Twilio posts strong Q4, has 64,286 active customer accounts

The cloud communications platform posted strong results and upped its outlook with the addition of SendGrid.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Twilio's fourth quarter sales were up 77 percent from a year ago and well ahead of Wall Street estimates as its cloud communications services gain traction.

The company, which recently acquired SendGrid for $2 billion to add email to its platform, reported a fourth quarter net loss of 47 cents a share on revenue of $204.3 million, up 77 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 4 cents a share in line with estimates.

Twilio also has a "base revenue" metric, which counts all revenue other than sales from large active accounts that have never entered a 12-month contract. Base revenue was $186.2 million for the fourth quarter.

Wall Street was expecting fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings 4 cents a share on revenue of $185.04 million.

For 2018, Twilio reported a net loss of $1.26 a share on revenue of $650.1 million, up 63 percent from 2017.

CEO Jeff Lawson said the fourth quarter was strong. Twilio ended the quarter with 64,286 active customer accounts as of Dec. 31.

Lawson said on an earnings conference call:

Our engagement platform strategy is working well. It's changing the types of conversations we're having with customers and producing early success with products like Flex. And we've proven our ability to augment our developer led go to market model with a significant sales motion driving deeper, more strategic relationships with our existing customers and successfully acquiring new customers. But we're just getting started. From our perspective, we're at the early stages of a complete transformation of communications from its legacy based on physical networks to its future, based on software. And in that transition, we see the opportunity to help every company elevate their digital engagement strategy with their customers. Our developer first go to market is an efficient way to reach this broad range of companies, and with our platform business model, we see opportunities to power a tremendous range of applications for our customers across almost every customer touch point. 

As for the outlook, Twilio said its first quarter revenue will be $222 million to $225 million with non-GAAP earnings of a penny a share. For 2019, Twilio projected non-GAAP earnings of 8 cents a share to 11 cents a share on revenue of $1.065 billion to $1.077 billion. The outlook includes the acquisition of SendGrid, which closed Feb. 1.

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Twilio has raced ahead as a cloud communications platform, but there are competitors eyeing the market.

For instance, MessageBird, based in Amsterdam,  said it has formed a partnership with SparkPost, an email delivery and analytics company. The two companies appear to be replicating what Twilio is doing with SendGrid. MessageBird has more than 15,000 customers and is profitable.  

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