Few people know about LivePerson
The provider of live chat technology -- two points off for anyone who thought it was an escort service or a fast-food chain catering to cannibals -- delivered a healthy first quarter. Revenue grew 27% to $25.3 million, while its adjusted profit of $0.07 a share inched ahead of last year's $0.06-a-share showing. The results were roughly in line with its own guidance and Wall Street expectations.
LivePerson's business is pretty simple on the surface. It offers a chat interface that companies can embed into their websites, staffed with "live persons" who provide all forms of customer and tech support.
Easy, right? You can probably hit a tech freelancing site and have an outsourced coder drum up a chat application for your site. However, LivePerson shines in its ability to serve up an enterprise-proven platform that can also be proactive when it needs to. For instance, e-tailers turn to LivePerson's platform because it can sense when a potential shopper is about to abandon the virtual shopping cart. It can initiate contact, and at least one of LivePerson's 8,000 clients -- ValueVision Media's
Thus, LivePerson's moat is healthier than a superficial assessment may assume. There are tiny tech upstarts in its field, and a few larger companies are moving in. ATG
But LivePerson isn't stopping there -- it's also working on mobile and social media initiatives. For mobile, the company is working to get smartphone owners to rely on its instantaneous chat interface, instead of suffering through email response delays or getting stuck in touchtone purgatory.
The social media initiative is even more intriguing. One example given during yesterday's call is a feature that enables clients to monitor Twitter for any corporate mentions. The moment that someone else brings up the company -- good, bad, or indifferent -- the company's live chat interface can kick in to respond directly to the tweet. Social media isn't just buzzword lip service at LivePerson: It tweeted highlights from yesterday's report after the results went public.
The company is sticking to last quarter's same bottom-line guidance of $0.30 to $0.32 a share in adjusted earnings for all of 2010. However, it bumped its top-line target $2 million higher. It now sees $107 million to $109 million in revenue this year. Investing in new initiatives comes at a price, which is likely why its earnings guidance didn't merit a boost.
LivePerson's stock has soared 21% since being recommended to Rule Breakers subscribers less than three months ago. If flying below Wall Street's radar helps the company continue to deliver market-thumping gains, Mr. Market's ignorance here is actually a blessing.
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Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. LivePerson is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been following LivePerson since well before he singled it out to members of his Rule Breakers analytical team. He does not own shares in any stocks in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.