Marketo Raises Another $50 Million: Where Does the Money Go?


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Marketo this morning announced a new $50 million funding round, almost exactly one year to the day after raising $25 million in November 2010. In accompanying commentary, the company also revealed its 2010 revenue was $14 million, that it expects 140% revenue growth in 2011 (meaning about $34 million), and that it has about $70 million remaining of its total $107 million raised to date.

All this new information begs for an update of the analysis of Marketo’s finances that I prepared last year. I won’t go into the same details, but the key figures for 2010 and 2011 are:

This is good news, in that Marketo has managed to increase the all-important Revenue per Client figure. As I wrote last year, this is a critical problem for the company. (By comparison, arch-rival Eloqua will earn about $70 million this year on 1,000 clients, or $70,000 per client.)

Ah, but there’s a fly in that honey. Remember that Marketo said it has $70 million cash on hand? (Actually, it said “in excess of $70 million” but we’ll assume the excess isn’t large.) Well, last year at this time it had raised $57 million and spent $20 million, so it had about $37 million. That means the company burned about $17 million in the past year. ($37 million + $50 million = $87 million; if $70 million remains then $17 million was spent.)

That $17 million cash loss in 2011 compares with $7 million I estimated that Marketo lost in 2010. (Marketo has never confirmed this figure, although they’ve never offered an alternative, either.) If total costs equal the reported revenues plus cash loss, the company’s costs actually grew even faster than its client count, and, thus, both cost per client and loss per client increased substantially:

Now, Marketo would surely point out that much of the added expense related to sales and marketing costs to acquire new clients (and, thus, future revenues), so “loss per client” isn’t an important measure. There’s some truth to that. But Marketo has said that it earns back the acquisition cost in less than one year. So that loss per client seems awfully large even allowing for future revenues and timing differences.

Something doesn’t add up here. Maybe my numbers are wrong. Maybe the extra money is being spent on product, infrastructure, geographic expansion, and other indirect expenses. Presumably the people who just put $50 million more into Marketo know something that I don’t. More will be revealed when Marketo files for its initial public offering, which they said could happen in 2012. I’m looking forward to it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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