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Marqeta, Inc. (NASDAQ:MQ) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

Marqeta, Inc. (NASDAQ:MQ) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript May 7, 2024

Marqeta, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $-0.06962, expectations were $-0.08. MQ isn't one of the 30 most popular stocks among hedge funds at the end of the third quarter (see the details here).

Operator: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Marqeta First Quarter 2024 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, we will open the lines for your questions. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Stacey Finerman, Vice President of Investor Relations. Thank you and you may begin.

Stacey Finerman: Thanks, operator. Before we begin, I would like to remind everyone that today's call may contain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those set forth in our filings with the SEC which are available on our Investor Relations website, including our annual report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2023 and our subsequent periodic filings with the SEC. Actual results may differ materially from any forward-looking statements we make today. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the time of this call and the company does not assume any obligation or intent to update them, except as required by law. In addition, today's call includes non-GAAP financial measures.

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These measures should be considered as a supplement to and not a substitute for GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in today's earnings press release or earnings release supplemental materials which are available on our Investor Relations website. Hosting today's call are Simon Khalaf, Marqeta's CEO; and Mike Milotich, Marqeta's CFO. With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Simon to begin.

Simon Khalaf: Thank you, Stacey and thank you for joining us for Marqeta's First Quarter 2024 Earnings Call. Our first quarter results demonstrate how the strong foundation we built in 2023 is leading to growth with new and existing Marqeta customers and speaks volumes to the strength and depth of the Marqeta platform. We started the year strong with net revenue, gross profit and adjusted EBITDA outpacing expectations. Total processing volume or TPV was $67 billion in the first quarter, a 33% increase compared to the same quarter of 2023. In Q1, we had a day where we processed over $1 billion in TPV, a significant milestone for the company. Our net revenue of $118 million in the quarter contracted 46% year-over-year which included a decrease of 58 percentage points from the revenue presentation change related to our Cash App contract renewal.

Gross profit was $84 million in the quarter, a contraction of 6% versus Q1 2023, primarily due to the catch-up renewal pricing. Our gross margin for the quarter was 71%. Our non-GAAP adjusted operating expenses were $75 million, a 20% decline year-over-year due to our restructuring in Q2 2023 and operational efficiencies. This resulted in a positive adjusted EBITDA of $9 million in the quarter. Q1 was a solid quarter, indeed. First and foremost, the accelerated bookings we started in late 2022 and our relentless focus on converting them to gross profit are starting to pay off. For example, we launched a program with Trade Republic and new customers signed in late 2022. Trade Republic is Europe's largest broker and leading savings platform headquartered in Germany.

Trade Republic uses Marqeta to power an innovative consumer debit card that combines spending and savings for their 4 million customers across 17 markets. The company chose Marqeta due to our ability to reliably deliver innovation and easy geographic expansion. Over 1 million people joined the waiting list for the highly innovative card in just a few weeks. Second, in addition to launching and scaling new customers, we continue to focus on expanding with our existing customers. Uber Eats recently expanded with us into Latin and South America, Canada and Australia, bringing to 9, the number of markets served. Also, Florida announced that Klarna card has been open to all U.S. Klarna users. The offering is built into Klarna's app and provides flexible payment options with no revolving credit, personalized spending and budgeting recommendations and up to 10% cash back.

Beyond geographical expansion, our customers are growing with Marqeta by leveraging our deep payments and program management expertise. Previously, several of our customers, namely fintechs, chose to take program management and other services in-house only to reverse course later given the complexity and regulatory requirements associated with scale. Now many customers look to Marqeta to ease a significant amount of operational burden. During the first quarter, about 20 of our existing customers added program management products and/or optional services from our programs like disputes, compliance reporting and 3D Secure. Going forward, we believe compliance-related services, in particular, will be a key selling point and differentiator for our platform.

Many competitors do not offer the same level of service and many prospective customers don't want to do this work themselves, especially when we have the advantage of both expertise and economies of scale. While ramping our previously booked programs as a top priority, we're also focused on the significant embedded finance opportunities right before us, like the $2 trillion market for accelerated wage access or AWA. As we look to capture this tremendous opportunity, we're working with multiple distribution partners to increase our reach and expand our offering. While we've seen tremendous growth from early large adopters like Uber and Walmart's One finance, we're approaching other channels to bring our solution to a broader market. In April, we announced our new customer Rain, a financial wellness benefits provider that uses technology to help companies give employees greater control over their finances.

Rain's customers include global brands like McDonald's, Taco Bell, Hilton and Marriott. Rain brings the technology and payroll acumen that come from integrating with multiple payroll providers to determine the proper withholdings along with what the employee has earned. This relationship delivers value for Marqeta on 2 fronts. First, Rain will offer a plug-and-play AWA solution for employers, including the Rain spending card which Marqeta will power. Second, we're working to offer a more comprehensive AWA solution that seamlessly combines our experience, scale and reliability in modern card issuing with the technology and payroll acumen of AWA specialists and the rain partnership is a significant step in achieving that end state. Another way with approaching the accelerated wage access market opportunity is by working with labor marketplaces, like the deal we announced with WorkWhile, a labor marketplace for shift workers.

This offering is stated to go live in the next few months. This brings me to an important point. For many of our customers, especially labor marketplaces, offering accelerated wage access is only the beginning of that embedded finance journey. In fact, they believe that accelerated wage access is part of a comprehensive neobanking solution for their workforce to increase retention in this tight labor market. As a result, these customers are coming to us for additional services such as banking and money movement. We believe that this conversion is not an isolated event but rather part of a broader conversions and personalization trend, giving consumers spectrum of integrated payment options, including debit, installment pay and revolver with a global and personalized experience across all merchants.

We believe that our platform which has been strengthened with the addition of credit position us extremely well to capitalize on this trend. In summary, we're starting the year strong and seeing the foundation we laid over the last year start to deliver solid financial results. Our revamped sales efforts are beginning to pay off as the new embedded finance customers gain traction. In addition, our strong existing customer base continues to expand with us a testament to the value they get from our platform. Before I hand it over to Mike, I must mention Jason Garden's decision to step down as Executive Chairman of the company, next month after 1.5 years in the position. As our largest shareholder, Jason has always been focused on where he can contribute to maximize shareholder value.

His persistence in value creation continues this tradition which Mike will touch upon in his comments. He has contributed significantly to the company over the past 14 years and this is just the latest chapter as we strive towards sustainable, profitable growth for long-term value creation. Since late 2022, we have made changes to mature and evolve the business. Jason felt that the company no longer required the ongoing support and governance that his Executive Chairman role provided. As a Board member going forward, Jason plans to focus his role as Chair of the Board's new Payments Innovation Committee, Albin oversee Marqeta's platform capabilities and the acceleration of our innovation agenda. I am excited to work with Jason and the rest of the Board on the massive opportunities ahead of Marqeta at the embedded finance market growth.

Over to you, Mike.

Mike Milotich: Thank you, Simon and good afternoon, everyone. Our Q1 results represent a strong start to the year with all of our key metrics exceeding our expectations. TPV grew 33% with broad-based outperformance, particularly in BNPL, on-demand delivery and financial services. The stronger-than-expected TBV growth drove net revenue to the high end of our expected range. Gross profit meaningfully outperformed due to those volume gains and the benefit of capturing additional network incentives which I will discuss later in more detail. Finally, continued execution of efficiency initiatives, particularly the streamlining of technology costs, when coupled with our higher gross profit led to significantly higher adjusted EBITDA of $9 million in the quarter.

Q1 TPV was $67 billion, a year-over-year increase of 33% for the fourth straight quarter. Non-Block TPV [ph] grew approximately 15 points faster than Block growth. The financial services vertical grew in line with the company overall as neobanking which some of our customers combined with accelerated wage access solutions continues to resonate with consumers. Lending, including Buy Now, Pay Later grew faster than the overall company due to the continued adoption of our BNPL customers pay anywhere card solutions. On-demand delivery growth remained in the double digits, accelerating quarter-over-quarter as our customers expanded into new merchant categories and geographies. Q1 had our highest on-demand delivery TPV growth in the last 2 years.

A financial services team at work reviewing customer data on their digital bank.
A financial services team at work reviewing customer data on their digital bank.

Expense management growth accelerated for the second straight quarter, growing on par with the overall company, driven mainly by strong performance from our top customers. In fact, one of these customers have been increasing the share of their volume on our platform after seeking platform diversification with a competitor in the past. Q1 net revenue was $118 million, a contraction of 46% year-over-year. The key elements of our net revenue results are as follows: the most significant impact was the 58 point growth headwind related solely to the revenue presentation change resulting from the cash renewal. As we've described before, this change in revenue presentation is related to the bank and network fees associated with Cash App's primary payment network volume which previously were included in net revenue and cost of revenue.

Starting in Q3 '23, these costs are netted against revenue. There is an additional 10 percentage points decline in net revenue growth due to the Cash App renewal pricing. There was one additional revenue presentation impact related to our Cash App renewal this quarter. We renegotiated a platform partner agreement with reduced pricing that went into effect this quarter. Due to the terms of the Cash App renewal, we passed through the proportional savings to Cash App. Based on the revenue presentation changes we made last year, this reduced pricing impacts Cash App net revenue but not gross profit. The impact was approximately $4 million, lowering our Q1 growth rate by approximately 2 points. This partner agreement impact was not contemplated when we last shared our 2024 expectations in February.

Non-Block revenue growth accelerated quarter-over-quarter by 3 points as we lap some of the prior year renewals. We continue to see increased contributions from fast-growing solutions such as BNPL, PayMe work cards, on-demand delivery category expansion and neobanking combined with accelerated wage access. Block net revenue concentration was 49% in Q1, decreasing 2 points from Q4. The decline in concentration is helped by the broad outperformance from other customers on our platform, particularly larger customers. Excluding Block, our top 10 customers increased net revenue by 30% year-over-year. Our net revenue take rate of 18 basis points declined 1 point from last quarter due to seasonality as the mix of our TPV during the holiday season typically has a higher take rate.

Q1 gross profit was $84 million, a gross profit margin of 71%, outperforming our expectations primarily due to higher network incentives. In the simplest terms, our stronger TPV trajectory across multiple networks over the last couple of quarters led to this benefit. In the case of one partner in particular, in the final days of the quarter, we reached another incentive tier, generating a gross profit benefit for the quarter before our incentive tiers reset in April. As a reminder, our 2 largest network incentive contracts run April to March which results in Q1 being our highest incentive quarter and Q2 being the lowest. On a year-over-year basis, our gross profit contracted 6%. While we are starting to see the newer higher gross profit cohorts begin to contribute, renewals continue to weigh on gross profit growth.

The Cash App renewal lowered gross profit growth by mid-20s percentage points. As a reminder, the Cash App revenue presentation changes do not impact gross profit. In addition, although the renewals lowered growth by mid-single digits. Roughly half of this impact is driven by renewals completed between Q2 2022 and Q1 2023 which will lap in Q2. The remaining impact is driven by the Square renewal which won't anniversary until Q4. Non-Block gross profit growth accelerated quarter-over-quarter by 7 points, helped by the higher incentives. Our gross profit take rate was 13 basis points, consistent with the last 2 quarters. Q1 adjusted operating expenses were $75 million, a decrease of 20% year-over-year due to realized savings from our restructuring in May last year and efficiency initiatives targeting our technology and professional service expenses.

We continue to find opportunities to optimize our operations and execution while maintaining high reliability. On a sequential basis, expenses shrank 6% quarter-over-quarter, largely due to a decrease in professional services which tend to be higher in Q4 due to the timing of audit fees as well as product and security assessments. Q1 adjusted EBITDA was positive $9 million, resulting in a margin of 8%. Interest income was $14 million, driven by continued elevated interest rates. The Q1 GAAP net loss was $36 million, including a $10 million noncash post-combination expense related to the Power acquisition. Within Q1, we exhausted the $200 million buyback authorization announced in May of 2023. In the quarter, we purchased 5.2 million shares at an average price of $6.22 for $32.7 million.

We ended the quarter with $1.2 billion of cash and short-term investments. Now, let's shift to our Q2 and full year outlook. We expect Q2 net revenue to contract between 47% and 50%. This is in line with the expectations we shared last quarter with the exception of the 2-point revenue presentation impact related to the renegotiated platform partnership. Consistent with what we have seen in the last 3 quarters, we have assumed a 65 to 70 percentage point negative impact of the cash app renewal. Q2 gross profit is expected to contract between 7% and 9%, a little better than our expectations at the start of the year based on our current trajectory. We expect gross profit margin to be in the low to mid-60s as our network incentive tiers with our 2 largest network partners reset every April.

Therefore, Q2 is always our lowest gross profit quarter. Q2 adjusted operating expenses are expected to grow in the low single digits as we start to lap our restructuring from last May. This is also better than our expectations at the start of the year due to optimization initiatives but we will continue to reinvest in headcount and enhance platform resiliency to support the growth of our scaled customers. Therefore, Q2 adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be in the negative 5% to 7% range, 2 points better than our expectations at the start of the year. Although the reset of our network incentives will lead to negative adjusted EBITDA in the quarter, barring unforeseen macroeconomic events, we expect this to be our final negative adjusted EBITDA quarter as we move forward on our path of sustainable profitable growth.

Our expectations for the full year 2024 have increased for adjusted EBITDA and gross profit remains largely unchanged while reducing net revenue growth. We now expect net revenue to contract 24% to 27%. This is a 3-point to 4-point reduction from what was shared previously, driven by 2 factors, neither of which are impactful to gross profit. First, the revenue presentation impact related to the renegotiated platform partnership is approximately 2.5 points for the year. Second, we now expect the mix of our TPV to be more heavily weighted toward the Powered by Marqeta business which materially impacts net revenue but has a much lesser impact on gross profit. This will lower the revenue growth by approximately 1 point. Gross profit is now expected to grow 7% to 9%, lifting the bottom of the range from what we have shared previously.

TPV year-to-date has been a little stronger, helping the first half gross profit growth but the majority of the Q1 gross profit upside was related to incentives that are specific to Q1 because of the way our incentive contracts are structured. Our expectations for the second half gross profit growth remained unchanged for now at 23% to 26%. These changes in our net revenue and gross profit expectations highlight why we focus on gross profit as the measure of value we deliver for our customers. Our net revenue can be noisy based on our business mix and revenue presentation. Based on our continued success with cost optimization and efficiency initiatives, we are raising our full year adjusted EBITDA margin to positive 1% to 3%. We still expect positive adjusted EBITDA for 3 out of our 4 quarters in 2024 with Q2 being the exception.

Before we wrap up, I wanted to address our stock-based compensation and the impact of Jason's election to step down as Executive Chairman. As we discussed during our Investor Day late last year, we are being more thoughtful in our deployment of stock-based compensation and are managing to a dilution target of below 3%. We are on track to meet our target in 2024 but it will take time for our increased discipline to impact our stock-based compensation due to the vesting of grants from prior years. For the past several quarters, approximately 30% of our stock-based compensation is driven by the accounting for Jason's pre-IPO long-term performance award which consists of 7 equal tranches that vest upon the achievement of company stock price hurdles ranging from $67 to $173.

For this award to be earned, it included very specific service requirements as the CEO or Executive Chairman. Therefore, Jason's decision to step down from the Executive Chairman role were resorting him forfeiting the award and the reversal of previously recognized expenses. This reversal will occur with the transition in June, resulting in a $158 million onetime benefit to stock-based compensation in Q2. In addition, we will no longer expense $32 million of stock-based compensation that we would have booked from Q2 to Q4 of this year. Therefore, this change will lower our 2024 stock-based compensation by $190 million compared to what was expected at the start of the year. This will also lower our 2025 expense by $18 million. While this does not change the timing of sustained net income profitability, it does substantially reduce our net income loss over the next 2 years.

In fact, we now expect 2024 net income to be around breakeven to slightly positive due to the accounting of this forfeiture then going negative again in 2025 before reaching true and sustained profitability exiting 2026 as we laid out in our Investor Day late last year. In addition, Jason has elected to voluntarily convert a portion of its Class B shares to Class A shares on a one-for-one basis. Therefore, our Board has authorized another share repurchase program of up to $200 million. While we are not ready to commit to being a systematic buyer of our stock going forward, we continue to believe that our current valuation does not properly reflect the market opportunity, our differentiated and comprehensive offering and the expense discipline we have instilled in our business.

This attractive path to sustainable profitable growth, combined with our strong balance sheet and limited cash burn, make this buyback program a great opportunity to reduce our shares outstanding at our current valuation as we continue to manage the business for the long term. In conclusion, we are starting 2024 with solid results and continuing to generate the momentum we've built over the last 18 months to deliver sustainable growth, profitability and innovation in 2024 and beyond. Once we lap the Cash App renewal impacts at the end of Q2, our second half financial metrics will begin to reflect what we believe is our true performance trajectory. Our success with efficiency initiatives is expected to deliver positive adjusted EBITDA in 2024 for the first time as a company while continuing to enhance our platform capabilities to capture the immense opportunities ahead with new and existing customers.

I will now turn it over to the operator for Q&A.

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