What happened

Shares of C3.ai (NYSE:AI) plummeted today, down by 13% as of 11:15 a.m. EST, after the company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings results. This was the artificial intelligence (AI) specialist's first earnings release as a public company following its initial public offering (IPO) in December.

So what

Revenue in the fiscal third quarter, which ended Jan. 31, was $49.1 million, beating the consensus estimate of $47.3 million in sales. That top line included $42.7 million in subscription revenue and $6.4 million in professional services revenue. The enterprise AI company posted a net loss per share of $0.23, which was worse than the $0.19 per share in adjusted net losses analysts were modeling for. Adjusted operating loss for the quarter was $11.9 million.

Red stock chart going down

Image source: Getty Images.

"We continue to establish our leadership as the only enterprise AI software pure play," CEO Thomas M. Siebel said in a statement. "This is a large and rapidly growing market; we continue to innovate; we continue to expand our market-partner ecosystem and associated distribution capacity; and we continue to demonstrate technology leadership."

Now what

Guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter calls for revenue in the range of $50 million to $51 million, which should result in an adjusted operating loss of $27 million to $28 million. That forecast compares favorably to the $48.4 million in revenue that Wall Street is looking for. Analysts are expecting C3.ai to post a net loss per share of $0.20 next quarter.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.