UPDATED 19:40 EST / AUGUST 24 2022

CLOUD

Snowflake’s stock pops on solid revenue beat and strong sales forecast

Cloud data warehouse company Snowflake Inc. is flying high today, its stock up more than 17% in after-hours trading thanks to strong second-quarter financial results and increased guidance for the rest of the year.

The company reported a net loss for the quarter of $223 million, rising from a $190 million loss in the same period one year ago. Its loss before certain costs such as stock compensation came to 64 cents per share, with sales rising to $497 million, up from just $272 million one year earlier. Wall Street had been expecting a slightly lower loss of 56 cents per share on revenue of $467 million.

Snowflake also reported product revenue of $466.3 million, up 83% from a year earlier and above both its own forecast of $435 million to $440 million, and ahead of the $439 million that analysts were looking for.

Snowflake Chairman and Chief Executive Frank Slootman (pictured) highlighted another strong metrics, saying the company’s product gross margin before certain cost deductions exceeded 75%. “Snowflake’s next frontier of innovation is aimed at transforming how cloud applications are built, deployed, sold and transacted,” Slootman added. “We look forward to executing against this growth opportunity.”

Snowflake is a cloud data warehouse provider that enterprises can use to centralize all of their data in a single solution, in order to streamline data analysis, reporting and business intelligence. Enterprises see it as a cost-effective solution as they only have to pay for what they use, and the service can be scaled up as required.

By creating a single system with cloud regions superimposed on the top of the cloud provider layer, some say, Snowflake is laying the groundwork of a new “supercloud” concept. Analysts at SiliconANGLE Media’s market research firm Wikibon describe that as an abstraction layer that resides above and across hyperscale infrastructure, connecting on-premises workloads and eventually stretching to the network edge.

The company had plenty of other encouraging numbers. Remaining performance obligations, which are a measure of future work, were up 78%, to $2.7 billion, at the end of the quarter. Meanwhile, net revenue retention, a measure of repeat business, rose to 171%. The company revealed it now has 6,808 total customers, with 246 of those each delivering more than $1 million each in annual revenue.

Snowflake’s performance should help to boost confidence about the health of demand for cloud-based computing services. They come after public cloud infrastructure providers Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google LLC all delivered similarly strong results.

“Snowflake delivered a very strong beat on a revenue, operating margins, and cash flow basis, demonstrating the robustness of the business model,” Evercore ISI analyst Kirk Materne told Barron’s.

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said Snowflake was sailing ahead at full speed, with its revenue growth of 80%+ making a mockery of fears that cloud computing might suffer amid the economic uncertainty of late.

“The vendor now has a shot at proving that it is recession- and post pandemic- proof, “Mueller added “The next quarters will show, but in the medium term, the management team of Frank Slootman will have to address the profitability side of the business.”

Mueller’s colleague at Constellation Research, Doug Henschen, noted however that Snowflake’s 83% product revenue growth, while still very impressive, was not quite as torrid as last year’s 103% growth. Even so, he said Snowflake’s revenue retention rate among its existing customer base has held steady, which is a good sign.

“I also watch the number of customers driving trailing 12-month product revenue greater than $1 million, which this year stood at 246 customers out of the company’s 6,808 customers overall,” Henschen said. “Last year that figure was 146 out of 4,990 customers, so the share of revenue from these big customers has moved up to 3.6% from 2.9% last year. The growth in the number of customers is also impressive, for which I credit the appeal of Snowflake’s single-cloud experience deployable across multiple clouds as well as its ease of deployment and administration.”

Looking to the future, Snowflake said it is projecting product revenue of between $500 million and $505 million, which would amount to growth of around 60% to 62%. Wall Street earlier forecast $502 million in third-quarter revenue, the midpoint of which is slightly below that range.

What really excited investors, though, was the raised fiscal guidance. For the full year, Snowflake now sees product revenue of between $1.905 billion and $1.915 billion, which would represent growth of between 67% and 68%. It also forecast a full-year product gross margin of 75%, a 2% operating margin and a 17% adjusted free cash flow margin. Earlier, the company had been looking for full-year revenue of $1.885 billion to $1.9 billion. Wall Street’s forecast is for full-year product revenue of $1.897 billion.

Wikibon Chief Analyst and host of theCUBE Dave Vellante stressed that Snowflake’s long term outlook and direction is what’s most important. “People shouldn’t get too excited about quarterly fluctuations in Snowflake and it’s stock. What really matters is consistent and steady performance, continued expansion of the Snowflake Data Cloud, the innovation it brings to the market and the growth of its ecosystem.”

During the quarter, Snowflake held its annual user conference, Snowflake Summit. There, Slootman found time to sit down with theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s video studio, where he discussed trends including the on-premises shift, software-as-a-service business model and his vision for data networking:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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