Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Another Sunny Day for Cloud Company NetSuite

You know, this whole cloud computing thing might just turn out to be something after all. NetSuite, the cloud-based software outfit that businesses use to, well, run their businesses, just reported its latest quarterly and annual results, and the results are pretty good.

For the fourth quarter, sales were $64.1 million, up 23 percent over the prior year, led mostly by growth in subscription and support revenue. Non-GAAP profits were 5 cents per share or $3.4 million. Sales for the year were $236 million, up 22 percent year over year. The EPS number beat the consensus of analysts by a penny. Shares are up by 4 percent in after-hours trading, having risen 4 percent already during the regular session.

I’ll be talking to CEO Zach Nelson (pictured) within the hour and will be adding a comment or two from him.

Update: I just got off the phone with Nelson and we had a quick chat about the results. Here’s a summary.

AllThingsD: Zach, the results were pretty positive. You grew revenue 23 percent year on year. What’s driving the growth?

Nelson: It’s really about the acceleration of cloud computing. There no other way to say it. Cloud computing is now moving to mission-critical functions. In 2007 I said we were reaching a tipping point with the cloud, and now the market has tipped. The new generation of companies like Square and Roku think of the cloud first as they build their operations. They’re not going to build the big IT staffs that other companies have. They’re going to skip that entirely.

What kinds of headwinds are you seeing and where?

Nothing significant. We grew by double digits in Europe, Asia and the U.S. There’s been a lot of discussion about IT spending shrinking. I think that’s a tailwind for us because we help companies cut their IT spend. We help them eliminate costs.

What are you seeing in 2012? What kind of guidance did you give?

We said we see revenue in the range of $295 million to $300 million and earnings per share of 19 to 21 cents non-GAAP. We’re going to continue to grow the top line and we’re going to hire 500 people this year.

After SAP acquired SuccessFactors and Oracle bought RightNow, people started saying Netsuite is one of the cloud companies likely to be acquired soon. What do you think?

We’re a public company, and so if anyone came along with a serious offer we’d have to consider it. But our whole mission is to build the next great software company.

SAP and IBM and Oracle and Microsft have the cloud religion these days, too. They say they can deliver their apps in the cloud just as you do. What about that?

I love it when SAP and Microsoft talk about the cloud. All they do is talk, and all they do is create more demand for Netsuite. They give credibility to the product we have built over the last decade. They may try to build a product that looks a lot like Netsuite. We’ll gobble up the demand they create along the way. It will take them a decade to do it because there’s no shortcut.

NetSuite’s press release is below.

SAN MATEO, Calif., Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — NetSuite Inc., the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP software suites, today announced operating results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $64.1 million, representing a 23% increase over the prior year. Subscription and support revenue for the fourth quarter was $54.2 million, representing 23% growth over the same period in the prior year. Total revenue for the year was $236.3 million, a year-over-year increase of 22%.

Calculated billings, defined as revenue plus the change in deferred revenue, were $78.8 million for the quarter, a 36% increase over the fourth quarter of 2010. For the year, calculated billings were $266.9 million, an increase of 32% over 2010.

Cash flow from operations was $11.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of $7.1 million, or 156%, over the same period last year. Cash flow from operations was $36.3 million for the year, an increase of $18.0 million, or 99%, over the prior year.

On a GAAP basis, net loss for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $7.6 million, or $(0.11) per share, as compared to a net loss of $6.4 million, or $(0.10) per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010. GAAP net loss for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $32.0 million, or $(0.48) per share, as compared to a GAAP net loss of $27.5 million, or $(0.43) per share, in 2010.

Non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $3.4 million, or $0.05 per share, as compared to non-GAAP net income of $2.8 million, or $0.04 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010. Non-GAAP net income for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $10.8 million, or $0.15 per share, as compared to non-GAAP net income of $8.5 million, or $0.13 per share, in 2010.

“NetSuite’s Q4 showed the benefit of being the disrupter rather than a disruptee, as our Cloud Computing suite continued to take market share from traditional mid-market and enterprise ERP vendors. The acceleration of our business that we saw throughout the year continued into Q4, and we turned in a Q4 that could be considered our best quarter ever as a public company,” said Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite. “As we enter 2012, I believe we are the best positioned company to benefit from the shift to the Cloud as customers abandon aging mission critical systems designed before the Web existed and move to NetSuite.”

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— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald