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Why You Must Not Ignore These Pet Retailers

By Chris Hill – Jun 23, 2020 at 1:48PM

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As traditional online retailers are losing steam, specialty sellers are upping their game to fill the void.

In this episode of Motley Fool Money, Chris Hill chats with Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Andy Cross about the latest business headlines. They talk about a retail partnership and the e-commerce space in general. Shares of a popular online streamer are hitting an all-time high. They also talk about some encouraging signs in the retail arena. And finally, they share some stocks to put on your watch list and answer some listener questions.

Plus, Motley Fool Co-Founder David Gardner and analyst Karl Thiel interview DocuSign (DOCU -3.13%) CEO Dan Springer as he talks about the origin of the company and expanding beyond e-signatures.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on June 19, 2020.

Chris Hill: Last month, Walmart (WMT -1.93%) reported quarterly e-commerce sales growth of 74%. This week, Walmart announced a new partnership with Shopify (SHOP 0.64%) to expand Walmart's third-party marketplace site. Andy, smart move by Walmart, but it is Shopify's stock that is moving on this one, up 20% this week.

Andy Cross: Yeah, it's been a really nice run for Shopify overall over the past few months. And one of the leaders in e-commerce platform providers, as more and more of the world, as we've talked about many times, continues to push more of their e-commerce solutions from the provider side, from the seller side, but then also, obviously, from the consumer side as more and more of us are avoiding going out to stores. I really like this deal, you guys, I think this is a win-win for both players, and I think Walmart has been just really aggressive in moving to their e-commerce platform. Chris, you mentioned the growth there.

And this is just another evolution of what Shopify is trying to do by expanding its solutions into other marketplace providers. And in both cases, I think it's obviously a reaction to trying to continue to take more and more e-commerce share away from Amazon. So this deal was really impressive because it partners those two providers, Walmart now the second-largest e-commerce platform or site in the country. And this creates the marketplace,, which will bring in up to 1,200 Shopify sellers into Walmart's platform, ties Walmart's millions of consumers who are shopping online. It's a really nice strategic move for both players.

I think eventually it'll help Walmart become more profitable in its e-commerce space, but more importantly, just continues to grow that reach for both of these e-commerce giants. And Walmart, just, you know, Doug McMillon and the innovations they've been making and the investments they've been making on e-commerce continues to be really impressive.

Hill: Jason, we got some encouraging signs on the retail front. You think about, here in the U.S., we got the monthly retail numbers for May, up nearly 18% over the previous month. Obviously, April was a rough month, but that's still a record rise. And over in China, Alibaba and did a combined $136 billion in sales on June 18. We've talked before about Singles' Day in November, sort of, the made-up shopping holiday that Alibaba created. June 18 is's anniversary. So that's sort of the shopping day they've created. You can laugh at the idea of a business making up a shopping day in its own honor, but $136 billion [laughs] in sales is nothing to sneeze at.

Jason Moser: Well, I mean, didn't Amazon essentially do the same thing with Prime Day? I mean, that didn't exist, but they sure did make it up. And, yeah, I mean, it's a nice lever to be able to pull, to be able to kind of look forward to a certain period of time in the year where you know you're going to be able to generate some really attractive numbers. And so, whether you've seen that domestically here or abroad in countries like China, I mean, certainly China is a little bit ahead of us in their COVID-19 recovery.

And I think that's what we're seeing here as well. We saw these big swings in these numbers. I mean, you talk about those May retail sales surging. And it's 17.7%, that's the biggest monthly jump ever, it's not that surprising given where we were. It followed two months of record declines, and overall sales are still down 8% from February. So let's keep it in context. There's some pent-up demand, right? I think that's safe to assume, there's some pent-up demand. And that's OK. I guess the bigger question is, is that going to be sustainable or is it kind of a one-off? And we're still trying to work our way through this recovery from COVID-19, but there's still a lot of uncertainty out there as well regarding that.

But regardless, we always talk about coming out of periods like this and the strong get even stronger. And I think we're starting to see that play out here, whether it's and Alibaba over in China, or here. You know, the deal with Walmart and Shopify, I think, is terrific. And frankly, remember Jeff Bezos talked many, many times about, he wakes up every morning scared, scared to death of the customer defecting and his business being disrupted. This is the kind of stuff he's talking about right here. And I think that because of the pandemic, because of everything shutting down, we have seen some concepts step up to the plate and really up their game on the service and logistic side to show that it's not just an Amazon world anymore.

Cross: You know, I think the extent of the rebound was obviously -- when you look at the estimates around 8% growth and we saw almost 18% growth, what really caught my mind or caught my eye, from the data were the nonstore retailers, which is mostly e-commerce, that was up only 9% from April 2020, but it's up 31% from last May, you guys. So it's just this continued push toward e-commerce, whether you're Home Depot, Walmart, Shopify, Etsy, the like goes down and down, as Jason said, the strongest are continuing to get stronger and stronger, and we're seeing that show up in these numbers and these deals.

Hill: They are. Although, Jason, one thing we have talked about is more and more consumers trying out more than just the usual suspects. You know, there are so many people who are already Amazon Prime members, but over the last three months, we've seen a lot of people start to test out specialty retailers, whether it's with pets or more specialty retail sites like Etsy.

Moser: Well, Chris, I'm glad that you brought up Chewy, because that's the example I was going to refer to. A couple of weeks ago, I actually talked about this on one of our shows. I, for the longest time, have really gotten all of our pet stuff from Amazon, mostly dog food. I mean, I get medications and stuff from the vet. But, you know, Amazon, they've lost a little bit of their swagger throughout this time. And so, I thought, "Hey, maybe, you know, let's give Chewy a try, see what they're all about." Because we saw those numbers they recorded with this most recent earnings report, and they were very impressive, particularly, when you look at the people who were signing up for Autoship. I think they crossed $1 billion in sales with Autoship members for the first time ever.

I gave Chewy a try; I ordered the dog food and the flea and tick medicine. Free shipping. It got here the next day. [laughs] I was impressed. I think I am now going to be solely a Chewy user when it comes to our pets, Chris.

Cross: We go to Freshpet. We got some Freshpet stuff coming here to our site, so we like that. I will just note that Walmart has about 450,000 third-party sellers on its platform. Obviously, their pairing with Shopify will bring a little bit more, but that's a fraction of what Amazon has. So those players are continuing to go against further into the third-party seller platform, which is really important for their growth.

Hill: Spotify (SPOT -0.62%) is not done spending money on podcasts. This week Spotify announced a partnership with Warner Brothers and DC Comics to produce an exclusive podcast featuring characters from the DC Universe. And, Jason, shares of Spotify up more than 30%, and hitting a new high this week.

Moser: Yeah, it's really nice to see Spotify getting its due. This is a recommendation we made in the Future of Entertainment service a while back. And it kind of just was treading water for a little bit, but they're doing such a great job of bringing diverse and exclusive content to a broad cross-section of listeners. And when you look at the market opportunity itself. And Goldman Sachs sees a market opportunity of 1.15 billion music streaming accounts by 2030.

Now, with 286 million today on Spotify -- and remember that's paid subs and the ad-supported subs -- there's still plenty of share to grab in the coming years. And when we saw their recent quarterly reports, there was a lot of encouraging news in there. Total monthly active users grew 31%. They saw over 1 million podcasts on the platform now. They're seeing podcasts itself; I mean, more and more people are listening to those podcasts. I think they saw the content or the engagement with that content up triple digits over that same quarter. So I think that when you look at Spotify and what they're trying to build out is beyond just music, it's podcast, it's music, it's other audio entertainment, there's just so much optionality for this business going forward. And obviously, a very forward-looking CEO there in Daniel Ek. And I just really like what they're doing as a consumer and as an investor; it's nice to see the market catching on.

Hill: I don't know if our friend and colleague Ron Gross is already a subscriber to Spotify, but given his passionate and lifelong fandom of Superman, isn't it safe to assume he's going to be first in line for whatever Superman podcast gets created here?

Moser: [laughs] I mean, you got to give it a shot, right? I mean, just that's that little taste. They just want to get you that one taste, and you get reeled in. That's what happened to us. And I mean, you know, they have that family membership, which just, it's an insane value. If you have multiple people in your household, that family membership that Spotify offers is just a tremendous value. Very, very easy to use, tremendous mobile experience, just they're doing a lot of things right.

Hill: Shares of Wirecard fell 75% this week after the company delayed its annual report because the company's auditor is unable to locate $2 billion that was supposed to be on Wirecard's balance sheet. After trying to reassure investors earlier in the week, CEO Markus Braun resigned on Friday.

I'm stunned by this story, Andy, this is just an incredible fall for what previously had been a really good-looking business that you could make a case it could be in Jason Moser's War on Cash basket.

Cross: Yeah, obviously tied to the payments, and it's a real sad story. It's been going on, actually, for the last 18, 24 months, Chris. The FTE has done a wonderful job in highlighting a lot of the problems and concerns that are going on at Wirecard's business over the last few months. The stock, at one point, had grown 25 times in value, from 2007 to 2018. It got as big as 20 billion euros and kicked out, I think, Commerzbank or grew bigger than Deutsche Bank. So it had become a very large company and a very big success story in Europe.

But the stories, and what the news has been coming out over the last year and a half, two years on what is going on with the lack of controls, concerns about fraudulent activity in their Asian operation, what did the CEOs and the COO know? Both of whom have been booted out now. The auditors, what could they find, what they could not find? As you mentioned, the news this week is the loss of $2 billion, almost 2 billion euros, that was supposed to be in a couple of Asian banks, and those Asian banks were like, "We don't have any relationship with Wirecard." So clearly a lack of controls.

And by the way, Wirecard has large clients. I mean, they have 250,000 clients around the globe, more than that around the globe; or they did at least. And some very large clients are tied into Visa and Mastercard payments. But clearly, this has been a case where the stock has just collapsed over the last few years. Concerns about who knew what and what is actually fraudulent and what is not. And it's a shame.

And our German investors, I was talking to them this morning, I've been talking about this and kind of warning German investors to stay away from this over the last year and a half, and that's been wise advice. So a real sad story of what's been going on with -- as you mentioned -- was at one time a pretty bright player in the payment spot in the European tech space.

Hill: Jason, it's another reminder that, look, at The Motley Fool, we focus on the underlying business, we focus on management. But ultimately, if you're going to buy a stock, there's some measure of a leap of faith that you have to take with management.

Moser: Yeah, I think you said that perfectly. I think that every investment we make, there is a leap of faith involved, it's just a matter of how great you're willing to make that leap. And you know, we try to keep it within reason. You know, judging management is tough, it's squishy, it's very subjective, right? And so, I mean, you do have to come up with an opinion. And I mean, it's not necessarily all completely fact based, there is sort of an intuition that comes with it. But one of the things that I like to do is to actually go back and look through time, over the course of quarters and calls and presentations, to see that management is actually doing what they say they're going to do. You know, I never really concern myself with Wall Street expectations; I'm concerned more with their expectations and their goals, the goals of leadership. And if they're doing what they say they're going to do, that's a pretty good sign that you're probably locked in with a good leadership team.

Cross: I will say, insider ownership tends to be a really nice metric we like to use, but in this case, Markus Braun owned almost more than 7% of Wirecard and was a billionaire at one point, so. And he had been buying stock. So he had a lot of stake running into the Wirecard business that he basically has contributed to, looks to be, contributed to fraudulent activity. So insider ownership is a nice metric we like to see, and especially with smaller companies, Chris, I think insider ownership. And who has founded the business and running the business is even more important, but it's not a panacea, it doesn't tell you everything, you still have to be very careful about who you are trying to put your money with.

Hill: Shares of Groupon (GRPN -8.92%) up 10% this week. First-quarter results were less bad than Wall Street was expecting. But, Jason, Groupon is losing money. They furloughed nearly half of their employees, and there are just a ton of question marks with this one.

Moser: Yeah. Yeah, a lot of question marks. On the bright side, I mean, they're able to use COVID-19 as a valid excuse for some serious headwinds in the business. The problem, though, is this is a business that was in turmoil long before COVID-19 was ever a concern. And let's not forget too that Groupon turned down a $6 billion offer from Google [Alphabet] several years back, and now it's $600 million market cap, you can see that that might have been a deal they should've taken. But that market cap, along with their 43 million customers, I mean, that values their customers around $14 per active customer. That didn't seem like a whole lot.

To your point about furloughing the workforce, I thought this was really interesting. And understanding that they are furloughing their workforce, but before this, they had about 6,500 employees, six thousand five hundred. Snap was around 3,000. Twitter was around 4,900. So clearly Groupon was very bloated.

Now, they do see a massive market opportunity in local experiences. They quoted at $1 trillion in opportunity in their presentations. This is a good lesson for investors to remember: Don't always take management at what they're telling you the opportunity is. You probably want to discount that, because actually when you dig into that opportunity, it's a little bit scary, because it's concerts, it's sporting events, it's massages, yoga, [laughs] restaurants. Those things aren't happening very much right now, Chris. And when they do start happening more, there is still going to be a cap on them.

And so, all in all, the financials are deteriorating, it's going to get worse before it gets better, I'm sure. And let's also remember that they just pulled off a reverse stock split; that's usually a pretty good red flag of a business in trouble too.

Hill: 1:20 reverse split, that doesn't get you interested?

Moser: I'll get back to you.

Hill: The Walt Disney Company (DIS -3.20%) is known for its parks and resorts, movies, consumer products, but hidden in their various business segments is one most people don't know about: wine. Yes, guys, the Disney Family of Wines can be found altogether at one of the lounges at Disney's California Adventure Park. And each wine on the list comes from an estate owned by someone from Disney's cinematic history, including Kurt Russell and George Lucas. And, Jason, as a shareholder, why am I just learning about this? Why are they not blowing this up? What Star Wars fan over the age of 21 isn't going to buy a bottle of Skywalker Vineyards' best?

Moser: Well, I mean, you got to keep things exclusive to a degree, right, Chris? I mean, maybe this is another one of those levers that they feel like they can use to bring people back to the parks, to gin up a little bit of traffic. You know, in all honesty, I really do feel like this is probably something, there's some novelty to it. I do feel like there is something to the exclusive nature of it, though. I mean, there's a lot involved when you start distributing alcohol around different states all around the country. So I don't know how deep they want to get into that game, but I think it's a fascinating notion nonetheless. I didn't realize that they had this until we started talking about it this week.

Cross: I agree with the novelty. I mean, the wine business is a tough business. It's very capital intensive. Now, Disney knows a lot about capital-intensive businesses, but I agree with Jason, I think this is just more nice thing, nice add-in, when you go to the lounge, you see what they have, of course, you're in the entire environment, you're going to order some Disney wine when you see the different brands they have. It's just, I think it's a nice thing to have.

Hill: Earlier this week, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner and analyst Karl Thiel got the chance to catch up with Dan Springer, the CEO of DocuSign. Not only has the stock more than doubled in 2020, but the business of DocuSign has expanded beyond the realm of e-signatures. Dan Springer kicks things off by sharing DocuSign's origin story.


Dan Springer: So DocuSign was founded in Seattle little over 16 years ago by a guy named Tom Gonser. And Tom is a fun origin story, where he and his wife were lamenting the process of buying a home and how difficult it was in terms of how many signing ceremonies. And she knew he'd been working on a concept around electronic signature and whether that would become a big opportunity. Of course, it had been legal since Clinton was president. So it was, sort of, seemed like there was an opportunity for a business there. And she pushed him to say, but if realtors would use this, all the realtors would have a much better experience.

And that actually became the first killer opportunity for the company. And real estate is really what built DocuSign as a firm. And most people, in the United States particularly, if you meet and you ask them about DocuSign, you tell them you work at DocuSign, people start off with, "I love DocuSign. I rented an apartment, I rented a place, I bought a house," whatever it is, around real estate, it's how they first came to know about DocuSign.

David Gardner: Wonderful. And then, you yourself, Dan, joining the company, I think, in 2017?

Springer: Yes, January of '17.

Gardner: And were plans on the table at that point to IPO? I know with rounds from, like, Kleiner Perkins, there was probably a sense of inevitability to all of this. Are you kind of the hired gun who comes on as the experienced software executive, who knows how to run a bigger company or what is your own backstory?

Springer: Yeah. Well, I guess in this case, I may have been that person. Previous to DocuSign, I had about a 10-year run running a company that we took public called Responsys, which later got bought by Oracle, in the email and cross-channel marketing space, so. But I didn't join that company, that there was any expectation it was going to be going public, it was more of a turnaround question of whether it would survive. We had a really good run and ended up getting there.

I was a McKinsey consultant out of business school, and I sort of was a person that got into the internet space in the dot-com era, '97. So I kind of grew up post-McKinsey, a company called NextCard, which we took public in '99. I remember you guys actually wrote about us at the time, so I've been side by side with you for over 20 years in terms of businesses taking public.

But I think of myself, now, as probably more like that, as a person that's less going to be entrepreneurial and starting and building a company. My scale level is probably at bigger firms. My value would probably be higher to bigger firms than it would be earlier start-ups.

Gardner: Now, Karl, when we were first looking at the stock, I think I had used DocuSign, but I was wondering at the time, one of my initial questions for you as our analyst was, is there a big enough company here? I mean, we're just signing documents. How can that be a big and growing business? But now, once you think of it as document management and you start thinking about the profundity of documentation worldwide going digital, yeah, it turns out it does float a pretty big company. Karl?

Karl Thiel: Well, yeah. So I keep thinking about, like, how is DocuSign going to take over the world? And you know, obviously, there's the huge agreement cloud potential. But there is something still about just the core e-signature business that, I guess, has always troubled me a little bit and that I wanted to ask you about, which is that, you know, I understand that at least some level some of the steps you use to authenticate and verify and secure the signature, but at least for a lot of signatures, there's not really necessarily a verification of the person entering that information into the device. And so, I know that DocuSign has introduced DocuSign ID Verification. I wonder is that even -- you know, how much of a concern is that, how are you kind of looking at that? I mean, if you want to call that, sort of, wet verification. You know, it's tough. And I just wonder how you guys think about that part of the business.

Springer: Yeah, absolutely. And we call that overall area you're describing the identity aspect of our business. And it's actually, you know, it's a critical part of our business, because if you think about it, how meaningful would an agreement be if you couldn't verify [laughs] that the individuals that had entered that agreement were, in fact, those individuals?

And I think, it's funny, to your point, there are a lot of different types of signatures and there's a lot of agreements that people make where they're very comfortable with a light authentication, and there are some, when you talk about identity service, which get really broad. For the vast majority of our customers, when they're sending to a consumer or another business partner something for an agreement, they're basically saying, "If we send you an email and it comes to your email address and you acknowledge that and click on it, coming from an email link," they're comfortable with that. And they're comfortable saying, it was sent to you and it confirms you got it because it was in your email box.

Other people say, you know, we'd like a two-factor authentication. So we would like to send it to your email, and then we'd like to have an SMS message be sent to that individual to a separate place, in this case a phone number. And have them authenticate, yes, this is me, yes, I got that email and hit that link, but I'm also verifying that to my phone number too.

We do certain things like, when you sign an agreement for us, we do a time stamp, a date stamp and we do a location verification or we do an IP address check so that if later, you came back and had signed something, the biggest concern our customers have had, you might come back and say "I never signed it," and we'd be able to say, that's interesting because someone sitting in your house, using your computer and [laughs] an authenticator signed it. So while we can't, I guess, confirm that was you, it's hard for you to, sort of, disavow the signature because it happened in all those ways. And very rarely have e-signatures been challenged in courts -- but they have a few times, and they've always been upheld from that standpoint.

But the last step along that chain is where people want a different level authentication, like, your driver's license is being held up and we have the ability, you mentioned, to start to capture that or someone can take that screenshot of your driver's license just with your phone and show somebody that you, in fact, are carrying that other physical ID. And it's actually in some ways even more powerful than doing it in person, because there's a code on the back of a driver's license or on a passport that has other metadata information about you, that's an additional proof point we'd be having. So it confirms that you are in fact that person and that person is in fact the one with that ID signing it.

But across the board, it really depends what you're trying to do. Larger and larger transactions, you know, we do have some situations with some large banks, Karl, say, if you're doing a very large transfer, they might use DocuSign to prove it. And then they'll still do a phone verification. They'll still call the individual and get what's called voice verification. That only works if you have a relationship with someone, so you recognize their voice, but you do see that.

But for the vast, vast majority, people are comfortable with things like email verification, two-factor authentication with SMS. And then for the important ones, that is capturing other information like a passport or a state-issued ID.

Thiel: And I mean, I always think that there is -- you know, most of us have in our pocket a system of verification that is probably better than photos for the most part, in terms of Face ID or whatever else you're using on your phone, and certainly that can be a tool for it. To my mind, in a way, it leads me to the idea of like what is a signature really? Like, how important is it that it be a signature? I mean, you guys have kind of branded the company with your yellow stickies and the whole process still mimics the signature. But when I think of the way the things I most often sign these days are PIN pads at point of service things, and it's becomes this utterly meaningless process of me drawing a straight line across something after I've used a chip pad. You know, I wonder how you see the signature sort of evolving as we move forward?

Springer: Well, it's a great question. In some ways, I think that some of the ironies of our business is if people say DocuSign and think about that concept, as you said, around the signature. And the reality is, it's not actually about the signature anymore, it is about the identification that you just described. It's that identity verification that is what makes someone able to enter into an agreement, and the signature itself is not that meaningful.

Most people, when they sign with DocuSign, don't trace out their own signature, we have the ability where you can just adopt a signature, and we have different types, so you can pick one that looks more like your signature. But the verification of the signature is not a real thing anymore. And the same thing, if you think about your in-person experience. So if you're in a store, PoS, as you're describing. When was the last time you saw a merchant hold up your identity card or your credit card, if it's for payment vehicle, and then looked at what you signed to see if they look alike -- which is, I think people have realized that's, sort of, absurd why would the merchant be able to be, you know, decipher that you, in fact, have signed like the other person. [laughs] So that really is a bygone, you know, time.

And I think that the reality today is there is still some nostalgia around signatures, and I think we still have in our history, in particular people as old as I am, sort of, have this feeling of your signature as your word, you know, and that's your bond. I have a feeling that my kids -- 20, 22 -- I think when they're my age, I don't think there will be this cute thought about a signature as representing, you know, it's a famous -- like, John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence, I think that concept will become a historical artifact.

Gardner: You know, I have to just wonder about the last few months in two regards. First of all, COVID, did you foresee this a year ago? Could you even imagine this? How has this changed your operations and culture? And then, obviously related, with your stock doubling, I mean, your market cap is now, I think it's over $20 billion, and that all happened in the last two months. Does it feel different, have things changed or not?

Springer: Yeah. So in terms of the forecasting, I was an econometrician by academic training, economic forecasting, which would not have helped in this case, but I do think of myself as a bit of a prognosticator. Obviously, we had no insights, obviously, about the sort of pandemic. And in the early days, I'd actually point out that I personally was quite slow to see the significance of it. I'll just give you one data point. When we were trying to decide in early March about our upcoming customer event -- literally that first week of March, whether we should still have an in-person customer event, lot of people on the team were pushing me saying, no, people aren't going to come, it's too dangerous. And I was like, "Guys, it's just some kind of flu." I really didn't see it. And thank goodness, we've got a strong team of people at DocuSign, and we have an open culture where people can challenge everyone, obviously, including me. And people basically just pushed me to what's clearly the right answer, which is, we can't be having thousands of people come to San Francisco and sitting next to each other in a conference room as a pandemic is unfolding.

And a week earlier, it might have worked, a week later, it would have been crazy. We were right at that [...], so we didn't see a pandemic at all. In terms of our business, and we talked about this in our last earnings call, there has been some acceleration. And what's fundamentally happened for our business is that these individuals and companies have said, "We have a digital transformation and we have a path, and we're working with DocuSign and it's going to be great." And then, they have to send all of their employees home because they had certain situations where they couldn't have them in the offices for all the obvious reasons. And now they urgently needed to get some of those things that were planned to happen over the next quarter or months, years, whatever. And they accelerated those forward in their digital transformation. So we did see some growth.

Our bookings, which is a good precursor, if you think about early indicator, which is sort of a moving, rolling four quarters, you know, things are maybe in the round say, high-30%, sort of, zone -- mid-30%, was 59%. So we never had bookings at 59% growth. That's big growth from Q1-to-Q1. So that was indicative that we had a lot of customers coming in. We had new customers, we normally bring in for direct customers, not the ones that come through the web, we bring in about 3,000 customers in that quarter; we had 10,000 new customers in the quarter. So that was dramatic. But also existing customers accelerated their use cases. So those were the things that, sort of, happen from COVID.

In terms of our company, we have 4,500-ish people, only about 10% of them work remotely. Now, 0% of them are in the office and 100% work virtually. And that was a pretty rapid change. Our IT teams across the board were able to put together a cross-functional group to do it, did an amazing job where a lot of companies were moving to work-from-home and their business was slowing down, our business was just accelerating like crazy, 3 times onboarding new direct customers and we're pushing everyone home at the same time. And those 3X members really only half a quarter, right, so February, March, April, this was in the middle of March, and we still got to 3 times new customers. So it was just --

Thiel: Amazing.

Springer: Yeah. And I'll tell you, the one thing that got us through, your first question about culture, I'll just make one last comment, about what got us through it is people at DocuSign are proud that customer success is one of our most important values. And they know how important it is to all, to me, and everyone in the company, that we make our customers successful on our platform. And so people worked literally around the clock, just seven days a week, to do everything we could to support our customers, who were calling us with these urgent, sort of, needs.

And to give you an example, we had a lot of states coming to us saying, we need to get unemployment benefits to people and until we get them their employment benefits, they're not going to be able to buy food for their families. That puts you in a higher level of focus, that we have to help people. You know, Karl mentioned, people were doing COVID testing, where they are in parking lots, needed to get people's identification and information to send them their test results. They didn't want to touch them, because people coming in to be tested are highly symptomatic. [laughs] So these are things where doing something digital was, obviously, what you needed to do. And so, our people just worked around the clock over that period of time to get there. And I just feel really thankful that DocuSign had that customer success orientation.


Hill: Question from Darius Chang, who writes, "I wanted to get your opinions on how much you value modeling when making investment decisions. If a stock is trading high above a calculated intrinsic value, do you still go in? What about intrinsic value versus comps?"

Andy, what do you think?

Cross: Well, first, intrinsic value is basically what you think the company is worth when you add in the earnings, the cash flow, and all the growth. So I think we all think about the value of the company. Obviously, you want to buy companies below what you think the company is going to ultimately worth. But from the detail, the trick of modeling, especially when you start to get really precise, is there's just so much error and so much variability in modeling, if you're going to model out cash flows and assets.

So I think so much of the lessons I've learned over the last 10 years or so -- granted, it's been a great bull market, but really just to buy the highest-quality companies with the most unique advantages that you can find, and then those advantages are going to widen over time. And buy those companies in a diversified portfolio.

Hill: Let's get to the stocks on our radar. Our man, Dan Boyd, is going to hit you with a question. Jason Moser, you're up first. What are you looking at this week?

Moser: Yes, sir, been digging into Skyworks Solutions (SWKS -4.47%), ticker SWKS. Skyworks is a leading supplier of radio frequency chips for connected devices. That's mostly phones, but that really is starting to change now as we get closer to this 5G rollout and all of the technologies that it'll enable, like AI and the Internet of Things and immersive technology and whatnot. And as these devices become more complex, they become more complex to put together, and that really does, I think, play out in favor of Skyworks as they really focus on how to get these devices to all communicate with each other.

It is one point to note that this business currently is very highly levered to Apple's success. In 2019, Apple was responsible for basically about half of their revenue, so that relationship we want to see continue, [laughs] and it could be something where it plays out on the margin line in time. But as we see right now, they've done a very good job of maintaining that margin picture over the past several years, which tells me that they're doing something very well, their customers value them in that value chain, and that gives them the ability to maintain some pricing.

Hill: Dan, question about Skyworks?

Dan Boyd: Certainly, Chris. Jason, wouldn't you say that a radio chip manufacturer being called Skyworks is somewhat misleading?

Moser: Well, you know, it does make me think of Skywalker, and this kind of goes back to that wine conversation from earlier. And I do understand what you're saying there, Dan, but I think sometimes you just have to make a leap of faith, right?

Hill: Andy Cross, what are you looking at?

Cross: Quickly, for AeroVironment (AVAV 1.13%), symbol AVAV. It's a recommendation across a couple of services, it makes unmanned aircraft systems, that's basically drones, Dan, and high-altitude satellites, which is the exciting part of this, as they start to explore partnering with SoftBank on hoping to revive internet and 5G coverage.

Hill: Dan, question about AeroVironment?

Boyd: Andy, do you own or have you ever flown a drone before?

Cross: I never have and I really want to; got to get one of those.

Boyd: It seems like to me that's something that you might be good at.

Cross: [laughs] I hope so, someday, Dan, I hope so someday.

Hill: Dan, a couple of different businesses there. You got a stock you want to add to your watchlist?

Boyd: Certainly, Chris. Just because of the name and just because of how, you know, sometimes you have to reach for the stars, I'm going to go with Skyworks [laughs] and their radio chip manufacturing business.

Moser: The Force is with this one. The Force is strong with this one.

Hill: Considering how much of their businesses is levered to Apple, you better hope the Force is with that one. All right. Jason Moser, Andy Cross, guys, thanks for being here.

Cross: Thanks, Chris.

Moser: Thank you.

Hill: That's going to do it for this week's edition of Motley Fool Money. Again, our email address is [email protected] Drop us a note any time with your questions about stocks and investing. Our engineer is Dan Boyd. Our producer is Mac Greer. I'm Chris Hill. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next week.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Andy Cross owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Etsy, Home Depot, Mastercard, and Spotify Technology. Chris Hill owns shares of Amazon and Walt Disney. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, and Walt Disney. Jason Moser owns shares of Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, DocuSign, Etsy, Mastercard, Shopify, and Visa. Karl Thiel owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AeroVironment, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, DocuSign, Etsy, Freshpet, Home Depot,, Mastercard, Shopify, Skyworks Solutions, Spotify Technology, Twitter, Visa, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Softbank Group and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2021 $120 calls on Home Depot, short January 2021 $210 calls on Home Depot, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, and short July 2020 $115 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Home Depot, Inc. Stock Quote
The Home Depot, Inc.
$275.94 (-0.86%) $-2.39
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Stock Quote
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
$293.05 (-1.03%) $-3.06
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$138.20 (-3.00%) $-4.28
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Stock Quote
Skyworks Solutions, Inc.
$85.27 (-4.47%) $-3.99
Oracle Corporation Stock Quote
Oracle Corporation
$61.07 (-0.54%) $0.33
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$95.65 (-1.82%) $-1.77
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
$94.33 (-3.20%) $-3.12, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$113.00 (-1.57%) $-1.80
Walmart Stock Quote
$129.70 (-1.93%) $-2.55
Mastercard Incorporated Stock Quote
Mastercard Incorporated
$284.34 (-0.85%) $-2.43
Visa Inc. Stock Quote
Visa Inc.
$177.65 (-1.34%) $-2.41
Deutsche Bank Stock Quote
Deutsche Bank
$7.40 (-0.80%) $0.06
Groupon, Inc. Stock Quote
Groupon, Inc.
$7.96 (-8.92%) $0.78
AeroVironment, Inc. Stock Quote
AeroVironment, Inc.
$83.36 (1.13%) $0.93
Twitter, Inc. Stock Quote
Twitter, Inc.
$43.84 (2.57%) $1.10
SoftBank Group Corp. Stock Quote
SoftBank Group Corp.
$34.54 (0.76%) $0.26
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$96.15 (-1.98%) $-1.94, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$50.30 (-1.85%) $0.95
Alibaba Group Holding Limited Stock Quote
Alibaba Group Holding Limited
$79.99 (1.18%) $0.93
Freshpet, Inc. Stock Quote
Freshpet, Inc.
$50.09 (-0.14%) $0.07
Etsy, Inc. Stock Quote
Etsy, Inc.
$100.13 (-1.37%) $-1.39
Shopify Inc. Stock Quote
Shopify Inc.
$26.94 (0.64%) $0.17
Snap Inc. Stock Quote
Snap Inc.
$9.82 (-3.63%) $0.37
Spotify Stock Quote
$86.30 (-0.62%) $0.54
DocuSign Stock Quote
$53.47 (-3.13%) $-1.73
Chewy, Inc. Stock Quote
Chewy, Inc.
$30.72 (-1.16%) $0.36

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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