convertible senior notes when required, or to make cash payments upon conversions thereof.
The conditional conversion feature of the 2023 convertible senior notes and, if triggered, the 2025 convertible senior notes, may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
If and to the extent the conditional conversion features of either or both series of convertible senior notes are triggered, holders of such convertible senior notes will be entitled to convert their convertible senior notes at any time during specified periods at their option. During the three months ended December 31, 2021, one of the conversion features of the 2023 convertible senior notes was triggered, entitling the holders thereof to convert such convertible senior notes from January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022. Whether the 2023 convertible senior notes will be
convertible after March 31, 2022 will depend on the continued satisfaction of this condition or other conversion conditions.
To the extent that the respective conditional conversion features of either or both series of convertible senior notes are triggered in the future, holders of such convertible senior notes, as applicable, will be entitled to convert their convertible senior notes at any time during the specified periods at their option. If one or more holders elect to convert their convertible senior notes during any such specified period, we have the option to pay or deliver, as the case may be, cash, shares of our common stock or a combination of cash and shares of our common stock, at our election. Any election to settle conversions of convertible senior notes with cash could adversely affect our liquidity.
Transactions relating to the convertible senior notes may dilute the ownership interests of our existing stockholders or adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
The conversion of some or all of either series of convertible senior notes would dilute the ownership interests of our existing stockholders to the extent we satisfy our conversion obligation by delivering shares of our common stock. In this regard, if holders of the convertible senior notes elect to convert their notes during one of the specified conversion periods referred to above, we may settle our conversion obligations by delivering to them cash, shares of our common stock or a combination thereof. In addition, we may issue shares of our common stock in connection with repurchases, exchanges or other transactions involving the convertible senior notes, such as the 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions, which involved the issuance of 2,723,581 shares of our common stock to certain holders of the 2023 convertible senior notes. We received elections to convert a limited number of 2023 convertible senior notes from the fourth quarter of 2019 through December 31, 2021. We have elected to satisfy our obligations through the payment of cash in certain circumstances, the issuance of shares of common stock in other circumstances, or a combination thereof, to such convertible senior note holders. See Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation—Liquidity and Capital Resources, for further discussion of our elections to satisfy our conversion obligations.
In addition, in connection with the issuance of the 2023 convertible senior notes and the 2025 convertible senior notes, we entered into capped call transactions with certain financial institutions, or the Option Counterparties. The capped call transactions are expected generally to reduce the potential dilution to holders of our common stock upon any conversion or settlement of either series of convertible notes and/or offset any cash payments we are required to make in excess of the principal amount of such convertible senior notes, as the case may be, with such reduction and/or offset subject to a cap under the terms of the capped call transactions. We expect that the Option Counterparties or their respective affiliates may from time to time purchase shares of our common stock and/or enter into various derivative transactions with respect to our common stock in connection with their hedging activities relating to the capped call transactions. The Option Counterparties or their respective affiliates also may modify their hedge positions by entering into or unwinding such derivative transactions and/or purchasing or selling our common stock or other securities of ours in secondary market transactions prior to the applicable maturity of either series of convertible senior notes. These activities could negatively affect the market price of our common stock.
General Risk Factors
Our stock price has been volatile, may continue to be volatile and may decline, including due to factors beyond our control.
The market price of our common stock has been volatile in the past and may fluctuate significantly in the future in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control. On September 30, 2021, at a special meeting of our stockholders, stockholders voted against a proposal to approve our proposed merger, or the Merger, with Zoom Video Communications, Inc., or Zoom. Immediately following the special meeting, on September 30, 2021, we and Zoom mutually agreed to terminate the Merger, effective immediately. During the pendency of the Merger, the trading price of our Common Stock was volatile, has continued to be volatile since the termination of the Merger, and may fluctuate significantly in the future in response to numerous factors, many of which are outside our control. During the twelve months ended December 31, 2021, the sale price per share of our common stock ranged from a low of $122.33 to a high of $211.68. Factors that may contribute to continuing volatility in the price of our common stock include:
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;
•now that the Merger has terminated, certain investors who acquired our common stock during the pendency of the Merger may sell their shares of common stock, and other investors may buy shares of our common stock;
•the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related matters on the equity capital markets and economy in general, or on us or our industry in particular;
•the financial projections we provide to the public, any changes in these projections, our failure to meet these projections, or our failure to exceed these projections by amounts or percentages expected by our investors and analysts;
•failure of securities analysts to initiate or maintain coverage of our company, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•ratings changes by any securities analysts who follow our company;
•sales of our common stock (or securities that convert to our common stock) by us or our significant stockholders, or the public announcement of same;
•the assessment of our business or position in our market published in research and other reports;
•announcements by us or our competitors of significant product or technical innovations, financings, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
•entry into the market by new competitors, or the introduction of new products or the generation of new sales by us or our competitors;
•changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in the software as a service industry in particular;
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the U.S. or global economy;
•any major change in our board of directors or management;
•lawsuits threatened or filed against us;
•security breaches or incidents impacting our clients or their customers and security breaches of companies that provide solutions similar to our solution, which could negatively impact our industry as a whole;
•legislation or regulation of our business, the internet and/or contact centers;
•loss of key personnel;
•new entrants into and consolidations of the contact center market, including the transition by providers of legacy on-premise contact center systems to cloud solutions;
•acquisitions by us or our competitors, and our ability to effectively integrate and achieve the desired benefits from acquisitions by us;
•the perceived or real impact of events that harm our direct competitors;
•developments with respect to patents or proprietary rights;
•general market conditions; and
•other events or factors, including those resulting from war, incidents of terrorism or responses to these events, which would be unrelated to our business and industry, and outside of our control.
In addition, stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many technology companies, particularly in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic trends. Stock prices of many technology companies have fluctuated in a manner unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. These and other factors may disproportionately impact the trading price of our common stock. In the past, stockholders have instituted securities class action litigation following periods of volatility. If we were to become involved in such securities litigation, it could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our business and harm our business, results of operations, financial condition, reputation and cash flows.
If securities or industry analysts discontinue publishing research or reports about our business, or publish negative reports about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business, our market and our competitors. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our shares or change their opinion of our shares or our business, our share price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in financial markets or our industry market, which could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.
Substantial future sales of shares of our common stock could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
The market price of shares of our common stock could decline as a result of substantial sales of our common stock, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers and significant stockholders or the perception in the market that holders of a large number of shares intend to sell their shares.
The future registration of shares of our common stock may cause our stock price to decline, even before such shares are actually sold in the market. We have registered shares of common stock that we may issue under our employee equity incentive plans. These shares can be sold freely in the public market upon issuance.
We are unable to predict the effect that sales, or the perception that our shares may be available for sale, will have on the prevailing market price of our common stock.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of our company more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and limit the market price of our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws:
•provide that our board of directors is classified into three classes of directors;
•provide that stockholders may remove directors only for cause;
•provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors;
•provide that all vacancies, including newly created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;
•provide that our stockholders may not take action by written consent, and may only take action at annual or special meetings of our stockholders;
•provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide notice in writing in a timely manner, and also specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder’s notice;
•restrict the forum for certain litigation against us to Delaware;
•restrict the forum for complaints asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act to the federal district courts;
•do not provide for cumulative voting rights (therefore allowing the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election);
•provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board, our chief executive officer or the board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of authorized directors; and
•provide that stockholders will be permitted to amend our amended and restated bylaws and certain parts of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation only upon receiving at least 662/3% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of all outstanding shares then entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, voting together as a single class.
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with any “interested” stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an “interested” stockholder.
The existence of these provisions could negatively affect the price of our common stock and limit opportunities for you to realize value in a corporate transaction.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for certain disputes between us and our stockholders, and our Bylaws provide that the federal district courts will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act, each of which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees, or agents.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or to our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Furthermore, our Bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States are the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act.
These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees, or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, employees and agents even though an action, if successful, might benefit our stockholders. Stockholders who do bring a claim in the Court of Chancery could face additional litigation costs in pursuing any such claim, particularly if they do not reside in or near the State of Delaware. The Court of Chancery or federal district courts may also reach different judgments or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments or results may be more favorable to us than to our stockholders. Alternatively, if a court were to find either of these choice of forum provisions to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
We have never paid cash dividends and do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on a number of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, including under any future loan facilities, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. While our convertible senior notes do not prohibit payment of dividends, any dividends declared and paid by our board of directors would result in an adjustment to the conversion rate of such notes such that additional shares would be issuable upon conversion. Accordingly, holders of our common stock must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investments.
ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
ITEM 2. Properties
We currently lease approximately 174,000 square feet of office space worldwide. Information concerning our principal leased properties as of December 31, 2021 is set forth below:
|Location||Principal Use||Square Footage||Lease Expiration Date|
|San Ramon, California||Corporate headquarters, sales, marketing, product design, professional services, research and development||104,000||January 2031|
|The Philippines||Technical support, training and other professional services||26,600||July 2023 |
|Russia||Portions of engineering and operations||23,400||September 2024|
The hosting of our equipment and software at co-located third-party facilities is also significant to our business. We have entered into rental agreements with third-party facilities in Santa Clara, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Slough, England; and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which require monthly payments for a fixed period of time in exchange for certain guarantees of space, and network and telecommunication availability. These agreements expire at various dates through 2025.
We believe our facilities are sufficient for our current needs.
ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings
Information with respect to this item may be found under the heading “Legal Matters” in Note 10 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which information is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
ITEM 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
Our common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Market, or NASDAQ, under the symbol “FIVN.”
Number of Common Stock Holders
On February 22, 2022, there were 15 stockholders of record of our common stock who held an aggregate of 69,149,622 shares of our common stock. We believe that there are a substantially greater number of beneficial owners of our common stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings and do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. In addition, while our convertible senior notes do not prohibit payment of dividends, any dividends declared and paid by our board of directors would result in an adjustment to the conversion rate of such notes such that additional shares would be issuable upon conversion. Any future determination to declare cash dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on a number of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, including under any future loan facilities, general business conditions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.
For information on securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans, see ITEM 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Stock Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total return on our common stock with that of the Russell 2000 Index and the NASDAQ Computer and Data Processing Index. The period shown commences on December 31, 2016 and ends on December 31, 2021. The graph assumes $100 was invested at the close of market on December 31, 2016 in the common stock of Five9, the Russell 2000 Index and the NASDAQ Computer and Data Processing Index, and assumes the reinvestment of any dividends. The stock price performance on the following graph is not intended to forecast or be indicative of future stock price performance of our common stock.
This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of Five9, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act of 1934 Exchange, as amended.
ITEM 6. [Reserved]
ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere in this report.
We are a pioneer and leading provider of intelligent cloud software for contact centers, facilitating more than nine billion call minutes between our more than 2,500 clients and their customers per year. We believe we achieved this leadership position through our expertise and technology, which has empowered us to help organizations of all
sizes transition from legacy on-premise contact center systems to our cloud solution. Our solution, comprised of our VCC cloud platform and applications, allows simultaneous management and optimization of customer interactions across voice, chat, email, web, social media and mobile channels, either directly or through our APIs. Our VCC cloud platform matches each customer interaction with an appropriate agent resource and delivers relevant customer data to the agent in real-time through integrations with adjacent enterprise applications, such as CRM software, to optimize the customer experience and improve agent productivity. Unlike legacy on-premise contact center systems, our solution requires minimal up-front investment, can be rapidly deployed and adjusted depending on our client’s requirements.
Since founding our business in 2001, we have focused exclusively on delivering cloud contact center software. We initially targeted smaller contact center opportunities with our telesales team and, over time, invested in expanding the breadth and depth of the functionality of our cloud platform to meet the evolving requirements of our clients. In 2009, we made a strategic decision to expand our market opportunity to include larger contact centers. This decision drove further investments in research and development and the establishment of our field sales team to meet the requirements of these larger contact centers. We believe this shift has helped us diversify our client base, while significantly enhancing our opportunity for future revenue growth. To complement these efforts, we have also focused on building client awareness and driving adoption of our solution through marketing activities, which include internet advertising, digital marketing campaigns, social media, trade shows, industry events, telemarketing and out of home campaigns.
We provide our solution through a SaaS business model with recurring subscriptions. We offer a comprehensive suite of applications delivered on our VCC cloud platform that are designed to enable our clients to manage and optimize interactions across inbound and outbound contact centers. We primarily generate revenue by selling subscriptions and related usage of our VCC cloud platform. We charge our clients monthly subscription fees for access to our solution, primarily based on the number of agent seats, as well as the specific functionalities and applications our clients deploy. We define agent seats as the maximum number of named agents allowed to concurrently access our solution. Our clients typically have more named agents than agent seats, and multiple named agents may use an agent seat, though not simultaneously. Substantially all of our clients purchase both subscriptions and related telephony usage from us. A small percentage of our clients subscribe to our platform but purchase telephony usage directly from wholesale telecommunications service providers. We do not sell telephony usage on a stand-alone basis to any client. The related usage fees are based on the volume of minutes for inbound and outbound interactions. We also offer bundled plans, generally for smaller deployments, where the client is charged a single monthly fixed fee per agent seat that includes both subscription and unlimited usage in the contiguous 48 states and, in some cases, Canada. We offer monthly, annual and multiple-year contracts to our clients, generally with 30 days’ notice required for reductions in the number of agent seats. Increases in the number of agent seats can be provisioned almost immediately. Our clients, therefore, are able to adjust the number of agent seats used to meet their changing contact center volume needs. Our larger clients typically choose annual contracts, which generally include an implementation and ramp period of several months. Fixed subscription fees, including bundled plans, are generally billed monthly in advance, while related usage fees are billed in arrears. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, subscription and related usage fees accounted for 92% of our revenue for each of these years, respectively. The remainder was comprised of professional services revenue from the implementation and optimization of our solution.
Termination of Proposed Merger with Zoom
On July 16, 2021, we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger, or the Merger Agreement, by and among our company, Zoom, and Summer Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Zoom, or Merger Sub. The Merger Agreement provided for the merger of Merger Sub with and into our company, or the Merger, with our company surviving the Merger and continuing as a wholly owned subsidiary of Zoom. On September 30, 2021 at a special meeting of our stockholders, a vote to approve the Merger was unsuccessful. As a result, immediately following the special meeting, on September 30, 2021, we and Zoom mutually agreed to terminate the Merger Agreement, effective immediately. Except as otherwise set forth in the Merger Agreement, none of our company, Zoom or Merger Sub shall have any further liability thereunder. We incurred approximately $7.6 million in transaction costs related to the Merger that was recorded in general and administrative expense in our consolidated statements of operations.
Effects of COVID-19
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 was reported and on March 11, 2020, the WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in a widespread health crisis that has
significantly harmed the U.S. and global economies and caused significant fluctuation in financial markets, including those on which our common stock and our convertible senior notes trade, and may impact demand for our solution.
In accordance with the various social distancing and other office closure orders and recommendations of applicable government agencies, all of our employees transitioned to work-from-home operations and we canceled all business travel by our employees except where necessary and properly authorized, which changed how we operated our business. Our clients and business partners have been, and continue to be subject to various and changing social distancing and office closure orders and recommendations and travel restrictions and prohibitions, which have changed the way we interact with our clients and business partners. Recently, we have re-opened our U.S. offices for employees to voluntarily return, subject to capacity restrictions and applicable government regulations. Appropriate measures are being taken to protect the health of employees who return to the office. We have also reinstated business travel on a voluntary basis and subject to prior approval.
COVID-19 had a moderately positive impact on our 2020 and 2021 financial results due to the shift from brick-and-mortar to virtual. The severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the U.S. and global economy remains uncertain, but we believe that there may be a continuing net benefit to us longer term.
See Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors, for further discussion of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and operations.
Key GAAP Operating Results
Our revenue increased to $609.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, from $434.9 million and $328.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Revenue growth was primarily attributable to our larger clients, driven by an increase in our sales and marketing activities and our improved brand awareness. For each of the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, no single client accounted for more than 10% of our total revenue. As of December 31, 2021, we had over 2,500 clients across multiple industries. Our clients’ subscriptions generally range in size from fewer than 10 agent seats to approximately 11,000 agent seats. We had a net loss of $53.0 million, $42.1 million and $4.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
We have continued to make significant expenditures and investments, including in sales and marketing, research and development and infrastructure. We primarily evaluate the success of our business based on revenue growth and the efficiency and effectiveness of our investments. The growth of our business and our future success depend on many factors, including our ability to continue to expand our base of larger clients, grow revenue from our existing clients, innovate and expand internationally. While these areas represent significant opportunities for us, they also pose risks and challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, that we must successfully address in order to sustain the growth of our business and improve our operating results.
Key Operating and Non-GAAP Financial Performance Metrics
In addition to measures of financial performance presented in our consolidated financial statements, we monitor the key metrics set forth below to help us evaluate growth trends, establish budgets, measure the effectiveness of our sales and marketing efforts and assess operational efficiencies.
Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate
We believe that our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate provides insight into our ability to retain and grow revenue from our clients, and is a measure of the long-term value of our client relationships. Starting with the fourth quarter of 2020, we revised our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate calculation to be based on Net Revenue, rather than Net Invoicing. Our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate is calculated by dividing our Retained Net Revenue by our Retention Base Net Revenue on a monthly basis, which we then average using the rates for the trailing twelve months for the period presented. We define Retention Base Net Revenue as recurring net revenue from all clients in the comparable prior year period, and we define Retained Net Revenue as recurring net revenue from that same group of clients in the current period. We define recurring net revenue as net subscription and related usage revenue.
The following table shows our Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate based on Net Revenue for the periods presented:
|Twelve Months Ended December 31,|
|Annual Dollar-Based Retention Rate||122%||117%|
Our Dollar-Based Retention Rate improved year-over-year primarily due to our larger clients increasing their number of agent seats.
We monitor adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, to analyze our financial results and believe that it is useful to investors, as a supplement to U.S. GAAP measures, in evaluating our ongoing operational performance and enhancing an overall understanding of our past financial performance. We believe that adjusted EBITDA helps illustrate underlying trends in our business that could otherwise be masked by the effect of the income or expenses that we exclude from adjusted EBITDA. Furthermore, we use this measure to establish budgets and operational goals for managing our business and evaluating our performance. We also believe that adjusted EBITDA provides an additional tool for investors to use in comparing our recurring core business operating results over multiple periods with other companies in our industry.
Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, financial information prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, and our calculation of adjusted EBITDA may differ from that of other companies in our industry. We compensate for the inherent limitations associated with using adjusted EBITDA through disclosure of these limitations, presentation of our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP and reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measure, net loss. We calculate adjusted EBITDA as net loss before (1) depreciation and amortization, (2) stock-based compensation, (3) interest expense, (4) other expense and interest income, (5) acquisition-related transaction costs and one-time integration costs, (6) COVID-19 relief bonuses for employees, (7) loss on early extinguishment of debt, (8) contingent consideration expense, (9) (benefit from) provision for income taxes, and (10) other items that do not directly affect what we consider to be our core operating performance.
The following table shows a reconciliation of net loss to adjusted EBITDA for the periods presented (in thousands):
|Year Ended December 31,|
Depreciation and amortization (1)
|38,732 ||25,087 |
Stock-based compensation (2)
|108,805 ||64,747 |
|Interest expense||8,027 ||28,348 |
|Other expense and interest (income)||8 ||(3,034)|
|Acquisition related transaction costs and one-time integration costs||13,576 ||6,335 |
|COVID-19 relief bonuses for employees||— ||1,817 |
|Loss on early extinguishment of debt||— ||6,964 |
|Contingent consideration expense||5,640 ||— |
|Benefit from income taxes||(11,285)||(2,453)|
|Adjusted EBITDA||$||110,503 ||$||85,681 |
(1) See ITEM 6 of this Form 10-K for depreciation and amortization expenses included in our results of operations for the periods presented.
(2) See Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements for stock-based compensation expense included in our results of operations for the periods presented.
Key Components of Our Results of Operations
Our revenue consists of subscription and related usage as well as professional services. We consider our subscription and related usage to be recurring revenue. This recurring revenue includes fixed subscription fees for the delivery and support of our VCC cloud platform, as well as related usage fees. The related usage fees are generally based on the volume of minutes for inbound and outbound client interactions. We also offer bundled plans, generally for smaller deployments, where the client is charged a single monthly fixed fee per agent seat that includes both subscription and unlimited usage in the contiguous 48 states and, in some cases, Canada. We offer monthly, annual and multiple-year contracts for our clients, generally with 30 days’ notice required for reductions in the number of agent seats. Increases in the number of agent seats can be provisioned almost immediately. Our clients, therefore, are able to adjust the number of agent seats used to meet their changing contact center volume needs. Our larger clients typically choose annual contracts, which generally include an implementation and ramp period of several months.
Fixed subscription fees, including plans with bundled usage, are generally billed monthly in advance, while variable usage fees are billed in arrears. Fixed subscription fees are recognized on a straight-line basis over the applicable term, which is predominantly the monthly contractual billing period. Support activities include technical assistance for our solution and upgrades and enhancements on a when and if available basis, which are not billed separately. Variable subscription related usage fees for non-bundled plans are billed in arrears based on client-specific per minute rate plans and are recognized as actual usage occurs. We generally require advance deposits from clients based on estimated usage. All fees, except usage deposits, are non-refundable.
In addition, we generate professional services revenue from assisting clients in implementing our solution and optimizing use. These services include application configuration, system integration and education and training services. Professional services are primarily billed on a fixed-fee basis and are typically performed by us directly. In limited cases, our clients choose to perform these services themselves or engage their own third-party service providers to perform such services. Professional services are recognized as the services are performed using the proportional performance method, with performance measured based on labor hours, provided all other criteria for revenue recognition are met.
Cost of Revenue
Our cost of revenue consists primarily of personnel costs, including stock-based compensation, fees that we pay to telecommunications providers for usage, USF costs which have been increasing, contributions and other regulatory costs, depreciation and related expenses of the servers and equipment, costs to build out and maintain co-location data centers, costs of public cloud-based data centers, allocated office and facility costs and amortization of acquired technology. Cost of revenue can fluctuate based on a number of factors, including the fees we pay to telecommunications providers, which vary depending on our clients’ usage of our VCC cloud platform, the timing of capital expenditures and related depreciation charges and changes in headcount. We expect to continue investing in our network infrastructure and operations and client support function to maintain high quality and availability of services, which investments will result in absolute dollar increases in cost of revenue but percentage of revenue declines in the long-term through economies of scale. In the near-term, however, we expect cost of revenue to increase both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of revenue, primarily due to increased investments in public cloud, cloud operations and professional services to support our growth initiatives.
We classify our operating expenses as research and development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses.
Research and Development. Our research and development expenses consist primarily of salary and related expenses, including stock-based compensation, for personnel related to the development of improvements and expanded features for our services, as well as quality assurance, testing, product management and allocated overhead. We expense research and development expenses as they are incurred except for internal use software development costs that qualify for capitalization. We believe that continued investment in our solution is important for our future growth, and we expect our research and development expenses to increase in absolute dollars and as a percentage of revenue in the near term and to fluctuate in the longer term.
Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries and related expenses, including stock-based compensation, for personnel in sales and marketing, sales commissions, as well as advertising,
marketing, corporate communications, travel costs and allocated overhead. We believe it is important to continue investing in sales and marketing to continue to generate revenue growth, and we expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars over the long term and fluctuate as a percentage of revenue in the near and longer term as we continue to support our growth initiatives.
General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salary and related expenses, including stock-based compensation, for management, finance and accounting, legal, information systems and human resources personnel, professional fees, compliance costs, other corporate expenses and allocated overhead. We expect that general and administrative expenses will fluctuate in absolute dollars and as a percentage of revenue in the near term, but to increase in absolute dollars and decline as a percentage of revenue in the longer term.
Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
Based on the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss set forth in this annual report, the following table sets forth our operating results as a percentage of revenue for the periods indicated:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Revenue||100 ||%||100 ||%|
|Cost of revenue||44 ||%||41 ||%|
|Gross profit||56 ||%||59 ||%|
|Research and development||18 ||%||16 ||%|
|Sales and marketing||32 ||%||30 ||%|
|General and administrative||16 ||%||15 ||%|
|Total operating expenses||66 ||%||61 ||%|
|(Loss) income from operations||(10)||%||(2)||%|
|Other (expense) income, net:|
|Loss on early extinguishment of debt||— ||%||(2)||%|
|Other (expense) and interest income||— ||%||1 ||%|
|Total other (expense) income, net||(1)||%||(8)||%|
|Loss before income taxes||(11)||%||(10)||%|
|Benefit from income taxes||(2)||%||— ||%|
Year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019 have been omitted from this Form 10-K but may be found in “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition” in Part II, Item 7 of our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, which specific discussion is incorporated herein by reference.
Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
The increase in revenue for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily attributable to our larger clients, driven by an increase in our sales and marketing activities and our improved brand awareness.
Cost of Revenue
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Cost of revenue||$271,099||$180,284||$90,815||50%|
|% of Revenue||44%||41%|
The increase in cost of revenue for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to a $29.2 million increase in personnel costs, including stock-based compensation costs, driven mainly by increased headcount, higher salaries and a higher fair value of employee equity awards due primarily to our increased stock price, a $22.4 million increase in depreciation, data center and public cloud costs driven to support our growing capacity needs, an $18.5 million increase in third-party hosted software costs driven by increased client activities, a $5.7 million increase in USF contributions and other federal telecommunication service fees due primarily to increased client usage and an increase in the USF contribution rate, a $5.6 million increase in amortization expense due to the acquisitions of Virtual Observer in April 2020 and Inference in November 2020, and a $3.2 million increase in office, facilities and related costs.
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|% of Revenue||56%||59%|
The increase in gross profit for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to increases in subscription and related revenues. The decrease in gross margin for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to the increase in personnel costs, driven by increased headcount, higher salaries and a higher fair value of employee equity awards primarily due to our increased stock price, the increase in depreciation, data center and public cloud costs to support our growing capacity needs, the increase in third-party hosted software costs driven by increased client activities, the increase in USF contributions and other federal telecommunication service fees due primarily to increased client usage and an increase in the USF contribution rate, the increase in amortization expense from the acquisition of certain intangible assets from Virtual Observer and Inference, and the increase in office, facilities and related costs. Due to increased investments in public cloud, cloud operations and professional services, we expect gross margin to decline slightly in the near term and increase in the long term.
Research and Development
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Research and development||$106,897||$68,747||$38,150||55%|
|% of Revenue||18%||16%|
The increase in research and development expenses for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to a $33.6 million increase in personnel-related costs including stock-based compensation costs, driven mainly by increased headcount, higher salaries, higher fair value of employee equity awards due primarily to our increased stock price, and by incremental stock-based compensation costs due to the modification of certain stock-based awards of a former executive, and a $1.9 million increase in office, facilities and related costs.
Sales and Marketing
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Sales and marketing||$193,929||$132,413||$61,516||46%|
|% of Revenue||32%||30%|
The increase in sales and marketing expenses for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to a $38.9 million increase in personnel-related costs, including stock-based compensation costs driven mainly by increased headcount, higher salaries and higher fair value of equity awards due primarily to our increased stock price, a $9.0 million increase in sales commission expenses driven by the growth in sales and bookings of our solution, and a $3.9 million increase in office, facilities and related costs. The remaining net increase in sales and marketing expenses was primarily due to the execution of our growth strategy to acquire new clients, increase the number of agent seats within our existing client base, and increased advertising and other marketing expenses to increase our brand awareness.
General and Administrative
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|General and administrative||$93,916||$65,769||$28,147||43%|
|% of Revenue||16%||15%|
The increase in general and administrative expenses for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to a $14.6 million increase in personnel costs including stock-based compensation costs, driven mainly by increased headcount, higher salaries and a higher fair value of equity awards due primarily to our increased stock price, a $6.9 million increase in legal and other professional service costs mainly related to the proposed Merger that was terminated on September 30, 2021, and a $5.6 million increase in contingent consideration expense for the Inference acquisition.
Other (Expense) Income, Net
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||$ Change||% Change|
|(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Interest expense||$||(8,027)||$||(28,348)||$||20,321 ||72 ||%|
|Loss on early extinguishment of debt||— ||(6,964)||6,964 ||(100)||%|
|Other (expense) and interest income||(8)||3,034 ||(3,042)||100 ||%|
|Total other (expense) income, net||$||(8,035)||$||(32,278)||$||24,243 ||75 ||%|
|% of Revenue||(1)||%||(8)||%|
The decrease in interest expense for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to our adoption of ASU 2020-06, which resulted in the elimination of the debt discounts that were amortized to interest expense over the contractual term of the convertible senior notes prior to January 1, 2021, and due to the 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions and other 2023 convertible senior note settlements in 2020, which resulted in the decrease in contractual interest expense due to the reduction in the aggregate outstanding principal amount of our 2023 convertible senior notes. The decrease in interest expense was offset in part by the increase in contractual interest expense due to the issuance of the 2025 convertible senior notes in May and June 2020. See Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements for further details.
The 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions and other 2023 convertible senior note settlements in 2020 resulted in $7.0 million loss on early extinguishment of debt. The settlements that occurred in 2021 were subject to ASU 2020-06, with such settlements accounted for as contractual conversions and did not result in any gain or loss upon their settlement.
The decrease in other (expense) and interest income for 2021 compared to 2020 was primarily due to a decrease in interest income on our marketable investments resulting from lower investible balances and lower interest rates.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
To date, we have financed our operations, primarily through sales of our solution, net proceeds from our equity and debt financings, including the issuance of our 2025 convertible senior notes in May and June 2020 and of our 2023 convertible senior notes in May 2018, and lease facilities. As of December 31, 2021, we had $459.7 million in working capital, which included $90.9 million in cash and cash equivalents, $379.0 million in short-term marketable investments and $147.4 million in long-term marketable investments. We believe our existing cash and cash equivalents will be sufficient to meet our working capital and capital expenditure needs for at least the next 12 months.
We plan to continue to finance our operations in the future primarily through sales of our solution, net proceeds from equity and debt financings, and lease facilities. Our future capital requirements will depend on many factors including our growth rate, continuing market acceptance of our solution, client retention, our ability to gain new clients, the timing and extent of spending to support research and development efforts, the outcome of any pending or future litigation or other claims by third parties or governmental entities, the expansion of sales and marketing activities and personnel, the introduction of new and enhanced offerings, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these or other factors. We may also acquire or invest in complementary businesses, technologies and intellectual property rights, which may increase our use of cash and future capital requirements, both to pay acquisition costs and to support our combined operations. We may raise additional capital through equity or engage in debt financings at any time to fund these or other requirements. However, we may not be able to raise additional capital through equity or debt financings when needed on terms acceptable to us or at all, depending on our financial performance, market conditions, the trading price of our common stock, and other factors, including the length and severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on general economic conditions and potential future impacts on the financial markets. If we are unable to raise additional capital as needed, our business, operating results and financial condition could be harmed. In addition, if our operating performance during the next twelve months is below our expectations, our liquidity and ability to operate our business also could be harmed.
If we raise additional funds by issuing equity or equity-linked securities, the ownership of our existing stockholders would be diluted. If we raise additional funds through the incurrence of additional indebtedness, we will be subject to increased debt service obligations and could also be subject to restrictive covenants and other operating restrictions that could negatively impact our ability to operate our business.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods presented (in thousands):
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||28,485 ||$||67,302 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||(150,478)||(382,330)|
|Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities||(7,501)||457,424 |
|Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents||$||(129,494)||$||142,396 |
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Cash provided by operating activities is primarily influenced by our personnel-related expenditures, data center and telecommunications carrier costs, office and facility related costs, USF contributions and other regulatory costs and the amount and timing of client payments. If we continue to improve our financial results, we expect net cash provided by operating activities to increase. Our largest source of operating cash inflows is cash collections from our clients for subscription and related usage services. Payments from clients for these services are typically received monthly.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $28.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. Net cash provided by operating activities resulted from our net loss of $53.0 million adjusted for non-cash items of
$192.6 million, primarily consisting of $108.8 million of stock-based compensation, $38.7 million of depreciation and amortization, $26.1 million of amortization of commission costs, $5.6 million of contingent consideration expense and $4.0 million of amortization of issuance costs on our convertible senior notes, offset by use of cash for operating assets and liabilities of $111.1 million primarily due to the timing of cash payments to vendors and cash receipts from customers.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Net cash used in investing activities of $150.5 million in 2021 was comprised of $680.5 million related to purchases of marketable investments and $42.2 million in capital expenditures, offset in part by $572.2 million related to cash proceeds from sales and maturities of marketable investments.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Net cash used in financing activities of $7.5 million in 2021 related to $24.7 million of cash paid in connection with other 2023 convertible senior note settlements, $5.0 million in holdback payments related to acquisitions and $0.6 million of payments related to finance leases, partially offset by $15.4 million from the sale of common stock under our employee stock purchase plan and cash proceeds of $7.4 million from exercise of stock options.
Contractual and Other Obligations
Our material cash requirements include the following contractual and other obligations.
Convertible Senior Notes
In May and June 2020, we issued $747.5 million aggregate principal amount of our 2025 convertible senior notes in a private offering. The 2025 convertible senior notes mature on June 1, 2025 and are our senior unsecured obligations. The 2025 convertible senior notes bear interest at a fixed rate of 0.50% per annum, payable semiannually in arrears on June 1 and December 1 of each year, beginning December 1, 2020. In addition, under the terms of the 2025 convertible senior notes, we were obligated to pay additional interest on the 2025 convertible senior notes at a rate equal to 0.500% per annum for the period from June 13, 2021 through July 8, 2021, after which such additional interest is no longer payable. The total net proceeds from the offering, after deducting initial purchasers’ discounts and commissions and estimated debt issuance costs, were approximately $728.8 million. As of December 31, 2021, the aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 2025 convertible senior notes was $747.5 million.
In May 2018, we issued $258.8 million aggregate principal amount of our 2023 convertible senior notes in a private offering. The 2023 convertible senior notes mature on May 1, 2023 and are our senior unsecured obligations. The 2023 convertible senior notes bear interest at a fixed rate of 0.125% per annum, payable semiannually in arrears on May 1 and November 1 of each year. The total net proceeds from the offering, after deducting the initial purchasers’ discounts and estimated debt issuance costs, were approximately $250.8 million. As of December 31, 2021, after giving effect to the 2023 Note Repurchase Transactions and other settlements upon conversion requests, approximately $34.2 million aggregate principal amount of 2023 convertible senior notes remained outstanding.
For additional information regarding the convertible senior notes, see Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements included in this report.
We have leases for offices, data centers and computer and networking equipment that expire at various dates through 2031. Our leases have remaining terms of one to ten years. Some of the leases include an option to extend the leases for up to three to five years, and some of the leases include the option to terminate the leases upon 30-days notice. We had outstanding operating lease obligations of $64.0 million as of December 31, 2021, with $11.4 million payable within 12 months, $18.4 million payable within one to three years, $11.3 million payable within three to five years, and $22.9 million after five years. See Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements included in this report for further details.
As of December 31, 2021, we had outstanding cloud service agreement commitments totaling $61.1 million, of which $21.8 million is expected to be paid in 2022 and the remaining $39.3 million in 2023.
Hosting and Telecommunication Usage Services
We have agreements with third parties to provide co-location hosting and telecommunication usage services. The agreements require payments per month for a fixed period of time in exchange for certain guarantees of network
and telecommunication availability. As of December 31, 2021, we had outstanding hosting and telecommunication usage services obligations of $18.6 million, with $8.5 million payable within 12 months, $9.8 million payable within one to three years, and $0.3 million payable within three to five years.
In the ordinary course of business, we enter into agreements of varying scope and terms pursuant to which we agree to indemnify clients, vendors, lessors, business partners and other parties with respect to certain matters, including, but not limited to, losses arising out of breach of such agreements, services to be provided by us or from intellectual property infringement claims made by third parties. In addition, we have entered into indemnification agreements with our directors, officers and certain employees that will require us, among other things, to indemnify them against certain liabilities that may arise by reason of their status or service as directors, officers or employees. There are no claims that we are aware of that could have a material effect on our consolidated balance sheet, consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss, or consolidated statements of cash flows.
Contingencies — Legal and Regulatory
We are subject to certain legal and regulatory proceedings, and from time to time may be involved in a variety of claims, lawsuits, investigations, and proceedings relating to contractual disputes, intellectual property rights, employment matters, regulatory compliance matters, and other litigation matters relating to various claims that arise in the normal course of business. We determine whether an estimated loss from a contingency should be accrued by assessing whether a loss is deemed probable and can be reasonably estimated. We assess our potential liability by analyzing specific litigation and regulatory matters using reasonably available information. We develop our views on estimated losses in consultation with inside and outside counsel, which involves a subjective analysis of potential results and outcomes, assuming various combinations of appropriate litigation and settlement strategies. Legal fees are expensed in the period in which they are incurred. See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements for more details.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and related disclosures. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and assumptions. Our actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. We currently do not have any critical accounting estimates that involve a significant level of estimation uncertainty that could have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Our significant accounting policies are described in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements.
Revenue is recognized when control of the promised services is transferred to customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration that we expect to receive in exchange for those services. We generate all of our revenue from contracts with customers. In contracts with multiple performance obligations, we identify each performance obligation and evaluate whether the performance obligations are distinct within the context of the contract at contract inception. Performance obligations that are not distinct at contract inception are combined. We allocate the transaction price to each distinct performance obligation proportionately based on the estimated standalone selling price for each performance obligation. We then look to how services are transferred to the customer in order to determine the timing of revenue recognition. Most services provided under our agreements result in the transfer of control over time.
Our revenue consists of subscription services and related usage as well as professional services. We charge clients subscription fees, usually billed on a monthly basis, for access to our VCC solution. The subscription fees are primarily based on the number of agent seats, as well as the specific VCC functionalities and applications deployed by the client. Agent seats are defined as the maximum number of named agents allowed to concurrently access the VCC cloud platform. Clients typically have more named agents than agent seats. Multiple named agents may use an agent seat, though not simultaneously. Substantially all of our clients purchase both subscriptions and related telephony usage. A small percentage of our clients subscribe to our platform but purchase telephony usage directly
from a wholesale telecommunications service provider. We do not sell telephony usage on a stand-alone basis to any client. The related usage fees are based on the volume of minutes used for inbound and outbound client interactions. Revenue generated from telephony usage is presented in revenue and cost of sales on a gross basis, as we are the party that controls the service and are responsible for fulfilling the promise to provide the call service by diverting the calls to selected carriers. We also offer bundled plans, generally for smaller deployments, whereby the client is charged a single monthly fixed fee per agent seat that includes both subscription and unlimited usage in the contiguous 48 states and, in some cases, Canada. Professional services revenue is derived primarily from VCC implementations, including application configuration, system integration, optimization, education and training services. Clients are not permitted to take possession of our software.
We offer monthly, annual and multiple-year contracts to our clients, generally with 30 days’ notice required for reductions in the number of agent seats. Increases in the number of agent seats can be provisioned almost immediately. Our clients, therefore, are able to adjust the number of agent seats used to meet their changing contact center volume needs. Our larger clients typically choose annual contracts, which generally include an implementation and ramp period of several months. Fixed subscription fees, including bundled plans, are generally billed monthly in advance, while related usage fees are billed in arrears. Support activities include technical assistance for our solution and upgrades and enhancements to our VCC cloud platform on a when-and-if-available basis, which are not billed separately.
Professional services are primarily billed on a fixed-fee basis and are performed by us directly or, alternatively, clients may also choose to perform these services themselves or engage their own third-party service providers. Revenue for professional services is recognized over time, as services are performed.
The estimation of variable consideration for each performance obligation requires us to make subjective judgments. In the early stages of our larger contracts, in order to allocate the overall transaction fee on a relative stand-alone selling price basis to our multiple performance obligations, we estimate variable consideration to be included in the transaction fee to the extent that it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved. When services are included in the contract with the customer and are not sold at their stand-alone selling price, we are required to estimate the number of seats the customer will use, especially during the initial ramp period of the contract, during which we bill under an ‘actual usage’ model for subscription-related services. The estimated variable consideration has had an immaterial impact on the allocation of transaction fees to multiple performance obligations in the past.
We recognize revenue on fixed fee professional services performance obligations based on the proportion of labor hours expended compared to the total hours expected to complete the related performance obligation.
The revenue recognition standards include guidance relating to any tax assessed by a governmental authority that is directly imposed on a revenue-producing transaction between a seller and a customer and may include, but is not limited to, sales, use, value added and excise taxes. We record USF contributions and other regulatory costs on a gross basis in our consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss and record surcharges and sales, use and excise taxes billed to our clients on a net basis. The cost of gross USF contributions payable to the USAC and suppliers is presented as a cost of revenue in the consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss.
Business Combinations, Goodwill, and Acquisition-Related Intangible Assets
Accounting for business combinations requires us to make significant estimates and assumptions. We allocate the purchase consideration to the tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair value at the acquisition dates, with the excess recorded to goodwill. Critical estimates in valuing certain intangible assets and contingent consideration include, but are not limited to, future expected cash flows, expected asset lives, royalty rates, and discount rates. The amounts and useful lives assigned to acquisition-related intangible assets impact the amount and timing of future amortization expense.
We use estimates, assumptions, and judgments when performing a goodwill impairment test or assessing the recoverability of acquisition-related finite-lived intangible assets. We test goodwill for impairment on an annual basis in the fourth quarter and more frequently if a significant event or circumstance indicates impairment, and assess the recoverability of acquisition-related intangible assets whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of such assets may not be recoverable. We also evaluate the estimated remaining useful lives of acquisition-related intangible assets for changes in circumstances that warrant a revision to the remaining periods of amortization.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Refer to Note 1 in Item 8 of this Form 10-K for information related to recent accounting pronouncements.
ITEM 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk
We are exposed to market risk in the ordinary course of our business. Market risk represents the risk of loss that may impact our financial position due to adverse changes in financial market prices and rates. Our market risk exposure is primarily a result of fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. We do not hold or issue financial instruments for trading purposes.
Interest Rate Sensitivity
We had cash and cash equivalents, and marketable securities (short and long-term) totaling $617.2 million as of December 31, 2021. Cash equivalents and marketable securities were invested primarily in U.S. agency securities, U.S. treasury, municipal bonds, commercial paper, corporate bonds, certificates of deposit and money market funds. Our investment policy is focused on the preservation of capital and supporting our liquidity needs. Under the policy, we invest in highly rated securities, while limiting the amount of credit exposure to any one issuer other than the U.S. government. We do not invest in financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes, nor do we use leveraged financial instruments. We utilize external investment managers who adhere to the guidelines of our investment policy. A hypothetical 100 basis point change in interest rates would not have a material impact on the value of our cash and cash equivalents or marketable investments.
As of December 31, 2021, aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 2025 convertible senior notes and 2023 convertible senior notes was $747.5 million and $34.2 million, respectively. The fair value of the convertible senior notes are subject to interest rate risk, market risk and other factors due to their conversion features. The fair values of the convertible senior notes will generally increase as our common stock price increases and will generally decrease as our common stock price declines. The interest and market value changes affect the fair values of the convertible senior notes but do not impact our financial position, cash flows or results of operations due to the fixed nature of the debt obligations. Additionally, we carry the convertible senior notes at face value less unamortized discount on our consolidated balance sheets, and we present the fair value for required disclosure purposes only.
Our convertible senior notes bear fixed interest rates, and therefore, are not subject to interest rate risk. We have not utilized derivative financial instruments, derivative commodity instruments or other market risk sensitive instruments, positions or transactions in any material fashion, except for the privately negotiated capped call transactions entered into in May and June 2020 and May 2018 related to the issuance of our 2025 convertible senior notes and our 2023 convertible senior notes, respectively.
Foreign Currency Risk
The functional currency of our foreign subsidiaries is the U.S. dollar. Our sales are primarily denominated in U.S. dollars and, therefore, our revenue is not directly subject to foreign currency risk. However, we are indirectly exposed to foreign currency risk. A stronger U.S. dollar could make our solution more expensive outside the United States and therefore reduce demand. A weaker U.S. dollar could have the opposite effect. Such economic exposure to currency fluctuations is difficult to measure or predict because our sales are influenced by many factors in addition to the impact of currency fluctuations.
Our operating expenses are generally denominated in the currencies of the countries in which our operations are located, except for Russia where compensation of our employees is primarily denominated in the U.S. dollar. Our consolidated results of operations and cash flows are, therefore, subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates and may be adversely affected in the future due to changes in foreign exchange rates. To date, we have not entered into any hedging arrangements with respect to foreign currency risk or other derivative financial instruments. During the year ended December 31, 2021, the effect of a hypothetical 10% change in foreign currency exchange rates applicable to our business would have a maximum impact of $4.3 million on our operating expenses.
ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and Board of Directors
Opinions on the Consolidated Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Five9, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria, established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021 based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.
Change in Accounting Principle
As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has changed its method of accounting for convertible senior notes as of January 1, 2021 due to the adoption of Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2020-06, Debt-Debt with Conversion and Other Options (Subtopic 470-20) and Derivatives and Hedging-Contracts in Entity’s Own Equity (Subtopic 815-40): Accounting for Convertible Instruments and Contracts in an Entity’s Own Equity.
Basis for Opinions
The Company’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Evaluation of the sufficiency of audit evidence over revenues from subscription services and related usage
As discussed in note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company charges its clients subscription fees, usually billed on a monthly basis, for access to the Company’s Virtual Contract Center (“VCC”) cloud platform. The subscription fees are primarily based on the number of agent seats as well as the specific VCC functionalities and applications deployed by the client. Agent seats are defined as the maximum number of named agents allowed to concurrently access the VCC cloud platform. Substantially all of the Company’s clients purchase both subscriptions and related telephony usage. The related telephony usage fees are generally based on the volume of minutes used for inbound and outbound client interactions. There are high volumes of subscription and related usage transactions processed across multiple information technology (“IT”) systems.
We identified the evaluation of the sufficiency of audit evidence over subscription services and related usage as a critical audit matter. Revenues from subscription services and related usage involve a high volume of automated transactions dependent on the Company’s IT systems. Therefore, our audit procedures required the involvement of IT professionals and auditor judgement was required to determine the nature and extent of audit evidence obtained and evaluate the results of the procedures.
The following are the primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter. We involved IT professionals with specialized skills and knowledge, who assisted in evaluating the design and testing the operating effectiveness of certain internal controls over the Company’s revenue process. This included controls over the capture and flow of subscription and related usage transactional information through the Company’s IT systems. We placed test calls and observed that call attributes such as duration and type of service were captured in the relevant IT systems. For each billing sample tested, we also compared the agent seats, service types and rates for consistency with underlying documentation, including client contracts. We evaluated the sufficiency of audit evidence obtained by assessing the results of procedures performed, including the appropriateness of the nature and extent of such evidence over revenue for subscription services and related usage.
/s/ KPMG LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2012.
Santa Clara, California
February 28, 2022
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except per share data)
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||90,878 ||$||220,372 |
|Marketable investments||378,980 ||383,171 |
|Accounts receivable, net||83,731 ||48,731 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||30,342 ||16,149 |
|Deferred contract acquisition costs, net||33,295 ||20,695 |
|Total current assets||617,226 ||689,118 |
|Property and equipment, net||77,785 ||51,213 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||48,703 ||9,010 |
|Intangible assets, net||39,897 ||51,684 |
|Goodwill||165,420 ||165,420 |
|Marketable investments||147,377 ||42,127 |
|Other assets||11,871 ||3,236 |
|Deferred contract acquisition costs, net — less current portion||84,663 ||51,934 |
|Total assets||$||1,192,942 ||$||1,063,742 |
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY|
|Accounts payable||$||20,510 ||$||17,145 |
|Accrued and other current liabilities||78,577 ||44,450 |
|Operating lease liabilities||9,826 ||3,912 |
|Accrued federal fees||2,282 ||3,745 |
|Sales tax liabilities||2,660 ||1,714 |
|Finance lease liabilities||— ||612 |
|Deferred revenue||43,720 ||31,983 |
|Total current liabilities||157,575 ||103,561 |
|Convertible senior notes||768,599 ||643,316 |
|Sales tax liabilities — less current portion||877 ||857 |
|Operating lease liabilities — less current portion||47,088 ||5,379 |
|Other long-term liabilities||7,671 ||31,465 |
|Total liabilities||981,810 ||784,578 |
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 10)|
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value; 5,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2021 and 2020
|— ||— |
Common stock, $0.001 par value; 450,000 shares authorized, 68,488 shares and