May 26, 2022

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Revenue forecasting is a challenge, so we prefer conservative guidance

Revenue forecasting is a challenge, so we prefer conservative guidance

snowflake CEO Frank Slotman told CNBC’s Jim Kramer on Wednesday that the company prefers to give conservative guidance, saying that the way it recognizes revenue creates a great deal of uncertainty when making forecasts.

Slotman’s comments in “mad money” The interview came after The data analytics company announced results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2022. Its stock was plummeting in extended trading, dropping 30% at one point before recovering somewhat to drop nearly 22%.

Investors have been dealing with the company’s slowest revenue growth since at least 2019, as well as its guidance for fiscal year 2023. Snowflake said it expects product revenue to increase 65% to 67% in the fiscal year, close to analysts’ forecast of 66% growth, According to FactSet. This may represent a significant slowdown from previous years.

“We take a data-driven approach, which is what you would expect from a data management company,” Slotman said. “We don’t put a wet finger in the wind and go, ‘Well, we think it’s going to be.'” That’s not how we do things, so we’d rather come from Conservative stance and to be able to go about things.”

In fiscal year 2022, Snowflake’s product revenue — which accounts for most of its total sales — jumped nearly 106%, according to its earnings presentation Wednesday.

Slootman noted that Snowflake ended up exceeding the company’s 2022 financial products revenue forecast Submitted on March 3, 2021. In that quarterly report, Snowflake forecast product revenue growth of 82% year over year.

‘Consumption model’

Frank Slotman, CEO of Snowflake, on the day of his 2020 IPO. He is known for being a demanding leader, and straight shooter. He recently told CNBC, “I’d often attend board meetings at other companies, and the CEO would come up with a list of 10 priorities…well, that’s the same as not having priorities.”

CNBC

Slotman said Snowflake books its revenue using a “consumption model,” rather than the typical subscription model common across the software industry. Slotman said investors may take time to understand how this affects its results and its ability to forecast multiple quarters down the road.

“We’re reporting revenue about what people actually consume during the quarter. We have tons and tons of customers we don’t have any history with, and we have to somehow anticipate exactly what they’re going to do and how they’re going to grow,” he said.

Cloud-based Snowflake software allows customers to search and analyze large amounts of data, with the ability to scale capacity as they need it. Snowflake had a total of 5,944 customers at the end of fiscal year 2022, up 44% from the previous year.

“In the consumption model, it is different from a [software-as-a-service] A model where things are under contract, and they have a completely different rhythm. Over time, people will get it. “They will grow up with it, and they will get used to it, I hope,” said Slotman, a tech industry veteran who previously helped ServiceNow.

He helped bring Snowflake to the public in September 2020, in what was at the time the largest software IPO ever.

Snowflake’s shares are down nearly 22% since the beginning of the year, excluding Wednesday’s after-hours move. Stocks’ struggles come as Wall Street shifts its focus to more defensive parts of the market and away from unprofitable, growth-oriented companies like Snowflake.

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