Elastic N.V. (NYSE:ESTC) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript November 30, 2022
Operator: Good day and welcome to the Elastic Second Quarter Fiscal 2023 Earnings Results Conference Call. Please note that this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Nikolay Beliov, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.
Nikolay Beliov: Thank you. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us on today’s conference call to discuss Elastic’s second quarter fiscal 2023 financial results. On the call, we have Ash Kulkarni, Chief Executive Officer; and Janesh Moorjani, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Following the prepared remarks, we will take questions. Our press release was issued today after the close of market and is posted on our website. Slides which accompany this webcast can be viewed in conjunction with live remarks and can also be downloaded at the conclusion of the webcast on the Elastic Investor Relations website, ir.elastic.co. Our discussion will include forward-looking statements, which may include predictions, estimates, our expectations regarding the demand for our products and solutions and our future revenue and other information.
These forward-looking statements are based on factors currently known to us, speak only as of the date of this call and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. We disclaim any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements unless required by law. Please refer to the risks and uncertainties included in the press release that we issued earlier today, included in the slides accompanying this webcast and those more fully described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We will also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures. Disclosures regarding non-GAAP measures, including reconciliations with the most comparable GAAP measures can be found in the press release and slides.
The webcast replay of this call will be available for the next 60 days on our company website under the Investor Relations link. Our third quarter fiscal 2023 quiet period begins at the close of business on Friday, January 13, 2023. On December 8, 2022, we will be participating in the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. With that, I will turn it over to Ash.
Ash Kulkarni: Thank you, Nikolay and thank you all for joining us. In Q2, revenue grew 34% year-over-year in constant currency. Elastic Cloud comprised 39% of total revenue, up from 34% in the year ago quarter and grew 52% year-over-year in constant currency. We ended the quarter with approximately 19,700 subscription customers, including over 1,050 with annual contract values of more than $100,000. I have continued confidence in our long-term market opportunity and the core fundamental strengths of our business. During the quarter, we continued to make progress across our three key focus areas: driving durable growth, widening our competitive moat and continuing our focus on profitable growth. We also saw customers continue to show a preference for consolidation onto our platform for multiple use cases.
While our differentiated platform positions us well, we have also started to experience the shift in the macroeconomic climate ourselves. In the month of October, we began to see belt tightening and consumption slowing down in the SMB segment. We also saw increased scrutiny on deals overall, particularly in countries where the strengthening U.S. dollar has created adverse conditions. In order to help our customers through this clearly difficult environment, it is more important for us than ever before to stay close to them and help them realize the value of consolidating onto a single platform for multiple business critical use cases. That also requires us to be more focused on our coverage, our sales place, our product investments and our internal support as we drive greater operational excellence.
Looking ahead, we intend to be even more focused on those areas of our business where we see the opportunity for continued profitable growth, optimize investment in other areas and drive overall profitability in the business even faster. In challenging times, those who adapt the fastest are those who end up ahead. Towards this end, we have made the very difficult decision to reduce our workforce by 13% and to align our investments with our strategic priorities and position us for long-term success. We made this announcement earlier today within the company. This was not an easy decision and we are taking the right steps to help impacted employees and their families. We owe our success to all of them and are profoundly grateful for their hard work and contributions to Elastic.
With this decision, we are rebalancing investments across all functions in the company and we will reinvest some of the savings selectively in areas that best position us to drive profitable growth. As an example, in sales and marketing, we are going to double down on our automated low-touch approach to better address the needs of our SMB customers who generally prefer a self-service motion. This will also allow us to reposition a portion of these investments to thoughtfully increase our coverage in the Enterprise segment. In products, we will emphasize strategic areas like cloud and serverless in our future technical hiring. These actions set us on a path to deliver improved non-GAAP operating income growth in the second half of FY 23 and 10% non-GAAP operating margins for FY 24, a significant increase compared to our prior commitment.
Janesh will share more details later. Now, let me talk about the long-term durability of our growth. Over the last 90 days, I have met with more than 100 customers, including Canvas, SAP Concur, USAA, Ecolab, Westpac, Standard Chartered Bank and O2 Telefonica. We are also meeting with customers at our ElasticON events, which are driving greater awareness, fueling pipeline and reinforcing our bottom-up adoption and product-led growth. Demand for our in-person events has been strong with standing room-only crowds attending our ElasticON events in Singapore, New York and Amsterdam to hear from Elastic and some of our amazing customers, including a firm AutoZone, BMW, Booking.com, Comcast and SWIFT. We are seeing from our customer interactions that they are continuing to invest in observability, security and search.
And our platform strategy is working. Especially in the areas of observability and security, we offer an open, high-performance platform that allows customers to analyze all their data across logs, application traces, metrics and other related data with a simple consumption-based pricing model, all at a price that creates a compelling value proposition to switch from other technologies and consolidate onto our platform. And with Elastic Cloud, expanding with Elastic to newer use cases is incredibly easy. In these times, we see a greater opportunity than ever before to lean into our platform and cost advantage and drive consolidation place onto our platform. This quarter, we expanded business with RRD, a leading global provider of marketing, packaging, print and supply chain solutions, a long-time Elastic Enterprise Search customer, they recently expanded to Elastic Observability on Elastic Cloud to consolidate multiple applications into a single cloud instance and streamline their infrastructure.
We also expanded business with a 7-figure deal this quarter with the top U.S. based global heavy equipment manufacturer. Previously, an OpenSearch customer, the company consolidated its logging platform with Elastic Observability on Elastic Cloud to improve service availability and customer satisfaction. What excites me the most is that we partnered with AWS on this deal through the AWS Marketplace, which demonstrates a strengthening partnership. Speaking of cloud partnerships, we continued to build momentum with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Our revenue through the cloud hyperscaler marketplaces again more than doubled year-over-year. With AWS, we announced a new streamlined experience for Elastic Cloud on the AWS Marketplace. This enables joint customers to get started on Elastic Cloud with an easier sign-up and setup experience through the AWS Marketplace console.
Also, Elastic was a key partner for Microsoft Azure’s launch of the latest Azure Virtual Machines with Ampere Altra ARM-based processors, letting customers maximize operational efficiency across their observability, security and search use cases. Finally, we announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud to make it easier for customers to monitor and secure Google Cloud workloads and drive insights from data that resides in data lakes on Google Cloud. Now, onto our continuing product innovations and our widening competitive moat, in the current environment, we see a real opportunity to help our customers drive consolidation onto our platform and reduce their overall costs. At our ElasticON events, we recently announced a series of innovations to our platform.
These include more optimized support for metrics data in Elastic Search, which will enable us to further extend our competitive advantage in metrics and enable customers to more easily consolidate onto Elastic for all their observability needs. This is available in technical preview to-date. We also announced a new query language, ESQL, which will enable us to support richer query semantics and additional use cases across all of our solutions and will also enable us to make it easier for customers to migrate to our platform from competing offerings. We anticipate ESQL becoming available on our platform later next year. Lastly, we unveiled a roadmap for a new serverless cloud product, which will broaden our addressable market. This new offering will provide a fully managed experience for supporting short duration or bursty workloads and will be a great complement to our current Elastic Cloud service, which is optimized for control, flexibility and performance for long running workloads.
Now, I will share some details about additional innovations and customer wins across our Security, Observability and Enterprise Search solutions. Starting with Security, this quarter, we renewed and expanded cloud business with Uber. They have been using Elastic for threat hunting, investigation and response and recently expanded their use of Elastic SIEM to power their entire enterprise defense platform. Elastic Security is integral to their ongoing security journey. It provides critical capabilities that enable their team to correlate behaviors across data sources, build interfaces for examining security logs and craft detection logic to surface malicious behaviors. We also expanded business with the U.S. Federal Agency that previously deployed the free and open version of Elastic.
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They are now using Elastic SIEM on Elastic Cloud for visibility across their security environment, focusing on insider threat analytics. More than 20% of our security customers now use our newer use cases in XDR and cloud security, validating our unified security approach for the modern security operations center. We already have over 30 customers using CIS benchmark-based cloud security posture management for Kubernetes, our newest use case, which just recently became generally available. Over the last two quarters, we have released several new capabilities in our next-gen SIEM, including threat intelligence management, hybrid sort and host and user entity analytics. In addition to this, we also recently released the first Elastic Global Threat Report, which details the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats.
Compiled using customer telemetry data, the report showcased the first-party research conducted by our security research teams and provided unique insights to our customers. Last month, Elastic Security was named a visionary in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SIEM. And I am excited to share that Elastic was honored with the Cybersecurity Breakthrough Award for Threat Intelligence Platform of the Year in recognition of the cutting-edge threat intelligence capabilities of Elastic Security. Now moving on to Elastic Observability, this quarter, we expanded an 8-figure multiyear piece of business with a Global 2000 multinational financial services company, which uses Elastic Observability and Elastic Security. The company relies on Elastic Observability for distributed tracing to enable the migration of thousands of applications from the company’s data centers to Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud and uses Elastic Security to significantly reduce the time spent on threat hunting.
We also expanded business this quarter with one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, which has been using Elastic Observability to monitor IT operations at one U.S. theme park location and have now expanded to include two additional park locations in the U.S. and APJ. With Elastic, they can ensure the consistent uptime of critical park functions such as WiFi, point-of-sale systems and virtual lines to provide the best visitor experience possible. APM traction in the Elastic Observability solution continues to gain strength. 30% of our Observability clusters are using APM in addition to log analytics and we continue to see competitive wins as customers seek to consolidate tools. In Q2, we added additional capabilities to our beta synthetic monitoring capability and have seen almost 4x growth in synthetic test runs.
In general, the open telemetry protocol and open standards are an Elastic strength. And in Q2, we saw 44% growth in Elastic clusters ingesting APM data using the open telemetry protocol. We also recently launched the private beta of Universal Profiling, an innovative performance optimization and cost saving capability. Universal Profiling is lightweight and requires zero instrumentation, overcoming the limitations of other profiling solutions by requiring no changes to the application code. In Enterprise Search, we renewed a 7-figure multiyear deal this quarter with a multinational aerospace company. They use Elastic Enterprise Search to provide customers with real-time digital access to the documentation needed to ensure proper aircraft maintenance within their fleet and reduce time on the ground due to maintenance delays.
We also renewed business this quarter with the U.S. government agency. They are using Elastic Enterprise Search to help their vaccine approval center rapidly access and evaluate mission-critical data to expedite the submission and approval of new vaccines and monitor adverse event reporting for existing vaccines in partnership with the CDC. On the innovation front, we recently announced the general availability of vector search as well as updates to improve search relevance through hybrid scoring that combines traditional search with vector search to deliver more accurate and relevant search results. We have seen an 84% increase and deployments actively running a machine learning model in the last quarter, indicating wider adoption of our natural language processing capabilities.
Our product strategy in this area is centered around making complex search functionality accessible and scalable across use cases and segments. Now moving on to our focus on profitable growth, I am proud of the team and the fact that we exceeded both our revenue and our profitability targets for Q2. Our Q2 operating margin of 1.9% was significantly better than our guidance and clearly demonstrates the operating leverage inherent in our business. I have already talked about the steps we have taken to accelerate our profitability growth. Although these decisions are difficult ones to make, we are confident that the changes we have announced will drive even more focus on those areas of our business that have the highest opportunity for growth and operating margin expansion.
This will enable us to navigate through this macroeconomic environment with greater discipline and ensure our success in both the near and long-term. In summary, I want to thank our employees for their dedication and contribution to our performance. I also want to thank our customers, partners and investors for their continued support and confidence. We continue to have confidence in our ability to build a generational company given: one, our market opportunity; two, the criticality of our solutions to our customers; third, our platform strategy, which is more relevant than ever before, giving customers increased desire for tool consolidation in the current environment; fourth, the execution by our team; and finally, our strong fundamentals.
Now, over to Janesh.
Janesh Moorjani: Thanks, Ash. We are pleased that we delivered ahead of our commitments for Q2. We delivered 34% year-over-year constant currency growth in total revenue. We continued our momentum in Elastic Cloud, which grew 52% year-over-year in constant currency. We once again beat the high-end of both our top line and bottom line guidance for the quarter despite the current economic environment and despite greater FX headwinds on revenue than we had included in our previous guidance. On a currency-neutral basis, our total revenue beat in terms of year-over-year growth in Q2 was similar to Q1. In the current business climate and with the trends in our business that Ash described, we see room to focus more sharply on helping our customers derive the benefits of tool consolidation onto a single platform and also to realign resources internally to drive greater efficiencies in all functions.
Accordingly, we are taking specific actions in the business. First, we are better focusing our investments to optimize our coverage in the SMB segment, emphasizing automation and low-touch approaches to better address the needs of customers in that segment while repurposing some of that investment towards enterprise sales coverage. Second, we are rebalancing investments across other functions to invest in priorities such as our serverless architecture and engineering and in digital demand gen and marketing. We will also drive greater efficiencies and align to business priorities in our customer success and G&A functions. Third, we are adopting a specific goal of non-GAAP operating margin at 10% for fiscal 24 and the actions announced today already put us on the path to achieving that.
We believe these actions will not only help profitability in the near-term, but importantly, allow us to align our team to best capture the market opportunity ahead of us. While we navigate the near-term, we remain confident in our strategy for the mid and long-term. We have a large market opportunity and our solutions are used in core mission-critical use cases. Customers are increasingly looking for tool consolidation in the current environment, which plays well to our platform strategy. We give customers enormous flexibility with a consumption-based business model and resource-based pricing model. And our core land and expand motion continues. We had healthy additions to the pool of customers over $10,000 in ACV, adding approximately 80 customers in this category and also the pool of customers over $100,000 in ACV, adding approximately 40 customers in this category, both consistent with the prior quarter and we continue to have a world class net expansion rate.
Now let’s get into Q2 results and our updated outlook. Total revenue in the second quarter was $264.4 million, up 28% year-over-year or 34% in constant currency. Subscription revenue in the second quarter totaled $241.2 million, up 27% year-over-year or 32% in constant currency, comprising 91% of total revenue. Within subscriptions, revenue from Elastic Cloud was healthy at $103.2 million, growing 50% year-over-year or 52% in constant currency. Elastic Cloud represented 39% of total revenue in the quarter, up from 34% a year ago and also represented 43% of total subscription revenue, up from 42% in the prior quarter and up from 36% in the year ago quarter. Professional services revenue in the second quarter was $23.2 million, growing 47% year-over-year or 53% in constant currency.
We do not expect professional services to increase significantly in mix. To add more context around deal flow and performance by region, although we saw a balanced deal flow across geographies on a currency-adjusted basis, the Americas grew faster than APAC and EMEA given currency impacts in those regions. Looking at customer metrics, we ended the second quarter with approximately 19,700 total subscription customers with the vast majority of the additions in the quarter once again in Elastic Cloud. The lower sequential number of customer additions reflects the slowdown in the SMB segment that we described earlier. We are confident that our strategy of focusing on acquiring and nurturing customers that have a higher propensity for growth rather than solely focusing on quantity continues to be the right strategy for us.
We once again provided data on customers over $10,000 ACV, and you’ll see the additions in Q2 in that category were similar to prior quarters. We also saw the success of this strategy reflected in the account of larger customers. We had over 1,050 customers with annual contract values over $100,000 at the end of the second quarter compared to over 1,010 such customers at the end of the prior quarter reflecting the strength of our product portfolio and our ability to drive expansion across the solutions. The customer account in this category remains a strong underpinning of our land and expand motion. Our overall net expansion rate in the first quarter was approximately 125% and was down slightly, reflecting the trends I mentioned earlier. Now turning to profitability for which I’ll discuss non-GAAP measures.
Gross margin in the quarter was 74.5%, with the sequential change versus the prior quarter, driven mainly by better professional services gross margins. Subscription gross margin at 79.2% was consistent with the prior quarter. Looking at operating expenses in the second quarter, we continue to manage our expenses and investments in the business well. Our operating margin in the quarter was 1.9%, which was significantly better than expected due to both the revenue performance in the quarter and tight expense discipline. This once again demonstrates the operating leverage inherent in our business model. Earnings per share in the second quarter, was $0.0. Free cash flow on an adjusted basis was $10.3 million in the second quarter. For full fiscal 23, we now expect to be roughly breakeven on adjusted free cash flow.
This outlook includes cash outflows of between $25 million and $28 million related to the restructuring we announced, which reflect onetime payments and were not included in our prior outlook. We also continue to maintain a strong balance sheet. We ended the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of approximately $856 million. We remain comfortable with our cash position from an operating perspective. Before discussing our outlook for the third quarter and the remainder of fiscal 23, I’d like to provide additional color on how we will be approaching the next few quarters. As we announced, we will be reducing our workforce by 13% and rebalancing our investments across functions, reinvesting a portion of that into areas best suited to drive growth.
We will continue to hire for the right roles in the second half of fiscal 23 to ensure we are set up successfully for fiscal 24 and beyond. While the decision to reduce and rebalance investments was not easy to make, we believe it positions us better for the future to deliver multiyear durable and profitable growth. It also allows us to deliver faster margin expansion than we had previously committed, and we currently expect to deliver 10% non-GAAP operating margin and a commensurated increase in adjusted free cash flow margin in fiscal 24. We also remain confident in our ability to deliver healthy revenue growth given our market opportunity, the strength of our products, new customer trends and our expansion track record. We also continue to expect Elastic Cloud will exceed 50% of total revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024.
Turning to guidance, with the continued strength of the U.S. dollar against the year ago rates, we expect currency movements to present a headwind to year-over-year total revenue growth of approximately 4% for the third quarter and approximately 4% for full fiscal 23. With respect to operating margin, since we also incurred a significant portion of our expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, we effectively have a natural hedge, so the impact to operating margin from a strengthening dollar is less significant. Our overall guidance philosophy stays unchanged. We continue to guide thoughtfully based on what we know and without excessive conservatism. We have now considered the impact of the current business climate in our second half revenue outlook.
Despite this impact, we are raising our operating margin outlook for the year, reflecting our emphasis on full growth. With that background, for the third quarter of fiscal 23, we expect total revenue in the range of $272 million to $274 million, representing 22% year-over-year growth at the midpoint. On a constant currency basis, we expect total revenue growth of 26% year-over-year at the midpoint. We expect non-GAAP operating margin in the range of 4.3% to 4.7% and non-GAAP earnings per share in the range of $0.04 to $0.07 using between 98.5 million and 99.5 million diluted ordinary shares outstanding. For full fiscal 23, we now expect total revenue in the range of $1.67 billion to $1.73 billion, representing 24% year-over-year growth at the midpoint.
On a constant currency basis, we expect total revenue growth of 28% year-over-year at the midpoint. We expect non-GAAP operating margin for full fiscal 23 in the range of 2.2% to 2.6% and non-GAAP earnings per share in the range of negative $0.03 to positive $0.03 using between 95 million and 97 million basic weighted average ordinary shares outstanding and between 98.5 million and 100.5 million diluted weighted average ordinary shares outstanding. In summary, we remain focused on execution and believe that we are well positioned for long-term durable growth and profitability. And with that, let’s go ahead and take questions. Operator?
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