In a volatile week for the stock market, with the S&P 500 rising 1.5% before it ended the week down 2%, three stories in tech stood out. Online marketplace Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) soared 22% and salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) jumped 6%, driven by their most recent earnings reports. Meanwhile, Spotify announced plans to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Here's a look at each story.
Etsy's record fourth quarter
With its quarterly gross merchandise sales crossing $1 billion for the first time and its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margin hitting all-time highs in Q4, the company's recent initiatives to refocus on profitability and its best growth opportunities are paying off.
Last year, Etsy announced a series of changes to its business, beginning with the replacement of its CEO. To support profitability and "faster execution," Etsy reduced its global headcount by 230 positions, or about 22% of its global workforce.
"In order to drive focus, we took decisive steps to double down on the fewest, highest-impact initiatives in our core marketplace while de-prioritizing other projects and streamlining our resources," said Etsy's new CEO, Josh Silverman, last year about the realignment and cost-savings initiatives.
Etsy's changes to its business are proving their worth, with fourth-quarter revenue growth accelerating to 23.6% year over year. Further, Etsy's fourth-quarter EBITDA margin rose to 25.6%, up 11.7 percentage points year over year.
Salesforce's Einstein delivers 1 billion predictions... in a day
Shares of salesforce.com got a boost after the customer relationship platform company got a boost as its fourth-quarter results beat expectations for revenue, earnings per share, and guidance. But beneath Salesforce's headline financial results was a notable achievement in the company's aggressive artificial intelligence efforts: Salesforce's said Einstein is now delivering over 1 billion AI-powered predictions in a single day.
This achievement shows how Einstein, which uses an automated machine learning framework to create personalized AI models and predictions for Salesforce customers, has quickly grown in importance to Salesforce's business.
You can soon buy Spotify stock
Spotify announced this week that it is taking its shares public. But instead of going public with a traditional public offering in which Spotify issues new shares as part of the listing, Spotify will simply directly list some of its registered shareholders' holdings. The direct listing lets Spotify skip over investment banks and save money going public.
Spotify's F-1 filing, which is like an S-1 Registration Statement, except for foreign issuers, included some interesting information about Spotify's business, including the following:
- Spotify has 159 million monthly active users, up 29% year over year in 2017.
- Spotify has 71 million paying subscribers, up 46% year over year.
- Spotify's average revenue per user has declined from 7.06 euros ($8.61) in 2015 to 5.24 euros ($6.39) in 2017.
- Spotify's content hours streamed were up an incredible 48% in 2017 compared to 2016.
One of Spotify's biggest challenges, of course, will be going up against competition from tech giants such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which Spotify says is its "nearest competitor." But Spotify is off to a good start, since it already has about twice as many paid subscribers as Apple Music. As of last count, Apple had 36 million paying subscribers.
Spotify plans to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SPOT."