Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - AI

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the section titled “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes. Our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties that are not presently known to us or that we currently believe are not material. If any of the risks actually occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. Unless otherwise indicated, references to our business being harmed in these risk factors will include harm to our business, C3 AI Software (which includes our C3 AI Platform, C3 AI Applications and C3 Generative AI), reputation, brand, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Unless otherwise indicated, references to our business being harmed in these risk factors will include harm to our business, C3 AI Software (which includes our C3 AI Platform, C3 AI Applications, C3 Generative AI Product Suite and C3 AI Ex Machina), reputation, brand, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. In such event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business and Our Industry
We have a history of losses, we anticipate our operating expenses will continue to increase in the future, and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.
We incurred net losses in each period since our founding in 2009. We generated net losses of approximately $279.7 million, $268.8 million, and $192.1 million for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2024, 2023, and 2022 respectively.We incurred net losses in each period since our founding in 2009. We generated net losses of approximately $268.8 million and $192.1 million for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. As a result, we had an accumulated deficit of $1,089.9 million as of April 30, 2024. We expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future. These losses and accumulated deficit reflect the substantial investments we made to acquire new customers, commercialize our C3 AI Software, and continue to develop our C3 AI Software. While we have experienced revenue growth in recent periods, we do not know whether or when we will generate sufficient revenue to sustain or increase our growth or achieve or maintain profitability in the future. We also expect our costs and expenses to increase in future periods, which could negatively affect our future results of operations if our revenue does not increase. In particular, we intend to continue to expend significant funds to further develop our C3 AI Software and business, including:
investments in our research and development team and in the development of new features and enhancements of our C3 AI Software, including the hiring of additional development staff, and fees paid to third parties for related enhancements;
investments in sales, marketing, and services, including expanding our sales force and our customer service team, increasing our customer base, increasing market awareness of our C3 AI Software, and development of new technologies;
expanding our operations and infrastructure; and
hiring additional employees.
We will also face increased compliance costs associated with growth, the expansion of our customer base, and being a public company. Our efforts to grow our business may be costlier than we expect, our revenue growth may be slower than we expect, and we may not be able to increase our revenue enough to offset our increased operating expenses. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, such as the other risks described herein, unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications or delays, and other unknown events. If we are unable to achieve and sustain profitability, the value of our business and Class A common stock may significantly decrease.
Further, in future periods, our revenue growth may be adversely impacted due to a number of factors, including a reduction in demand for our C3 AI Software, reduction in consumption of our C3 AI Software, increased competition, contraction of our overall market, our inability to accurately forecast demand for our C3 AI Software, or our failure, for any reason, to capitalize on growth opportunities. A number of factors could cause our growth rate to be adversely impacted, including any reduction in demand for our C3 AI Software, reduction in consumption of our C3 AI Software, increased competition, contraction of our overall market, our inability to accurately forecast demand for our C3 AI Software, or our failure, for any reason, to capitalize on growth opportunities. We have encountered and will encounter risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries, such as the risks and uncertainties described herein. If our assumptions regarding these risks and uncertainties, which we use to plan our business, are incorrect or change, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our business will be harmed.
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Historically, a limited number of customers have accounted for a substantial portion of our revenue. If existing customers do not renew their contracts with us, or if our relationships with our largest customers are impaired or terminated, our revenue could decline, and our results of operations would be adversely impacted.
Certain of our customers, including customers that, at the time, represented a significant portion of our business, have in the past reduced their spend with us or decided to not renew their subscriptions with us, which has reduced our anticipated future payments or revenue from these customers. It is not possible for us to predict the future level of demand from our larger customers for our C3 AI Software. In addition, our average total subscription contract value is decreasing, and we expect it to continue to decrease as we expand our customer base beyond a small number of large customers to a larger number of smaller customers.
Our customers generally have no obligation to renew, upgrade, or expand their subscriptions with us after the terms of their existing subscriptions expire. In addition, our customers may opt to decrease their usage of our C3 AI Software. As a result, we cannot provide assurance that our customers will renew, upgrade, or expand their subscriptions with us, if they renew at all. If one or more of our customers elect not to renew their subscriptions with us, or if our customers renew their subscriptions with us for shorter time periods, or if our customers decrease their usage of our C3 AI Software, or if our customers otherwise seek to renegotiate terms of their existing agreements on terms less favorable to us, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected. This adverse impact would be even more pronounced for customers that represent a material portion of our revenue or business operations.
Our business depends on our ability to attract new customers and on our existing customers purchasing additional subscriptions from us and renewing their existing subscriptions.
To increase our revenue, we must continue to attract new customers. Our success will depend to a substantial extent on the widespread adoption of our C3 AI Software. Although demand for data management, ML, analytics, and AI platforms and applications has grown in recent years, the market for these platforms and applications continues to evolve. Numerous factors may impede our ability to add new customers, including but not limited to, our failure to compete effectively against alternative products or services, to attract and effectively train new sales and marketing personnel, to develop or expand relationships with partners and resellers, to successfully innovate and deploy new applications and other solutions, to provide a quality customer experience and customer support, or to ensure the effectiveness of our marketing programs. If we are not able to attract new customers, it will have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, our future success depends on our ability to sell additional subscriptions for our C3 AI Software to our existing customers, and our customers renewing their subscriptions when the contract term expires. Our customers generally have no contractual obligation to renew, upgrade, or expand their subscriptions after the terms of their existing subscriptions expire. Similarly, after completing a pilot or trial, customers do not have an obligation to continue to license our products, and we may not be able to convert pilot or trial customers into customers purchasing ongoing subscriptions or continue with a monthly consumption-based fee. In addition, our customers may opt to decrease their usage of our C3 AI Software. Given our limited experience with customer renewals of our AI products and services, we may not be able to accurately predict customer renewal rates. Our customers’ renewal and expansion commitments may decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including, but not limited to, their satisfaction with our C3 AI Software and our customer support, the frequency and severity of software and implementation errors or other reliability issues, the pricing of our subscriptions or competing solutions, changes in their IT budget, the effects of global economic conditions, and our customers’ financial circumstances, including their ability to maintain or expand their spending levels. In order for us to maintain or improve our results of operations, it is important that our customers renew or expand their subscriptions with us. If our customers do not purchase additional subscriptions, increase their usage of our software, or renew their subscriptions with us, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be harmed.
We have limited historical experience with supporting or selling to smaller, non-enterprise customers. We intend to grow our customer base and further contribute to our overall growth by introducing product offerings with a lower entry price point, such as our no-code offering C3 AI Ex Machina. However, by broadening our customer base to include smaller or mid-size customers, we will be faced with risks that may not be present or that are present to a lesser extent with respect to sales to large organizations. Because of our limited experience in supporting or selling to smaller, non-enterprise customers, we may be unsuccessful in our efforts to get future smaller customers to renew or expand their subscriptions to our offerings. If such customers do not renew their agreements or renew on less favorable terms or for less usage, our revenue may grow more slowly than expected or decline, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be harmed.
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Achieving renewal or expansion of usage and subscriptions may require us to engage increasingly in sophisticated and costly sales and support efforts that may not result in additional sales. In addition, the rate at which our customers expand the deployment of our C3 AI Software depends on a number of factors. If our efforts to expand our relationships with our customers are not successful, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be harmed.
Because we derive substantially all of our revenue from subscriptions to our C3 AI Software and Center of Excellence support services, failure of Enterprise AI solutions in general and our C3 AI Software in particular to satisfy customer demands or to achieve increased market acceptance would adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects.Because we derive substantially all of our revenue from our C3 AI Software, failure of Enterprise AI solutions in general and our C3 AI Software in particular to satisfy customer demands or to achieve increased market acceptance would adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and growth prospects.
We derive and expect to continue for the foreseeable future to derive substantially all of our revenue from subscriptions to our C3 AI Software and Center of Excellence support services.We derive and expect to continue for the foreseeable future to derive substantially all of our revenue from our C3 AI Software. As such, the market acceptance of Enterprise AI solutions in general, and our C3 AI Software in particular, are critical to our continued success. Market acceptance of an Enterprise AI solution depends in part on market awareness of the benefits that Enterprise AI can provide over legacy products, emerging point products, and manual processes. In addition, in order for cloud-based Enterprise AI solutions to be widely accepted, organizations must overcome any concerns with placing sensitive information on a cloud-based platform. Demand for our C3 AI Software in particular is affected by a number of other factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors include continued market acceptance of our C3 AI Software, the pace at which existing customers realize benefits from the use of our C3 AI Software and decide to expand deployment of our C3 AI Software across their business, the timing of development and release of new products by our competitors, technological change, reliability and security, the pace at which enterprises undergo digital transformation, and developments in data privacy regulations. We expect that the needs of our customers will continue to rapidly change and increase in complexity. We will need to improve the functionality and performance of our C3 AI Software continually to meet those rapidly changing, complex demands. If we are unable to continue to meet customer demands or to achieve more widespread market acceptance of Enterprise AI solutions in general or our C3 AI Software in particular, our business operations, financial results, and growth prospects will be materially and adversely affected.
Our current C3 AI Software, as well as applications, features, and functionality that we may introduce in the future, may not be widely accepted by our customers, may receive negative attention or may require us to compensate or reimburse third parties, any of which may lower our margins and harm our business.25Table of ContentsOur current C3 AI Software, as well as applications, features, and functionality that we may introduce in the future, may not be widely accepted by our customers, may receive negative attention or may require us to compensate or reimburse third parties, any of which may lower our margins and harm our business.
Our ability to engage, retain, and increase our base of customers and to increase our revenue will depend on our ability to successfully create new applications, features, and functionality, both independently and together with third parties. We may introduce significant changes to our existing C3 AI Software or develop and introduce new and unproven applications, including technologies with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. These new applications and updates may fail to engage, retain, and increase our base of customers or may suffer from lag in adoption. New applications may initially suffer from performance and quality issues that may negatively impact our ability to market and sell such applications to new and existing customers. The short- and long-term impact of any major change to our C3 AI Software, or the introduction of new applications, is particularly difficult to predict. If new or enhanced applications fail to engage, retain, and increase our base of customers, we may fail to generate sufficient revenue, operating margin, or other value to justify our investments in such applications, any of which may harm our business.
In addition, we are required to compensate or reimburse third parties in connection with certain sales of our current C3 AI Software as part of our partner relationships. New applications, features and functionality that we introduce in the future or new partner relationships may increase the amount of compensation or reimbursement we pay to third parties. Any future requirement or increase in the rate that we compensate or reimburse third parties would lower our profit margins and harm our business.
We face intense competition and could lose market share to our competitors, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. 26Table of ContentsWe face intense competition and could lose market share to our competitors, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The market for our products is intensely competitive and characterized by rapid changes in technology, customer requirements, and industry standards, and frequent new platform and application introductions and improvements. We anticipate continued competitive challenges from current competitors who address different aspects of our offerings. We also expect competitive challenges from new entrants into the industry. If we are unable to anticipate or effectively react to these competitive challenges, our competitive position could weaken, and we could experience a decline in our growth rate and revenue that could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
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Our main sources of current and potential competition fall into several categories:
internal IT organizations that develop internal solutions and provide self‑support for their enterprises;
commercial enterprise and point solution software providers;
open source software providers with data management, ML, and analytics offerings;
public cloud providers offering discrete tools and micro-services with data management, ML, and analytics functionality;
system integrators that develop and provide custom software solutions;
legacy data management product providers; and
strategic and technology partners who may also offer our competitors’ technology or otherwise partner with them, including our strategic partners who may offer a substantially similar solution based on a competitor’s technology or internally developed technology that is competitive with ours.
Many of our existing competitors have, and some of our potential competitors could have, substantial competitive advantages such as:
greater name recognition, longer operating histories, and larger customer bases;
larger sales and marketing budgets and resources and the capacity to leverage their sales efforts and marketing expenditures across a broader portfolio of products;
broader, deeper, or otherwise more established relationships with technology, channel, and distribution partners and customers;
wider geographic presence or greater access to larger customer bases;
greater focus in specific geographies or industries;
lower labor and research and development costs;
larger and more mature intellectual property portfolios; and
substantially greater financial, technical, and other resources to provide support, make acquisitions, hire talent, and develop and introduce new products.
Some of our larger competitors have substantially broader and more diverse platform and application offerings and may be able to leverage their relationships with distribution partners and customers based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products to gain business in a manner that discourages potential customers from subscribing to our C3 AI Software, including by selling at zero or negative margins, bundling with other offerings, or offering closed technology platforms.27Table of ContentsSome of our larger competitors have substantially broader and more diverse platform and application offerings and may be able to leverage their relationships with distribution partners and customers based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products to gain business in a manner that discourages potential customers from subscribing to our C3 AI Software, including by selling at zero or negative margins, bundling with other offerings, or offering closed technology platforms. Potential customers may also prefer to purchase from their existing suppliers rather than a new supplier regardless of platform or application performance or features. As a result, even if the features of our C3 AI Software are superior, potential customers may not purchase our offerings. These larger competitors often have broader product lines and market focus or greater resources and may therefore not be as susceptible to economic downturns or other significant reductions in capital spending by customers. If we are unable to sufficiently differentiate our solutions from the integrated or bundled products of our competitors, such as by offering enhanced functionality, performance or value, we may see a decrease in demand for our offerings, which could adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.
Moreover, new innovative start‑up companies, and larger companies that are making significant investments in research and development, may introduce products that have greater performance or functionality, are easier to implement or use, or incorporate technological advances that we have not yet developed or implemented, or may invent similar or superior technologies that compete with ours. Our current and potential competitors may also establish cooperative relationships among themselves or with third parties that may further enhance their resources.
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Some of our competitors have made or could make acquisitions of businesses that allow them to offer more competitive and comprehensive solutions. As a result of such acquisitions, our current or potential competitors may be able to accelerate the adoption of new technologies that better address customer needs, devote greater resources to bring these platforms and applications to market, initiate or withstand substantial price competition, or develop and expand their product and service offerings more quickly than we can. These competitive pressures in our market or our failure to compete effectively may result in fewer orders, reduced revenue and gross margins, and loss of market share. In addition, it is possible that industry consolidation may impact customers’ perceptions of the viability of smaller or even mid‑size software firms and consequently customers’ willingness to purchase from such firms.
We may not compete successfully against our current or potential competitors. If we are unable to compete successfully, or if competing successfully requires us to take costly actions in response to the actions of our competitors, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, companies competing with us may have an entirely different pricing or distribution model. Increased competition could result in fewer customer orders, price reductions, reduced operating margins, and loss of market share. Further, we may be required to make substantial additional investments in research, development, marketing, and sales in order to respond to such competitive threats, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully in the future.
Our sales cycles can be long and unpredictable, particularly with respect to large subscriptions, and our sales efforts require considerable time and expense.
Our results of operations may fluctuate, in part, because of the complexity of customer problems that our C3 AI Software address, the resource‑intensive nature of our sales efforts, the length and variability of the sales cycle for our C3 AI Software, and the difficulty in making short‑term adjustments to our operating expenses. The timing of our sales is difficult to predict. The length of our sales cycle can vary substantially from customer to customer and can extend over a number of years for some customers. Our sales efforts involve educating our customers about the use, technical capabilities, and benefits of our C3 AI Software. Customers often undertake a prolonged evaluation process, which frequently involves not only our C3 AI Software but also those of other companies. In addition, the size of potential customers may lead to longer sales cycles. For instance, we invest resources into sales to large organizations and large organizations typically undertake a significant evaluation and negotiation process due to their leverage, size, organizational structure and approval requirements, all of which can lengthen our sales cycle. We may also face unexpected deployment challenges with large organizations or more complicated deployment of our C3 AI Software. Large organizations may demand additional features, support services, and pricing concessions or require additional security management or control features. Some organizations may also require an on-premise solution rather than a cloud solution, which potentially requires additional implementation time and potentially a longer sales cycle. We may spend substantial time, effort and money on sales efforts to large organizations without any assurance that our efforts will produce any sales or that these customers will deploy our C3 AI Software widely enough across their organization to justify our substantial upfront investment. As a result, it is difficult to predict exactly when, or even if, we will make a sale to a potential customer or if we can increase sales to our existing customers.
Individual sales have historically and may in the future represent a large proportion of our overall sales during any given period, which impacts our ability to plan and manage cash flows and margins. These large individual sales have, in some cases, occurred in quarters or years subsequent to those we anticipated, or have not occurred at all. If our sales cycle lengthens or our substantial upfront investments do not result in sufficient revenue to justify our investments, our operating results could be adversely affected. In addition, within each quarter or year, it is difficult to project when a deal will close. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether we are achieving our quarterly or annual expectations until near the end of the applicable quarter or year. Most of our expenses are relatively fixed or require time to adjust. Therefore, if expectations for our business are not accurate, we may not be able to adjust our cost structure on a timely basis, and our margins and cash flows may differ from expectations.
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Certain revenue metrics such as net dollar-based retention rate or annual recurring revenue may not be accurate indicators of our future financial results.
Other subscription-based software companies often report on metrics such as net dollar-based revenue retention rate, annual recurring revenue or other revenue metrics, and investors and analysts sometimes look to these metrics as indicators of business activity in a period for businesses such as ours. However, due to our dependence on a small number of high-value customer contracts, these metrics are not accurate indicators of future revenue for any given period of time because the gain or loss of even a single high-value customer contract could cause significant volatility in these metrics. However, given our large average subscription contract value and our dependence on a small number of high-value customer contracts, these metrics are not accurate indicators of future revenue for any given period of time because the gain or loss of even a single high-value customer contract could cause significant volatility in these metrics. If investors and analysts view our business through these metrics, the trading price of our Class A common stock may be adversely affected.
Changes in our subscription or pricing models could adversely affect our operating results.
As the markets for our subscriptions grow, as new competitors introduce new products or services that compete with ours, or as we enter into new international markets, we may be unable to attract new customers at the same price or based on the same pricing model as we have historically used. Regardless of pricing model used, large customers may demand higher price discounts than in the past. Our competitors may also introduce new products that compete with ours or reduce their prices, or we may be unable to attract new customers or retain existing customers based on our historical subscription and pricing models. As a result, we may be required to reduce our prices, offer shorter contract durations or offer alternative pricing models, any of which could adversely affect our business.
We have limited experience with respect to determining the optimal prices for subscriptions for our C3 AI Software. In the past, we have been able to increase our prices for our C3 AI Software, but we may choose not to introduce or be unsuccessful in implementing future price increases or changes in our pricing models. In the second quarter of fiscal year 2023, we announced a change to our go-to-market strategy. This change includes a way for new customers to utilize our products at a smaller initial contract size and pay for services based on their monthly consumption of vCPU hours, rather than payment pursuant to a purely subscription-based payment option. Unlike customers utilizing our subscription-based option, in which revenue is recognized ratably over the term of the subscription, for customers utilizing our new consumption-based payment option, we will recognize revenue on consumption. Because such customers will have flexibility in the timing of their consumption, we do not have the same visibility into the timing of revenue recognition for such customers that we have with our subscription-based customers. There is a risk that customers using the consumption-based option will consume our platform more slowly than we expect, and our actual results may differ from our forecasts. This risk may increase as more customers move to the consumption-based model. Further, investors and securities analysts may not understand how our consumption-based option differs from our subscription-based option, or the intersection of our consumption-based option and our subscription-based option. If our results of operations fall below the expectations of investors and securities analysts who follow our stock, the price of our Class A common stock could decline substantially, and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class actions.
Given our limited experience with our current pricing models, we may not be able to accurately predict customer renewal or retention rates.Given our limited operating history and limited experience with our current pricing models, we may not be able to accurately predict customer renewal or retention rates. As a result, we may be required or choose to reduce our prices or change our pricing model, which could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our revenue growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties, including channel partners, and if we are unable to establish and maintain successful relationships with them, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be adversely affected.29Table of ContentsOur revenue growth depends in part on the success of our strategic relationships with third parties, including channel partners, and if we are unable to establish and maintain successful relationships with them, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We seek to grow our partner ecosystem as a way to grow our business. We anticipate that we will continue to establish and maintain relationships with third parties, such as channel partners, resellers, OEMs, system integrators, independent software and hardware vendors, and platform and cloud service providers. For example, in June 2019, we entered into a strategic collaboration with Baker Hughes whereby Baker Hughes operates as the exclusive channel partner and reseller of our C3 AI Software in the oil and gas industry and a non-exclusive reseller in other industries. This arrangement was most recently revised in January 2023 and continues until April 30, 2025, with options to renew. We also have strategic relationships with AWS, FIS, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and Raytheon.
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We plan to continue to establish and maintain similar strategic relationships in certain industry verticals and otherwise, and we expect our channel partners to become an increasingly important aspect of our business. However, these strategic relationships could limit our ability in the future to compete in certain industry verticals and, depending on the success of our third-party partners and the industries that those partners operate in generally, may negatively impact our business because of the nature of strategic alliances, exclusivity provisions, or otherwise. We work closely with select vendors to design solutions to specifically address the needs of certain industry verticals or use cases within those verticals. As our agreements with strategic partners terminate or expire, we may be unable to renew or replace these agreements on comparable terms, or at all.
Our future growth in revenue and ability to achieve and sustain profitability depends in part on our ability to identify, establish, and retain successful strategic partner relationships in the United States and internationally, which will take significant time and resources and involve significant risk. To the extent we do identify such partners, we will need to negotiate the terms of a commercial agreement with them under which the partner would distribute our C3 AI Software. We cannot be certain that we will be able to negotiate commercially attractive terms with any strategic partner, if at all. In addition, all channel partners must be trained to distribute our C3 AI Software. In order to develop and expand our distribution channel, we must develop and improve our processes for channel partner introduction and training. If we do not succeed in identifying suitable strategic partners or maintain our relationships with such partners, our business, operating results, and financial condition may be adversely affected.
Moreover, we cannot guarantee that the partners with whom we have strategic relationships will continue to devote the resources necessary to expand our reach and increase our distribution. In addition, customer satisfaction with services and other support from our strategic partners may be less than anticipated, negatively impacting anticipated revenue growth and results of operations. We cannot be certain that these partners will prioritize or provide adequate resources to selling our C3 AI Software. Further, some of our strategic partners offer competing platforms and applications or also work with our competitors. As a result of these factors, many of the companies with whom we have strategic alliances may choose to pursue alternative technologies and develop alternative platforms and applications in addition to or in lieu of our C3 AI Software, either on their own or in collaboration with others, including our competitors. We cannot assure you that our strategic partners will continue to cooperate with us. In addition, actions taken or omitted to be taken by such parties may adversely affect us. Moreover, we rely on our channel partners to operate in accordance with the terms of their contractual agreements with us. For example, our agreements with our channel partners limit the terms and conditions pursuant to which they are authorized to resell or distribute our C3 AI Software and offer technical support and related services. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our relationships with third parties, or if our strategic partners do not comply with their contractual obligations to us, our business, operating results, and financial condition may be adversely affected. Even if we are successful in establishing and maintaining these relationships with third parties, we cannot assure you that these relationships will result in increased customer usage of our C3 AI Software or increased revenue to us.
In addition, some of our sales to government entities have been made, and in the future may be made, indirectly through our channel partners. Government entities may have statutory, contractual, or other legal rights to terminate contracts with our channel partners for convenience or due to a default, and, in the future, if the portion of government contracts that are subject to renegotiation or termination at the election of the government entity are material, any such termination or renegotiation may adversely impact our future operating results. In the event of such termination, it may be difficult for us to arrange for another channel partner to sell our C3 AI Software to these government entities in a timely manner, and we could lose sales opportunities during the transition. Government entities routinely investigate and audit government contractors’ administrative processes, and any unfavorable audit could result in the government entity refusing to renew its subscription to our C3 AI Software, a reduction of revenue, or fines or civil or criminal liability if the audit uncovers improper or illegal activities.
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If the market for our C3 AI Software fails to grow as we expect, or if businesses fail to adopt our C3 AI Software, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
It is difficult to predict customer adoption rates and demand for our C3 AI Software, the entry of competitive platforms, or the future growth rate and size of the cloud-based software and software-as-a-service, or SaaS, business software markets. A substantial majority of our revenue has come from sales of our subscription-based software products, which we expect to continue for the foreseeable future. Although demand for data management, ML, and analytics platforms and applications has grown in recent years, the market for these platforms and applications continues to evolve. We cannot be sure that this market will continue to grow or, even if it does grow, that businesses will adopt our C3 AI Software. Our future success will depend in large part on our ability to further penetrate the existing market for Enterprise AI software, as well as the continued growth and expansion of what we believe to be an emerging market for Enterprise AI platforms and applications that are faster, easier to adopt, and easier to use. Our ability to further penetrate the Enterprise AI market depends on a number of factors, including the cost, performance, and perceived value associated with our C3 AI Software, as well as customers’ willingness to adopt a different approach to data analysis. We have spent, and intend to keep spending, considerable resources to educate potential customers about digital transformation, AI, and ML in general and our C3 AI Software in particular. However, we cannot be sure that these expenditures will help our C3 AI Software achieve any additional market acceptance. Furthermore, potential customers may have made significant investments in legacy analytics software systems and may be unwilling to invest in new platforms and applications. If the market fails to grow or grows more slowly than we currently expect or businesses fail to adopt our C3 AI Software, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
If we fail to respond to rapid technological changes, extend our C3 AI Software, or develop new features and functionality, our ability to remain competitive could be impaired.
The market for our C3 AI Software is characterized by rapid technological change and frequent new platform and application introductions and enhancements, changing customer demands, and evolving industry standards. The introduction of platforms and applications embodying new technologies can quickly make existing platforms and applications obsolete and unmarketable. Data management, ML, and analytics platforms and applications are inherently complex, and it can take a long time and require significant research and development expenditures to develop and test new or enhanced platforms and applications. The success of any enhancements or improvements to our existing C3 AI Software or any new applications depends on several factors, including timely completion, competitive pricing, adequate quality testing, integration with existing technologies, and overall market acceptance.
Our ability to grow our customer base and generate revenue from customers will depend heavily on our ability to enhance and improve our C3 AI Software, to develop additional functionality and use cases, introduce new features and applications and interoperate across an increasing range of devices, operating systems, and third-party applications. Our customers may require features and capabilities that our current C3 AI Software does not have or may face use cases that our current C3 AI Software does not address. We invest significantly in research and development, and our goal is to focus our spending on measures that improve quality and ease of adoption and create organic customer demand for our C3 AI Software. When we develop a new enhancement or improvement to our C3 AI Software, we typically incur expenses and expend resources upfront to develop, market and promote the new enhancement and improvement. Therefore, when we develop and introduce new enhancements and improvements to our C3 AI Software, they must achieve high levels of market acceptance in order to justify the amount of our investment in developing and bringing them to market. There is no assurance that our enhancements to our C3 AI Software or our new application experiences, functionality, use cases, features, or capabilities will be compelling to our customers or gain market acceptance. If our research and development investments do not accurately anticipate customer demand, or if we fail to develop our C3 AI Software in a manner that satisfies customer preferences in a secure, timely and cost-effective manner, we may fail to retain our existing customers or increase demand for our C3 AI Software.
Moreover, even if we introduce new capabilities in our C3 AI Software, we may experience a decline in revenue from sales of our existing C3 AI Software that is not offset by revenue from the new C3 AI Software capabilities and applications. For example, customers may delay ordering subscriptions of new C3 AI Software capabilities or applications to permit them to make a more thorough evaluation of the C3 AI Software or until industry and marketplace reviews become widely available. Some customers may hesitate to migrate to new C3 AI Software due to concerns regarding the complexity of migration and suite or application infancy issues on performance. In addition, we may lose existing customers who choose a competitor’s AI platforms and applications rather than migrate to our new C3 AI Software capabilities and applications. This could result in a temporary or permanent revenue shortfall and adversely affect our business.
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Any failure of our C3 AI Software to operate effectively with future infrastructure platforms and technologies could reduce the demand for our C3 AI Software. If we are unable to respond to these changes in a timely and cost-effective manner, our C3 AI Software may become less marketable, less competitive, or obsolete, and our business may be adversely affected.
The introduction of new AI platforms and applications by competitors or the development of entirely new technologies to replace existing offerings could make our C3 AI Software obsolete or adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition. We may experience difficulties with software development, design, or marketing that could delay or prevent our development, introduction, or implementation of new C3 AI Software experiences, features, or capabilities. We have in the past experienced delays in our internally planned release dates of new features and capabilities, and there can be no assurance that new C3 AI Software features or capabilities will be released according to schedule. Any delays could result in adverse publicity, loss of revenue or market acceptance, or claims by customers brought against us, all of which could harm our business. Moreover, new productivity features for our C3 AI Software may require substantial investment, and we have no assurance that such investments will be successful. If customers do not widely adopt our new C3 AI Software features and capabilities, we may not be able to realize a return on our investment. If we are unable to develop, license, or acquire new features and capabilities to our C3 AI Software on a timely and cost-effective basis, or if such enhancements do not achieve market acceptance, our business could be harmed.
If we were to lose the services of our CEO or other members of our senior management team, we may not be able to execute our business strategy.
Our success depends in a large part upon the continued service of key members of our senior management team. In particular, our founder and CEO, Thomas M. Siebel, is critical to our overall management, sales strategy, culture, strategic direction, engineering, and operations. In addition, Mr. Siebel is a recognized leader in information technology and is critical to the continued development of our C3 AI Software. All of our executive officers are at-will employees, and we do not maintain any key person life insurance policies. The loss of any member of our senior management team could make it more difficult to execute our business strategy and, therefore, harm our business.
The failure to effectively develop and expand our marketing and sales capabilities could harm our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our C3 AI Software.
Our ability to expand our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our C3 AI Software depends to a significant extent on our ability to continue to expand our marketing and sales operations and the ultimate effectiveness of those operations. We plan to continue expanding our sales force and strategic partners, both domestically and internationally.
Identifying and recruiting qualified sales representatives and training them is time consuming and resource intensive, and they may not be fully trained and productive for a significant amount of time. Our C3 AI Software is complicated and, as such, our sales force and operations require significant time and investment for proper recruitment, onboarding, and training in order for our sales operations to be productive. In addition, as we enter into new markets, expand the capabilities of our C3 AI Software and offer new C3 AI Software, we may need to identify and recruit additional sales and marketing efforts specific to such strategic expansion. Our efforts to do so may be increasingly resource intensive, time consuming, and ultimately unsuccessful. We also dedicate significant resources to sales and marketing programs, including internet and other online advertising. As more customers take advantage of our consumption-based pricing options, once a new customer begins using our C3 AI Software, our sales team will need to continue to focus on expanding consumption with that customer. All of these efforts require us to invest significant financial and other resources. In addition, the cost to acquire customers is high due to these marketing and sales efforts. Our business will be harmed if our efforts do not generate a correspondingly significant increase in revenue. We will not achieve anticipated revenue growth from expanding our sales force if we are unable to hire, develop, and retain talented sales personnel, if our new sales personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, or if our sales and marketing programs are not effective.
In addition, our business would be adversely affected if our marketing and sales efforts are not successful and generate increases in revenue that are smaller than anticipated. If our marketing and sales efforts are not effective, our sales and revenue may grow more slowly than expected or materially decline, and our business may be significantly harmed.
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If we fail to develop, maintain, and enhance our brand and reputation cost-effectively, our business and financial condition may be adversely affected.
We believe that developing, maintaining, and enhancing awareness and integrity of our brand and reputation in a cost-effective manner are important to achieving widespread acceptance of our C3 AI Software and are important elements in attracting new customers and maintaining existing customers. We believe that the importance of our brand and reputation will increase as competition in our market further intensifies. Successful promotion of our brand depends on the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, our ability to provide a reliable and useful C3 AI Software at competitive prices, the perceived value of our C3 AI Software, our ability to maintain our customers’ trust, our ability to continue to develop additional functionality and use cases and our ability to differentiate our C3 AI Software and capabilities from competitive offerings. Brand promotion activities may not yield increased revenue, and even if they do, the increased revenue may not offset the expenses we incur in building and maintaining our brand and reputation. We also rely on our customer base in a variety of ways, including to give us feedback on our C3 AI Software. If we fail to promote and maintain our brand successfully or to maintain loyalty among our customers, or if we incur substantial expenses in an unsuccessful attempt to promote and maintain our brand, we may fail to attract new customers and partners or retain our existing customers and partners and our business and financial condition may be adversely affected. Any negative publicity relating to our employees, partners, or others associated with these parties, may also tarnish our own reputation simply by association and may reduce the value of our brand. Damage to our brand and reputation may result in reduced demand for our C3 AI Software and increased risk of losing market share to our competitors. Any efforts to restore the value of our brand and rebuild our reputation may be costly and may not be successful.
We may not successfully manage our growth or plan for future growth.
Since our founding in 2009, we have experienced rapid growth. The growth and expansion of our business places a continuous and significant strain on our management, operational, and financial resources. Further growth of our operations to support our customer base, our expanding third-party relationships, our information technology systems, and our internal controls and procedures may not be adequate to support our operations. Managing our growth will also require significant expenditures and allocation of valuable management resources, including the challenges of integrating, developing, and motivating a rapidly growing employee base in various countries around the world. Certain members of our management have not previously worked together for an extended period of time, and some do not have experience managing a public company, which may affect how they manage our growth.
In addition, our rapid growth may make it difficult to evaluate our future prospects. Our ability to forecast our future results of operations is subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to effectively plan for and model future growth. We have encountered in the past, and may encounter in the future, risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in rapidly changing industries. If we fail to achieve the necessary level of efficiency in our organization as it grows, or if we are not able to accurately forecast future growth, our business would be harmed.
If we are unable to ensure that our C3 AI Software interoperates with a variety of software applications that are developed by others, including our partners, we may become less competitive and our business may be harmed.
Our C3 AI Software must integrate with a variety of hardware and software platforms, and we need to continuously modify and enhance our C3 AI Software to adapt to changes in hardware and software technologies. In particular, we have developed our C3 AI Software to be able to easily integrate with key third-party applications, including the applications of software providers that compete with us as well as our partners. We are typically subject to standard terms and conditions of such providers, which govern the distribution, operation, and fees of such software systems, and which are subject to change by such providers from time to time. Our business will be harmed if any provider of such software systems:
discontinues or limits our access to its software;
modifies its terms of service or other policies, including fees charged to, or other restrictions on us, or other platform and application developers;
changes how information is accessed by us or our customers;
establishes more favorable relationships with one or more of our competitors; or
develops or otherwise favors its own competitive offerings over our C3 AI Software.
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Third-party services and products are constantly evolving, and we may not be able to modify our C3 AI Software to assure their compatibility with that of other third parties as they continue to develop or emerge in the future or we may not be able to make such modifications in a timely and cost-effective manner. In addition, some of our competitors may be able to disrupt the operations or compatibility of our C3 AI Software with their products or services, or exert strong business influence on our ability to, and terms on which we, operate our C3 AI Software. Should any of our competitors modify their products or standards in a manner that degrades the functionality of our C3 AI Software or gives preferential treatment to our competitors or competitive products, whether to enhance their competitive position or for any other reason, the interoperability of our C3 AI Software with these products could decrease and our business, results of operations, and financial condition would be harmed. If we are not permitted or able to integrate with these and other third-party applications in the future, our business, results of operations, and financial condition would be harmed.
Our ability to sell subscriptions to our C3 AI Software could be harmed by real or perceived material defects or errors in our C3 AI Software.
The technology underlying our C3 AI Software is inherently complex and may contain material defects or errors, particularly when new applications are first introduced, when new features or capabilities are released, or when integrated with new or updated third-party hardware or software. There can be no assurance that our existing C3 AI Software and new applications will not contain defects or errors. Any real or perceived errors, failures, vulnerabilities, or bugs in our C3 AI Software could result in negative publicity or lead to data security, access, retention, or other performance issues, all of which could harm our business. Correcting such defects or errors may be costly and time-consuming and could harm our business. Moreover, the harm to our reputation and legal liability related to such defects or errors may be substantial and would harm our business.
The failure to attract and retain additional qualified personnel or to maintain our company culture could harm our business and prevent us from executing our business strategy.
To execute our business strategy, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel. Competition for executives, data scientists, engineers, software developers, sales personnel, and other key employees in our industry is intense. In particular, we compete with many other companies for employees with high levels of expertise in designing, developing and managing platforms and applications for data management, ML, and analytics technologies, as well as for skilled data scientists, sales, and operations professionals. In addition, we are extremely selective in our hiring process which requires significant investment of time and resources from internal stakeholders and management. At times, we have experienced, and we may continue to experience, difficulty in hiring personnel who meet the demands of our selection process and with appropriate qualifications, experience, or expertise, and we may not be able to fill positions as quickly as desired. We completed our initial public offering in December 2020 and potential candidates may not perceive our compensation package, including our equity awards, as favorably as employees hired prior to our initial public offering. We recently completed our initial public offering and potential candidates may not perceive our compensation package, including our equity awards, as favorably as employees hired prior to our initial public offering. In addition, our recruiting personnel, methodology, and approach may need to be altered to address a changing candidate pool and profile. We may not be able to identify or implement such changes in a timely manner.
Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have, and some of these companies may offer more attractive compensation packages. If the perceived value of our equity awards declines, or if the mix of equity and cash compensation that we offer is unattractive, it may adversely affect our ability to recruit and retain highly skilled employees. Job candidates may also be threatened with legal action under agreements with their existing employers if we attempt to hire them, which could impact hiring and result in a diversion of our time and resources. Additionally, laws and regulations, such as restrictive immigration laws, or export control laws, may limit our ability to recruit internationally. We must also continue to retain and motivate existing employees through our compensation practices, company culture, and career development opportunities.
We believe that a critical component to our success and our ability to retain our best people is our culture. As we continue to grow and develop a public company infrastructure, we may find it difficult to maintain our company culture.
In addition, many of our employees may be able to receive significant proceeds from sales of our equity in the public markets, which may reduce their motivation to continue to work for us. Moreover, the proceeds from our recent initial public offering could create disparities in wealth among our employees, which may harm our culture and relations among employees and our business.
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If we fail to attract new personnel or to retain our current personnel, our business would be harmed.
Our annual and quarterly results and key metrics are likely to fluctuate significantly and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Our annual and quarterly results of operations and key metrics may vary significantly in the future a