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Sprinklr’s IPO filing shows uneven cash flow but modest growth

Another week, another unicorn IPO. This time, Sprinklr is taking on the public markets.

The New York-based software company works in what it describes as the customer experience market. And after attracting over $400 million in capital while private, its impending debut will not only provide key returns to a host of venture capitalists but also more evidence that New York’s startup scene has reached maturity. (More evidence here.)


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Sprinklr last raised a $200 million round at a $2.7 billion valuation in September 2020. That round, as TechCrunch reported, also included a host of secondary shares and $150 million in convertible notes. Inclusive of the latter instrument, Sprinklr’s total capital raised to date soars above the $500 million mark.

Temasek Holdings, Battery Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Intel Capital and others have plugged funds into Sprinklr during its startup days.

Sure, Robinhood didn’t file last week as many folks hoped, but the Sprinklr IPO ensures that we’ll have more than just SPACs to chat about in the coming days. But one thing at a time. Let’s discuss what Sprinklr does for a living.

Sprinklr’s business

Sprinklr’s IPO filing and corporate website suffer from a slight case of corporate speak, so we have some work to do this morning to determine what the company does. Here’s what the company says about itself in its filing:

Sprinklr empowers the world’s largest and most loved brands to make their customers happier.

We do this with a new category of enterprise software – Unified Customer Experience Management, or Unified-CXM – that enables every customer-facing function across the front office, from Customer Care to Marketing, to collaborate across internal silos, communicate across digital channels, and leverage a complete suite of modern capabilities to deliver better, more human customer experiences at scale – all on one unified, AI-powered platform.

Not very clear, yeah? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here’s what the company actually does:

Facebook co-founder Saverin’s B Capital doubles down on SaaS in China

B Capital Group, the six-year-old venture capital fund formed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Bain Capital veteran Raj Ganguly, is doubling down on China as it looks to allocate $500 million to $1 billion of its fund into Chinese tech companies over the next few years.

With $1.9 billion assets under management, B Capital is going after enterprise software providers in China, an area that has seen “explosive growth” but is still only a “fraction the size of the U.S. SaaS market,” Ganguly said in an interview with TechCrunch.

The idea that Chinese companies are reluctant to shell out for software is “very backward-looking thinking”, he added.

One force fueling the boom of B2B companies in China is surging labor costs. As such, B Capital is hunting down software that could make labor and business operations more productive, and subsequently, give companies a competitive edge. Covid-19 accelerated the shift, as well-digitized companies had proven much more resilient to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

B Capital is able to discern what enterprises need thanks to its close partnership with Boston Consulting Group, which has a raft of customers ranging from healthcare, finance to transportation looking to digitize.

These large corporations “understand that their internal technology can’t be the only solution and they have to look to the outside and be willing to partner with early-stage, high-growth, or late-stage tech companies,” Ganguly suggested. They are also more willing to pay for software compared to scrappy, cash-strapped startups.

B Capital began deploying capital in China early this year and has already closed three deals. It’s stage-agnostic — though growth-stage startups are the focus — and plans to back 15-20 projects in China over the next few years. About 15 of its investment and operating employees are based out of Hong Kong and Beijing. It has around 110 staff worldwide.

Ganguly declined to disclose the names of its Chinese investees at this stage but said they include a biotech company, an automotive parts business, and an e-commerce enabler. Leveraging BCG’s expertise, the biotech company is learning how it can bring actual drugs to market faster. And the automotive business is similarly working with BCG to figure out its pricing and go-to-market strategy.

Going global

Overall, B Capital looks for opportunities in healthcare, fintech, industrial digitalization, and other horizontal enterprise services. Chinese startups that interest B Capital most are also those with the intention and ability to cross borders.

“Biotech is the area that we’ve been the most impressed by what’s happening in China and how that technology can be exported to other countries,” Ganguly said. B Capital has backed one biotech startup with offices in both Shanghai and Cambridge, Massachusettes, and is on track to close a deal with another that also straddles China and the U.S.

The other target is e-commerce, which Ganguly described as “cross-border by its nature” because a product is often sourced in one country, made in another, and then sold in a third market.

The investor is certainly right about the potential of cross-border e-commerce in China, where consumers have a big appetite for imported goods and manufacturers look for new ways to sell globally.

China is also in a good position to export its enterprise software, similar to how Indian counterparts have succeeded overseas, said Ganguly. The difference is that few Indian corporations are willing to pay big bucks for software, which forces B2B entrepreneurs to seek market abroad, whereas China’s domestic companies have an increasing demand for SaaS.

Despite ongoing geopolitical complications, Ganguly is optimistic that the world “is still moving towards globalization” over the long term.

“Certain innovation cycles have started in Silicon Valley and spread to places like China and Southeast Asia. But frankly, other innovation cycles have started in China and gone to South and Southeast Asia and the U.S. We think that China’s enterprise [software], artificial intelligence and biotech are some of the best technology that we’ve seen.”

But these globalizing companies must be able to adapt, hire talent outside their core market, get regulatory approvals, and build the right distribution networks, the investor suggested.

“I think that there are aspects of globalization that have become very politicized, and I think that’s unfortunate but understandable. Our belief is that businesses that we invest in have the ability to cross borders. Sometimes that means going from China to South and Southeast Asia, and sometimes that means extending to the U.S. Sometimes it just means the ability to import or export their products or software, and even staying in China where they can sell their technologies overseas.”

WalkMe is going public: Let’s stroll through its numbers

Hot off the heels of our look into Marqeta’s IPO filing and dives into SPACs for Bright Machines and Bird, we’re parsing the WalkMe IPO filing. Later this week, Squarespace will direct list and we’ll see IPOs from Oatly and Procore. It’s a super busy time for public debuts of all sorts.

Given how hectic the IPO market is, we’re going to skip our usual throat clearing and dig into WalkMe’s IPO document. As always, we’ll start with a brief overview of its product and then move into discussing its financial performance.

Image Credits: Alex Wilhelm

WalkMe is the second Israel-based technology company to file to go public this week: No-code startup Monday.com is also pursuing an American IPO.

Alright! Into the breach.

What does WalkMe do?

WalkMe’s software provides visual overlays on websites that help users navigate the product in question. I base that explanation on my time at Crunchbase, which was a customer during at least part of my time there. WalkMe is popular with marketing teams who want to introduce users to a new or refreshed experience.

Per the company’s F-1 filing, other elements of its service that matter include its onboarding system and what WalkMe calls Workstation, or its “single interface to the applications within an enterprise and simplifies task completion through a natural language conversational interface and automation.” We’re including that last feature because it says “automation,” which, in the wake of the UiPath IPO, is a word worth watching. Investors are.

At a high level, WalkMe is a SaaS business, which means that when we digest its results we are digging into a modern software company. Let’s do just that.

WalkMe’s numbers

From 2019 to 2020, WalkMe grew its revenues from $105.1 million to $148.3 million, a gain of 41%. In its most recent quarter, the company’s growth rate slowed: From Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, WalkMe’s top line grew 25% from $34.2 million to $42.7 million.

In SaaS terms, WalkMe calculates that its annual recurring revenue, or ARR, grew from $131.2 million at the end of 2019 to $164.3 million in 2020. In more granular terms, the company’s ARR grew from $137.8 million to $177.5 million in the first quarters of 2020, and 2021, respectively.