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 - ESTC

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Item 1A. Risk Factors
A description of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business, industry and ownership of our ordinary shares is set forth below. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently believe are not material, may also become important factors that could affect us. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition, operating results and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the price of our ordinary shares could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment. In addition, major geopolitical events, including any worsening of the macroeconomic environment, may exacerbate the risks described below, any of which could have a material impact on us and additional impacts that are currently not known to us may arise.
Risks Related to our Business and Industry
Our business and operations have experienced rapid growth, and if we do not appropriately manage future growth, if any, or are unable to improve our systems and processes, our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects may be adversely affected.
We have experienced rapid growth and increased demand for our offerings. Our number of customers has increased significantly over the past several years, with our total number of customers growing from over 2,800 as of April 30, 2017 to approximately 21,000 as of April 30, 2024. The growth and expansion of our business and offerings place a continuous and significant strain on our management, operational, and financial resources. In addition, as customers adopt our technology for an increasing number of use cases, we have had to support more complex commercial relationships. We may not be able to leverage, develop and retain qualified employees effectively enough to maintain our growth plans. We must continue to improve our information technology and financial infrastructure, our operating and administrative systems, our relationships with various partners and other third parties, and our ability to manage headcount and processes in an efficient manner to manage our growth effectively. Our failure to do so could result in increased costs, negatively affect our customers’ satisfaction with our offerings, and harm our results of operations.
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We have a history of losses and may not be able to achieve profitability or positive operating cash flow on a consistent basis.
We incurred a net loss of $236.2 million and $203.8 million for the years ended April 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively, and have incurred losses in all prior years since our inception. As a result, we had an accumulated deficit of $991.6 million as of April 30, 2024. Although we had net income of $61.7 million for the year ended April 30, 2024, we expect to incur net losses in future years. We anticipate that our operating expenses will continue to increase substantially in the foreseeable future as we continue to enhance our offerings, broaden our customer base and pursue larger transactions, expand our sales and marketing activities, expand our operations, hire additional employees, and continue to develop our technology. These efforts may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue sufficiently, or at all, to offset these higher expenses. Revenue growth may slow or revenue may decline for a number of reasons, including slowing demand for our offerings, increasing competition, or economic downturns, including as a result of rising rates of inflation and other macroeconomic events. You should not consider our revenue growth in prior periods as indicative of our future performance. Any failure to increase our revenue or grow our business could prevent us from achieving profitability at all or on a consistent basis, which would cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer. Additionally, although we generated positive operating cash flow in fiscal 2024, 2023, and 2022, any failure to grow our business could prevent us from achieving positive operating cash flow on a consistent basis, which could cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer. Additionally, although we generated positive operating cash flow in fiscal 2023, any failure to grow our business could prevent us from achieving positive operating cash flow on a consistent basis, which would cause our business, financial condition, and results of operations to suffer.
Unfavorable or uncertain conditions in our industry or the global economy or reductions in information technology spending, including as a result of adverse macroeconomic conditions, or the evolving conflict in Israel and Gaza and Russia’s war with Ukraine, could limit our ability to grow our business and negatively affect our results of operations.
Our results of operations may vary based on the impact of changes in our industry or the global economy on us or our customers. Current, future, or sustained economic uncertainties or downturns, whether actual or perceived, could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Negative conditions in the general economy both in the United States and in international markets, including conditions resulting from changes in gross domestic product growth, financial and credit market fluctuations, international trade relations, changes in inflation, foreign exchange and interest rate environments, recessionary fears, supply chain constraints, energy costs, political instability, natural catastrophes, warfare, infectious diseases and terrorist attacks, could cause a decrease in business investments by our customers and potential customers, including spending on information technology, and negatively affect the growth of our business. For example, inflation rates recently reached levels not seen in decades and have continued to create economic volatility as governments adjust interest rates in an attempt to manage the inflationary environment, which may further lead to our customers tightening their technology expenditures and investment. For example, inflation rates have recently reached levels not seen in decades and may continue to create economic volatility as governments adjust interest rates in an attempt to manage the inflationary environment, which may further lead to our customers tightening their technology spend and investment. Further, the ongoing international political crisis resulting from the evolving conflict in Israel and Gaza and Russia’s war with Ukraine could continue to have significant negative macroeconomic consequences, including on the businesses of our customers, which could negatively impact their spending on our offerings. Further, the ongoing international political crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could continue to have significant negative macroeconomic consequences, including on the businesses of our customers, which could negatively impact their spending on our offerings. Any further disruptions or other adverse developments, or concerns or rumors about any such events or similar risks, in the financial services industry, both in the U.S. and in international markets, may lead to market-wide liquidity problems and may impact our or our customers’ liquidity and, as a result, negatively affect the level of customer spending on our offerings.
As a result of the foregoing conditions, our revenue may be disproportionately affected by longer and more unpredictable sales cycles, delays or reductions in customer consumption or in general information technology spending, and further impacts of changing foreign exchange rates. Further, current and prospective customers may choose to develop in-house software as an alternative to using our paid products. These factors could increase the amount of customer churn we have experienced recently and further slow consumption and overall customer expenditure. Moreover, competitors may respond to market conditions by lowering prices. If the economic conditions of the general economy or markets in which we operate do not improve, or worsen from present levels, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We may not be successful in our artificial intelligence initiatives, which could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.
AI presents new risks and challenges that may affect our business. We have made, and expect to continue to make, continued investments to integrate AI and machine learning technology into our offerings, including increasing our technical operations and engineering in these applications. Rapid technological progress in the industry regarding new and emerging AI technologies, such as generative AI, may require additional investment in the development, integration, and maintenance of our product offerings, as well as the development of appropriate technical protections and safeguards to maintain a responsible and ethical AI framework. These requirements may add costs and could increase our expenses as we continue to expand the breadth of use and applications of AI technologies, including generative AI, further into our product offerings, or to address changes to AI technologies, frameworks, or regulations. Additionally, we may incur substantial costs in our sales and marketing efforts to promote and sell our offerings based on AI technologies, including but not limited to branding, product promotion, and demand generation as well as technical training and investments in resources for our sales personnel and partners. Despite such
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investments in building our product offerings and in sales and marketing, our product offerings may not be adopted by customers. We may not achieve significant revenue directly related to all of our AI-related initiatives for several years, if at all.
Further, AI presents risks, challenges, and unintended consequences that could affect our ability to continue to incorporate the use of AI successfully in our business and solutions in new and novel ways. In addition, given the complex nature of AI technology, we face an evolving regulatory landscape and significant competition from other companies. Competitors may incorporate AI into their products more quickly or more successfully than we do, which could impair our ability to compete effectively and adversely affect our financial results. Data practices by us or others that result in controversy could also impair the acceptance of AI solutions, which could undermine confidence in the decisions, predictions, analysis, or other content that our AI-related initiatives produce. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, reputation, or financial results.
Social, ethical, and regulatory issues relating to the use of AI and similar evolving technologies in our offerings may result in new or enhanced governmental or regulatory scrutiny, reputational harm, damage to our competitive position, and liability.
We have invested in and plan to continue to invest in the research and development of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, including generative AI. We view our continued investment in AI and generative AI research and development as an opportunity to enhance our products and services, strengthen our competitive advantage, and contribute to the responsible advancement of AI and generative AI technology. While we aim to do so in a responsible manner, social, ethical, regulatory, and legal issues relating to the use of new and evolving technologies such as AI and generative AI in our offerings may result in reputational harm and liability, as well as failures in regulatory compliance, and may cause us to incur additional research, development, and compliance costs. We are increasingly building into many of our offerings new software for integrating and creating the opportunity for our customers to integrate themselves as well as existing AI and generative AI tools in the market. As with many innovations, AI and generative AI present risks that could affect its adoption and contribution to our business. If we enable or offer solutions that draw controversy due to their perceived or actual impact on society, we may experience brand or reputational harm, competitive harm, or legal liability.
Government regulation related to AI and generative AI use and ethics may also increase the burden and cost of research and development, testing, and maintenance and delay implementation of these technologies. The rapid evolution of AI will require the application of resources to develop, test and maintain our products and services to help ensure that AI and generative AI are implemented in a way that minimizes unintended, potentially harmful, or adverse impacts. It is possible that further laws and regulations will be adopted, or that existing laws and regulations may be interpreted, in ways that would affect our business and the ways in which we, our partners, and customers or potential customers use AI and machine learning technology, which may impact their use adoption of our solutions and may adversely affect our financial condition and our results of operations, including as a result of costs we incur to comply with such laws or regulations.
If we experience a security incident, or unauthorized access to or other unauthorized processing of confidential information, including personal data, otherwise occurs, our software may be perceived as not being secure, customers may reduce the use of or stop using our products, and we may incur significant liabilities.21Table of ContentsIf our security measures are breached, we experience a security incident, or unauthorized access to or other processing of confidential information, including personal data, otherwise occurs, our software may be perceived as not being secure, customers may reduce the use of or stop using our products, and we may incur significant liabilities.
In the normal course of our business, we receive, collect, manage, store, transmit and otherwise process large amounts of proprietary information and confidential data, including personal data and other sensitive information, relating to our operations, products, customers and business partners. Any cybersecurity incident affecting our networks, systems or those on which we rely could result in our loss of confidential information, including personal data, disruption to our operations, significant remediation costs, lost revenue, increased insurance premiums, damage to our reputation, litigation, regulatory investigations, fines, or other liabilities. Any restrictions on using online analytics and tracking tools could lead to substantial costs, require significant changes to our policies and practices, limit the effectiveness of our marketing activities, divert the attention of our technology personnel, adversely affect our margins, and subject us to additional liabilities. We face sophisticated and evolving cyber threats from individual hackers, criminal groups, and state-sponsored organizations, as well as risks that employees, contractors or other insiders, particularly those with connectivity to our systems, may introduce vulnerabilities into our environments, facilitate a cyber attack, or take action to misappropriate our intellectual property and proprietary information. Even the perception of inadequate security or an inability to maintain security certifications or to comply with our customer or user agreements, contracts with third-party vendors or service providers or other contracts may damage our reputation, cause a loss of confidence in our security solutions and negatively impact our ability to win new customers and retain existing customers.
As a provider of security solutions, we have been and may continue to be specifically targeted by threat actors for attacks intended to circumvent our security capabilities as an entry point into customers’ endpoints, networks, or systems. As a provider of security solutions, we have been and may continue to be specifically targeted by threat actors for attacks intended to circumvent our security capabilities as an entry point into customers’ endpoints, networks, or systems. Our industry continues to see a large volume of unauthorized scans of systems searching for vulnerabilities or misconfigurations to exploit. Attempted cyber attacks of our systems can deploy such malicious techniques, among others, as phishing, ransomware, credential stuffing, distributed denial of service, network intrusions, malware, domain name system spoofing, exploitation of zero-day vulnerabilities, and structural query language injection. While our security systems and controls have successfully protected us against, and mitigated the impacts of, many past attacks of this nature, we expect that we will experience similar incidents in the future.
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If our security measures are compromised, we may face a loss in intellectual property protection, our data, or our customers’ data, and our reputation may be damaged, our business may suffer, and we could be subject to claims, demands, regulatory investigations, and other proceedings and indemnity obligations and otherwise incur significant liability. Even the perception of inadequate security or an inability to maintain security certifications, maintain a security program in line with industry standards, or to comply with our customer or user agreements, contracts with third-party vendors or service providers or other contracts may damage our reputation, cause a loss of confidence in our security solutions and negatively affect our ability to win new customers and retain existing customers. Even the perception of inadequate security or an inability to maintain security certifications or to comply with our customer or user agreements, contracts with third-party vendors or service providers or other contracts may damage our reputation, cause a loss of confidence in our security solutions and negatively impact our ability to win new customers and retain existing customers. Further, we could be required to expend significant capital and other resources to address any security incident, and we may face difficulties or delays in identifying and responding to any cybersecurity incident. Further, we could be required to expend significant capital and other resources to address any security breach or incident, and we may face difficulties or delays in identifying and responding to any security breach or incident. If our systems or networks or those on which we rely suffer severe damage, disruption or shutdown and our business continuity plans do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, we could experience delays in reporting our financial results, and we may lose revenue and profits as a result of our inability to timely produce, distribute, invoice and collect payments for our products and services.
In addition, many of our customers may use our software for processing their confidential information, including business strategies, financial and operational data, personal information and other related data. As a result, unauthorized access to or use of our software or such data could result in the loss, compromise, corruption or destruction of our customers’ confidential information. As a result, unauthorized access to or use of our software or such data could result in the loss, compromise, corruption, or destruction of our customers’ confidential information and lead to claims, demands, litigation, regulatory investigations, indemnity obligations, and other liabilities. Such access or use could also hinder our ability to obtain and maintain information security certifications that support customers’ adoption of our products and our retention of those customers. We expect to continue incurring significant costs in connection with our implementation of administrative, technical and physical measures designed to protect the integrity of our customers’ data and prevent data loss, misappropriation and other security incidents.
We engage third-party vendors and service providers to store and otherwise process some of our and our customers’ data, including sensitive and personal information. There have been and may continue to be significant supply chain attacks generally, and our third-party vendors and service providers may be targeted or affected by such attacks and other efforts to exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities. There have been and may continue to be significant supply chain attacks generally, and our third-party vendors and service providers may be targeted or impacted by such attacks, and face other risks of security breaches and incidents. Our ability to monitor our third-party vendors and service providers’ data security is limited. Threat actors may be able to circumvent those security measures and gain unauthorized access to, or cause misuse, disclosure, loss, destruction or other unauthorized processing of, our and our customers’ data, including sensitive and personal information. Further, threat actors may attempt to deploy malicious code to users of the open source libraries leveraged by our products, which could negatively affect us and those users.
Techniques used to sabotage or obtain unauthorized access to systems or networks are constantly evolving and, in some instances, are not identified until launched against a target. We and our third-party vendors and service providers may be unable to anticipate these techniques, react to them in a timely manner, or implement adequate preventative measures. We and our third-party vendors and service providers may be unable to anticipate these techniques, react in a timely manner, or implement adequate preventative measures. Because of the complexity and interconnectedness of our systems and networks and those on which we rely, the process of upgrading or patching our protective measures could itself create a risk of cybersecurity issues or system disruptions, including for customers who rely upon, or have exposure to, such systems and networks.
Limitations of liability provisions in our customer and user agreements, contracts with third-party vendors and service providers or other contracts may not be enforceable or adequate to protect us from any liabilities or damages with respect to any particular claim relating to a security incident. We are subject to risks that our existing insurance coverage may not continue to be available on acceptable terms or available in sufficient amounts to cover claims related to a cybersecurity incident, or that the insurer may deny coverage as to any future claim. We also cannot be sure that our existing insurance coverage will continue to be available on acceptable terms or will be available in sufficient amounts to cover claims related to a security breach or incident, or that the insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could adversely affect our business. The successful assertion of claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, including our financial condition, operating results, and reputation.
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Our ability to grow our business may suffer if we are unable to expand adoption of our Elastic Cloud offerings.
We believe our future success will depend significantly on the growth in the adoption of Elastic Cloud, our family of cloud-based offerings. We have incurred and will continue to incur substantial costs to develop, sell and support our Elastic Cloud offerings. We have also entered into non-cancelable multi-year cloud hosting capacity commitments with certain third-party cloud providers, which require us to pay for such capacity irrespective of actual usage. We believe that we must offer a family of cloud-based products to address the market segment that prefers a cloud-based solution to a self-managed solution and that there will be increasing demand for cloud-based offerings of our products. For the years ended April 30, 2024, 2023, and 2022, Elastic Cloud contributed 43%, 40%, and 35% of our total revenue, respectively. However, as the use of cloud-based computing solutions is rapidly evolving, it is difficult to predict the potential growth, if any, of general market adoption, customer adoption, and retention rates of our cloud-based offerings. There could be decreased demand for our cloud-based offerings due to reasons within or outside of our control, including, among other factors, lack of customer acceptance, technological challenges with bringing cloud offerings to market and maintaining those offerings, information security, data protection, or privacy concerns, our inability to properly manage and support our cloud-based offerings, competing technologies and products, weakening economic conditions, and decreases in corporate spending. There could be decreased demand for our cloud-based offerings due to reasons within or outside of our control, including, among other things, lack of customer acceptance, technological challenges with bringing cloud offerings to market and maintaining those offerings, information security, data protection, or privacy concerns, our inability to properly manage and support our cloud-based offerings, competing technologies and products, weakening economic conditions, and decreases in corporate spending. If we are not able to develop, market, or deliver cloud-based offerings that satisfy customer requirements technically or commercially, if our investments in cloud-based offerings do not yield the expected return, or if we are unable to decrease the cost of providing our cloud-based offerings, our business, competitive position, financial condition and results of operations may be harmed.
Our operating results are likely to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, and our financial results in any one quarter should not be relied upon as indicative of future performance.
Our results of operations, including our revenue, cost of revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, cash flow and deferred revenue, have fluctuated from quarter-to-quarter in the past and may continue to vary significantly in the future so that period-to-period comparisons of our results of operations may not be meaningful. These variations may be further impacted as more of our Elastic Cloud customers adopt consumption-based arrangements or as Elastic Cloud customers already on consumption-based arrangements optimize their usage in response to the current macroeconomic environment. Accordingly, our financial results in any one quarter should not be relied upon as indicative of future performance. Our quarterly financial results may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, may be difficult to predict, and may or may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. Factors that may cause fluctuations in our quarterly financial results include the risks and uncertainties described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The impact of one or more of these factors may cause our operating results to vary significantly.The impact of one or more of the foregoing or other factors may cause our operating results to vary significantly. Such fluctuations in our results could cause us to fail to meet the expectations of investors or securities analysts, which could cause the trading price of our ordinary shares to fall substantially, and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class action suits, which could have an adverse effect on our business.
Seasonality may cause fluctuations in our sales and results of operations.
Historically, we have experienced quarterly fluctuations and seasonality in our sales and results of operations based on the timing of our entry into agreements with new and existing customers, customer usage patterns for our consumption-based arrangements, and the mix between annual and monthly contracts entered into each reporting period.Historically, we have experienced quarterly fluctuations and seasonality in our sales and results of operations based on the timing of our entry into agreements with new and existing customers and the mix between annual and monthly contracts entered in each reporting period. Trends in our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows are impacted by seasonality in our sales cycle, which generally reflects a trend toward the highest sales in our fourth fiscal quarter and the lowest sales in our first fiscal quarter. Trends in our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows are impacted by seasonality in our sales cycle, which generally reflects a trend toward greater sales in our second and fourth quarters and lower sales in our first and third quarters, though we believe this trend has been somewhat masked by our overall growth. We expect that this seasonality will continue to affect our results of operations in the future, and might become more pronounced as we continue to target larger enterprise customers.
If our existing customers do not renew their subscriptions, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected. If our existing customers do not renew their subscriptions, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We derive a significant portion of our revenue from renewals of existing subscriptions. Our customers have no contractual obligation to renew their subscriptions after the completion of their subscription term. Our subscriptions for self-managed deployments typically range from one to three years, while many of our Elastic Cloud customers purchase subscriptions either on a month-to-month basis or on a committed contract of generally one to three years in duration.
Our customers may decline to renew their contracts as a result of a number of factors, including their budgets, their satisfaction with our products and our customer support, our products’ ability to integrate with new and changing technologies, the frequency and severity of product outages, our product uptime or latency, and the pricing of our products or competing products. If our customers renew their subscriptions, they may renew for shorter subscription terms or on other terms that are less economically beneficial to us. If our existing customers do not renew their subscriptions, or renew on less favorable terms, our revenue may grow more slowly than expected or decline.
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If we are unable to increase sales of our subscriptions to new customers, sell additional subscriptions to our existing customers, or expand the value of our existing customers’ subscriptions, our revenue growth rate may decline.
We offer certain features of our products with no payment required. Customers purchase subscriptions in order to gain access to additional functionality and support. Our future success depends on our ability to sell our subscriptions to new customers, including to large enterprises, and to expand the deployment of our offerings with existing customers by selling paid subscriptions to our existing users and expanding the value and number of existing customers’ subscriptions. Our ability to sell new subscriptions depends on a number of factors, including the prices of our offerings, the prices of products offered by our competitors, and the budgets of our customers. We also face difficulty in displacing the products of incumbent competitors. In addition, a significant aspect of our sales and marketing focus is to expand deployments within existing customers. The rate at which our existing customers purchase additional subscriptions and expand the value of existing subscriptions depends on a number of factors, including customers’ level of satisfaction with our offerings, the nature and size of the deployments, the desire to address additional use cases, the perceived need for additional features, and general economic conditions. If our existing customers do not purchase additional subscriptions or expand the value of their subscriptions, our Net Expansion Rate may decline. We rely in large part on our customers to identify new use cases for our products in order to expand such deployments and grow our business. If our customers do not recognize the potential of our offerings, our business would be materially and adversely affected. If our efforts to sell subscriptions to new customers and to expand deployments at existing customers are not successful, our total revenue and revenue growth rate may decline, and our business could suffer.
We do not have an adequate history with our consumption-based arrangements for our Elastic Cloud offerings to predict accurately the long-term rate of customer adoption or renewal, or the impact those arrangements will have on our near-term or long-term revenue or operating results.
Because we recognize revenue under a consumption-based arrangement based on actual customer consumption, we do not have the same ability to predict the timing of revenue recognition as we do under subscription arrangements where revenue is recognized on a predetermined schedule over the subscription term. Because we recognize revenue under a consumption-based arrangement based on actual customer consumption, we do not have the same visibility into the timing of revenue recognition as we do under subscription arrangements where revenue is recognized on a predetermined schedule over the subscription term. Moreover, customers may consume our products at a different pace than we expect. Additionally, customers may consume our products at a different pace than we expect. For example, we have experienced and, if adverse economic conditions persist, may continue to experience slowing consumption as customers look to optimize their usage. Additionally, we have seen and may continue to see newer customers increase their consumption of our solutions at a slower pace than our more tenured customers. For these reasons, our revenue may be less predictable or more variable than our historical revenue, and our actual results may differ materially from our forecasts.
If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, especially among developers and executives with budgetary control, our ability to expand our customer base will be impaired and our business and operating results may be adversely affected.30Table of ContentsIf we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, especially among developers, our ability to expand our customer base will be impaired and our business and operating results may be adversely affected.
We believe that developing and maintaining widespread awareness of our brand, especially with developers and executives with budgetary control, is critical to achieving widespread acceptance of our software and attracting new users and customers. We also believe that the importance of brand recognition will increase as competition in our market increases. Successfully maintaining and enhancing our brand will depend largely on the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, our ability to maintain our customers’ trust, our ability to continue to develop new functionality and use cases, and our ability to successfully differentiate our products and platform capability from competitive products. Brand promotion activities may not generate user or customer awareness or increase revenue. Even if they do, any increase in revenue may not offset the expenses we incur in building our brand. For instance, our continued focus and investment in our ElasticON user conferences and similar investments in our brand, user engagement, and customer engagement may not generate the desired customer awareness or a sufficient financial return. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand, we may fail to attract or retain users and customers necessary to realize a sufficient return on our brand-building efforts, or to achieve the widespread brand awareness that is critical for broad customer adoption of our products, which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We may not be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors.
The market for our products is highly competitive, quickly evolving, fragmented, and subject to rapid changes in technology, shifting customer needs, and frequent introductions of new offerings. We believe that our ability to compete depends upon many factors both within and beyond our control.
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Some of our current and potential competitors have longer operating histories, significantly greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources, stronger brand recognition, broader global distribution and presence, more established relationships with current or potential customers and partners, and larger customer bases than we do. These factors may allow our competitors to respond more quickly than we can to new or emerging technologies and changes in customer preferences. These competitors may engage in more extensive research and development efforts, undertake more far-reaching and successful sales and marketing campaigns, have more experienced sales professionals, execute more successfully on their go-to-market strategy and have greater access to more markets and decision makers, and adopt more aggressive pricing policies which may allow them to build larger customer bases than we have. New start-up companies that innovate and large competitors that are making significant investments in research and development may develop similar offerings that compete with our offerings or that achieve greater market acceptance than our offerings. This could attract customers away from our offerings and reduce our market share. As market segments become increasingly crowded and competition intensifies, we could potentially face increasing costs of goods and services sold. If we are unable to anticipate or react effectively to these competitive challenges, our competitive position would weaken, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
If we are not able to keep pace with technological and competitive developments, our performance may be negatively affected.
The market for search technologies, including search, observability and security, is subject to rapid technological change, innovation (such as the use of AI), evolving industry standards, and changing regulations, as well as changing customer needs, requirements and preferences. Our success depends upon our ability to continue to innovate, enhance existing products, expand the use cases of our products, anticipate and respond to changing customer needs, requirements, and preferences, and develop and introduce in a timely manner new offerings that keep pace with technological and competitive developments.
We have experienced delays in releasing new products, deployment options, and product enhancements and may experience similar delays in the future. We have experienced delays in releasing new products, deployment options, and product enhancements and may experience similar delays in the future. As a result, in the past, some of our customers deferred purchasing our products until the next upgrade was released. Future delays or problems in the installation or implementation of our new releases may cause customers to forgo purchases of our products and purchase products of our competitors instead.
The success of new product introductions depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, timely and successful product development, market acceptance, our ability to manage the risks associated with new product releases, the availability of software components for new products, the effective management of development and other spending in connection with anticipated demand for new products, the availability of newly developed products, and the risk that new products may have bugs, errors, or other defects or deficiencies in the early stages of introduction. We have experienced bugs, errors, or other defects or deficiencies in new products and product updates and may have similar experiences in the future. Furthermore, our ability to increase the usage of our products depends, in part, on the development of new use cases for our products, which is typically driven by our developer community and may be outside of our control. We also have invested, and may continue to invest, in the acquisition of complementary businesses, technologies, services, products and other assets that expand the products that we can offer our customers. We may make these investments without being certain that they will result in products or enhancements that will be accepted by existing or prospective customers. If we are unable to successfully enhance our existing products to meet evolving customer requirements, increase adoption and usage of our products, develop new products, or if our efforts to increase the usage of our products are more expensive than we expect, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Sales of our products could suffer if the markets for those products do not grow or if we fail to adapt and respond effectively to evolving markets.
The markets for certain of our products, such as our Search, Observability and Security solutions, are evolving and our products are relatively new in these markets. Accordingly, it is difficult to predict continued customer adoption and renewals for these products, customers’ demand for these products, the size, growth rate, expansion, and longevity of these markets, the entry of competitive products, or the success of existing competitive products. Our ability to penetrate these evolving markets depends on a number of factors, including the cost, performance, and perceived value associated with our products. If these markets do not continue to grow as expected or if we are unable to anticipate or react to changes in these markets, our competitive position could weaken, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
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The length of our sales cycle can be unpredictable, particularly with respect to sales through our channel partners or sales to large customers, and our sales efforts may require considerable time and expense, which could negatively affect our cash flows and results of operations.
Our results of operations may fluctuate, in part, because of the length and variability of the sales cycle of our subscriptions and the difficulty in making short-term adjustments to our operating expenses. Our results of operations depend in part on sales to new customers, including large customers, and increasing sales to existing customers. The length of our sales cycle, from initial contact with our sales team to contractually committing to our subscriptions, can vary substantially from customer to customer based on deal complexity as well as whether a sale is made directly by us or through a channel partner. Our sales cycle can extend to more than a year for some customers, and the length of sales cycles may be further impacted due to worsening economic conditions. In addition, some customers have been scrutinizing their spending more carefully and reducing their consumption spending given the current uncertain economic environment, and we generally expect this caution to continue. We have also experienced and, if adverse economic conditions persist, may continue to experience longer and more unpredictable sales cycles. As we target more of our sales efforts at larger enterprise customers, we may face greater costs, longer sales cycles, greater competition and less predictability in completing some of our sales. A customer’s decision to use our solutions may be an enterprise-wide decision, which may require greater levels of education regarding the use cases of our products or protracted negotiations. In addition, larger customers may demand more configuration, integration services and features. 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. As a result, large individual sales in some cases have occurred in quarters subsequent to those we expected, or have not occurred at all. As a result, large individual sales, in some cases, have occurred in quarters subsequent to those we expected, or have not occurred at all. Lengthened or unpredictable sales cycles that cause a loss or delay of one or more large transactions in a quarter could affect our cash flows and results of operations for that quarter and for future quarters. These impacts are amplified in the short term when customers slow their consumption in response to the uncertain macroeconomic environment. Because a substantial proportion of our expenses are relatively fixed in the short term, our cash flows and results of operations could suffer if revenue falls below our expectations in a particular quarter.
Because we recognize the vast majority of the revenue from subscriptions, either based on actual consumption or ratably over the term of the relevant subscription period, downturns or upturns in sales are not immediately reflected in full in our results of operations.
Subscription revenue accounts for the substantial majority of our revenue, constituting 93%, 92%, and 93% of total revenue for the years ended April 30, 2024, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The effect of significant downturns in new or renewed sales of our subscriptions is not reflected in full in our results of operations until future periods. We recognize the vast majority of our subscription revenue either based on actual consumption or ratably over the term of the relevant time period. We recognize the vast majority of our subscription revenue, either based on actual consumption, monthly, or ratably, over the term of the relevant time period. As a result, much of the subscription revenue we report each fiscal quarter represents the recognition of deferred revenue from subscription contracts entered into during previous fiscal quarters. Consequently, a decline in new or renewed subscriptions in any one fiscal quarter will not be fully or immediately reflected in revenue in that fiscal quarter and will negatively affect our revenue in future fiscal quarters.
The sales prices of our offerings may decrease, which may reduce our revenue and gross profits and adversely affect our financial results.
The sales prices for our offerings may decline or we may introduce new pricing models for a variety of reasons, including competitive pricing pressures, discounts, in anticipation of or in conjunction with the introduction of new offerings, or promotional programs. Competition continues to increase in the market segments in which we operate, and we expect competition to continue to increase, thereby leading to increased pricing pressures. Larger competitors with more diverse offerings may reduce the price of offerings that compete with ours or may bundle them with other offerings. Additionally, currency fluctuations in some countries and regions and pressures from uncertain inflation and interest rate environments may negatively impact actual prices that customers and channel partners are willing to pay in those countries and regions. Additionally, currency fluctuations in certain countries and regions and pressures from uncertain inflation and interest rate environments may negatively impact actual prices that customers and channel partners are willing to pay in those countries and regions. Any decrease in the sales prices for our offerings may reduce our revenue and gross profit, unless accompanied by an increase in volume to offset the effects of such price decreases, or in the case of gross profit, unless accompanied by a corresponding decrease of sufficient magnitude in costs. Gross profit could also be adversely impacted by a shift in the mix of our subscriptions from self-managed to our cloud offering, for which we incur hosting costs, as well as any increase in our mix of services relative to subscriptions. We may not be able to maintain our prices and gross profits at levels that will allow us to achieve and maintain profitability.
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We expect our revenue mix to vary over time, which could harm our gross margin and operating results.
We expect our revenue mix to vary over time as a result of a number of factors, any one of which or the cumulative effect of which may result in significant fluctuations in our gross margin and operating results. We expect that revenue from Elastic Cloud, which contributed 43%, 40%, and 35% of our total revenue in fiscal 2024, 2023 and 2022, respectively, will continue to become a larger part of our revenue mix. Due to the differing revenue recognition policies applicable to our subscriptions and services, shifts in our business mix from quarter to quarter could produce substantial variation in revenue recognized. The variation in our revenue also may result from the growth of consumption-based arrangements for our Elastic Cloud offerings, where the revenue we recognize is tied to our customers’ actual usage of our products, and further reduction in usage by customers already using a consumption-based arrangement due to the uncertain macroeconomic environment. The growth of consumption-based arrangements for our Elastic Cloud offerings, where the revenue we recognize is tied to our customers’ actual usage of our products, and further reduction in usage by customers already using a consumption-based arrangement due to the uncertain macroeconomic environment, may further contribute to the variation in our revenue. Further, our gross margins and operating results could be harmed by changes in revenue mix and costs, together with numerous other factors, including our entry into new markets or growth in lower margin markets; our entry into markets with different pricing and cost structures; pricing discounts; and increased price competition. Further, our gross margins and operating results could be harmed by changes in revenue mix and costs, together with numerous other factors, including entry into new markets or growth in lower margin markets; entry into markets with different pricing and cost structures; pricing discounts; and increased price competition.
We depend on our senior management and other key employees, and the loss of one or more of these employees or an inability to attract and retain highly skilled employees could harm our business.
Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel. The loss of the services of any of our key personnel, the inability to attract or retain qualified personnel, or delays in hiring required personnel, particularly in engineering and sales, may seriously harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Further, our ability to attract additional qualified personnel may be impacted by the economic uncertainty and insecurity caused by macroeconomic factors and geopolitical events. The loss of services of any of our key personnel also increases our dependency on other key personnel who remain with us. Although we have entered into employment offer letters with our key personnel, their employment is for no specific duration and constitutes at-will employment. We are also substantially dependent on the continued service of our existing engineering personnel because of the complexity of our products.
Our future performance also depends on the continued service and continuing contributions of our senior management, particularly our Chief Executive Officer, Ashutosh Kulkarni, and Chief Technology Officer, co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer, Shay Banon, to execute on our business plan and to identify and pursue new opportunities and product innovations. We do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our employees. The loss of services of senior management could significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our development and strategic objectives, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any search for senior management in the future or any search to replace the loss of any senior management may be protracted, and we may not be able to attract a qualified candidate or replacement, as applicable, in a timely manner or at all, particularly as potential candidates may be less willing to change jobs during the unstable economic conditions caused by macroeconomic and geopolitical events.
The industry in which we operate is generally characterized by significant competition for skilled personnel as well as high employee attrition. The increased availability of hybrid or remote working arrangements within our industry has further expanded the pool of companies that can compete for our employees and employment candidates. We may not be successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. We may need to invest significant amounts of cash and equity to attract and retain new employees, and we may never realize returns on these investments. Also, to the extent we hire personnel from competitors, we may be subject to allegations that they have been improperly solicited, that they have divulged proprietary or other confidential information, or that their former employers own their inventions or other work product.
If we do not effectively develop and expand our sales and marketing capabilities, including expanding, training, and compensating our sales force, we may be unable to add new customers, increase sales to existing customers or expand the value of our existing customers’ subscriptions.
We dedicate significant resources to sales and marketing initiatives, which require us to invest significant financial and other resources, including in markets in which we have limited or no experience. Our business and results of operations will be harmed if our sales and marketing efforts do not generate significant revenue increases or increases that are smaller than anticipated.
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We may not achieve revenue growth from expanding our sales force if we are unable to hire, train, and retain talented and effective sales personnel. We depend on our sales force to obtain new customers and to drive additional sales to existing customers. We believe that there is significant competition for sales personnel, including sales representatives, sales managers, and sales engineers, with the requisite skills and technical knowledge. Our ability to achieve significant revenue growth will depend, in large part, on our success in recruiting, training and retaining sufficient sales personnel to support our growth, and as we introduce new products, solutions, and marketing strategies, we may need to re-train existing sales personnel. New hires also require extensive training, which may take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our recent hires and planned hires may not become productive as quickly as we expect, and we may be unable to hire or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals in the markets where we do business or plan to do business. As we continue to grow rapidly, a large percentage of our sales force will have relatively little experience working with us, our subscriptions, and our business model. Additionally, we may need to evolve our sales compensation plans to drive the growth of our Elastic Cloud offerings with consumption-based arrangements. Such changes may have adverse consequences if they are not designed effectively. Such changes may have adverse consequences if not designed effectively. If we are unable to hire and train sufficient numbers of effective sales personnel, our new and existing sales personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, our sales personnel are not successful in obtaining new customers or increasing sales to our existing customer base, or our sales and marketing programs, including our sales compensation plans, are not effective, our growth and results of operations could be negatively impacted.
Our failure to offer high-quality customer support could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
After our products are deployed within our customers’ IT environments, our customers depend on our technical support services to resolve issues relating to our products. If we do not succeed in helping our customers quickly resolve post-deployment issues or provide effective ongoing support and education on our products, our ability to renew or sell additional subscriptions to existing customers or expand the value of existing customers’ subscriptions would be adversely affected and our reputation with potential customers could be damaged. Many larger enterprise and government entity customers have more complex IT environments and require higher levels of support than smaller customers. If we fail to meet the requirements of these enterprise customers, it may be more difficult to increase sales with them.
Additionally, it can take several months to recruit, hire, and train qualified technical support employees. We may not be able to hire such employees fast enough to keep up with demand, particularly if the sales of our offerings exceed our internal forecasts. Due to the uncertainty related to macroeconomic conditions, there may also be more competition for qualified employees and delays in hiring, onboarding, and training new employees. To the extent that we are unsuccessful in hiring, training, and retaining adequate support resources, our ability to provide adequate and timely support to our customers, and our customers’ satisfaction with our offerings, will be adversely affected. Our failure to provide and maintain, or a market perception that we do not provide or maintain, high-quality support services would have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Our corporate culture has contributed to our success, and if we cannot maintain this culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit we have worked to foster, which could harm our business.
We believe that our culture has been and will continue to be a key contributor to our success. We expect to continue to hire as we expand. If we do not continue to maintain our corporate culture as we grow, we may be unable to foster the innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit we believe we need to support our growth. Moreover, many of our existing employees may be able to receive significant proceeds from sales of our ordinary shares in the public markets, which could lead to employee attrition and disparities of wealth among our employees that might adversely affect relations among employees and our culture in general. Additional headcount growth and employee turnover may result in a change to our corporate culture, which could harm our business.
We may not be able to realize the benefits of our marketing strategies to offer some of our product features free of charge and to provide free trials of some of our paid features.
We are dependent upon lead generation strategies, including offering free use of some of our product features and free trials of some of our paid features. These strategies may not be successful in continuing to generate sufficient sales opportunities necessary to increase our revenue. Many users never convert from the free use model or from free trials to the paid versions of our products. To the extent that users do not become, or we are unable to successfully attract, paying customers, we will not realize the intended benefits of these marketing strategies and our ability to grow our revenue will be adversely affected.
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Our international operations and expansion expose us to a variety of risks.
As of April 30, 2024, we had customers located in over 125 countries, and our strategy is to continue to expand internationally. In addition, as of April 30, 2024, as a result of our strategy of leveraging a distributed workforce, we had employees located in over 35 countries. In addition, as a result of our strategy of leveraging a distributed workforce, as of April 30, 2023, we had employees located in over 40 countries. Our current international operations involve and future initiatives may involve a variety of risks, including:
political and economic instability related to international disputes, such as the evolving conflict in Israel and Gaza and Russia’s war with Ukraine and the related impact on macroeconomic conditions as a result of such conflicts, which may negatively impact our customers, partners, and vendors;
unexpected changes in regulatory requirements, taxes, trade laws, tariffs, export quotas, custom duties or other trade restrictions;
different labor regulations, especially in the European Union, where labor laws are generally more advantageous to employees than in the United States, including deemed hourly wage and overtime regulations in these locations;
exposure to many stringent regulations relating to privacy, data protection and information security, particularly in the European Union, and potentially inconsistent laws and regulations in these areas across countries;
changes in a specific country’s or region’s political or economic conditions;
the evolving relations between the United States and China;
changes in relations between the Netherlands and the United States;
risks resulting from changes in currency exchange rates and inflationary pressures;
risks resulting from the migration of invoicing from local billing entities to centralized regional billing entities;
the impact of public health epidemics or pandemics on our employees, partners, and customers;
challenges inherent in efficiently managing an increa