Traditionally financial modelling produces a series of forecast financial statements supplemented with industry specific metrics which management and investors use to analyse future performance. This information can become quite detailed and to support ease of understanding a “Dashboard” presenting summary information is often included as a reporting tool. The concept behind the “Dashboard” is to present a concise (relatively) uncluttered overview of the model outputs to aid decision making. The dashboard often includes a simplified set of statements, metrics and charts to present time series metric information.
We would like to suggest two additional charts that help to visually explaining the financial situation and performance of your business; 1. Hotspot Charts, and 2. Visual Income Statements
[Note: the information presented in the charts below is all from a fictional SaaS company, Company X with no relationship to any actual company performance]
A mash of two SaaS acronyms – CAC being the cost of acquisition and ARPU being average revenue per user; produces a metric which represents the time to payback the initial outlay in acquiring the customer. A simple example, it costs $250 to acquire a SaaS customer via marketing and sales costs (CAC) for a future monthly revenue of $50 (ARPU), in this case it takes 5 months of revenue to repay the outlay (i.e. 5 months of ARPU). The lower the CAC is relative to ARPU, the sooner the customer becomes profitable (assuming cost to serve or CTS is lower than ARPU – if it isn’t perhaps it is time to revisit the business plan).
Within SaaS companies, payback time (i.e. CAC months of ARPU) is a key component of the business’s success. SaaS companies tend to chase growth and customer acquisition in the near term as a pathway to adding long term value. This feature has significant implications on the company’s near term profitability, cash flows and therefore cash requirements – a large CAC months of ARPU results in a large near term expense taking a longer time to repay, therefore requiring significant cash to cover this expense.
“…What do all financial models have in common…” – they are all wrong….
At the core of financial modelling is calculating future cash flows. Nobody, knows exactly what the future holds; therefore how can any model be 100% correct? If they are all wrong, are they of any use? As believers of fundamental structured corporate finance, we would like the answer to be an emphatic yes. However, how useful a model is, is highly dependent on what steps have been undertaken to reduce the potential errors in the model.
This blog is not sales pitch for financial modelling. Nor is it an avenue for outlining good modelling practises to reduce human and calculation errors. Its focus is to establish the assumptions underpinning future cash flows – improved rigour here is directly proportional to the usefulness of a financial model.
Detailed financial modelling often breaks a business operation down to its simplest components – what is being sold/delivered and for what price. It’s these future sales and customer numbers that is the focus of this post, particularly in the relation to SaaS companies.
SaaS, or Software as a Service appears to be the new exciting kid on the block, quite often speaking a completely foreign language. Who is this kid… and what is ARPU, CAC and CMR?
Here at Clare Capital we have been doing financial modelling for several New Zealand SaaS companies (both public and private), during which, we have had a bit of a crash course in the world that is SaaS and would like to pass on some of what we have learnt.
[For those that live and breathe SaaS, feel free to point out anything we misrepresent, for everyone else feel free to contact us for more information].
Congratulations to one of our clients Mindscape for winning the Innovative Hi-Tech Software Product award at the 2014 NZ Hi-Tech Awards for their product Raygun, an automatic crash & error reporting application. Furthermore, they received a Highly Commended for the Innovative Hi-Tech Software Service award.
Mindscape were also nominated for the Innovative Hi-Tech Mobile Product award at the 2014 NZ Hi-Tech Awards.
Clare Capital is very proud of your achievements so far and look forward to where the business is heading.
Congratulations to one of our clients, Mindscape on the capital raise for Raygun.
We are proud to have played a role…
As a sequel to last week’s post about What is the right EV/Revenue multiple? We thought we would follow this up with the same EV/Revenue & ACMR graph – but relating to the six NZX-listed Tech companies. This also coincides with the release of Wynyard Group’s and SLI Systems’ financial statements earlier this week.
ACMR is Annualised Committed Monthly Revenue – which is the most recent monthly revenues annualised. While the size of the bubble represents the company’s overall Enterprise Value.
Chart 1 – NZ Tech companies
Print-form directories have historically been a key cornerstone part of telecommunication businesses worldwide. This is changing, and what is occurring is a perfect example of Disruptive Innovation usurping a Sustaining Business Model.
History will show that the sale of Yellow Pages to a US-based private equity firm for NZD $2.24 billion was timed to near to perfection. At the time of sale in 2007, print directories were still a cornerstone aspect of telecommunication businesses. The Yellow Pages in particular had experienced constant revenue growth prior to the sale. And it’s also not hard to understand this, most people remember getting their White and Yellow pages in the late 1990s and early 2000s – and actually using them. Supplementing this, it was before the Global Financial Crisis, a period of cheap capital, in particular for private equity firms.
Following the 70% sale of the Sensis directories business from Telstra (Australia) to a US based private equity firm, Platinum Equity for A$454 million – blog post to come later – we thought we would illustrate the significant differences between NZ’s largest directories business vs NZ’s largest online auction/e-commerce website.
The following two graphs highlights the compelling difference comparing Yellow Pages (a largely print-based business) to Trade Me (a 100% online business). The results below show the impact technology has had on each company over the course of the last seven years:
Note: the two data points (we are only showing the 2007 and 2013 numbers) for both Yellow Pages and Trade Me are from the financial years 2007 and 2013.
Clare Capital uses the Enterprise Value/2P reserves ratio to give an indication of how the market is valuing a number of New Zealand and Australian comparators in the oil and gas exploration and production industry (as at 22nd September 2016). Companies with an EV less than NZ$20 million are excluded (such as Pan Pacific Petroleum).
The graph above highlights three values of each company in the Australasian Oil & Gas (O&G) Industry:
- Enterprise Value of the O&G company / Amount of latest reported 2P reserves [vertical axis]
- Amount of latest reported 2P reserves [horizontal axis]
- Enterprise Value of the O&G company [size of the bubble]
Green colouration denotes companies with New Zealand operations, while blue colouration represents Australian only operations. The closer a company is to the horizontal axis, the ‘cheaper’ its market valuation.