After soaring for much of 2019, Alteryx (AYX) took a much-needed breather late in the year, but still gained 68% and easily surpassed the 29% increase of the S&P 500. Many cloud-based stocks were punished late last year, as investors grew wary of high valuations, and ended up throwing out the baby with the bath water.

The company came roaring back, gaining more than 44% year to date, so there were high expectations going into Thursday's fourth quarter results. Alteryx delivered everything investors were looking for and more, sending its stock soaring to all-time highs.

A businesswoman working with a display showing data analytics.

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Accelerating foundational growth

Alteryx generated revenue of $156.5 million, up 75% year over year. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating revenue growth, having increased 65%, 59% and 51% in the third, second, and first, respectively. The results easily surpassed the high end of management's guidance, which topped out at $131 million. The already robust performance was boosted by strong international growth, producing revenue of $45.9 million, up 84% year over year.

The company delivered gross margins of 92%, consistent with its performance in the prior-year quarter, resulting in gross profit of $144.2 million, an increase of 75% year over year. Expenses grew at a slower rate than revenue, pushing more profits to the bottom line. Net income came in at $30.7 million, up 86% year over year, delivering diluted earnings per share of $0.44, up 76%.

The future continues to look equally bright. Bookings -- which includes revenue yet to be recognized -- grew to $290 million, up 81% year over year. Alteryx also closed a record number of large deals. Contracts worth over $1 million grew 150% year over year, while deals valued at $500,000 grew by 80%.

Customers are flocking to the platform

One of the biggest parts of Alteryx's value proposition is that it allows users with little or no analytics training to use the platform and extract actionable information from their data. This ease of use continues to attract new customers, while expanding relationships with existing ones.

The company added 474 net new customers during the quarter, bringing the total to 6,087, a 30% increase year over year. On the conference call, CEO Dean Stoecker pointed out that the new customers this quarter included 36 members of the Global 2000, which catalogs the world's largest publicly traded companies. This brings the total number of Global 2000 customers to 719 or 36%, leaving a tremendous opportunity to attract the remaining members.

Existing customers are also spending more. The dollar-based net expansion rate reached 130%, which shows that the average customer had an annual contract that was 30% higher than the year before. This also marks the sixth consecutive quarter that the measure surpassed 130%.

An optimistic forecast

While investors were looking for a robust forecast, Alteryx's guidance was much more optimistic and many were anticipating. For the first quarter, management is forecasting revenue in a range of $105 million to $108 million, representing growth of 40% at the midpoint of its guidance. For perspective, analysts' consensus estimates were planted firmly at the lower end of the range, at $105 million.

The company is also anticipating an adjusted loss per share of between $0.11 and $0.07, with analysts expecting a gain of $0.04. In light of management's history of providing conservative guidance, the number will likely be better than forecast.

An accelerating growth rate and rapid adoption of its data analytics tools, combined with a growing reliance on data, positions this software-as-a-service provider at the intersection of a great need and a powerful trend. Look for continued strong growth from Alteryx.