Billion Dollar Unicorns: BlackLine Striking Powerful Partnerships

According to a report by TechNavio published last year, the global business accounting software market is estimated to grow at CAGR of 6% to reach $4.1 billion by the year 2021. Blackline (Nasdaq: BL) is a SaaS-based finance and accounting firm that is trying to chip away at this market opportunity.

BlackLine’s Financials

BlackLine’s first quarter revenues grew 34% to $51.3 million. It ended the quarter with a GAAP net loss of $7.2 million, or $0.13 per share. Non GAAP net income was $0.3 million or $0.01 per share. The market was looking for revenues of $51.3 million and a non GAAP net loss of $0.03 per share.

By segment, subscription and support revenues grew 33% to $48.6 million and professional services revenues grew 64% to $2.66 million.

Among other metrics, the company added 89 net new customers in the quarter, thus ending with a total of more than 2,290 customers for the quarter. It grew its user base to more than 202,000 users and recorded a dollar-based net revenue retention rate of 110% during the quarter.

For the current quarter, BlackLine forecast revenues of $53-$54 million with a non GAAP net loss of $0.02-$0.00. It expects to end the year with revenues of $222-$225 million and a Non-GAAP net income of $5 million, or $0.10 per share.

While the company did manage to outpace market expectations, analysts aren’t too pleased. Not only did the growth slow down for the quarter, but it is expected to continue to decelerate for the year. Last year, BlackLine had reported an impressive 43% growth. For the current year, it has forecast a comparatively modest 26% growth. New customer additions have also slowed down. Last quarter, it had reported a net addition of 117 customers, compared with the 89 added this quarter.

BlackLine’s Product Tie-ups

To combat the deceleration, BlackLine has been increasing its tie-ups in the market. Earlier this month, it announced a strategic tie-up with KPMG in Canada. As part of the agreement, the two firms will work together to provide technology and advisory services to help customers adopt a Continuous Accounting model. The Continuous Accounting model allows finance and accounting teams to deliver real-time financial intelligence to executives. As part of the new services, KPMG’s finance process enablement and automation vision will be integrated with BlackLine’s cloud platform for automation and analytics so that clients will have access to financial solutions that can be implemented into their business processes to help improve efficiencies and align finance strategies with business strategies.

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Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs ...

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