Cloud-specialist Veeva Systems (NYSE: VEEV) reported earnings last night for the first time as a public company. As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression; and by all indicators, Veeva seized the opportunity.
While matching earnings expectations, Veeva blew past analyst expectations of $50 million in revenue, coming in 10% higher at $55 million. That represents a 54% increase from the same time a year ago. Just as important, however, Veeva laid out the potential for two of its three key products, Veeva CRM and Veeva Vault.
But first, let's take a step back
Before digging into the nitty-gritty, its important to detail what it is that Veeva does. Back in the mid-2000's, Peter Gassner was an employee at cloud-king salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). Gassner was able to witness the incredible growth in the cloud industry by combining efficient cloud services with excellent customer service.
But over time, Gassner realized that a one-size-fits-all cloud method would be ideal for every sector of the economy. One industry he singled out as ripe for tailored cloud services was life sciences -- or, more precisely, pharmaceuticals. He left salesforce.com and started Veeva in 2007 with the hopes of creating a cloud company offering services that met the specific needs of the industry.
Two big opportunities
The first line of business Gassner attacked was in helping pharmaceutical sales representatives organize and manage all of the data collected from customers while out in the field. Veeva CRM was the product he offered. On yesterday's conference call, Veeva co-founder Matt Wallach said that there are roughly 450,000 pharmaceutical sales reps globally, and Veeva has reached roughly one-third of them -- not bad for a company that's only six years old.
Veeva not only plans on capturing more of these sales reps over time, but also creating new services that will augment the basic CRM offerings.
But what was probably music to investors' ears was the potential that Veeva Vault has. While CRM typically focuses on the commercial side of the pharmaceutical industry, Vault is designed to help streamline the drug approval process -- which deals with the research and development departments at big pharma companies.
Launched in 2012, Vault now has 50 corporate clients, but the company believes this is just scratching the surface. Currently, Microsoft's SharePoint and EMC's Documentum are the go-to programs for most R&D departments, but Veeva believes when pharmaceutical companies start upgrading their systems, business will migrate toward their superior offerings.
Gassner made it clear that he believes Vault is a major growth driver: "Vault is a big product line, we think at least as big as CRM."
Investing in the future
For the time being, management is putting its money where its mouth is: spending in research and development, sales and marketing, and G&A were all up over 84% compared to the same quarter last year. Gassner sees the opportunity, and he isn't wasting time going after it.
At the same time, once those deals are locked in place, the scale and leverage Veeva could accomplish are impressive. During the most recent quarter, gross margins for Veeva's subscription services improved 141 basis points to a whopping 75.57%.
While investors need to be careful about buying in to recent IPOs -- especially those that are trading for more than 200 times earnings -- Veeva is definitely worth looking into for growth investors.
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