Tech companies empty their pockets to face competition and deliver on promises

The increase in expenses weighed on the balance sheets recently released by the companies in technologywith emphasis on spending on marketing, personnel and acquisitions. Companies in the sector had to empty their pockets to face the competition and deliver the results they promised at the time of their IPOs, when the macroeconomic scenario was milder, according to experts heard by the broadcast.

In case of Méliuz, which specializes in cashback, operating expenses grew 242% in 2021 compared to the previous year. Marketing expenses, in turn, jumped 482% on the same comparative basis, to R$ 47.2 million. Cashback costs reached R$ 140.5 million between January and December last year, an annual increase of 137%.

For the founder of the Varese Retail consultancy, Alberto Serrentino, the increased competition contributes to this scenario, also seen among other representatives of the technology sector listed on the Stock Exchange. “There is a great congestion of marketplace and platforms vying for customers, traffic, recurrence and accelerated growth. This puts pressure on expenses and profitability in the short term”, he says.

Serrentino explains that to stand out, companies have been betting on marketing levers or concessions that bring volume and customers in an accelerated way. Free shipping and subsidized installments are examples, as well as cashback, aimed at recurrence. The context also leads to increased competition from ad tools for digital sales, such as Google, Facebook and Tik Tok. “The online media model is auction. The greater the demand, the more the price inflates”, he comments.

The rise in cost of click (CPC) and cost per impression (CPM) on the main online ad platforms was highlighted in the earnings release of the getNinjas. The company’s marketing investments grew 240% in 2021 compared to 2020, to R$ 62.13 million. In the last three months of last year, growth was 306%.

THE sick doubled the number of marketing investments in the fourth quarter of 2021, reaching R$ 20.5 million. The increase in the volume of incentives offered in 2021 is related to the effort to acquire users, accelerate the total value of goods sold and increase liquidity on the platform, according to the earnings release.

“In a scenario where acquisition costs presented challenges… the direction put in place at the beginning of the year was to admit a lower level of profitability in the short term, to sustain good liquidity ratios, while we continue to accelerate the base of active buyers, increasing your purchase frequency.

THE Locaweb it also nearly doubled marketing spend. In 2021, it was BRL 162.6 million compared to BRL 82.2 million in the previous year. In the quarter, growth was 128%, totaling R$55.1 million.

personnel and acquisitions

The capital focused on mergers and acquisitions also weighed on the pockets of techs. Locaweb, for example, reported that financial expenses were “highly impacted by the effect of the adjustment to present value of the “earnouts” of recent acquisitions, which totaled R$ 15.9 million in the quarter compared to R$ 2.3 million in the same quarter. period of the previous year”.

Méliuz spent BRL 24.9 million on third-party services, up 909% over 2020. “This increase is mainly a reflection of extraordinary expenses in the amount of BRL 9.8 million, referring to the six acquisitions carried out during of the year”, says the company. Personnel cost also enters the account after jumping from BRL 18.4 million in 2020 to BRL 67 million in 2021, 264% more.

Along the same lines, GetNinjas reported that general and administrative expenses increased by 95% and 128% in the quarter and year, respectively, partly reflecting the increase in headcount from 136 at the end of 2020 to 237 in December of the following year.

reality shock

The CEO of GetNinjas, Eduardo L’Hotellier, believes that the market has sent a “very tough” message to technology companies, considering the performance of shares in B3 in recent months. “The time is now to do the math to adjust the growth strategy and meet investors’ expectations,’ he said in an interview with Broadcast’. The Executive highlighted that the escalation of interest rates and inflation have penalized the names of the segment.

Tech companies are now experiencing a reality check, says Enrico Cozzolino, partner at Levante Ideias de Investimento. “At the time of their IPOs, they designed business models in a different world. Now, they have to spend much more to deliver what was promised”, he says. For him, the ideal world scenario was not confirmed as the macroeconomic situation worsened. , leading to capital migration to other sectors.

With an eye on this scenario, Méliuz’s plans for 2022 include maintaining discipline in capital allocation, preserving liquidity and working on new hires more punctually. “We are in a cycle of evolution. Last year was very important, because what we had to spend was to expand our customer base and engagement”, said the director of investor relations and CFO, Luciano Valle, in an interview with broadcast.

In the case of Enjoei, the focus for this year is cost management, service level, tracking 2.0 and innovation in logistics models. Meanwhile, Locaweb estimates that this year organic margins should remain close to the levels observed in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. But it projects a beginning of margin recovery from the last three months of 2022, when when part of the investments made in R&D (research and development) begins to be diluted with the segment’s operational leverage.

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