Fear, loathing and corporate gifting

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Three topics this weekend, my dear friends. The first is fear, that is market concerns. The second is hatred, or my reaction to a particular corporate news. And, finally, corporate gifting, diving into a lucrative startup war. let’s go!


DocuSign took a gut punch this week, with the e-signature company’s stock price down more than 40% on Friday, as I write to you. Aside from cases of fraud or other corporate shenanigans, this is one of the worst post-earnings share-price movements.


What happened? DocuSign beat revenue expectations In its most recent quarter (Q3 FY 2022). But the company’s bill – a proxy for future revenue – came in faster than expected, And Dan Springer, the company’s CEO, said this in his investor letter:

After six quarters of accelerated growth, we saw customers return to a more normalized buying pattern, resulting in 28% year-over-year billing growth.

Springer thinks the market is overreacting and DocuSign plans to buy shares next week. Is the market making a lot of sense as more regular growth returns on DocuSign?

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Maybe not? I’ve been talking to people about it ever since it happened – including my dear friend ron miller, which keeps me sane at work – trying to work if we’re seeing Wall Street impatience or something. I’m leaning towards the latter.

DocuSign is worth about $27 billion after a massive drop, according to data from Yahoo Finance. Or about 12.4 times its current run rate. For an already public tech company showing strong signs on future revenue declines, who among us will stand up and say that’s too little?

A lot of people, but that’s because the typical climate for mother-in-law multiples has been so hot for so long. No very Not long ago, DocuSign would have been at 12.4x its current run rate, if not good, after posting billing growth of 28%. So, a return to the former norms may be up in the air?

Fear. If we’re seeing a lot of compression among software companies I hope to get a taste of it. So many private-market bets are placed on the expectation that the public valuation for the comp will remain high. But after some generally terrifying days for tech stocks this week, the climate in tech may finally shift from 100% risk weighting to something more balanced.


Better.com took three-quarters of a billion dollars from its SPAC debut, giving it enough funding to fund its operations. Then it fired a portion of its staff. The CEO said during the call with 15% of the workforce. Better insist that the number is actually 9%. The discrepancy is wild, given that the CEO was reading from the notes and claimed he made the call to execute the layoffs. If he decided, how did he get the number wrong?

Regardless, here’s a master class on how not to fire a big pile of your employees:

(We’ve saved a copy of the video, of course, in case that version rolls around.)

Don’t forget: you are not family at your place of employment. You are an asset that wants to be taken advantage of and profited from!

corporate gifts

Turn the clock back to early 2020. In February of that year, just before the turn of the pandemic, I covered Sandoso’s $40 million Series B. The company is in the corporate gifting space and has since raised a $100 million Series C. ,

Separately, an investor I know connected me to another player in Sendoso’s market, Postal.io, or just Postal. Both compete for market share Send goods to current and potential customers The market, which is, it turns out, huge.

Regular Exchange readers may already be wondering if we haven’t touched on this recently. we did! Back in September, take a look at the Post and its progress just before the disruption.

But I’ve since pulled out some growth metrics from Postal and Sendoso that I wanted to add to our continued coverage of the space. Why do we care? Because OKR is an interesting startup cluster to track, much like the software space or the instant grocery delivery market.

For example, Sendoso and Postal compete with Alice and ReachDesk. That’s a lot of startup activity for an online-to-offline market channel. And the market is big enough — Sandoso told The Exchange that “the U.S. corporate gifting market is projected to reach $242 billion by the end of this year,” citing CoreSight — for multiple players to grow at once.

Postal was the freest with Metrics, sharing that it has seen 70% subscription revenue growth over the past five consecutive quarters. The startup has also seen a GMV scale of 3,765% from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021, as customers grew from 35 to 286. That’s why it managed to raise capital in September, we think.

Sandoso was more fearless with the numbers regarding his recent performance. The startup grew 330% in 2019, remember, but was unwilling to share an updated statistic about its recent results. Instead, Sendoso said it has 900 customers (out of 20,000 seats in those companies to expand), and that it has warehouses “in North America, Europe and Asia. [have] More than 3 million were sent to over 165 countries.”

We didn’t get new numbers from Alice or ReachDesk in time for publication, but if they share results, we’ll get them to you next week.

Also like the OKR startup market, the larger themes vary as well. In terms of corporate gifting, Postal is building out a more digital offering, connecting goods companies with buyers, while Sendoso has a larger IRL footprint, including its own physical item aggregation points. We love fighting business cases in real time.

Don’t forget, however, that intense competition doesn’t leave all parties safe. Koan failed to make it to its next fundraising milestone in the OKR market, and Microsoft scooped up one of the startup cohort. In the immediate grocery area, 1520 bus went to Kaput. Not that Sandoso or Postal are at risk of running out of cash, but it will be interesting to see when their market finds a point of consolidation.


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