Learnings from a SaaS IPO – Weave

Weave is a software company that just went public. Below are some of the highlights and learnings from their prospectus.

What they do. “We are a leading all-in-one customer communications and engagement software platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Our cloud-based software platform streamlines the day-to-day operations of running a small business. We offer an all-in-one platform spanning all forms of communications and customer engagement ranging from answering phones, to scheduling appointments, to sending text reminders, to requesting client reviews, to collecting payments, to sending email marketing campaigns.”

SMB is the focus, with a good sized market. “Our platform is currently used by over 130,000 users across a range of industries, spanning dentistry, optometry, veterinary, physical therapy, specialty medical services, audiology, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and other home services. We estimate the addressable market opportunity for our platform to be approximately $11.1 billion in the United States. We estimate that our combined penetration into the dental, optometry, veterinary, medical specialty services, and home services vertical markets was approximately 3% as of June 30, 2021.”

They de-verticalized. “Through investments in product development and integrations, we have expanded beyond dentistry and optometry to other verticals. We started in dental and have since successfully expanded to optometry and veterinary, among other areas. In the near term, we are focused on additional expansion areas, most notably home services. We believe this expansion diversifies our end-market exposure and creates a flywheel effect.”

But the sales team still focuses on verticals. “Our sales teams are organized by industry vertical. We acquire customers primarily through digital marketing and inside sales as well as through in-person trade shows. We also acquire customers through several channel partnerships.”

Land and expand by offering new products, not just depending on user growth. “We expand within our existing customer base by selling additional products and by selling subscriptions to additional locations of existing customers. We released our payments, analytics and forms add-on products in April 2020, May 2020 and May 2021, respectively, to attract new customers and grow revenue from existing customers. In addition, in February 2021, we introduced additional multi-office functionality for customers with multiple locations, which we believe will make our platform more attractive for new customers with multiple locations and encourage existing customers with multiple locations to subscribe to our platform at each of their locations. Our ability to cohesively deliver a deep product suite with as little friction as possible to customers is a key determinant of winning new customers. Our ability to cohesively deliver a deep product suite with as little friction as possible to customers is a key determinant of winning new customers. In short, our ability to add new SMB customers is dependent on the features and functionality we add to our platform for small business.”

And they plan on attacking the mid-market. “In addition to pursuing continued customer growth among small businesses, we intend to pursue opportunities to expand our customer base among medium-sized businesses. Our ability to expand among medium-sized businesses will depend upon our ability to successfully sell our platform to multi-location organizations and effectively retain them”

Retention for SMB’s is good. “ur dollar-based net retention rate increased from 97% at December 31, 2019 to 102% at December 31, 2020, and from 100% at June 30, 2020 to 103% at June 30, 2021O”

Unprofitable. “For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, our revenue was $45.7 million and $79.9 million, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 75. In 2019 and 2020 and for the six months ended June 30, 2020 and 2021, our net loss was $32.1 million, $40.4 million, $20.6 million and $23.4 million, respectively”

Many month to month contracts. “As of September 30, 2021, approximately 40% of our SMB customers pay their subscription on an annual basis; the rest pay on a monthly basis. In 2020 and for the six months ended June 30, 2021, 95% and 93% of our revenue was from recurring customer subscriptions”

For a long time, they gave away hardware. “As a foundational aspect of our customer communications and engagement platform, we have historically provided each new customer with several free Weave phones, establishing a digital platform for them. These phones address our customers’ basic communications needs and are powerfully and seamlessly connected to the rest of our all-in-one platform that includes scheduling, text messaging, client review management, payments and emailing marketing capabilities. Importantly, beginning our customer relationship with a Weave phone increases our brand awareness, reduces churn and increases customer loyalty. Historically, as part of our go-to-market strategy, we furnished a specified number of phones at no additional charge with a paid subscription. In the third quarter of 2021 we changed our policy to better monetize our phones through a recurring subscription model.”

Services and hardware are a loss leader. “We utilize our onboarding services and phone hardware as customer acquisition tools and price them competitively to lower the barriers to entry for new customers adopting our platform. As a result, the variable cost associated with providing phone hardware and onboarding assistance has historically exceeded the related revenue, resulting in negative gross profit for each.”

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