Investor calls for for profitability catch tech corporations flat-footed

Shares of DocuSign are off 25% in pre-market buying and selling immediately after it reported earnings final night time, pushing the worth of shares within the e-signature firm beneath pre-COVID ranges.

Provided that the market is valuing DocuSign at a less expensive value than it did in early 2020, you would possibly assume that it’s struggling. Hardly. Coming off an enormous interval of pandemic-fueled progress, DocuSign posted 25% in top-line growth in its most up-to-date quarter, with income coming in at $588.7 million, round $7 million ahead of street expectations. Much more, the corporate’s growth target for its present fiscal yr brackets investor expectations.

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Confused by DocuSign present process such a pointy repricing after reporting better-than-expected trailing progress and in-line steering? Don’t be. DocuSign has dedicated the brand new cardinal sin of expertise corporations: dropping more cash as progress slows.

As market mania fades from 2021 highs, investor expectations are changing rapidly and it’s catching a number of expertise corporations flat-footed.

The shock of the tip of the growth-at-all-costs period is just not merely a shift from a desire for income growth towards profitability. No, many tech corporations are presently navigating a deceleration to their extra pure charge of progress, whereas revenue calls for are rising. It’s exhausting to retard a progress deceleration whereas additionally making more cash, however that’s what buyers need. And indicators abound that it’s not going properly.

Pivot to earnings

DocuSign’s quarter included free money circulate of $174.6 million, up from $123.0 million within the year-ago interval. However on the identical time, GAAP internet revenue acquired worse on the former unicorn:

GAAP internet loss per fundamental and diluted share was $0.14 on 200 million shares excellent in comparison with $0.04 on 194 million shares excellent in the identical interval final yr.

That’s a no-no.

Tech corporations are racing to keep away from the identical destiny. The pivot to profitability — actually the pivot to dropping much less cash — is in impact around the globe. Just a few current bits of stories make our case:

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