Tableau reported a loss of $47.5 million on revenue of $198.5 million for the second quarter, and investors seemed to like what they heard about subscription sales of its business intelligence software.
Tableau reported another less-than-spectacular quarter Tuesday, but investors were apparently mollified by news that more of its revenue is coming from subscription deals.
The Seattle business intelligence software company’s stock initially fell more than 6 percent Tuesday when, after the market close, it reported second-quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations.
But after the company’s earnings call with analysts, the stock rose and settled around $56 per share, or less than 1 percent down from its closing price.
Tableau executives emphasized on the call that revenue from its cloud-based product, which companies pay for on a subscription basis, grew more than 100 percent from the same period a year ago.
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In general, more customers are asking for a subscription-based model rather than licensing the software, Tableau said.
The subscription model is expanding across the tech industry, said Brent Thill, an analyst with UBS. Tableau is even a bit late to the party. Investors like to see the subscription approach, he said, because it means more revenue is coming in consistently at regular periods, rather than in sporadic chunks as companies pay for licenses.
The company reported revenue of $198.5 million for the quarter, exceeding forecasts with a pop of 32 percent from the same period last year. But it posted a net loss of $47.5 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with a loss of $19 million in the same period last year.
Wall Street was looking for a profit of 5 cents per share on an adjusted, non-GAAP basis; by that measure Tableau delivered zero cents.
The Fremont-based company has struggled in recent quarters to show the skyrocketing growth it became known for.
Tableau’s stock fell 50 percent in February amid concern that customers weren’t expanding use of its software rapidly enough. That metric, license revenue, grew 20 percent during the second quarter.
Tableau needs to do better with large sales to big businesses, analysts have said, and company executives mentioned such a sales push several times during the call.
At a companywide meeting in Seattle this summer, Tableau offered training on large deals to its sales staff. CFO Tom Walker said that meeting, plus some restructuring of its sales department, cost more than expected during the second quarter, contributing to the company’s larger loss.
Tableau executives also reported it signed 332 deals worth more than $100,000 each, a 42 percent increase from last year’s second quarter.
The company is searching for a replacement for longtime sales chief Kelly Wright, who is retiring at the end of this year. Tableau executives have met with several candidates, CEO Christian Chabot said.
Tableau faces stiff competition from regional neighbor Microsoft, which has an in with many large businesses that already use other Microsoft products.
Many analysts think competition contributed to Tableau’s slowing growth this year but most agree that Tableau’s product is superior for many uses. Executives hyped the company’s newest version, Tableau 10, on the conference call, saying its release is “imminent.”
Tableau hired 80 people during the quarter, bringing its total staff to 3,248. The company plans to add between 100 and 200 more during the year.