Suresh's quote on uncertain market conditions - The Economic Times
Spokesperson : Suresh Sambandam
Bootstrapped firm to review IPO prospects after examining FY23 numbers as softness in customer decision-making and macroeconomic uncertainty dictate caution.
Mumbai-based bootstrapped SaaS company Netcore Cloud has put off its initial public offering on Indian stock exchanges on uncertain macroeconomic factors and a perceived 'softness' in customer decision-making in the SaaS market, founder and group MD Rajesh Jain told ET.
Netcore had originally started the IPO process in August this year, with the listing slated for February-March next year. After conversation with bankers, the company decided that it would review IPO prospects again by February next year, and focus on building new products and bolstering presence in the US market, where it had made a $100-million acquisition in March this year.
Netcore sells marketing automation software to e-commerce firms and D2C companies.
Factors like rising lending rates in the US and the war in Ukraine have weighed on market sentiments, Jain said. "Secondly, I want to go into my IPO with a high degree of confidence about my future numbers," Jain said, referring to the phenomenon of software buyers showing signs of delayed decision-making on purchases.
In March, Jain had said Netcore had reached an annual recurring revenue of $85 million, with targets to raise that number to $150 million by end-September next year. The company had made a targeted acquisition of Unbxd Inc—a rare instance of a bootstrapped unicorn by a venture capital-backed company—to bolster search offerings to Netcore's US-based e-commerce customers, among others.
Jain said Netcore would use the time make to make more acquisitions, and hire senior personnel to ensure Netcore keeps its focus on product-building and customer experience as C-suite bandwidth gets consumed on IPO-related matters. Jain said Netcore would look at the company's FY23 numbers and take a decision on the IPO timeframe.
Meanwhile, Netcore has kicked off a stock option liquidity programme for employees, wherein employees can now exercise their stock options and get paid the difference between the allotment price and the stock’s notional value—determined internally. “We decided to do his for our employees, to give the flexibility of realising ESOP gains,” Jain said.
Jain’s IPO decision falls in line with the new reality of most Indian origin SaaS companies focussed on the US market, where the scorching effects of a recession are felt across tech companies.
Nevertheless, there is a silver lining for smaller SaaS companies based in India, said Suresh Sambandam, CEO of Chennai- and Delaware-based SaaS company Kissflow. For firms in the revenue range of $20-25 million with lean teams, the market is still receptive to newer ideas and ore up lost revenue due to the slowing customer decisions, he said. “For the larger ones it may not be possible to try out several parallel ideas as before. They may have to focus on the core business in the near term.”
Chennai-born SaaS company Chargebee said last week it was letting go of 10% staff as it has become necessary to accelerate the path to profitability. US-based customer support company Zendesk, a peer to many Indian-origin Saas firms including Freshworks, said on Monday it was letting go of 5% staff, an extraordinarily difficult “business reality,” a company release said.