SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended January 31, 2020
|TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-38933
CROWDSTRIKE HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of |
incorporation or organization)
|(I.R.S. Employer |
150 Mathilda Place, Suite 300, Sunnyvale, California 94086
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (888) 512-8906
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class of securities||Trading symbol(s)||Name of each national exchange and |
principal U.S. market for the securities
|Class A common stock, par value $0.0005 per share||CRWD||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC |
|(Nasdaq Global Select Market)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files) Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer|
|Non-accelerated Filer||☑||Smaller reporting company|
|(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)||Emerging growth company||☑|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of a share of the registrant’s common stock on July 31, 2019 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) as reported by the Nasdaq Global Select Market on such date was approximately $6.15 billion.
As of February 29, 2020, the number of shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding was 114,945,286, and the number of shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock outstanding was 98,267,729.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement relating to its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K where indicated. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this Annual Report on Form 10-K relates.
CROWDSTRIKE HOLDINGS, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding our future operating results and financial position, our business strategy and plans and our objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “potentially,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “expect” and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the following:
◦our future financial performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue, cost of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses (including changes in sales and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative expenses), and our ability to achieve, and maintain, future profitability;
◦market acceptance of our cloud platform;
◦the effects of increased competition in our markets and our ability to compete effectively;
◦our ability to maintain the security and availability of our cloud platform;
◦our ability to maintain and expand our customer base, including by attracting new customers;
◦our ability to develop new solutions, or enhancements to our existing solutions, and bring them to market in a timely manner;
◦anticipated trends, growth rates and challenges in our business and in the markets in which we operate;
◦our business plan and our ability to effectively manage our growth and associated investments;
◦beliefs and objectives for future operations;
◦our relationships with third parties, including channel partners and technology alliance partners;
◦our ability to maintain, protect and enhance our intellectual property rights;
◦our ability to successfully defend litigation brought against us;
◦our ability to successfully expand in our existing markets and into new markets;
◦sufficiency of cash to meet cash needs for at least the next 12 months;
◦our ability to expand internationally;
◦our ability to comply with laws and regulations that currently apply or become applicable to our business both in the United States and internationally;
◦our ability to implement, maintain, and improve our internal control over financial reporting;
◦the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel.
These statements are based on our current plans, estimates and projections in light of information currently available to us. These forward-looking statements may be affected by risks, uncertainties and other factors discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including under “Risk Factors.” Furthermore, new risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties or how they may affect us. If any of these risks or uncertainties occurs, our business, revenue and financial results could be harmed, and the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline. Forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K speak only as of the date on which such statements are made, and we undertake no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events, except as required by law.
We intend to announce material information to the public through the CrowdStrike Investor Relations website ir.crowdstrike.com, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls, and public webcasts. We use these channels, as well as social media and our blog, to communicate with our investors, customers, and the public about our company, our offerings, and other issues. It is possible that the information we post on social media and our blog could be deemed to be material information. As such, we encourage investors, the media, and others to follow the channels listed above, including the social media channels listed on our investor relations website, and to review the information disclosed through such channels. Any updates to the list of disclosure channels through which we will announce information will be posted on the investor relations page on our website.
Item 1. Business
We founded CrowdStrike in 2011 to reinvent security for the cloud era. When we started the company, cyberattackers had a decided, asymmetric advantage over existing security products. We turned the tables on the adversaries by taking a fundamentally new approach that leverages the network effects of crowdsourced data applied to modern technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and graph databases. Realizing that the nature of cybersecurity problems had changed but the solutions had not, we built our CrowdStrike Falcon platform to detect threats and stop breaches.
We believe we are defining a new category called the Security Cloud, with the power to transform the security industry much the same way the cloud has transformed the CRM, HR, and service management industries. With our Falcon platform, we created the first multi-tenant, cloud native, intelligent security solution capable of protecting workloads across on-premise, virtualized, and cloud-based environments running on a variety of endpoints such as laptops, desktops, servers, virtual machines, and IoT devices. We deliver comprehensive breach protection even against today’s most sophisticated attacks on the endpoint, where the most valuable corporate data resides. Our Falcon platform is composed of two tightly integrated proprietary technologies: our easily deployed intelligent lightweight agent and our cloud-based, dynamic graph database called Threat Graph. Our solution benefits from crowdsourcing and economies of scale, which we believe enables our AI algorithms to be uniquely effective. We call this cloud-scale AI. Our single lightweight agent is installed on each endpoint and provides local detection and prevention capabilities while also intelligently collecting and streaming high fidelity data to our platform for real-time decision-making. Our Threat Graph processes, correlates, and analyzes this data in the cloud using a combination of AI and behavioral pattern-matching techniques. By analyzing and correlating information across our massive, crowdsourced dataset, we are able to deploy our AI algorithms at cloud-scale and build a more intelligent, effective solution to detect threats and stop breaches that on-premise or single instance cloud products cannot match. Today, we offer 11 cloud modules on our Falcon platform via a SaaS subscription-based model that spans multiple large security markets, including endpoint security, security and IT operations (including vulnerability management), and threat intelligence.
Organizations everywhere are becoming more distributed as they adopt the cloud, increase workforce mobility, and grow their number of connected devices. They are adding more workloads to a myriad of different endpoints beyond the traditional security perimeter, exposing an increasingly broad attack surface to adversaries. In addition, the sophistication of cyberattacks has increased, often coming from nation-states, well-funded criminal organizations, and hackers using advanced, easily obtained methods of attack. On a number of occasions, adversaries have launched devastating, destructive attacks that have caused significant business disruption and billions of dollars in cumulative losses. The architectural limitations of legacy security products, coupled with a dynamic and intensifying threat landscape, are creating the need for a fundamentally new approach to security.
Our unique approach starts with our single intelligent lightweight agent that enables frictionless deployment of our platform at scale. Our customers can rapidly adopt our technology across any type of workload running on a variety of endpoints. Our lightweight agent offloads computationally intensive tasks to the cloud, while retaining local detection and prevention capabilities that are necessary on the endpoint. The agent is nonintrusive to the end user and continues to protect the endpoint and track activity even when offline. The agent recommences transmitting data to our Falcon platform when the connection to the cloud has been reestablished. By utilizing a single agent, customers are able to leverage all the capabilities of our platform without burdening the endpoint with multiple agents.
Our lightweight agent intelligently streams high fidelity endpoint data to the cloud where Threat Graph provides a simple, flexible, and scalable way to model highly interconnected data sets. Threat Graph processes, correlates, and analyzes over three trillion endpoint-related events per week in real time and maintains an index of these events for future use. Threat Graph continuously looks for malicious activity by applying graph analytics and AI algorithms to the data streamed from the endpoints. Our multi-tenant architecture allows us to collect a broad array of high fidelity data about both potential attacks and benign behavioral patterns across our entire customer base, continuously enhancing our AI algorithms. This significantly increases the efficacy of our solution to stop breaches while reducing false positives.
We founded our company on the principle that the future of security would be driven by AI and that a cloud-native architecture would enable the collection of high fidelity data and scalability necessary for an effective solution. We call this cloud-scale AI. From the beginning, our strategy was focused on collecting data at scale, centrally storing such data in a singular model, and training our algorithms on these vast amounts of high fidelity data, which we believe is a fundamental differentiator from our competitors. Our cloud-scale AI means that the more data that is fed into our Falcon platform, the more intelligent Threat Graph becomes and the more our customers benefit, creating a powerful network effect that increases the overall value we provide. AI is revolutionizing many technology fields, including security solutions. To be truly effective, algorithms that enable AI depend on the quality and volume of data that trains them and the selection of the right differentiating features from that data. Our proprietary algorithms in Threat Graph identify events that may or may not be directly related, but together could indicate a threat that could otherwise remain undetected. Our cloud-scale algorithms make over 134 million indicator of attack decisions per minute. We are uniquely effective because we have more high fidelity data to train our AI models and more security expertise to guide our feature selection—all resulting in industry-leading efficacy and low false positives. Our rich set of continuously collected high fidelity endpoint data feeding our algorithms also enables us to use an active learning approach, where the models are continuously updated to fill in gaps identified in initial models and their performance is validated with this data prior to production use.
By leveraging a multi-tenant, cloud native solution, the data we analyze to stop breaches is both larger and more meaningful than the data from on-premise or single instance private cloud products. If Threat Graph discovers something in one customer environment, all customers benefit automatically and in real time. Taken together, our platform enables intelligent, dynamic automation at scale to detect threats and stop breaches.
We designed our Falcon platform with an open, interoperable, and highly extensible architecture. Because of our single data model, we only need to collect high fidelity endpoint data once from our agent, which we can use repeatedly for multiple use cases. Therefore, we can rapidly innovate, build, and deploy highly integrated modules to access additional market opportunities. We launched CrowdStrike Store, the first open cloud-based application platform for endpoint security and the industry’s first unified security cloud ecosystem of trusted third-party applications. We also built a rich set of APIs that allows us to ingest third-party data into our Falcon platform and allows our customers to expand the functionality of their existing security systems by writing their own programs and accessing the data on our platform.
Our Falcon platform includes our OverWatch threat hunting cloud module that combines the human intelligence of our elite security experts with the power of Threat Graph. Because our world class team can see potential attacks across our entire customer base, their expertise is enhanced by their constant visibility into the threat landscape. We are able to keep this team extremely small and scalable by leveraging automation and our Threat Graph. OverWatch is a force multiplier that extends the capabilities and improves the productivity of our customers’ security teams.
We offer our customers compelling business value that includes ease of adoption, rapid time-to-value, superior efficacy rates in detecting threats and preventing breaches, and reduced total cost of ownership by consolidating legacy, siloed security products in a single solution. We also allow thinly-stretched security organizations to automate previously manual tasks, freeing them to focus on their most important objectives. With the Falcon platform, organizations can transform how they combat threats, from slow, manual, and reactionary to fast, automated, and predictive, providing visibility across the entire threat lifecycle.
We primarily sell our platform and cloud modules through our direct sales team that leverages our network of channel partners to maximize effectiveness and scale. We amplify our sales presence by leveraging our technology alliance partners that can deliver, embed, or build applications with data and analytics from our Falcon platform. We are also enhancing our go-to-market strategy using a low-touch, trial-to-pay approach. In December 2017, we began to employ a trial-to-pay model in which we offer 15-day free trial access to Falcon Prevent, our next-generation antivirus module, to prospective customers directly from our website. In May 2018, we announced that Falcon Prevent was available for trial and purchase from the AWS Marketplace. We believe this approach enables a higher velocity of new customer acquisition and expansion, and extends our reach to customers of all sizes.
We have a low friction land-and-expand sales strategy. When customers deploy our Falcon platform, they can start with any number of cloud modules and we can activate additional cloud modules in real time on the same agent already deployed on the endpoint. Once customers experience the benefits of our Falcon platform, they often expand their adoption over time by adding more endpoints or purchasing additional modules. As of January 31, 2020, one-third of our customer base had adopted five or more modules. Our dollar-based net retention rate, which measures expansion in existing customers’ subscriptions over a 12 month period, was 124% as of January 31, 2020, demonstrating the power of our land-and-expand strategy.
Some of the world’s largest enterprises, government organizations, and high profile brands trust us to protect their business. As of January 31, 2020, we had 5,431 subscription customers worldwide, including 49 of the Fortune 100, 40 of the top 100 global companies, and 11 of the top 20 major banks. We began as a large enterprise solution, but the flexibility and scalability of our Falcon platform and enhanced go-to-market approach enable us to protect customers of any size—from hundreds of thousands of endpoints to as few as one. We have been recognized by numerous independent third-party analysts, including Gartner(2)(3), Forrester, and IDC.
We have experienced significant growth, with total revenue increasing from $118.8 million for fiscal 2018 to $249.8 million for fiscal 2019, representing year-over-year growth of 110% and from $249.8 million for fiscal 2019 to $481.4 million for fiscal 2020, representing year-over-year growth of 93%. Subscription revenue grew from $92.6 million for fiscal 2018 to $219.4 million for fiscal 2019, a 137% increase, and from $219.4 million for fiscal 2019 to $436.3 million for fiscal 2020, a 99% increase. Our annual recurring revenue, or ARR, has grown from $141.3 million as of January 31, 2018, to $312.7 million as of January 31, 2019, a 121% increase, and from $312.7 million as of January 31, 2019 to $600.5 million as of January 31, 2020, a 92% increase. Our net loss increased from $135.5 million for fiscal 2018 to $140.1 million for fiscal 2019, to $141.8 million for fiscal 2020. We expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future as we continue to invest in our business, and our sales capabilities in particular, to address our large market opportunity.
There are a number of key trends that are driving the need for a new approach to security.
Cybersecurity Threats are Greater than Ever
Today’s cybersecurity threat landscape is more dangerous than ever. Breaches are complex and often executed over multiple steps known in the industry as the threat lifecycle. The typical threat lifecycle starts with an initial exploit to enter a system, historically using malware, but increasingly using malware-free or fileless methods, to penetrate endpoints and establish a beachhead inside the corporate perimeter. Once inside, adversaries move laterally across the corporate environment where they collect credentials and escalate privileges enabling the typical adversary to download a larger, more destructive malware program or connect with an external control source. At this stage in the threat lifecycle, the adversary is able to encrypt, destroy, or silently exfiltrate sensitive data.
Increasingly, adversaries are well-trained, possess significant technological and human resources, and are highly deliberate and targeted in their attacks. Adversaries today range from militaries and intelligence services of well-funded nation-states to sophisticated criminal organizations who are motivated by financial gains to hackers leveraging readily available advanced techniques. These groups and individuals are responsible for many breaches that involve theft or holding hostage financial data, intellectual property, and trade secrets. These attacks are pervasive, targeting a broad range of industries including technology, transportation, healthcare, financial services, governments and political organizations, utility, retail, and public infrastructure. On a number of occasions, adversaries have launched devastating, destructive attacks that have caused significant business disruption and billions of dollars in cumulative losses. For example, cyber risk modeling firm Cyence Inc. estimated that the overall global economic costs incurred from the 2017 WannaCry attack were between $4 billion and $8 billion.
Proliferation of Workloads Expanding the Attack Surface
The rise of cloud computing, workforce mobility, and growth in connected devices has created a rapid expansion of workloads across endpoints and industries. According to a 2019 Cisco white paper, the number of connected devices is expected to be 28.5 billion by 2022, up from 18 billion in 2017. As a result, devices, applications, and data are highly distributed and diverse, challenging organizations to monitor and protect all of their workloads running on various endpoints. The adoption of many of these technologies and the resulting disappearance of the corporate perimeter have expanded the attack surface and left many organizations increasingly vulnerable to breach. Today, workloads running on endpoints, such as laptops and servers, are the primary targets in a security attack since they are vulnerable and frequently are repositories of valuable and sensitive data, including intellectual property, authentication credentials, personally identifiable information, financial information, and other digital assets. As new workloads are provisioned on emerging mobile and IoT devices, oftentimes residing outside of the corporate perimeter, increasingly more sensitive and mission critical data will be generated and stored on these endpoints as well. Attacks such as Shamoon, WannaCry and NotPetya have shown that destroying or locking data on a large portion of an enterprise’s endpoints can cause widespread business disruption.
On-Premise Security Architectures are Constrained
On-premise products are siloed, lack integration, and have limited ability to collect, process, and analyze vast amounts of data—attributes that are required to be effective in today’s increasingly dynamic threat landscape. Legacy vendors often deploy more agents to the endpoint as they layer on a patchwork of additional point product capabilities. This approach burdens endpoints by consuming additional storage space, memory, and processor capacity, degrading end user experience without providing effective security. In addition, integrating and maintaining numerous products, data repositories, and infrastructures across highly distributed enterprise environments is a costly and resource-intensive process for already thinly-staffed security teams.
Other Existing Security Products have Limitations
Legacy Signature-based Products. Signature-based products are designed to detect attacks that are already catalogued in a repository of previously identified threats but are not capable of preventing unknown threats or stopping associated breaches. These signatures, known as Indicators of Compromise, or IOCs, represent a reactive method of tracking cyberattacks. By the time IOCs are located, all they provide is evidence of compromise or breach that may have already resulted in substantial losses to the victim. If an attack vector is even slightly modified, a signature-based approach will no longer detect the attack and will fail to stop the breach. Many significant breaches seen in the last two decades have involved the failure of a legacy signature-based antivirus product to detect a previously unknown or modified version of a previously known attack.
Malware-focused Machine Learning Products. Traditionally, organizations have focused on protecting their networks and endpoints against malware-based attacks. These attacks involve malware built for the specific purpose of performing malicious activities, stealing data, or destroying systems. A malware-centric defensive approach will leave the organization vulnerable to attacks that do not leverage malware. According to data from our customer base indexed by Threat Graph, 51% of detections for the calendar year ended 2019 were not malware-based, but instead leveraged legitimate tools built into modern operating systems enabling attackers to accomplish their objectives without writing files to the endpoint, making them more difficult for a traditional antivirus product to detect.
Application Whitelisting Products. Application whitelisting products resort to an “always allow” or “always block” policy on an endpoint in order to allow or prevent processes from executing. Whitelisting relies in part on manually creating and maintaining a complex list of rules, burdening end users and IT organizations. In order to avoid these management challenges, IT organizations often create special exceptions to the whitelist that attackers leverage to compromise endpoints. Furthermore, fileless attacks can exploit legitimate whitelisted applications, compromising the integrity of the whitelisting product.
Network-centric Security Products. Traditional network security vendors have focused their products on perimeter-based protection. However, these approaches have decreased in relevance and effectiveness as employees and workplace devices have expanded beyond the firewall and the use of encrypted traffic has increased creating blind spots and vulnerabilities that attackers are able to exploit. As the number of endpoints proliferates, this layer of defense cannot adequately protect information-rich endpoints and workloads that are outside the corporate perimeter.
Bolt-on Cloud Products. Many on-premise vendors have introduced cloud offerings by putting their on-premise products in the cloud. Such single-tenant products were not designed to run in the cloud and therefore continue to be siloed, lack integration, and possess limited scalability to identify threats across their customer base in real time. In addition, such products are complex to deploy, difficult to scale, brittle to maintain, costly to own, and can be ineffective in stopping breaches. Any product that was originally designed for on-premise deployments and migrated to the cloud cannot by definition be a cloud native solution.
Creation of the Security Cloud
Over the last 15 years, cloud computing has revolutionized many industries in enterprise software and created significant shifts in market share away from incumbents with on-premise or single instance cloud offerings. The cloud has enabled organizations to cost-efficiently scale their compute and storage resources, accelerate innovation, eliminate ongoing maintenance and administrative costs, and consolidate previously disparate and siloed products. During this period, new data technologies also emerged leveraging the cloud to enable more data collection, improve data analysis, and share key insights to drive better business outcomes and make more informed decisions.
The purpose-built, cloud native leaders that began from scratch with multi-tenant architectures, single data models, and SaaS business models have defined entirely new categories such as CRM Cloud, HR Cloud, and Service Management Cloud. We believe we are doing the same for security.
An effective solution to address the modern cybersecurity threat landscape should combine multiple methods into an integrated, data-driven, and automated cloud-based platform in order to provide comprehensive breach protection across the entire threat lifecycle. Such a platform requires collecting, processing, analyzing, and correlating vast amounts of high fidelity endpoint events in the cloud. This platform needs to operate at web-scale, process events in real time, and benefit from the network effects of crowdsourced data to understand attacks that happen across millions of endpoints. We believe only a cloud native approach can address today’s threat landscape.
We believe we are defining a new category called the Security Cloud.
With our Falcon platform, we created the first multi-tenant, cloud native, open, intelligent security solution capable of protecting workloads across on-premise, virtualized, and cloud-based environments running on a variety of endpoints such as laptops, desktops, servers, virtual machines, and IoT devices. Our solution consists of our single intelligent lightweight agent and our powerful and dynamic cloud-based database Threat Graph. These two tightly integrated proprietary technologies continually collect, process, analyze and correlate vast amounts of high fidelity data across the entire threat lifecycle using a combination of AI and behavioral pattern-matching techniques to stop breaches. We implement this approach by crowdsourcing data across our entire customer base and taking advantage of economies of scale, which we believe enables our AI algorithms to be uniquely effective. Our cloud-based AI is also automatically shared with every customer in our community in real time. We combine multiple methods of detection, prevention, and response to known and unknown threats as well as malware and malware-free techniques across the threat lifecycle.
Our Falcon platform integrates 11 cloud modules via a SaaS subscription-based model that spans multiple large security markets, including endpoint security, security and IT operations (including vulnerability management), and threat intelligence to deliver comprehensive breach protection even against today’s most sophisticated attacks. Our single data model and open cloud architecture enable us and third-party partners to rapidly innovate, build, and deploy new cloud modules to provide our customers with additional functionality across a myriad of use cases.
We designed our platform to be rapidly deployable, easy to use, and extensible, with the ability to consolidate point security products that have historically led to data siloes and agent sprawl, into one comprehensive and integrated solution. Our platform allows our customers’ thinly-staffed security organizations to spend less time and fewer resources provisioning hardware, configuring supporting software systems, and performing ongoing maintenance work, freeing them to focus on their most important objectives. We aim to transform how organizations combat threats from slow, manual, and reactionary to fast, automated, and predictive.
Our cloud modules currently span the following categories:
•Endpoint Security: Our next-generation antivirus, EDR, device control, and firewall management modules combine machine learning and advanced behavioral techniques to defend against malware and malware-free attacks, allow for continuous and comprehensive visibility and analysis of endpoint activity, and provide administrators with visibility and granular control across USB peripheral devices and host firewall policies.
•Security and IT Operations: We offer modules addressing IT hygiene, scan-less vulnerability management, a turnkey response and remediation solution, as well as a threat hunting solution that is powered by a team of elite security experts leveraging Threat Graph.
•Threat Intelligence: Our threat research, malware search engine, and malware analysis modules provide automated assistance to review detected threats, conduct malware research and detonate suspicious files securely.
We launched the CrowdStrike Store, which is the first open cloud-based application Platform as a Service, or PaaS, for cybersecurity. The CrowdStrike Store introduces a unified Security Cloud ecosystem of trusted partners and applications to our customers. The CrowdStrike Store allows customers to rapidly and easily discover, try, and purchase applications from both trusted partners and CrowdStrike without needing to deploy and manage additional agents and infrastructures or go through lengthy sales, integration, or implementation processes. The CrowdStrike Store allows partners to bring new security applications to the market and efficiently target our customer base. Leveraging our Falcon platform, partners can develop applications that address our customers’ needs without having to develop and support their own agents, invest in underlying infrastructure, or hire additional sales personnel. We believe the CrowdStrike Store will cultivate a rich, innovative, and trusted ecosystem between our partners and customers, increasing the overall value of our Falcon platform.
Key Benefits of Our Solution
•The Power of the Crowd. Our crowdsourced data enables all of our customers to benefit from contributing to Threat Graph. As more high fidelity data is fed into our Falcon platform, there is more data to train our AI models with, increasing the overall efficacy of our Falcon platform. This benefits our customers and supports our efforts to gain more customers, creating a powerful network effect. Threat Graph can then learn and identify warning signs once and rapidly deliver protection to every customer in our community. Further, our AI algorithms are more effective because they are trained on such a broad and representative set of data that captures information about potential attacks throughout the entire threat lifecycle across our customer base.
•High Efficacy with Low False Positives. Our Falcon platform collects, processes, correlates, and analyzes high fidelity data on both real-world attacks and benign behavioral patterns to continually train and enhance our algorithms resulting in industry-leading threat detection and low false positive rates.
•Consolidation of Siloed Products. Integrating and maintaining numerous products, data and infrastructures across highly distributed enterprise environments leaves blind spots that hackers can exploit and is a costly and resource-intensive process. Our integrated platform unifies cloud modules addressing next-generation antivirus, EDR, device control, host firewall management, vulnerability management, IT hygiene, threat hunting, and automated threat intelligence. Our platform enables our customers to reduce or streamline their siloed and layered security products, simplifying operations while providing a comprehensive solution.
•Consolidation of Agents. We provide robust and diverse functionality through a single intelligent lightweight agent. Legacy vendors’ agents were designed to be single purpose, thus they often deploy multiple agents to the endpoint as they layer additional point product capabilities on top of their initial offering. This legacy approach burdens endpoints by consuming additional storage space, memory, and processor capacity, degrading the end user experience. All of our cloud modules are powered by a single intelligent agent, allowing customers to consolidate and remove numerous agents from their infrastructure and restore endpoint performance. Because we collect data once from our agent and use it across multiple use cases, the Falcon platform can offer a wide range of functionality without burdening the endpoint.
•Rapid Time to Value. On-premise security solutions take time to install, configure, deploy, and maintain. We streamline the deployment process by providing cloud-delivered security with protection policies that work from day one, eliminating lengthy implementation periods and professional services engagements. Moreover, once a customer deploys our lightweight agent on their endpoints, we can activate additional cloud modules in real time.
•Constant Protection Anywhere. Our cloud-based model allows us to secure any type of workload across a variety of customer endpoints such as laptops, desktops, servers, virtual machines, and IoT devices. In addition, once our agent is deployed on an endpoint it continues to protect the endpoint and track activity even when offline.
•Elite Security Team as a Force Multiplier. Our OverWatch threat hunting cloud module combines world class human intelligence from our elite security experts with the power of Threat Graph. OverWatch is a force multiplier that extends the capabilities and improves the productivity of our customers’ security teams. Because our world class team can see attacks across our entire customer base, their expertise is enhanced by their constant visibility into the threat landscape.
•Bridging the Security Skills Gap through Automation. Our solution automates certain previously manual tasks, freeing up personnel to focus on their most important objectives. Our Falcon Complete module provides a turnkey solution that combines endpoint security with remediation and response capabilities.
•Lowering Total Cost of Ownership. Our cloud-based platform eliminates our customers’ need for initial or ongoing purchases of hardware and does not require their personnel to configure, implement or integrate disparate point products. Additionally, our comprehensive platform reduces overall personnel costs associated with ongoing maintenance, as well as the need for software patches and upgrades for separate products.
In addition to developing the first multi-tenant, cloud native security platform protecting workloads running on any endpoint, we have been recognized by multiple third-party industry analysts:
•CrowdStrike has an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5, the highest rating of all among vendors named a November 2019 Gartner Customer’s Choice for the endpoint protection platforms market, based on 188 reviews, as of 31 October 2019.(1)
•CrowdStrike Positioned as a Leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms and Furthest for Completeness of Vision in Entire Magic Quadrant.(2)
•CrowdStrike Receives Highest Score for “Lean Forward” Organizations (Type A Use Cases) in Gartner’s 2019 Critical Capabilities for Endpoint Protection Platforms Report.(3)
•CrowdStrike Named a Leader in the 2019 Forrester Waves for Endpoint Security Suites.(4)
•Forrester Names CrowdStrike a Leader in the 2019 Wave for Cybersecurity Incident Response Services.(5)
Key elements of our growth strategy include:
•Grow Our Customer Base by Replacing Legacy and Other Endpoint Security Products. Given the limitations of existing legacy and other endpoint security products, many organizations are replacing their existing legacy and other endpoint security products with our Falcon platform. We grew our subscription customer base by 2,915 customers from 2,516 at January 31, 2019, to 5,431 at January 31, 2020, representing a 116% increase. We will continue to invest in customer acquisition programs, including our channel partnerships and new programs, like our free trial program of Falcon Prevent that is easily downloaded from our website and AWS Marketplace.
•Further Penetrate Existing Customers. Our growth will depend in part on our ability to continue to expand our relationships with our customers by deploying on additional endpoints in their environment and cross selling more cloud modules. When customers deploy our lightweight agent, they can easily add additional cloud modules. We also offer in-application trial usage of additional modules to cross-sell to existing customers. While some new customers initially deploy our Falcon platform broadly across the organization, others elect to deploy only in selected business units and later deploy on additional endpoints and subscribe to additional modules. Over time, we seek to deploy our solution enterprise wide for all customers. The power of our land-and-expand strategy is evidenced by our 124% dollar-based net retention rate as of January 31, 2020.
•Leverage our Falcon Platform to Enter New Markets. Because we leverage a single data model and open cloud architecture, we are uniquely positioned to continue innovating and rapidly deploying new cloud modules on our platform. For example, since 2016, we have launched eight new cloud modules on our platform. One of these new cloud modules is Falcon Discover, which includes use cases outside of security, such as application license management, AWS spend analysis, and asset inventory. Because our lightweight agent collects diverse endpoint data once for repeated use, we can expand our addressable market by rapidly adding new cloud modules that leverage this data. We intend to continue to develop new cloud modules for broader endpoint use cases.
(1)Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Endpoint Protection Platforms (Peer Contributors, Published 10 December 2019).
(2)Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms (Peter Firstbrook, Dionisio Zumerle, et al., Published 20 August 2019).
(3)Gartner Critical Capabilities for Endpoint Protection Platforms (Peter Firstbrook, Dionisio Zumerle, et al., Published 17 October 2019).
(4)The Forrester Wave™: Endpoint Security Suites, Q3 2019 [forrester.com]
(5)The Forrester Wave™: Cybersecurity Incident Response Services, Q1 2019 [forrester.com]
•Broaden Reach into New Customer Segments. While we initially targeted large sophisticated enterprises, we have expanded our go-to-market efforts to include customers of all sizes with a dedicated inside sales team focused on smaller organizations. We also released Falcon Complete in 2018, our turnkey solution that combines the most popular cloud modules of our Falcon platform with our remediation and response capabilities, to create a solution for customers with limited or no internal security expertise. As a result, we can sell our Falcon platform to the largest enterprises or smallest businesses with any level of security sophistication and budget. We continue to look for new ways to broaden our reach into new customer segments.
•Extend our Falcon Platform and Ecosystem. We designed our architecture to be open, interoperable, and highly extensible. We launched the CrowdStrike Store, the first open cloud-based application PaaS for cybersecurity, which provides an ecosystem of trusted partners and applications for our customers. In the future we plan to continue investing in the CrowdStrike Store to empower our partners by making it easier to build applications and to enable our customers to more easily discover, try, and purchase additional cloud modules from both trusted partners and us.
•Broaden Reach into the U.S. Federal Government Vertical. We are investing in the acquisition of customers in the U.S. federal government vertical. Our platform is authorized by several federal agencies via the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (“FedRAMP”). To further meet the compliance demands of the federal government, customers can elect to deploy the Falcon platform in the AWS GovCloud. We have also successfully been embedded into several strategic government-wide cybersecurity programs and contracts, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Approved Products List, which serves to provide federal agencies with innovative security tools.
•Expand Our International Footprint. We are expanding our international operations and intend to invest globally to broaden our international footprint. We grew our international revenue from $57.8 million for fiscal 2019, to $124.9 million for fiscal 2020, representing an increase of 116%. We intend to grow our international customer base by increasing our investments in our overseas operations, including adding headcount in Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Japan and establishing overseas data centers.
Our Falcon platform is composed of two tightly integrated proprietary technologies: our lightweight agent and Threat Graph. The Falcon platform offers a unified set of cloud-delivered technologies that power a wide range of products including next-generation antivirus, EDR, device control, host firewall management, managed threat hunting, IT hygiene, vulnerability management, and threat intelligence. We can rapidly and cost effectively develop and deliver additional cloud modules on our Falcon platform, and are expanding options for our new customers to test modules on a trial basis and in-application trials for existing customers. Our expanding set of open APIs allows customers and partners to build their own capabilities on top of the Falcon platform. With our Falcon platform, we can crowdsource data and deliver a variety of cloud modules to detect and stop breaches.
Our Cloud Modules
Our cloud modules integrate seamlessly with the Falcon platform to provide functionality in the endpoint security, security and IT operations (including vulnerability management), and threat intelligence markets. Today, our cloud modules include:
Falcon Prevent—Next-Generation Antivirus. Falcon Prevent provides next-generation antivirus capabilities to customers, delivering comprehensive protection to defend customers against both malware and fileless attacks. Falcon Prevent incorporates identification of known malware, machine learning for unknown malware, exploit blocking and advanced behavioral techniques to allow organizations to replace their existing legacy antivirus products.
Falcon Insight—Endpoint Detection and Response. Falcon Insight provides EDR capabilities to customers, allowing for continuous and comprehensive visibility to notify our customers what is happening on their endpoints in real time. Falcon Insight records and automatically analyzes activity on the endpoint to provide deep visibility, fast and powerful search capabilities, and comprehensive context and data needed to enable proactive threat hunting and forensic analysis.
Falcon Device Control. Falcon Device Control provides administrators with a high degree of visibility and granular control of USB peripheral devices.
Falcon Firewall Management. Falcon Firewall Management provides centralized management of the firewall capabilities native to the host operating system, allowing customers to create, enforce, and maintain host firewall policies.
Security and IT Operations
Falcon OverWatch—Threat Hunting. Falcon OverWatch is a threat hunting solution that consists of an elite team of dedicated security experts who work with the power of Threat Graph to proactively identify threats for our customers. The global Falcon OverWatch team seamlessly augments customers’ in-house security resources to identify and investigate suspicious and malicious activities.
Falcon Discover—IT Hygiene. Falcon Discover identifies rogue systems and applications in our customers’ networks, and monitors the use of privileged user accounts anywhere in a customer’s environments. The module also enables use cases outside of security, such as application license management, AWS spend analysis, and asset inventory.
Falcon Complete—Turnkey Security Solution. Falcon Complete provides comprehensive monitoring, management, response, and remediation solution to our customers. It is backed by an underwritten limited warranty policy for breaches. Falcon Complete is designed to bring enterprise level security to companies that may lack enterprise level resources.
Falcon Spotlight—Vulnerability Management. Falcon Spotlight identifies vulnerabilities in real time that exist across our customer endpoints. The module does not depend on scanning systems for vulnerabilities, a process that can often take days or weeks for an enterprise, and instead leverages data already collected by our agent to provide instant and accurate real-time visibility into an enterprise’s vulnerability exposure.
Falcon X—Threat Intelligence. Falcon X integrates threat intelligence into endpoint protection. It provides automated analysis of detected threats to provide insight into the capabilities, motivation and attribution of attacks. It also extends protection against detected threats and their variants into other security solutions deployed within the organization for defense-in-depth coverage by delivering actionable intelligence and custom IOCs. In addition to the standard Falcon X offering, we also offer premium options that include global threat research and reporting from our team of intelligence analysts.
Falcon Search Engine—Malware Search. Falcon Search Engine enables customers to search in real time across approximately 800 terabytes of malware collected in our Falcon platform and indexed by our proprietary binary data indexing technology. Results are enriched with threat intelligence, enabling rapid analysis and giving security analysts and threat researchers the advantage they need to stay ahead of the adversary.
Falcon Sandbox—Malware Analysis. Falcon Sandbox allows our customers to analyze unknown files for malicious behavior by detonating them safely in virtual machines. Sandbox provides visibility into malware behavior, automating in-depth file and memory analysis for faster threat protection and response.
We have designed an innovative architecture from the ground up to overcome the limitations of existing security products and deliver cloud-based solutions. The key design principles of our Falcon platform include:
Cloud Native Architecture. We built the Falcon platform entirely in and for the cloud, enabling collection and analysis of a massive, crowdsourced dataset from all of our customers to stop breaches. Our platform is designed to be redundant, resilient, and high performing. Delivering security from the cloud enables agility, ease of use, and protection for workloads on a variety of endpoints wherever they are located. As customer adoption grows, the network effect of each additional endpoint added to the Falcon platform will amplify the breadth and depth of our dataset and intelligence.
Falcon Agent. We designed an intelligent lightweight agent that is installed on each endpoint. These agents incorporate identification and prevention of known malware, machine learning for unknown malware, exploit blocking and advanced behavioral techniques, to protect workloads across all endpoints while capturing and recording high fidelity endpoint data. Our agents continue to protect workloads running on endpoints even when offline. The agent recommences transmitting data to our Falcon platform when the connection to the cloud has been re-established. Our lightweight agent occupies less than 35 megabytes of storage space on the endpoint and is built to support Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The agent is hardened against attacks and uses a combination of kernel and user-mode modules to collect high fidelity endpoint events as they take place on a system. It correlates these events with a local situational model on the endpoint, analyzes via agent-based machine learning models and is capable of taking a variety of preventative and responsive actions on the endpoint, either automatically or via human control. Events are streamed by the agent to the cloud in real time in order to be further analyzed in the Threat Graph, where additional correlation and AI algorithms can be applied. The agent is also capable of being remotely reconfigured in real time based on analytics in our cloud platform in order to collect and analyze different events or take other actions.
Threat Graph. Threat Graph is a proprietary, powerful, and dynamic graph database. Threat Graph continually looks for malicious activity by combining AI with behavioral pattern-matching techniques to look beyond file features and track the behaviors of every software program executed on an endpoint in a customer’s network environment. By applying powerful graph analytics and AI algorithms to cybersecurity, we enrich the data collected with our proprietary and third-party threat intelligence, such as adversary capabilities, motivations, attributions, and threat indicators. Threat Graph processes, correlates, and analyzes over three trillion endpoint-related events across our global customer community per week in real time, making 134 million indicator of attack decisions per minute, and indexing petabytes of historical data for exploration and search. The graph data model allows the AI algorithms to identify relationships between events that are not directly related but which could indicate an attack that would otherwise remain undetected. We believe that our AI algorithms are advantaged by the rich dataset that we have to train them. Threat Graph provides customers with complete real time and historical visibility and insight into events occurring on their endpoints for hunting and searching.
Threat Graph also provides query and hunting capability over the full set of high fidelity events collected in the graph. This correlated data, natively represented in a graph structure, enables new products and cloud modules to be created rapidly since the platform provides the visibility, collection, correlation and actions over data as reusable building blocks. This collect-once, use repeatedly approach is the reason why we have been able to deliver new cloud modules covering IT hygiene and vulnerability management quickly and enables us to continue expanding the Falcon platform rapidly in the future.
High Fidelity Data and Smart Filtering. Absent an intelligent agent, a typical endpoint generates approximately 100 gigabytes of unfiltered system event data per day. After this data is compressed, or data shaped, a typical enterprise organization with 100,000 endpoints would generate over one petabyte of endpoint events daily. The presence of a local graph model in our agent enables it to track the state of the machine in real time, perform rapid machine learning and behavioral analysis, and provide efficient event streaming to the cloud. We call this “smart filtering.” This allows us to keep overhead on the endpoint to a minimum, dramatically reduce the bandwidth required for agent-cloud communication, efficiently process large volumes of data, and separate the signal from the noise. The Falcon agent collects and analyzes unfiltered data with local machine learning and behavioral algorithms on the endpoint but only streams high fidelity endpoint events to the cloud to only send what is necessary for detection, prevention and investigation of attacks. This smart filtering architecture allows us to reduce network load for customers to approximately five megabytes per endpoint per day. The Falcon platform collects an array of high fidelity endpoint events, such as code execution, network, file system and user activity. This information can be used for a variety of use cases beyond security, such as IT operations and vulnerability management.
Management Interface. The Falcon platform management interface gives customers an intuitive and informative view of their complete environment, with timely alerts and detailed search capabilities. We provide real-time endpoint visibility to allow customers to review details and respond to threats instantly and effectively, from anywhere, and maintain an index of these events for future use. We also provide access to Falcon X, streamlining and simplifying the forensics analysis process.
APIs and Integrations. Our Falcon platform and architecture is built around a rich set of APIs that efficiently and effectively complement and expand a customer’s existing security infrastructure, such as security information event management, or SIEMs, and intrusion prevention systems and intrusion detection systems. The platform includes streaming, query and batch APIs allowing customers and partners to integrate a variety of solutions seamlessly. It also includes rich management and control APIs. The platform allows third parties to develop additional cloud modules and features, furthering the power of the Falcon platform. By connecting existing security systems to the Falcon platform, we allow our customers to further leverage their security investments. For example, our strategic partner, Zscaler, used our APIs to develop a joint solution that allows our common customers to leverage Threat Graph and automated policy enforcement to improve security across networks and endpoints.
Data Center Operations
We have data center co-location facilities throughout the United States and in Germany, and we also utilize AWS data centers located in the United States for our storage needs and to help deliver our solution. Our technology infrastructure, combined with select use of AWS resources, provides us with a distributed and scalable architecture on a global scale.
In addition to our Falcon platform and cloud modules, we also offer incident response services and proactive services to organizations that have experienced a breach or are assessing their security posture.
•Incident Response Services. Our incident response services typically begin by deploying our lightweight agent to a customer’s endpoints to provide comprehensive visibility and determine if an attacker is currently in the environment, what assets have been compromised, and how much damage has been done. We also provide customized remediation planning by providing a strategy to eject attackers out of the network, lock down credentials from further use, and ensure adversaries stay out. In addition to providing valuable breach remediation to our customers, our incident response services also act as a strong lead generation engine for our Falcon platform and cloud modules. After experiencing the benefits of our platform firsthand, many of our incident response customers become subscription customers. Among organizations who first became a customer after February 1, 2017, for each $1.00 spent by those customers on their initial engagement for our incident response or proactive services, as of January 31, 2020, we derived an average of $3.73 in ARR from those subscription contracts.
•Proactive Services. Our proactive security services include cybersecurity maturity assessment, penetration testing, and other customized offerings that leverage our Falcon platform and cloud modules. These services are designed to evaluate our customers’ security profile so they can identify areas of vulnerability, secure their network and improve their response if their defenses are breached.
Some of the world’s largest enterprises, government organizations, and high profile brands trust us to protect their business. As of January 31, 2020, we had 5,431 subscription customers worldwide, including 49 of the Fortune 100, 40 of the top 100 global companies, and 11 of the top 20 major banks. Historically, we and our channel partners have primarily sold to large organizations, but have increasingly focused on selling to small and medium-sized businesses, particularly through our trial-to-pay model. We engage our customers through our global customer and technical advisory boards in which we solicit feedback from our customers on a regular basis allowing us to understand their evolving needs. We have used this feedback to develop new cloud modules, such as Falcon Insight, and we intend to continue to develop new cloud modules based on our customer’s feedback. Our business is not dependent on any particular end customer.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales and marketing organizations work together closely to drive market awareness, build a strong sales pipeline and cultivate customer relationships to drive revenue growth.
We primarily sell subscriptions to our Falcon platform and cloud modules through our direct sales team, which is comprised of field sales and inside sales professionals who are segmented by a customer’s number of endpoints. Our sales team also leverages our network of channel partners. We also use our sales team to identify current customers who may be interested in free trials of additional cloud modules, which serves as a powerful driver of our land and expand model. By segmenting our sales teams, we can deploy a low-touch sales model that efficiently identifies prospective customers.
Our marketing organization is focused on building our brand reputation, increasing the awareness and reputation of our platform, and driving customer demand. As part of these efforts, we deliver targeted content to demonstrate thought leadership in the security industry, including speaking engagements with the security industry’s foremost organizations to provide expert advice, issuing regular reports on the state of the industry, educating the public about the cybersecurity threats, and identifying and naming adversary groups. We also engage in paid media, web marketing, industry and trade conferences, including our annual Fal.Con conference, analyst engagements, producing whitepapers, demand generation via digital and web, and targeted displacement campaigns. We employ a wide range of digital programs, including search engine marketing, online and social media initiatives, and content syndication to increase traffic to our website and encourage new customers to sign up for a 15-day free trial of the Falcon platform. Additionally, we engage in joint marketing activities with our channel and technology alliance partners. In December 2017, we began to employ a trial-to-pay model in which we offer 15-day free trial access to Falcon Prevent to prospective customers directly from our website. In May 2018, we announced that Falcon Prevent was available for trial and purchase from the AWS Marketplace.
We work with a number of technology alliance partners to design go-to-market strategies that combine our platform with products or services provided by our technology alliance partners. These partner integrations deliver more secure solutions and an improved end user experience to their customers. Our technology alliance partnerships focus on security analytics, network and infrastructure security, threat platforms and orchestration, and automation. We launched the CrowdStrike Store, the first open cloud-based application PaaS for cybersecurity and the industry’s first unified security cloud ecosystem of trusted third-party applications. In addition, we recently announced the launch of Falcon for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Available in the AWS Marketplace, Falcon for AWS allows customers to easily purchase and take advantage of the metered billing (pay-as-you-go) pricing option to scale their consumption as their business needs change.
Research and Development
Our research and development organization is responsible for the design, architecture, operation and quality of our cloud native Falcon platform. In addition to improving on our features, functionality and scalability, this organization works closely with our cloud operations team to ensure that our platform is available, reliable, and stable.
Our success is a result of our continuous drive for innovation. Our internal team of security experts, researchers, intelligence analysts, and threat hunters continuously analyzes the evolving global threat landscape to develop products that defend against today’s most sophisticated and stealthy attacks and reports on emerging security issues. We invest substantial resources in research and development to enhance our Falcon platform, and develop new cloud modules, features and functionality. We believe timely development of new, and enhancement of our, products, services, and features is essential to maintaining our competitive position. We work closely with our customers and channel partners to gain valuable insight into their security management practices to assist us in designing new cloud modules and features that extend the capability of our platform. Our technical staff monitors and tests our software on a regular basis, and we also make our Falcon platform available for third-party validation. We also maintain a regular release process to update and enhance our existing solutions. In addition, we engage security consulting firms to perform periodic vulnerability analysis of our solutions.
Our research and development leadership team is located in Seattle, Washington and Sunnyvale, California, and we also maintain research and development center in Irvine, California. We plan to continue to dedicate significant resources to research and development.
The market for our services is intensely competitive and characterized by rapid changes in technology, customer requirements, and industry standards and by frequent new product and service offerings and improvements. We compete with an array of established and emerging security solution vendors. Conditions in our market could change rapidly and significantly as a result of technological advancements, partnerships, or acquisitions by our competitors or continuing market consolidation. With the introduction of new technologies and market entrants, we expect the competitive environment to remain intense. Our competitors include the following by general category:
•legacy antivirus product providers, such as McAfee, LLC., Broadcom Inc.’s Symantec Enterprise division, and Microsoft Corporation, who offer a broad range of approaches and solutions with traditional antivirus and signature-based protection;
•alternative endpoint security providers, such as BlackBerry Cylance and VMware Carbon Black, who offer point products based on malware-only or application whitelisting techniques; and
•network security vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks, Inc. and FireEye, Inc., who are supplementing their core perimeter-based offerings with endpoint security solutions.
We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including but not limited to our:
•ability to identify security threats and prevent security breaches;
•ability to integrate with other participants in the security ecosystem;
•time to value, price, and total cost of ownership;
•brand awareness, reputation, and trust in the provider’s services;
•strength of sales, marketing, and channel partner relationships; and
•customer support, incident response, and proactive services.
Although certain of our competitors enjoy greater resources, recognition, deeper customer relationships, larger existing customer bases, or more mature intellectual property portfolios, we believe that we compete favorably with respect to these factors and that we are well positioned as a leading provider of endpoint security solutions.
We believe that our intellectual property rights are valuable and important to our business. We rely on trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, license agreements, intellectual property assignment agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements, and employee non-disclosure and invention assignment agreements to establish and protect our proprietary rights. Though we rely in part upon these legal and contractual protections, we believe that factors such as the skills and ingenuity of our employees and the functionality and frequent enhancements to our solutions are larger contributors to our success in the marketplace.
As of January 31, 2020, we had 26 issued patents in the United States, 15 issued patents in a number of international jurisdictions, 41 patent applications (including three provisional applications and five continuation/divisional applications) pending in the United States and 46 patent applications pending internationally. Our issued patents expire between 2032 and 2037, and seven of our pending patent applications have been allowed. These patents and patent applications seek to protect our proprietary inventions relevant to our business. We intend to pursue additional intellectual property protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial and cost-effective. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, they may not be respected in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented, or challenged. Our industry is characterized by the existence of a large number of patents and frequent claims and related litigation based on allegations of patent infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. We believe that competitors will try to develop products that are similar to ours and that may infringe our intellectual property rights. Our competitors or other third-parties may also claim that our security platform and other solutions infringe their intellectual property rights. In particular, some companies in our industry have extensive patent portfolios. From time to time, third parties have in the past and may in the future assert claims of infringement, misappropriation and other violations of intellectual property rights against us or our customers, with whom our agreements may obligate us to indemnify against these claims. Successful claims of infringement by a third party could prevent us from offering certain products or features, require us to develop alternate, non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and during which we could be unable to continue to offer our affected products or solutions, require us to obtain a license, which may not be available on reasonable terms or at all, or force us to pay substantial damages, royalties, or other fees. For additional information, see the section titled “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—The success of our business depends in part on our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights.”
We enter into both single and multi-year subscription contracts for our solutions. We generally invoice the entire amount at contract signing prior to commencement of subscription period. Until such time as these amounts are invoiced, they are not recorded in deferred revenue or elsewhere in our consolidated financial statements, and are considered by us to be backlog. As of January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2019, we had backlog of approximately $192.8 million and $55.6 million, respectively. Of the backlog of $192.8 million as of January 31, 2020, approximately $56.6 million is not reasonably expected to be billed in fiscal 2021. We expect backlog will change from period to period for several reasons, including the timing and duration of customer agreements, varying billing cycles of subscription agreements, and the timing and duration of customer renewals. Because revenue for any period is a function of revenue recognized from deferred revenue under contracts in existence at the beginning of the period, as well as contract renewals and new customer contracts during the period, backlog at the beginning of any period is not necessarily indicative of future revenue performance. We do not utilize backlog as a key management metric internally.
Given the annual budget approval process of many of our customers, we see seasonal patterns in our business. We expect these seasonal variations to become more pronounced in future periods, with net new ARR generation being greater in the second half of the year, particularly in the fourth quarter, as compared to the first half of the year. In addition, we also experience seasonality in our operating margin, with a lower margin in the first half of our fiscal year due to a step up in costs for payroll taxes, new hires, and annual sales and marketing events. This also impacts the timing of operating cash flow and free cash flow.
As of January 31, 2020, we had 2,309 full-time employees. We also engage temporary employees and consultants as needed to support our operations. None of our employees in the United States are represented by a labor union or subject to a collective bargaining agreement. In certain countries in which we operate, we are subject to, and comply with, local labor law requirements which may automatically make our employees subject to industry-wide collective bargaining agreements. We may be required to comply with the terms of these collective bargaining agreements. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.
CrowdStrike, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Delaware in August 2011. We then incorporated CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. in the state of Delaware in November 2011, which acquired all shares of CrowdStrike, Inc. held by Warburg Pincus Private Equity X, L.P. and Warburg Pincus X Partners, L.P., or Warburg Pincus, such that CrowdStrike, Inc. became our wholly-owned subsidiary. Our principal executive offices are located at 150 Mathilda Place, Suite 300, Sunnyvale, California 94086, and our telephone number is (888) 512-8906. Our website address is www.crowdstrike.com. Information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
A description of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business is set forth below. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, as well as the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The occurrence of any of the events or developments described below, or of additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects. In such an 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 Industry
We have experienced rapid growth in recent periods, and if we do not manage our future growth, our business and results of operations will be adversely affected.
We have experienced rapid revenue growth in recent periods and we expect to continue to invest broadly across our organization to support our growth. For example, our headcount grew from 324 employees as of January 31, 2016 to 2,309 employees as of January 31, 2020. Although we have experienced rapid growth historically, we may not sustain our current growth rates, nor can we assure you that our investments to support our growth will be successful. The growth and expansion of our business will require us to invest significant financial and operational resources and the continuous dedication of our management team. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks and difficulties frequently experienced by rapidly growing companies in evolving industries, including market acceptance of our Falcon platform, adding new customers, intense competition, and our ability to manage our costs and operating expenses. Our future success will depend in part on our ability to manage our growth effectively, which will require us to, among other things:
•effectively attract, integrate, and retain a large number of new employees, particularly members of our sales and marketing and research and development teams;
•further improve our Falcon platform, including our cloud modules, and IT infrastructure, including expanding and optimizing our data centers, to support our business needs;
•enhance our information and communication systems to ensure that our employees and offices around the world are well coordinated and can effectively communicate with each other and our growing base of channel partners and customers; and
•improve our financial, management, and compliance systems and controls.
If we fail to achieve these objectives effectively, our ability to manage our expected growth, ensure uninterrupted operation of our Falcon platform and key business systems, and comply with the rules and regulations applicable to our business could be impaired. Additionally, the quality of our platform and services could suffer and we may not be able to adequately address competitive challenges. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We have a history of losses and may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability in the future.
We have incurred net losses in all periods since our inception, and we may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future. We experienced net losses of $135.5 million, $140.1 million, and $141.8 million for fiscal 2018, fiscal 2019, and fiscal 2020, respectively. As of January 31, 2020, we had an accumulated deficit of $637.5 million. While we have experienced significant growth in revenue in recent periods, we cannot assure you when or whether we will reach or maintain profitability. We also expect our operating expenses to increase in the future as we continue to invest for our future growth, which will negatively affect our results of operations if our total revenue does not increase. We cannot assure you that these investments will result in substantial increases in our total revenue or improvements in our results of operations. In addition to the anticipated costs to grow our business, we also expect to incur significant additional legal, accounting, and other expenses as a newly public company. Any failure to increase our revenue as we invest in our business or to manage our costs could prevent us from achieving or maintaining profitability or positive cash flow.
Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our current business and future prospects, and may increase the risk of your investment.
We were founded in November 2011 and launched our first endpoint security solution in 2013. Our limited operating history makes it difficult to evaluate our current business, future prospects, and other trends, including our ability to plan for and model future growth. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks, uncertainties, and difficulties frequently experienced by rapidly growing companies in evolving industries, including our ability to achieve broad market acceptance of cloud-based, SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions and our Falcon platform, attract additional customers, grow partnerships, compete effectively, build and maintain effective compliance programs, and manage increasing expenses as we continue to invest in our business. If we do not address these risks, uncertainties, and difficulties successfully, our business, and results of operations will be harmed. Further, we have limited historical financial data, and we operate in a rapidly evolving market. As a result, any predictions about our future revenue and expenses may not be as accurate as they would be if we had a longer operating history or operated in a more predictable market.
If organizations do not adopt cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions, our ability to grow our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We believe our future success will depend in large part on the growth, if any, in the market for cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions. The use of SaaS solutions to manage and automate security and IT operations is at an early stage and rapidly evolving. As such, it is difficult to predict its potential growth, if any, customer adoption and retention rates, customer demand for our solutions, or the success of existing competitive products. Any expansion in our market depends on a number of factors, including the cost, performance, and perceived value associated with our solutions and those of our competitors. If our solutions do not achieve widespread adoption or there is a reduction in demand for our solutions due to a lack of customer acceptance, technological challenges, competing products, privacy concerns, decreases in corporate spending, weakening economic conditions or otherwise, it could result in early terminations, reduced customer retention rates, or decreased revenue, any of which would adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial results. We do not know whether the trend in adoption of cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions we have experienced in the past will continue in the future. Furthermore, if we or other SaaS security providers experience security incidents, loss or disclosure of customer data, disruptions in delivery, or other problems, the market for SaaS solutions as a whole, including our security solutions, will be negatively affected. You should consider our business and prospects in light of the risks and difficulties we encounter in this new and evolving market.
If we are unable to attract new customers, our future results of operations could be harmed.
To expand our customer base, we need to convince potential customers to allocate a portion of their discretionary budgets to purchase our Falcon platform. Our sales efforts often involve educating our prospective customers about the uses and benefits of our Falcon platform. Enterprises and governments that use legacy security products, such as signature-based or malware-based products, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and antivirus, for their IT security may be hesitant to purchase our Falcon platform if they believe that these products are more cost effective, provide substantially the same functionality as our Falcon platform or provide a level of IT security that is sufficient to meet their needs. We may have difficulty convincing prospective customers of the value of adopting our solution. Even if we are successful in convincing prospective customers that a cloud native platform like ours is critical to protect against cyberattacks, they may not decide to purchase our Falcon platform for a variety of reasons some of which are out of our control. For example, any deterioration in general economic conditions, including a downturn due to the outbreak of diseases such as the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, may cause our customers to cut their overall security and IT operations spending, and such cuts may fall disproportionately on cloud-based security solutions like ours. Economic weakness, customer financial difficulties, and constrained spending on security and IT operations
may result in decreased revenue, reduced sales, lengthened sales cycles, increased churn, lower demand for our products, and adversely affect our results of operations and financial conditions. Additionally, if the incidence of cyberattacks were to decline or be perceived to decline, or if organizations adopt endpoints that use operating systems we do not adequately support, our ability to attract new customers and expand sales of our solutions to existing customers could be adversely affected. If organizations do not continue to adopt our Falcon platform, our sales will not grow as quickly as anticipated, or at all, and our business, results of operations, and financial condition would be harmed.
If our customers do not renew their subscriptions for our products and add additional cloud modules to their subscriptions, our future results of operations could be harmed.
In order for us to maintain or improve our results of operations, it is important that our customers renew their subscriptions for our Falcon platform when existing contract terms expire, and that we expand our commercial relationships with our existing customers by selling additional cloud modules and by deploying to more endpoints in their environments. Our customers have no obligation to renew their subscription for our Falcon platform after the expiration of their contractual subscription period, which is generally one year, and in the normal course of business, some customers have elected not to renew. In addition, our customers may renew for shorter contract subscription lengths or cease using certain cloud modules. Our customer retention and expansion may decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including our customers’ satisfaction with our services, our pricing, customer security and networking issues and requirements, our customers’ spending levels, decreases in the number of endpoints to which our customers deploy our solutions, mergers and acquisitions involving our customers, industry developments, competition and general economic conditions. If our efforts to maintain and expand our relationships with our existing customers are not successful, our business, results of operations, and financial condition may materially suffer.
We 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 security and IT operations solutions is intensely competitive, fragmented, and characterized by rapid changes in technology, customer requirements, industry standards, increasingly sophisticated attackers, and by frequent introductions of new or improved products to combat security threats. We expect to continue to face intense competition from current competitors, as well as from new entrants into the market. If we are unable to anticipate or react to these challenges, our competitive position could weaken, and we could experience a decline in revenue or reduced revenue growth, and loss of market share that would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Our ability to compete effectively depends upon numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, but not limited to:
•product capabilities, including performance and reliability, of our Falcon platform, including our cloud modules, services, and features compared to those of our competitors;
•our ability, and the ability of our competitors, to improve existing products, services, and features, or to develop new ones to address evolving customer needs;
•our ability to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees;
•our ability to establish and maintain relationships with channel partners;
•the strength of our sales and marketing efforts; and
•acquisitions or consolidation within our industry, which may result in more formidable competitors.
Our competitors include the following by general category:
•legacy antivirus product providers, such as McAfee, Inc., Broadcom Inc. (Symantec), and Microsoft Corporation, who offer a broad range of approaches and solutions including traditional antivirus and signature-based protection;
•alternative endpoint security providers, such as Blackberry Cylance and VMWare, Inc. (Carbon Black), who offer point products based on malware-only or application whitelisting techniques; and
•network security vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks, Inc. and FireEye, Inc., who are supplementing their core perimeter-based offerings with endpoint security solutions.
Many of these competitors have greater financial, technical, marketing, sales, and other resources, greater name recognition, longer operating histories, and a larger base of customers than we do. They may be able to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, and sale of services than we can, and they may offer lower pricing than we do. Further, they may have greater resources for research and development of new technologies, the provision of customer support, and the pursuit of acquisitions, or they may have other financial, technical, or other resource advantages. Our larger competitors have substantially broader and more diverse product and services offerings as well as routes to market, which allows them to leverage their relationships based on other products or incorporate functionality into existing products to gain business in a manner that discourages users from purchasing our platform, including our cloud modules. Conditions in our market could change rapidly and significantly as a result of technological advancements, partnering or acquisitions by our competitors or continuing market consolidation. Some of our competitors have recently made acquisitions of businesses or have established cooperative relationships that may allow them to offer more directly competitive and comprehensive solutions than were previously offered and adapt more quickly to new technologies and customer needs. These competitive pressures in our market or our failure to compete effectively may result in price reductions, fewer orders, reduced revenue and gross margins, increased net losses and loss of market share. Further, many competitors that specialize in providing protection from a single type of security threat may be able to deliver these targeted security products to the market quicker than we can or convince organizations that these limited products meet their needs. Even if there is significant demand for cloud-based security solutions like ours, if our competitors include functionality that is, or is perceived to be, equivalent to or better than ours in legacy products that are already generally accepted as necessary components of an organization’s IT security architecture, we may have difficulty increasing the market penetration of our platform. Furthermore, even if the functionality offered by other security and IT operations providers is different and more limited than the functionality of our platform, organizations may elect to accept such limited functionality in lieu of adding products from additional vendors like us. If we are unable to compete successfully, or if competing successfully requires us to take aggressive pricing or other actions, our business, financial condition, and results of operations would be adversely affected.
Competitive pricing pressure may reduce our gross profits and adversely affect our financial results.
If we are unable to maintain our pricing due to competitive pressures or other factors, our margins will be reduced and our gross profits, business, results of operations, and financial condition would be adversely affected. The subscription prices for our Falcon platform, cloud modules, and professional services may decline for a variety of reasons, including competitive pricing pressures, discounts, anticipation of the introduction of new solutions by our competitors, or promotional programs offered by us or our competitors. Competition continues to increase in the market segments in which we operate, and we expect competition to further increase in the future. Larger competitors with more diverse product and service offerings may reduce the price of products or subscriptions that compete with ours or may bundle them with other products and subscriptions.
If our solutions fail or are perceived to fail to detect or prevent incidents or have or are perceived to have defects, errors, or vulnerabilities, our brand and reputation would be harmed, which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Real or perceived defects, errors or vulnerabilities in our Falcon platform and cloud modules, the failure of our platform to detect or prevent incidents, including advanced and newly developed attacks, misconfiguration of our solutions, or the failure of customers to take action on attacks identified by our platform could harm our reputation and adversely affect our business, financial position and results of operations. Because our cloud native security platform is complex, it may contain defects or errors that are not detected until after deployment. We cannot assure you that our products will detect all cyberattacks, especially in light of the rapidly changing security threat landscape that our solution seeks to address. Due to a variety of both internal and external factors, including, without limitation, defects or misconfigurations of our solutions, our solutions could become vulnerable to security incidents (both from intentional attacks and accidental causes) that cause them to fail to secure endpoints and detect and block attacks. In addition, because the techniques used by computer hackers to access or sabotage networks and endpoints change frequently and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, there is a risk that an advanced attack could emerge that our cloud native security platform is unable to detect or prevent until after some of our customers are affected. Additionally, our Falcon platform may falsely indicate a cyberattack or threat that does not actually exist, which may lessen customers’ trust in our solutions.
Moreover, as our cloud native security platform is adopted by an increasing number of enterprises and governments, it is possible that the individuals and organizations behind advanced cyberattacks will begin to focus on finding ways to defeat our security platform. If this happens, our systems and subscription customers could be specifically targeted by attackers and could result in vulnerabilities in our platform or undermine the market acceptance of our Falcon platform and could adversely affect our reputation as a provider of security solutions. Because we host customer data on our cloud platform, which in some cases may contain personally-identifiable information or potentially confidential information, a security compromise, or an accidental or intentional misconfiguration or malfunction of our platform could result in personally-identifiable information and other customer data being accessible such as to attackers or to other customers. Further, if a high profile security breach occurs with respect to another next-generation or cloud-based security system, our customers and potential customers may lose trust in cloud solutions generally, and cloud-based security solutions such as ours in particular.
Organizations are increasingly subject to a wide variety of attacks on their networks, systems, and endpoints. No security solution, including our Falcon platform, can address all possible security threats or block all methods of penetrating a network or otherwise perpetrating a security incident. If any of our customers experiences a successful cyberattack while using our solutions or services, such customer could be disappointed with our Falcon platform, regardless of whether our solutions or services blocked the theft of any of such customer’s data or were implicated in failing to block such attack. Similarly, if our solutions detect attacks against a customer but the customer does not address the vulnerability, customers and the public may erroneously believe that our solutions were not effective. Security breaches against customers that use our solutions may result in customers and the public believing that our solutions failed. Our Falcon platform may fail to detect or prevent malware, viruses, worms or similar threats for any number of reasons, including our failure to enhance and expand our Falcon platform to reflect the increasing sophistication of malware, viruses and other threats. Real or perceived security breaches of our customers’ networks could cause disruption or damage to their networks or other negative consequences and could result in negative publicity to us, damage to our reputation, and other customer relations issues, and may adversely affect our revenue and results of operations.
As a cybersecurity provider, we have been, and expect to continue to be, a target of cyberattacks. If our internal networks, systems, or data are or are perceived to have been compromised, our reputation may be damaged and our financial results may be negatively affected.
As a provider of security solutions, we have in the past been, and may in the future be, specifically targeted by bad actors for attacks intended to circumvent our security capabilities or to exploit our Falcon platform as an entry point into customers’ endpoints, networks, or systems. In particular, because we have been involved in the identification of organized cybercriminals and nation-state actors, we have been the subject of intense efforts by sophisticated cyber adversaries who seek to compromise our systems. We are also susceptible to inadvertent compromises of our systems and data, including those arising from process, coding, or human errors. A successful attack or other incident that compromises our or our customers’ data or results in an interruption of service could have a significant negative effect on our operations, reputation, financial resources, and the value of our intellectual property. We cannot assure you that any of our efforts to manage this risk, including adoption of a comprehensive incident response plan and process for detecting, mitigating, and investigating security incidents that we regularly test through table-top exercises, testing of our security protocols through additional techniques, such as penetration testing, debriefing after security incidents, to improve our security and responses, and regular briefing of our directors and officers on our cybersecurity risks, preparedness, and management, will be effective in protecting us from such attacks.
It is virtually impossible for us to entirely eliminate the risk of such compromises, interruptions in service, or other security incidents affecting our internal systems or data, or that of our third-party service providers and vendors. Organizations are subject to a wide variety of attacks on their supply chain, networks, systems, and endpoints, and techniques used to sabotage or to obtain unauthorized access to networks in which data is stored or through which data is transmitted change frequently. Furthermore, employee error or malicious activity could compromise our systems. As a result, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate measures to prevent an intrusion into our networks, which could result in unauthorized access to customer data, intellectual property including access to our source code, and information about vulnerabilities in our product, which in turn, could reduce the effectiveness of our solutions, or lead to cyberattacks or other intrusions of our customers’ networks, litigation, governmental audits and investigations and significant legal fees, and or all of which could damage our relationships with our existing customers and could have a negative effect on our ability to attract and retain new customers. We have expended, and anticipate continuing to expend, significant amounts and resources in an effort to prevent security breaches and other security incidents impacting our systems and data. Since our business is focused on providing reliable security services to our customers, we believe that an actual or perceived security incident affecting, our internal systems or data or data of our customers would be especially detrimental to our reputation, customer confidence in our solution, and our business.
In addition, while we maintain insurance policies that may cover certain liabilities in connection with a cybersecurity incident, we cannot be certain that our insurance coverage will be adequate for liabilities actually incurred, that insurance will continue to be available to us on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large 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, results of operations and reputation.
We rely on third-party data centers, such as Amazon Web Services, and our own colocation data centers to host and operate our Falcon platform, and any disruption of or interference with our use of these facilities may negatively affect our ability to maintain the performance and reliability of our Falcon platform which could cause our business to suffer.
Our customers depend on the continuous availability of our Falcon platform. We currently host our Falcon platform and serve our customers using a mix of third-party data centers, primarily Amazon Web Services, Inc., or AWS, and our data centers, hosted in colocation facilities. Consequently, we may be subject to service disruptions as well as failures to provide adequate support for reasons that are outside of our direct control. We have experienced, and expect that in the future we may experience interruptions, delays and outages in service and availability from time to time due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, website hosting disruptions and capacity constraints.
The following factors, many of which are beyond our control, can affect the delivery, availability, and the performance of our Falcon platform:
•the development and maintenance of the infrastructure of the internet;
•the performance and availability of third-party providers of cloud infrastructure services, such as AWS, with the necessary speed, data capacity and security for providing reliable internet access and services;
•decisions by the owners and operators of the data centers where our cloud infrastructure is deployed to terminate our contracts, discontinue services to us, shut down operations or facilities, increase prices, change service levels, limit bandwidth, declare bankruptcy or prioritize the traffic of other parties;
•physical or electronic break-ins, acts of war or terrorism, human error or interference (including by disgruntled employees, former employees or contractors) and other catastrophic events;
•cyberattacks, including denial of service attacks, targeted at us, our data centers, or the infrastructure of the internet;
•failure by us to maintain and update our cloud infrastructure to meet our data capacity requirements;
•errors, defects or performance problems in our software, including third-party software incorporated in our software;
•improper deployment or configuration of our solutions;
•the failure of our redundancy systems, in the event of a service disruption at one of our data centers, to provide failover to other data centers in our data center network; and
•the failure of our disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements.
The adverse effects of any service interruptions on our reputation, results of operations, and financial condition may be disproportionately heightened due to the nature of our business and the fact that our customers have a low tolerance for interruptions of any duration. Interruptions or failures in our service delivery could result in a cyberattack or other security threat to one of our customers during such periods of interruption or failure. Additionally, interruptions or failures in our service could cause customers to terminate their subscriptions with us, adversely affect our renewal rates, and harm our ability to attract new customers. Our business would also be harmed if our customers believe that a cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solution is unreliable. While we do not consider them to have been material, we have experienced, and may in the future experience, service interruptions and other performance problems due to a variety of factors. The occurrence of any of these factors, or if we are unable to rapidly and cost-effectively fix such errors or other problems that may be identified, could damage our reputation, negatively affect our relationship with our customers or otherwise harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If we do not effectively expand and train our direct sales force, we may be unable to add new customers or increase sales to our existing customers, and our business will be adversely affected.
We depend on our direct sales force to obtain new customers and increase sales with existing customers. Our ability to achieve significant revenue growth will depend, in large part, on our success in recruiting, training and retaining sufficient numbers of sales personnel, particularly in international markets. We have expanded our sales organization significantly in recent periods and expect to continue to add additional sales capabilities in the near term. There is significant competition for sales personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require. New hires require significant training and may take significant time before they achieve full productivity, and this delay is accentuated by our long sales cycles. 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. In addition, a large percentage of our sales force is new to our company and selling our solutions, and therefore this team may be less effective than our more seasoned sales personnel. Furthermore, hiring sales personnel in new countries, or expanding our existing presence, requires upfront and ongoing expenditures that we may not recover if the sales personnel fail to achieve full productivity. We cannot predict whether, or to what extent, our sales will increase as we expand our sales force or how long it will take for sales personnel to become productive. If we are unable to hire and train a sufficient number of effective sales personnel, or the sales personnel we hire are not successful in obtaining new customers or increasing sales to our existing customer base, our business and results of operations will be adversely affected.
Because we recognize revenue from subscriptions to our platform over the term of the subscription, downturns or upturns in new business will not be immediately reflected in our results of operations.
We generally recognize revenue from customers ratably over the terms of their subscription, which is generally one year. As a result, a substantial portion of the revenue we report in each period is attributable to the recognition of deferred revenue relating to agreements that we entered into during previous periods. Consequently, any increase or decline in new sales or renewals in any one period will not be immediately reflected in our revenue for that period. Any such change, however, would affect our revenue in future periods. Accordingly, the effect of downturns or upturns in new sales and potential changes in our rate of renewals may not be fully reflected in our results of operations until future periods. We may also be unable to timely reduce our cost structure in line with a significant deterioration in sales or renewals that would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our results of operations may fluctuate significantly, which could make our future results difficult to predict and could cause our results of operations to fall below expectations.
Our results of operations may vary significantly from period to period, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our results of operations have varied significantly from period to period, and we expect that our results of operations will continue to vary as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control and may be difficult to predict, including:
•our ability to attract new and retain existing customers;
•the budgeting cycles, seasonal buying patterns, and purchasing practices of customers;
•the timing and length of our sales cycles;
•changes in customer or channel partner requirements or market needs;
•changes in the growth rate of the cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions market;
•the timing and success of new product and service introductions by us or our competitors or any other competitive developments, including consolidation among our customers or competitors;
•the level of awareness of cybersecurity threats, particularly advanced cyberattacks, and the market adoption of our Falcon platform;
•our ability to successfully expand our business domestically and internationally;
•decisions by organizations to purchase security solutions from larger, more established security vendors or from their primary IT equipment vendors;
•changes in our pricing policies or those of our competitors;
•any disruption in our relationship with channel partners;
•insolvency or credit difficulties confronting our customers, affecting their ability to purchase or pay for our solutions;
•significant security breaches of, technical difficulties with or interruptions to, the use of our Falcon platform;
•extraordinary expenses such as litigation or other dispute-related settlement payments or outcomes;
•general economic conditions, both domestic and in our foreign markets;
•future accounting pronouncements or changes in our accounting policies or practices;
•negative media coverage or publicity;
•the amount and timing of operating costs and capital expenditures related to the expansion of our business; and
•increases or decreases in our expenses caused by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.
In addition, we experience seasonal fluctuations in our financial results as we typically receive a higher percentage of our annual orders from new customers, as well as renewal orders from existing customers, in the second half of the fiscal year as compared to the first half of the year due to the annual budget approval process of many of our customers. In addition, we also experience seasonality in our operating margin, with a lower margin in the first half of our fiscal year. Any of the above factors, individually or in the aggregate, may result in significant fluctuations in our financial and other results of operations from period to period. As a result of this variability, our historical results of operations should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Moreover, this variability and unpredictability could result in our failure to meet our operating plan or the expectations of investors or analysts for any period. If we fail to meet such expectations for these or other reasons, our stock price could fall substantially, and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class action suits.
Our sales cycles can be long and unpredictable, and our sales efforts require considerable time and expense.
Our revenue recognition is difficult to predict because of the length and unpredictability of the sales cycle for our Falcon platform, particularly with respect to large organizations and government entities. Customers often view the subscription to our Falcon platform as a significant strategic decision and, as a result, frequently require considerable time to evaluate, test and qualify our Falcon platform prior to entering into or expanding a relationship with us. Large enterprises and government entities in particular often undertake a significant evaluation process that further lengthens our sales cycle.
Our direct sales team develops relationships with our customers, and works with our channel partners on account penetration, account coordination, sales and overall market development. We spend substantial time and resources on our sales efforts without any assurance that our efforts will produce a sale. Security solution purchases are frequently subject to budget constraints, multiple approvals and unanticipated administrative, processing and other delays. As a result, it is difficult to predict whether and when a sale will be completed. The failure of our efforts to secure sales after investing resources in a lengthy sales process could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We rely on our key technical, sales and management personnel to grow our business, and the loss of one or more key employees could harm our business.
Our future success is substantially dependent on our ability to attract, retain, and motivate the members of our management team and other key employees throughout our organization. In particular, we are highly dependent on the services of George Kurtz, our Chief Executive Officer, who is critical to our future vision and strategic direction. We rely on our leadership team in the areas of operations, security, research and development, marketing, sales, support and general and administrative functions. Although we have entered into employment agreements with our key personnel, our employees, including our executive officers, work for us on an “at-will” basis, which means they may terminate their employment with us at any time. If Mr. Kurtz, or one or more of our key employees, or members of our management team resigns or otherwise ceases to provide us with their service, our business could be harmed.
If we are unable to attract and retain qualified personnel, our business could be harmed.
There is also significant competition for personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require across our technology, cyber, sales, professional services, and administrative support functions. Competition for these personnel in the San Francisco Bay Area, where our headquarters are located, and in other locations where we maintain offices, is intense, especially for experienced sales professionals and for engineers experienced in designing and developing cloud applications and security software. We have from time to time experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining employees with appropriate qualifications. For example, in recent years, recruiting, hiring and retaining employees with expertise in the cybersecurity industry has become increasingly difficult as the demand for cybersecurity professionals has increased as a result of the recent cybersecurity attacks on global corporations and governments. Additionally, our incident response and proactive services team is small and comprised of personnel with highly technical skills and experience, who are in high demand, and who would be difficult to replace. Many of the companies with which we compete for experienced personnel have greater resources than we have. Our competitors also may be successful in recruiting and hiring members of our management team or other key employees, and it may be difficult for us to find suitable replacements on a timely basis, on competitive terms, or at all. We have in the past, and may in the future, be subject to allegations that employees we hire have been improperly solicited, or that they have divulged proprietary or other confidential information or that their former employers own such employees’ inventions or other work product, or that they have been hired in violation of non-compete provisions or non-solicitation provisions.
In addition, job candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. Volatility or lack of performance in our stock price may also affect our ability to attract and retain our key employees. Also, many of our employees have become, or will soon become, vested in a substantial amount of equity awards, which may give them a substantial amount of personal wealth. This may make it more difficult for us to retain and motivate these employees, and this wealth could affect their decision about whether or not they continue to work for us. Any failure to successfully attract, integrate or retain qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If we are not able to maintain and enhance our CrowdStrike and Falcon brand and our reputation as a provider of high-efficacy security solutions, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We believe that maintaining and enhancing our CrowdStrike and Falcon brand and our reputation as a provider of high-efficacy security solutions is critical to our relationship with our existing customers, channel partners, and technology alliance partners and our ability to attract new customers and partners. The successful promotion of our CrowdStrike and Falcon brand will depend on a number of factors, including our marketing efforts, our ability to continue to develop additional cloud modules and features for our Falcon platform, our ability to successfully differentiate our Falcon platform from competitive cloud-based or legacy security solutions and, ultimately, our ability to detect and stop breaches. Although we believe it is important for our growth, our brand promotion activities may not be successful or yield increased revenue.
In addition, independent industry or financial analysts and research firms often test our solutions and provide reviews of our Falcon platform, as well as the products of our competitors, and perception of our Falcon platform in the marketplace may be significantly influenced by these reviews. If these reviews are negative, or less positive as compared to those of our competitors’ products, our brand may be adversely affected. Our solutions may fail to detect or prevent threats in any particular test for a number of reasons that may or may not be related to the efficacy of our solutions in real world environments. To the extent potential customers, industry analysts or testing firms believe that the occurrence of a failure to detect or prevent any particular threat is a flaw or indicates that our solutions or services do not provide significant value, we may lose customers, and our reputation, financial condition and business would be harmed. Additionally, the performance of our channel partners and technology alliance partners may affect our brand and reputation if customers do not have a positive experience with these partners. In addition, we have in the past worked, and continue to work, with high profile customers as well as assist in analyzing and remediating high profile cyberattacks. Our work with such customers has exposed us to publicity and media coverage. Negative publicity about us, including about our management, the efficacy and reliability of our Falcon platform, our products offerings, our professional services, and the customers we work with, even if inaccurate, could adversely affect our reputation and brand.
If we are unable to maintain successful relationships with our channel partners and technology alliance partners, or if our channel partners or technology alliance partners fail to perform, our ability to market, sell and distribute our Falcon platform will be limited, and our business, financial position and results of operations will be harmed.
In addition to our direct sales force, we rely on our channel partners to sell and support our Falcon platform. A vast majority of sales of our Falcon platform flow through our channel partners, and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. Additionally, we have entered, and intend to continue to enter, into technology alliance partnerships with third parties to support our future growth plans. The loss of a substantial number of our channel partners or technology alliance partners, or the failure to recruit additional partners, could adversely affect our results of operations. Our ability to achieve revenue growth in the future will depend in part on our success in maintaining successful relationships with our channel partners and in training our channel partners to independently sell and deploy our Falcon platform. If we fail to effectively manage our existing sales channels, or if our channel partners are unsuccessful in fulfilling the orders for our solutions, or if we are unable to enter into arrangements with, and retain a sufficient number of, high quality channel partners in each of the regions in which we sell solutions and keep them motivated to sell our products, our ability to sell our products and results of operations will be harmed.
Our business depends, in part, on sales to government organizations, and significant changes in the contracting or fiscal policies of such government organizations could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Our future growth depends, in part, on increasing sales to government organizations. Demand from government organizations is often unpredictable, subject to budgetary uncertainty and typically involves long sales cycles. We have made significant investment to address the government sector, but we cannot assure you that these investments will be successful, or that we will be able to maintain or grow our revenue from the government sector. Although we anticipate that they may increase in the future, sales to U.S. federal, state, and local governmental agencies have not accounted for, and may never account for, a significant portion of our revenue. U.S. federal, state and local government sales are subject to a number of challenges and risks that may adversely impact our business. Sales to such government entities include the following risks:
•selling to governmental agencies can be highly competitive, expensive and time consuming, often requiring significant upfront time and expense without any assurance that such efforts will generate a sale;
•government certification requirements applicable to our products may change and, in doing so, restrict our ability to sell into the U.S. federal government sector until we have attained the revised certification. For example, although we are currently certified under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, such certification is costly to maintain and if we lost our certification in the future it would restrict our ability to sell to government customers;
•government demand and payment for our Falcon platform may be impacted by public sector budgetary cycles and funding authorizations, with funding reductions or delays adversely affecting public sector demand for our Falcon platform;
•governments routinely investigate and audit government contractors’ administrative processes, and any unfavorable audit could result in the government refusing to continue buying our Falcon platform, which would adversely impact our revenue and results of operations, or institute fines or civil or criminal liability if the audit were to uncover improper or illegal activities; and
•governments may require certain products to be manufactured, hosted, or accessed solely in their country or in other relatively high-cost manufacturing locations, and we may not manufacture all products in locations that meet these requirements, affecting our ability to sell these products to governmental agencies.
The occurrence of any of the foregoing could cause governments and governmental agencies to delay or refrain from purchasing our solutions in the future or otherwise have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We may not timely and cost-effectively scale and adapt our existing technology to meet our customers’ performance and other requirements.
Our future growth is dependent upon our ability to continue to meet the needs of new customers and the expanding needs of our existing customers as their use of our solutions grow. As our customers gain more experience with our solutions, the number of endpoints and events, the amount of data transferred, processed and stored by us, the number of locations where our platform and services are being accessed, have in the past, and may in the future, expand rapidly. In order to meet the performance and other requirements of our customers, we intend to continue to make significant investments to increase capacity and to develop and implement new technologies in our service and cloud infrastructure operations. These technologies, which include databases, applications and server optimizations, network and hosting strategies, and automation, are often advanced, complex, new and untested. We may not be successful in developing or implementing these technologies. In addition, it takes a significant amount of time to plan, develop and test improvements to our technologies and infrastructure, and we may not be able to accurately forecast demand or predict the results we will realize from such improvements. To the extent that we do not effectively scale our operations to meet the needs of our growing customer base and to maintain performance as our customers expand their use of our solutions, we may not be able to grow as quickly as we anticipate, our customers may reduce or cancel use of our solutions and we may be unable to compete as effectively and our business and results of operations may be harmed.
Additionally, we have and will continue to make substantial investments to support growth at our data centers and improve the profitability of our cloud platform. For example, because of the importance of AWS’ services to our business and AWS’ position in the cloud-based server industry, any renegotiation or renewal of our agreement with AWS may be on terms that are significantly less favorable to us than our current agreement. If our cloud-based server costs were to increase, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. Although we expect that we could receive similar services from other third parties, if any of our arrangements with AWS are terminated, we could experience interruptions on our Falcon platform and in our ability to make our solutions available to customers, as well as delays and additional expenses in arranging alternative cloud infrastructure services. Ongoing improvements to cloud infrastructure may be more expensive than we anticipate, and may not yield the expected savings in operating costs or the expected performance benefits. In addition, we may be required to re-invest any cost savings achieved from prior cloud infrastructure improvements in future infrastructure projects to maintain the levels of service required by our customers. We may not be able to maintain or achieve cost savings from our investments, which could harm our financial results.
The success of our business depends in part on our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights.
We believe our intellectual property is an essential asset of our business, and our success and ability to compete depend in part upon protection of our intellectual property rights. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions, to establish and protect our intellectual property rights in the United States and abroad, all of which provide only limited protection. The efforts we have taken to protect our intellectual property may not be sufficient or effective, and our trademarks, copyrights and patents may be held invalid or unenforceable. Moreover, we cannot assure you that any patents will be issued with respect to our currently pending patent applications in a manner that gives us adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages, or that any patents issued to us will not be challenged, invalidated or circumvented. We have filed for patents in the United States and in certain non-U.S. jurisdictions, but such protections may not be available in all countries in which we operate or in which we seek to enforce our intellectual property rights, or may be difficult to enforce in practice. For example, many foreign countries have compulsory licensing laws under which a patent owner must grant licenses to third parties. In addition, many countries limit the enforceability of patents against certain third parties, including government agencies or government contractors. In these countries, patents may provide limited or no benefit. Moreover, we may need to expend additional resources to defend our intellectual property rights in these countries, and our inability to do so could impair our business or adversely affect our international expansion. Our currently issued patents and any patents that may be issued in the future with respect to pending or future patent applications may not provide sufficiently broad protection or they may not prove to be enforceable in actions against alleged infringers.
We may not be effective in policing unauthorized use of our intellectual property, and even if we do detect violations, litigation or technical changes to our products may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights. Protecting against the unauthorized use of our intellectual property rights, technology and other proprietary rights is expensive and difficult, particularly outside of the United States. Any enforcement efforts we undertake, including litigation, could be time-consuming and expensive and could divert management’s attention, which could harm our business and results of operations. Further, attempts to enforce our rights against third parties could also provoke these third parties to assert their own intellectual property or other rights against us, or result in a holding that invalidates or narrows the scope of our rights, in whole or in part. The inability to adequately protect and enforce our intellectual property and other proprietary rights could seriously harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. Even if we are able to secure our intellectual property rights, we cannot assure you that such rights will provide us with competitive advantages or distinguish our services from those of our competitors or that our competitors will not independently develop similar technology, duplicate any of our technology, or design around our patents.
Claims by others that we infringe their proprietary technology or other intellectual property rights could result in significant costs and substantially harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.
Claims by others that we infringe their proprietary technology or other intellectual property rights could harm our business. A number of companies in our industry hold a large number of patents and also protect their copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property rights, and companies in the networking and security industry frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of patent infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. As we face increasing competition and grow, the possibility of intellectual property rights claims against us also grows. In addition, to the extent we hire personnel from competitors, we may be subject to allegations that such personnel have divulged proprietary or other confidential information to us. From time to time, third parties have in the past and may in the future assert claims of infringement of intellectual property rights against us. For example, we are currently involved in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regarding our U.S. trademark registrations for CrowdStrike Falcon and our U.S. application to register our Falcon OverWatch trademark. Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, petitioned to cancel our trademark registrations and opposed our application. If the appeal board were to find against us, it would cancel our trademark registrations for CrowdStrike Falcon and reject our application to register Falcon OverWatch. If FICO were to file an infringement action in court and if we do not prevail in that action, we could ultimately be required to change the names of our solutions, which would force us to incur significant marketing expense in establishing an alternative brand to our existing Falcon brand. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in these rebranding efforts.
Third parties may in the future also assert claims against our customers or channel partners, whom our standard license and other agreements obligate us to indemnify against claims that our solutions infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties. As the number of products and competitors in the security and IT operations market increases and overlaps occur, claims of infringement, misappropriation, and other violations of intellectual property rights may increase. While we intend to increase the size of our patent portfolio, many of our competitors and others may now and in the future have significantly larger and more mature patent portfolios than we have. In addition, future litigation may involve non-practicing entities, companies or other patent owners who have no relevant product offerings or revenue and against whom our own patents may therefore provide little or no deterrence or protection. Any claim of intellectual property infringement by a third party, even a claim without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs defending against such claim, could distract our management from our business and could require us to cease use of such intellectual property.
Additionally, our insurance may not cover intellectual property rights infringement claims that may be made. In the event that we fail to successfully defend ourselves against an infringement claim, a successful claimant could secure a judgment or otherwise require payment of legal fees, settlement payments, ongoing royalties or other costs or damages; or we may agree to a settlement that prevents us from offering certain services or features; or we may be required to obtain a license, which may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, to use the relevant technology. If we are prevented from using certain technology or intellectual property, we may be required to develop alternative, non-infringing technology, which could require significant time, during which we could be unable to continue to offer our affected services or features, effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful.
Although third parties may offer a license to their technology or other intellectual property, the terms of any offered license may not be acceptable, and the failure to obtain a license or the costs associated with any license could cause our business, financial condition and results of operations to be adversely affected. In addition, some licenses may be nonexclusive, and therefore our competitors may have access to the same technology licensed to us. If a third party does not offer us a license to its technology or other intellectual property on reasonable terms, or at all, we could be enjoined from continued use of such intellectual property. As a result, we may be required to develop alternative, non-infringing technology, which could require significant time, during which we could be unable to continue to offer our affected products, subscriptions or services, effort, and expense and may ultimately not be successful. Furthermore, a successful claimant could secure a judgment or we may agree to a settlement that prevents us from distributing certain products, providing certain subscriptions or performing certain services or that requires us to pay substantial damages, royalties or other fees. Any of these events could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We license technology from third parties, and our inability to maintain those licenses could harm our business.
We currently incorporate, and will in the future incorporate, technology that we license from third parties, including software, into our solutions. We cannot be certain that our licensors do not or will not infringe on the intellectual property rights of third parties or that our licensors have or will have sufficient rights to the licensed intellectual property in all jurisdictions in which we may sell our Falcon platform. Some of our agreements with our licensors may be terminated by them for convenience, or otherwise provide for a limited term. If we are unable to continue to license technology because of intellectual property infringement claims brought by third parties against our licensors or against us, or if we are unable to continue our license agreements or enter into new licenses on commercially reasonable terms, our ability to develop and sell solutions and services containing or dependent on that technology would be limited, and our business could be harmed. Additionally, if we are unable to license technology from third parties, we may be forced to acquire or develop alternative technology, which we may be unable to do in a commercially feasible manner or at all, and may require us to use alternative technology of lower quality or performance standards. This could limit or delay our ability to offer new or competitive solutions and increase our costs. As a result, our margins, market share, and results of operations could be significantly harmed.
If we are not able to satisfy data protection, security, privacy, and other government- and industry-specific requirements or regulations, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be harmed.
Personal privacy, data protection, information security, telecommunications regulations, and other laws applicable to specific categories of information are significant issues in the United States, Europe and in other jurisdictions where we offer our solutions. The data that we collect, analyze, and store is subject to a variety of laws and regulations, including regulation by various government agencies. The U.S. federal government, and various state and foreign governments, have adopted or proposed limitations on the collection, distribution, use, and storage of certain categories of information, such as personally identifiable information of individuals, health information, and other sector-specific types of data, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, HIPAA, and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act. Laws and regulations outside the United States, and particularly in Europe, often are more restrictive than those in the United States. Such laws and regulations may require companies to implement privacy and security policies, permit customers to access, correct, and delete personal information stored or maintained by such companies, inform individuals of security breaches that affect their personal information, and, in some cases, obtain individuals’ consent to use personally identifiable information for certain purposes. In addition, some foreign governments require that any information of certain categories, such as financial or personally identifiable information collected in a country not be disseminated outside of that country. We also may find it necessary or desirable to join industry or other self-regulatory bodies or other information security or data protection-related organizations that require compliance with their rules pertaining to information security and data protection. We also may be bound by additional, more stringent contractual obligations relating to our collection, use and disclosure of personal, financial, and other data.
We also expect that there will continue to be new proposed laws, regulations, and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection, information security, specific categories of data, electronic, and telecommunications services in the United States, the European Union and other jurisdictions in which we operate or may operate, and we cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations, standards, or perception of their requirements may have on our business. For example, the European Commission recently adopted the European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, that became fully effective in May 2018, and applies to the processing (which includes the collection and use) of certain personal data. As compared to previously-effective data protection law in the European Union, the GDPR imposes additional obligations and risk upon our business and increases substantially the penalties to which we could be subject in the event of any non-compliance. Administrative fines under the GDPR can amount up to 20 million Euros or four percent of our worldwide annual revenue for the prior fiscal year, whichever is higher. We have incurred substantial expense in complying with the obligations imposed by the GDPR and we may be required to do so in the future, potentially making significant changes in our business operations, which may adversely affect our revenue and our business overall. Additionally, because there have been very few GDPR actions enforced against companies, we are unable to predict how they will be applied to us or our customers. Despite our efforts to attempt to comply with the GDPR, a regulator may determine that we have not done so and subject us to fines and public censure, which could harm our company. Among other requirements, the GDPR regulates transfers of personal data subject to the GDPR to third countries that have not been found to provide adequate protection to such personal data, including the United States. We have undertaken certain efforts to conform transfers of personal data from the European Economic Area, or EEA, to the United States and other jurisdictions based on our understanding of current regulatory obligations and the guidance of data protection authorities. Despite this, we may be unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining conforming means of transferring such data from the EEA, in particular as a result of continued legal and legislative activity within the European Union that has challenged or called into question the legal basis for existing means of data transfers to countries that have not been found to provide adequate protection for personal data.
The implementation of the GDPR has led other jurisdictions to either amend, or propose legislation to amend their existing data privacy and cybersecurity laws to resemble all or a portion of the requirements of the GDPR (e.g., for purposes of having an adequate level of data protection to facilitate data transfers from the EU) or enact new laws to do the same. Accordingly, the challenges we face in the EU will likely also apply to other jurisdictions outside the EU that adopt laws similar in construction to the GDPR or regulatory frameworks of equivalent complexity. For example, on June 28, 2018, California adopted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA has been characterized as the first “GDPR-like” privacy statute to be enacted in the United States because it contains a number of provisions similar to certain provisions of the GDPR. Although the law has gone into effect, final Attorney General guidance remains forthcoming, and we are unable to predict how CCPA enforcement may be applied to our customers or us.
Evolving and changing definitions of personal data and personal information within the European Union, the United States, and elsewhere, especially relating to classification of IP addresses, machine identification, location data and other information, may limit or inhibit our ability to operate or expand our business, including limiting technology alliance partnerships that may involve the sharing of data. Even the perception of privacy concerns, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation, inhibit adoption of our products by current and future customers, or adversely impact our ability to attract and retain workforce talent. In addition, changes in laws or regulations that adversely affect the use of the internet, including laws impacting net neutrality, could impact our business. We expect that existing laws, regulations and standards may be interpreted in new manners in the future. Future laws, regulations, standards and other obligations, and changes in the interpretation of existing laws, regulations, standards and other obligations could require us to modify our solutions, restrict our business operations, increase our costs and impair our ability to maintain and grow our customer base and increase our revenue.
Beyond broader data processing regulations affecting our business, the cybersecurity industry may face direct regulation. In 2018, Singapore introduced what is believed to be the world’s first cybersecurity licensing requirement, mandating that providers of specific types of incident response services receive a government license before providing such services. License requirements such as these may impose upon CrowdStrike significant organizational costs and high barriers of entry into new markets.
Although we work to comply with applicable laws and regulations, certain applicable industry standards with which we represent compliance, and our contractual obligations and other legal obligations, those laws, regulations, standards and obligations are evolving and may be modified, interpreted and applied in an inconsistent manner from one jurisdiction to another, and may conflict with one another. In addition, they may conflict with other requirements or legal obligations that apply to our business or the security features and services that our customers expect from our solutions. As such, we cannot assure ongoing compliance with all such laws, regulations, standards and obligations. Any failure or perceived failure by us or our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or applicable industry standards that we represent compliance with or that may be asserted to apply to us, or to comply with employee, customer, partner, and other data privacy and data security requirements pursuant to contract and our stated notices or policies, could result in enforcement actions against us, including fines, imprisonment of company officials and public censure, claims for damages by customers and other affected individuals, damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill (both in relation to existing customers and prospective customers), any of which could have a material adverse effect on our operations, financial performance and business. Any inability of us or our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties to adequately address privacy and security concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable laws, regulations, standards and obligations, could result in additional cost and liability to us, damage our reputation, inhibit sales, and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to our business could subject us to fines and penalties and could also cause us to lose customers or negatively impact our ability to contract with customers, including those in the public sector.
Our business is subject to regulation by various federal, state, local and foreign governmental agencies, including agencies responsible for monitoring and enforcing privacy and data protection laws and regulations, employment and labor laws, workplace safety, product safety, environmental laws, consumer protection laws, anti-bribery laws, import and export controls, federal securities laws and tax laws and regulations. In certain jurisdictions, these regulatory requirements may be more stringent than in the United States. Noncompliance by us, our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties with applicable regulations or requirements could subject us to:
•investigations, enforcement actions and sanctions;
•mandatory changes to our Falcon platform;
•disgorgement of profits, fines and damages;
•civil and criminal penalties or injunctions;
•claims for damages by our customers or channel partners;
•termination of contracts;
•loss of intellectual property rights;
•loss of our license to do business in the jurisdictions in which we operate; and
•temporary or permanent debarment from sales to government organizations.
If any governmental sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and an increase in professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We endeavor to properly classify employees as exempt versus non-exempt under applicable law. Although there are no pending or threatened material claims or investigations against us asserting that some employees are improperly classified as exempt, the possibility exists that some of our current or former employees could have been incorrectly classified as exempt employees.
These laws and regulations impose added costs on our business, and failure by us, our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties to comply with these or other applicable regulations and requirements could lead to claims for damages, penalties, termination of contracts, loss of exclusive rights in our intellectual property and temporary suspension or permanent debarment from government contracting. Any such damages, penalties, disruptions or limitations in our ability to do business with customers, including those in the public sector, and could result in reduced sales of our products, substantial product inventory write-offs, reputational damage, penalties, and other sanctions, any of which could harm our business, reputation, and results of operations.
We are subject to laws and regulations, including governmental export and import controls, sanctions, and anti-corruption laws, that could impair our ability to compete in our markets and subject us to liability if we are not in full compliance with applicable laws.
We are subject to laws and regulations, including governmental export controls, that could subject us to liability or impair our ability to compete in our markets. Our products are subject to U.S. export controls, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations, and we and our employees, representatives, contractors, agents, intermediaries, and other third parties are also subject to various economic and trade sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. We incorporate standard encryption algorithms into our products, which, along with the underlying technology, may be exported outside of the U.S. only with the required export authorizations, including by license, license exception or other appropriate government authorizations, which may require the filing of an encryption registration and classification request. Furthermore, U.S. export control laws and economic sanctions prohibit the shipment of certain cloud-based solutions to countries, governments, and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. We also collect information about cyber threats from open sources, intermediaries, and third parties that we make available to our customers in our threat industry publications. While we have implemented certain procedures to facilitate compliance with applicable laws and regulations in connection with the collection of this information, we cannot assure you that these procedures have been effective or that we, or third parties, many of whom we do not control, have complied with all laws or regulations in this regard. Failure by our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties to comply with applicable laws and regulations in the collection of this information also could have negative consequences to us, including reputational harm, government investigations and penalties.
Although we take precautions to prevent our information collection practices and services from being provided in violation of such laws, our information collection practices and services may have been in the past, and could in the future be, provided in violation of such laws. If we or our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, including the possible loss of export privileges and fines. We may also be adversely affected through reputational harm, loss of access to certain markets, or otherwise. Obtaining the necessary authorizations, including any required license, for a particular transaction may be time-consuming, is not guaranteed and may result in the delay or loss of sales opportunities.
Various countries regulate the import of certain encryption technology, including through import permit and license requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our products or could limit our customers’ ability to implement our products in those countries. Changes in our products or changes in export and import regulations may create delays in the introduction of our products into international markets, prevent our customers with international operations from deploying our products globally or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our products to certain countries, governments or persons altogether. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions or related legislation, shift in the enforcement or scope of existing regulations, or change in the countries, governments, persons or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our products by, or in our decreased ability to export or sell our products to, existing or potential customers with international operations. Any decreased use of our products or limitation on our ability to export or sell our products would likely adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We are also subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, or FCPA, the UK Bribery Act 2010, or Bribery Act, and other anti-corruption, sanctions, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering and similar laws in the United States and other countries in which we conduct activities. Anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, which have been enforced aggressively and are interpreted broadly, prohibit companies and their employees, agents, intermediaries, and other third parties from promising, authorizing, making or offering improper payments or other benefits to government officials and others in the private sector. We leverage third parties, including intermediaries, agents, and channel partners, to conduct our business in the U.S. and abroad, to sell subscriptions to our Falcon platform and to collect information about cyber threats. We and these third-parties may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities and we may be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of these third-party business partners and intermediaries, our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, and other third parties, even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities. While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with FCPA, Bribery Act and other anti-corruption, sanctions, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering and similar laws, we cannot assure you that they will be effective, or that all of our employees, representatives, contractors, channel partners, agents, intermediaries, or other third parties have taken, or will not take actions, in violation of our policies and applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible. As we increase our international sales and business, our risks under these laws may increase. Noncompliance with these laws could subject us to investigations, severe criminal or civil sanctions, settlements, prosecution, loss of export privileges, suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracts, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage and other consequences. Any investigations, actions or sanctions could harm our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
Some of our technology incorporates “open source” software, which could negatively affect our ability to sell our Falcon platform and subject us to possible litigation.
Our products and subscriptions contain third-party open source software components, and failure to comply with the terms of the underlying open source software licenses could restrict our ability to sell our products and subscriptions. The use and distribution of open source software may entail greater risks than the use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or the quality of the code. Many of the risks associated with use of open source software cannot be eliminated and could negatively affect our business. In addition, the wide availability of source code used in our solutions could expose us to security vulnerabilities.
Some open source licenses contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the type of open source software we use. If we combine our proprietary software with open source software in a certain manner, we could, under certain open source licenses, be required to release the source code of our proprietary software to the public, including authorizing further modification and redistribution, or otherwise be limited in the licensing of our services, each of which could provide an advantage to our competitors or other entrants to the market, create security vulnerabilities in our solutions, require us to re-engineer all or a portion of our Falcon platform, and could reduce or eliminate the value of our services. This would allow our competitors to create similar products with lower development effort and time and ultimately could result in a loss of sales for us.
The terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. courts, and there is a risk that these licenses could be construed in ways that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize products and subscriptions incorporating such software. Moreover, we cannot assure you that our processes for controlling our use of open source software in our products and subscriptions will be effective. From time to time, we may face claims from third parties asserting ownership of, or demanding release of, the open source software or derivative works that we developed using such software (which could include our proprietary source code), or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These claims could result in litigation. Litigation could be costly for us to defend, have a negative effect on our results of operations and financial condition or require us to devote additional research and development resources to change our solutions. Responding to any infringement or noncompliance claim by an open source vendor, regardless of its validity, discovering certain open source software code in our Falcon platform, or a finding that we have breached the terms of an open source software license, could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition, by, among other things:
•resulting in time-consuming and costly litigation;
•diverting management’s time and attention from developing our business;
•requiring us to pay monetary damages or enter into royalty and licensing agreements that we would not normally find acceptable;
•causing delays in the deployment of our Falcon platform or service offerings to our customers;
•requiring us to stop offering certain services or features of our Falcon platform;
•requiring us to redesign certain components of our Falcon platform using alternative non-infringing or non-open source technology, which could require significant effort and expense;
•requiring us to disclose our software source code and the detailed program commands for our software; and
•requiring us to satisfy indemnification obligations to our customers.
We provide service level commitments under some of our customer contracts. If we fail to meet these contractual commitments, we could be obligated to provide credits for future service and our business could suffer.
Certain of our customer agreements contain service level commitments, which contain specifications regarding the availability and performance of our Falcon platform. Any failure of or disruption to our infrastructure could impact the performance of our Falcon platform and the availability of services to customers. If we are unable to meet our stated service level commitments or if we suffer extended periods of poor performance or unavailability of our Falcon platform, we may be contractually obligated to provide affected customers with service credits for future subscriptions, and, in certain cases, refunds. To date, there has not been a material failure to meet our service level commitments, and we do not currently have any material liabilities accrued on our balance sheet for such commitments. Our revenue, other results of operations and financial condition could be harmed if we suffer performance issues or downtime that exceeds the service level commitments under our agreements with our customers.
We may become involved in litigation that may adversely affect us.
We are regularly subject to claims, suits, and government investigations and other proceedings including patent, product liability, class action, whistleblower, personal injury, property damage, labor and employment, commercial disputes, compliance with laws and regulatory requirements and other matters, and we may become subject to additional types of claims, suits, investigations and proceedings as our business develops. For example, we, along with certain other cybersecurity providers, currently are subject to a civil investigation regarding participation in cybersecurity testing standard-setting and allegations that this standard-setting facilitated a concerted refusal to deal with cybersecurity testing organizations that did not adhere to those standards. While we believe that we have acted in compliance in all material respects with applicable antitrust laws, such investigation, as well as any other claims, suits, and government investigations and proceedings that may be asserted against us in the future are inherently uncertain and their results cannot be predicted with certainty. Regardless of the outcome, any of these types of legal proceedings can have an adverse impact on us because of legal costs and diversion of management attention and resources, and could cause us to incur significant expenses or liability, adversely affect our brand recognition, and/or require us to change our business practices. The expense of litigation and the timing of this expense from period to period are difficult to estimate, subject to change and could adversely affect our results of operations. It is possible that a resolution of one or more such proceedings could result in substantial damages, settlement costs, fines and penalties that could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows in a particular period. These proceedings could also result in reputational harm, sanctions, consent decrees, or orders requiring a change in our business practices. Because of the potential risks, expenses and uncertainties of litigation, we may, from time to time, settle disputes, even where we have meritorious claims or defenses, by agreeing to settlement agreements. Because litigation is inherently unpredictable, we cannot assure you that the results of any of these actions will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Any of these consequences could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our ability to maintain customer satisfaction depends in part on the quality of our customer support.
Once our Falcon platform is deployed within our customers’ networks, our customers depend on our customer support services to resolve any issues relating to the implementation and maintenance of our Falcon platform. If we do not provide effective ongoing support, customer renewals and our ability to sell additional modules as part of our Falcon platform to existing customers could be adversely affected and our reputation with potential customers could be damaged. Many larger organizations have more complex networks and require higher levels of support than smaller customers and we offer premium services for these customers. Failure to maintain high-quality customer support could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
We may need to raise additional capital to expand our operations and invest in new solutions, which capital may not be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and which could reduce our ability to compete and could harm our business.
We expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for working capital and capital expenditures for at least the next 12 months. Retaining or expanding our current levels of personnel and products offerings may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new products and enhancements to our Falcon platform, improve our operating infrastructure, or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Our failure to raise additional capital or generate the significant capital necessary to expand our operations and invest in new products could reduce our ability to compete and could harm our business. Accordingly, we may need to engage in additional equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional equity financing, our stockholders may experience significant dilution of their ownership interests and the market price of our Class A common stock could decline. If we engage in debt financing, the holders of debt would have priority over the holders of our Class A common stock, and we may be required to accept terms that restrict our operations or our ability to incur additional indebtedness or to take other actions that would otherwise be in the interests of the debt holders. Any of the above could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Our business is subject to the risks of warranty claims, product returns, product liability, and product defects from real or perceived defects in our solutions or their misuse by our customers or third parties and indemnity provisions in various agreements potentially expose us to substantial liability for intellectual property infringement and other losses.
We may be subject to liability claims for damages related to errors or defects in our solutions. A material liability claim or other occurrence that harms our reputation or decreases market acceptance of our products may harm our business and results of operations. Although we generally have limitation of liability provisions in our terms and conditions of sale, these provisions do not cover our indemnification obligations as described in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Indemnification” and they may not fully or effectively protect us from claims as a result of federal, state, or local laws or ordinances, or unfavorable judicial decisions in the United States or other countries. The sale and support of our products also entails the risk of product liability claims.
Additionally, our agreements with customers and other third parties typically include indemnification or other provisions under which we agree to indemnify or otherwise be liable to them for losses suffered or incurred as a result of claims regarding intellectual property infringement, breach of agreement, including confidentiality, privacy and security obligations, violation of applicable laws, damages caused by failures of our solutions or to property or persons, or other liabilities relating to or arising from our products and services, or other acts or omissions. These contractual provisions often survive termination or expiration of the applicable agreement. We have not to date received any indemnification claims from third parties. However, as we continue to grow, the possibility of these claims against us will increase.
If our customers or other third parties we do business with make intellectual property rights or other indemnification claims against us, we will incur significant legal expenses and may have to pay damages, license fees, and/or stop using technology found to be in violation of the third party’s rights. We may also have to seek a license for the technology. Such license may not be available on reasonable terms, if at all, and may significantly increase our operating expenses or may require us to restrict our business activities and limit our ability to deliver certain solutions or features. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant effort and expense and/or cause us to alter our products and services, which could harm our business. Large indemnity obligations, whether for intellectual property or other claims, could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
Additionally, our Falcon platform may be used by our customers and other third parties who obtain access to our solutions for purposes other than for which our platform was intended. For example, our Falcon platform might be misused by a customer to monitor its employee’s activities in a manner that violates the employee’s privacy rights under applicable law.
During the course of performing certain solution-related services and our professional services, our teams may have significant access to our customers’ networks. We cannot be sure that an employee may not take advantage of such access which may make our customers vulnerable to malicious activity by such employee. Any such misuse of our Falcon platform could result in negative press coverage and negatively affect our reputation, which could result in harm to our business, reputation, and results of operations.
We maintain insurance to protect against certain claims associated with the use of our products, but our insurance coverage may not adequately cover any claim asserted against us. In addition, even claims that ultimately are unsuccessful could result in our expenditure of funds in litigation, divert management’s time and other resources, and harm our business and reputation. We offer our customers a limited warranty, subject to certain conditions, with our Falcon Complete cloud module and our potential liability under this warranty is provided by our insurance carrier to us. Any failure or refusal of our insurance providers to provide the expected insurance benefits to us after we have paid the warranty claims would cause us to incur significant expense or cause us to cease offering this warranty which could damage our reputation, cause us to lose customers, expose us to liability claims by our customers, negatively impact our sales and marketing efforts, and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our credit agreement contains restrictive covenants that limit our ability to borrow more money, to make distributions to our stockholders, and to engage in certain other activities, as well as financial covenants that may limit our operating flexibility.
Our existing credit agreement contains a number of covenants that limit our ability and our subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things, transfer or dispose of assets, pay dividends or make distributions, incur additional indebtedness, create liens, make investments, loans and acquisitions, engage in transactions with affiliates, merge or consolidate with other companies, or sell substantially all of our assets. Our credit agreement is guaranteed by us and certain of our subsidiaries and secured by substantially all of the assets of the borrower subsidiary, us, and the guarantor subsidiaries. The terms of our credit agreement may restrict our current and future operations and could adversely affect our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or to execute preferred business strategies. In addition, complying with these covenants may make it more difficult for us to successfully execute our business strategy and compete against companies who are not subject to such restrictions. Additionally, our credit agreement includes financial covenants that require us to maintain minimum growth rates of our recurring subscription revenue, and to maintain minimum liquidity at specified levels. We may not be able to generate sufficient cash flow or sales to meet the financial covenants or pay the principal or interest under the credit facility.
If we are unable to comply with our payment requirements, our lender may accelerate our obligations under our credit agreement and foreclose upon the collateral, or we may be forced to sell assets, restructure our indebtedness or seek additional equity capital, which would dilute our stockholders’ interests. If we fail to comply with any covenant it could result in an event of default under the agreement and our lender could make the entire debt immediately due and payable. If this occurs, we might not be able to repay our debt or borrow sufficient funds to refinance it. Even if new financing is available, it may not be on terms that are acceptable to us.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert managements’ attention, and if we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be impaired.
As a new public company, we recently became subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations of Nasdaq. We expect that the requirements of these rules and regulations will increase our legal, accounting and financial compliance costs; make some activities more difficult, time-consuming and costly, and place significant strain on our personnel, systems and resources. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls, internal control over financial reporting and other procedures that are designed to ensure information required to be disclosed by us in our financial statements and in the reports that we file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms, and information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers.
Our current controls and any new controls we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. Further, weaknesses in our internal controls may be discovered in the future. Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement, could harm our results of operations, may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods, cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations, and could adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we are required to include in the periodic reports we are required to file with the SEC. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial and other information, which would likely have a negative effect on the market price of our Class A common stock. As a result of becoming a public company, our management is required, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports and provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting commencing with our second Annual Report on Form 10-K. In order to improve our disclosure
controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting to meet this standard, significant resources and management oversight may be required. As a result, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could harm our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until after we are no longer an emerging growth company. At such time, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. Any failure to maintain effective disclosure controls and internal control over financial reporting could have a material and adverse effect on our business and results of operations and could cause a decline in the price of our stock.
Future acquisitions, strategic investments, partnerships, or alliances could be difficult to identify and integrate, divert the attention of key management personnel, disrupt our business, dilute stockholder value and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
As part of our business strategy, we have in the past and expect to continue to make investments in and/or acquire complementary companies, services or technologies. Our ability as an organization to acquire and integrate other companies, services or technologies in a successful manner in the future is not guaranteed. We may not be able to find suitable acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete such acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all. If we do complete acquisitions, we may not ultimately strengthen our competitive position or ability to achieve our business objectives, and any acquisitions we complete could be viewed negatively by our end-customers or investors. In addition, if we are unsuccessful at integrating such acquisitions, or the technologies associated with such acquisitions, into our company, the revenue and results of operations of the combined company could be adversely affected. Any integration process may require significant time and resources, and we may not be able to manage the process successfully. We may not successfully evaluate or utilize the acquired technology or personnel, or accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including accounting charges. We may have to pay cash, incur debt or issue equity securities to pay for any such acquisition, each of which could adversely affect our financial condition and the market price of our Class A common stock. The sale of equity or issuance of debt to finance any such acquisitions could result in dilution to our stockholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased fixed obligations and could also include covenants or other restrictions that would impede our ability to manage our operations.
Additional risks we may face in connection with acquisitions include:
•diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
•coordination of research and development and sales and marketing functions;
•integration of product and service offerings;
•retention of key employees from the acquired company;
•changes in relationships with strategic partners as a result of product acquisitions or strategic positioning resulting from the acquisition;
•cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
•integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;
•the need to implement or improve controls, procedures, and policies at a business that prior to the acquisition may have lacked sufficiently effective controls, procedures and policies;
•additional legal, regulatory or compliance requirements;
•financial reporting, revenue recognition or other financial or control deficiencies of the acquired company that we don’t adequately address and that cause our reported results to be incorrect;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including intellectual property infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities;
•unanticipated write-offs or charges; and
•litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former stockholders or other third parties.
Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with acquisitions and investments could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of these acquisitions or investments, cause us to incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business generally.
If we cannot maintain our company culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, teamwork, passion, and focus on execution that we believe contribute to our success and our business may be harmed.
We believe that our corporate culture has been a contributor to our success, which we believe fosters innovation, teamwork, passion and focus on building and marketing our Falcon platform. As we grow, we may find it difficult to maintain our corporate culture. Any failure to preserve our culture could harm our future success, including our ability to retain and recruit personnel, innovate and operate effectively and execute on our business strategy. Additionally, our productivity and the quality of our solutions may be adversely affected if we do not integrate and train our new employees quickly and effectively. If we experience any of these effects in connection with future growth, it could impair our ability to attract new customers, retain existing customers and expand their use of our Falcon platform, all of which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our international operations and plans for future international expansion expose us to significant risks, and failure to manage those risks could adversely impact our business.
We derived approximately 17%, 23%, and 26% of our total revenue from our international customers for fiscal 2018, fiscal 2019, and fiscal 2020, respectively. We are continuing to adapt to and develop strategies to address international markets and our growth strategy includes expansion into target geographies, but there is no guarantee that such efforts will be successful. We expect that our international activities will continue to grow in the future, as we continue to pursue opportunities in international markets. These international operations will require significant management attention and financial resources and are subject to substantial risks, including:
•greater difficulty in negotiating contracts with standard terms, enforcing contracts and managing collections, and longer collection periods;
•higher costs of doing business internationally, including costs incurred in establishing and maintaining office space and equipment for our international operations;
•management communication and integration problems resulting from cultural and geographic dispersion;
•risks associated with trade restrictions and foreign legal requirements, including any importation, certification, and localization of our Falcon platform that may be required in foreign countries;
•greater risk of unexpected changes in regulatory practices, tariffs, and tax laws and treaties;
•compliance with anti-bribery laws, including, without limitation, compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, the U.S. Travel Act and the UK Bribery Act 2010, violations of which could lead to significant fines, penalties, and collateral consequences for our company;
•heightened risk of unfair or corrupt business practices in certain geographies and of improper or fraudulent sales arrangements that may impact financial results and result in restatements of, or irregularities in, financial statements;
•the uncertainty of protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;
•general economic and political conditions in these foreign markets;
•foreign exchange controls or tax regulations that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States;
•political and economic instability in some countries;
•double taxation of our international earnings and potentially adverse tax consequences due to changes in the tax laws of the United States or the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate;
•unexpected costs for the localization of our services, including translation into foreign languages and adaptation for local practices and regulatory requirements;
•requirements to comply with foreign privacy, data protection, and information security laws and regulations and the risks and costs of noncompliance;
•greater difficulty in identifying, attracting and retaining local qualified personnel, and the costs and expenses associated with such activities;
•greater difficulty identifying qualified channel partners and maintaining successful relationships with such partners;
•differing employment practices and labor relations issues; and
•difficulties in managing and staffing international offices and increased travel, infrastructure, and legal compliance costs associated with multiple international locations.
Additionally, all of our sales contracts are currently denominated in U.S. dollars. However, a strengthening of the U.S. dollar could increase the cost of our solutions to our international customers, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations. In addition, an increasing portion of our operating expenses is incurred outside the United States, is denominated in foreign currencies, such as the British Pound, Indian Rupee, Euro, Australian Dollar, and Canadian Dollar, and is subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates. If we become more exposed to currency fluctuations and are not able to successfully hedge against the risks associated with currency fluctuations, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
As we continue to develop and grow our business globally, our success will depend in large part on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these risks. The expansion of our existing international operations and entry into additional international markets will require significant management attention and financial resources. Our failure to successfully manage our international operations and the associated risks could limit the future growth of our business.
CrowdStrike is a highly-visible public company whose management, products, business, results of operations, statements and actions are scrutinized by critics whose influence could negatively impact the perception of our brand and the market value of our common stock.
CrowdStrike is a highly-visible public company whose management, products, business, results of operations, statements and actions are publicized. Such attention sometimes includes criticism of us by a range of third-parties. Our continued success depends on our ability to focus on executing on our mission and business plan while maintaining the trust of our current and potential customers, employees, stockholders and business partners. Any criticism, whether or not accurate, could influence the perception of our brand or our management by our customers, suppliers or investors, which could adversely impact our business prospects, operating results and the market value of our common stock.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As of January 31, 2020, we had aggregate U.S. federal and California net operating loss carryforwards of $657.3 million and $94.8 million, respectively, which may be available to offset future taxable income for income tax purposes. If not utilized, the federal and California net operating loss carryforwards will begin to expire in 2031. As of January 31, 2020, we had net operating loss carryforwards for other states of $352.8 million that will begin to expire in 2023. As of January 31, 2020, we had federal and California research and development credit carryforwards of $17.2 million and $4.3 million, respectively. The federal research and development credit carryforwards will begin to expire in 2031, and the California carryforwards are carried forward indefinitely. Realization of these net operating loss and research and development credit carryforwards depends on future income, and there is a risk that our existing carryforwards could expire unused and be unavailable to offset future income tax liabilities, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
In addition, under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a greater than 50% change (by value) in ownership by “5 percent shareholders” over a rolling three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryovers and other pre-change tax attributes, such as research and development credits, to offset its post-change income or taxes may be limited. We may experience ownership changes in the future as a result of shifts in our stock ownership. As a result, if we earn net taxable income, our ability to use our pre-change net operating loss carryforwards to offset U.S. federal taxable income may be subject to limitations, which could potentially result in increased future tax liability to us.
Taxing authorities may successfully assert that we should have collected or in the future should collect sales and use, value added or similar taxes, and we could be subject to liability with respect to past or future sales, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We do not collect sales and use, value added or similar taxes in all jurisdictions in which we have sales because we have been advised that such taxes are not applicable to our services in certain jurisdictions. Sales and use, value added, and similar tax laws and rates vary greatly by jurisdiction. Certain jurisdictions in which we do not collect such taxes may assert that such taxes are applicable, which could result in tax assessments, penalties and interest, to us or our customers for the past amounts, and we may be required to collect such taxes in the future. If we are unsuccessful in collecting such taxes from our customers, we could be held liable for such costs, which may adversely affect our results of operations.
Our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements are subject to the tax laws of various jurisdictions, and we could be obligated to pay additional taxes, which would harm our results of operations.
We are expanding our international operations and staff to support our business in international markets. We generally conduct our international operations through wholly-owned subsidiaries and are or may be required to report our taxable income in various jurisdictions worldwide based upon our business operations in those jurisdictions. Our intercompany relationships are subject to complex transfer pricing regulations administered by taxing authorities in various jurisdictions. The amount of taxes we pay in different jurisdictions may depend on the application of the tax laws of the various jurisdictions, including the United States, to our international business activities, changes in tax rates, new or revised tax laws or interpretations of existing tax laws and policies, and our ability to operate our business in a manner consistent with our corporate structure and intercompany arrangements. The relevant taxing authorities may disagree with our determinations as to the income and expenses attributable to specific jurisdictions. If such a disagreement were to occur, and our position was not sustained, we could be required to pay additional taxes, interest and penalties, which could result in one-time tax charges, higher effective tax rates, reduced cash flows and lower overall profitability of our operations.
We are subject to federal, state, and local income, sales, and other taxes in the United States and income, withholding, transaction, and other taxes in numerous foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions and our worldwide provision for taxes. During the ordinary course of business, there are many activities and transactions for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. In addition, our tax obligations and effective tax rates could be adversely affected by changes in the relevant tax, accounting and other laws, regulations, principles and interpretations, including those relating to income tax nexus, by recognizing tax losses or lower than anticipated earnings in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory rates and higher than anticipated earnings in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory rates, by changes in foreign currency exchange rates, or by changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities. We may be audited in various jurisdictions, and such jurisdictions may assess additional taxes, sales taxes and value added taxes against us. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of any tax audits or litigation could be materially different from our historical tax provisions and accruals, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations or cash flows in the period or periods for which a determination is made.
If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect or financial reporting standards or interpretations change, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as discussed in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets, liabilities and equity, and the amount of revenue and expenses that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements include those related to revenue recognition; allowance for doubtful accounts; valuation of common stock and redeemable convertible preferred stock warrants; carrying value and useful lives of long-lived assets; loss contingencies; and the provision for income taxes and related deferred taxes. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our results of operations to fall below the expectations of industry or financial analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the market price of our Class A common stock.
Additionally, we regularly monitor our compliance with applicable financial reporting standards and review new pronouncements and drafts thereof that are relevant to us. As a result of new standards, changes to existing standards and changes in their interpretation, we might be required to change our accounting policies, alter our operational policies and implement new or enhance existing systems so that they reflect new or amended financial reporting standards, or we may be required to restate our published financial statements. Such changes to existing standards or changes in their interpretation may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial position and profit, or cause an adverse deviation from our revenue and operating profit target, which may negatively impact our financial results.
Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, floods, outbreak of diseases and other natural catastrophic events, and to interruption by man-made problems such as power disruptions, computer viruses, data security breaches or terrorism.
Our corporate headquarters are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity. A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, a fire, a flood, or significant power outage and other catastrophic events, including the occurrence of a contagious disease or illness, such as COVID-19, could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, and financial condition. The outbreak of a contagious disease like COVID-19 has, among other things, prompted responses such as government-imposed travel restrictions, the grounding of flights, and the shutdown of workplaces. It is not possible for us to predict the duration or magnitude of the adverse results of the outbreak and its effects on our business or results of operations at this time. Natural disasters and other catastrophic events such as COVID-19, could affect our personnel, recovery of our assets, data centers, supply chain, manufacturing vendors, or logistics providers’ ability to provide materials and perform services such as manufacturing products or assisting with shipments on a timely basis. In addition, climate change could result in an increase in the frequency or severity of natural disasters. In the event that our or our service providers’ information technology systems or manufacturing or logistics abilities are hindered by any of the events discussed above, shipments could be delayed, resulting in missed financial targets, such as revenue and shipment targets, for a particular quarter. In addition, computer malware, viruses and computer hacking, fraudulent use attempts, and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry, and our internal systems may be victimized by such attacks. Although we maintain incident management and disaster response plans, in the event of a major disruption caused by a natural disaster or man-made problem, we may be unable to continue our operations and may endure system interruptions, reputational harm, delays in our development activities, lengthy interruptions in service, breaches of data security and loss of critical data, and our insurance may not cover such events or may be insufficient to compensate us for the potentially significant losses we may incur. Acts of terrorism and other geo-political unrest could also cause disruptions in our business or the business of our supply chain, manufacturers, logistics providers, partners, or customers or the economy as a whole. Any disruption in the business of our supply chain, manufacturers, logistics providers, partners or end-customers that impacts sales at the end of a fiscal quarter could have a significant adverse impact on our financial results. All of the aforementioned risks may be further increased if the disaster recovery plans for us and our suppliers prove to be inadequate. To the extent that any of the above should result in delays or cancellations of customer orders, or the delay in the manufacture, deployment or shipment of our products, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
We cannot predict the prices at which our Class A common stock will trade. The market price of our Class A common stock depends on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. In addition, the limited public float of our Class A common stock tends to increase the volatility of the trading price of our Class A common stock. These fluctuations could cause you to lose all or part of your investment in our Class A common stock. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the market price of our Class A common stock include the following:
•actual or anticipated changes or fluctuations in our results of operations;
•the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections or our failure to meet these projections;
•announcements by us or our competitors of new products or new or terminated significant contracts, commercial relationships or capital commitments;
•industry or financial analyst or investor reaction to our press releases, other public announcements and filings with the SEC;
•rumors and market speculation involving us or other companies in our industry;
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
•changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in our industry in particular;
•failure of industry or financial analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
•actual or anticipated developments in our business or our competitors’ businesses or the competitive landscape generally;
•litigation involving us, our industry or both, or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors;
•developments or disputes concerning our intellectual property rights or our solutions, or third-party proprietary rights;
•announced or completed acquisitions of businesses or technologies by us or our competitors;
•new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;
•any major changes in our management or our board of directors, particularly with respect to Mr. Kurtz;
•effects of public health crises, pandemics and epidemics, such as COVID-19;
•general economic conditions and slow or negative growth of our markets; and
•other events or factors, including those resulting from war, incidents of terrorism or responses to these events.
In addition, the stock market in general, and the market for technology companies in particular, has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. Broad market and industry factors may seriously affect the market price of our Class A common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market prices of a particular company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against that company. Securities litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources from our business. This could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Sales of substantial amounts of our Class A common stock in the public markets, or the perception that they might occur, could reduce the price that our Class A common stock might otherwise attain and may dilute your voting power and your ownership interest in us.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market, including shares of Class A stock that have been converted from shares of Class B common stock, and particularly sales by our directors, executive officers and significant stockholders, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock. As of February 29, 2020, we had 114,945,286 shares of Class A common stock outstanding and 98,267,729 shares of Class B common stock outstanding.
All of the shares of Class A common stock sold in our initial public offering are freely tradable without restrictions or further registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, except for any shares held by our affiliates as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act.
In addition, certain holders of our Class B common stock are entitled to rights with respect to registration of these shares under the Securities Act pursuant to our amended and restated registration rights agreement, or RRA. If these holders of our Class B common stock, by exercising their registration rights, sell a large number of shares, they could adversely affect the market price for our Class A common stock.
As of January 31, 2020, an aggregate of approximately 5.5 million shares of our Class B common stock that are beneficially owned by George Kurtz, our President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of our board of directors, and Burt Podbere, our Chief Financial Officer, are pledged to secure obligations of Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Podbere under certain loan agreements. In the case of nonpayment at maturity or another event of default (including but not limited to the borrower’s inability to satisfy a margin call, which may be instituted by the lender following certain declines in our stock price), the lender or any transferee (in the event that the lender had assigned or otherwise transferred its rights under the pledge to a non-affiliate) may exercise its rights under the applicable loan agreement to foreclose on and sell shares pledged to cover the amount due under the loan. Any transfers or sales of such pledged shares may cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.
We may also issue our shares of Class A common stock or securities convertible into shares of our Class A common stock from time to time in connection with a financing, acquisition, investments or otherwise. Any such issuance could result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders and cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.
If industry or financial analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they issue inaccurate or unfavorable research regarding our Class A common stock, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our Class A common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. We do not control these analysts or the content and opinions included in their reports. As a new public company, the analysts who publish information about our Class A common stock have had relatively little experience with our company, which could affect their ability to accurately forecast our results and make it more likely that we fail to meet their estimates. If any of the analysts who cover us issues an inaccurate or unfavorable opinion regarding our stock price, our stock price would likely decline. In addition, the stock prices of many companies in the technology industry have declined significantly after those companies have failed to meet, or significantly exceed, the financial guidance publicly announced by the companies or the expectations of analysts. If our financial results fail to meet, or significantly exceed, our announced guidance or the expectations of analysts or public investors, analysts could downgrade our Class A common stock or publish unfavorable research about us. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, our visibility in the financial markets could decrease, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with those stockholders who held our capital stock (or options or other securities convertible into or exercisable for our capital stock) prior to the completion of our initial public offering, including our executive officers, employees, directors, principal stockholders, and their affiliates, which will limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval.
Our Class B common stock has 10 votes per share, and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. The dual class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with those stockholders who held our capital stock (or options or other securities convertible into or exercisable for our capital stock) prior to the initial public offering, including our executive officers, employees, directors, principal stockholders, and their affiliates, which will limit your ability to influence the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of our directors and the approval of any change in control transaction. Future transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, which will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.
As of January 31, 2020, our executive officers, directors, three of our current stockholders and their respective affiliates held, in aggregate, 82% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Furthermore, three of our current stockholders and their affiliates held, in aggregate, 63% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, these stockholders, acting together, have control over most matters that require approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions. They may also have interests that differ from yours and may vote in a way with which you disagree and which may be adverse to your interests. Corporate action might be taken even if other stockholders, including those who purchased shares in our initial public offering, oppose them. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change of control or other liquidity event of our company, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares of common stock as part of a sale or other liquidity event and might ultimately affect the market price of our common stock.
Further, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the doctrine of “corporate opportunity” does not apply to Accel and Warburg Pincus, or their respective affiliates, in a manner that would prohibit them from investing in competing businesses or doing business with our partners or customers.
Shares of our common stock are subordinate to our debts and other liabilities, resulting in a greater risk of loss for stockholders.
Shares of our common stock are subordinate in right of payment to all of our current and future debt. We cannot assure that there would be any remaining funds after the payment of all of our debts for any distribution to our common stockholders.
We do not intend to pay dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our Class A common stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings for use in the operation of our business and do not anticipate paying any dividends in the foreseeable future. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. Additionally, our ability to pay dividends is limited by restrictions on our ability to pay dividends or make distributions under the terms of our credit facility. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their Class A common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investments.
We are an “emerging growth company” and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.
For so long as we remain an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various requirements that are applicable to public companies that are not “emerging growth companies,” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We may take advantage of these exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. We would cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest to occur of: (i) the first fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of our initial public offering; (ii) the first fiscal year after our annual gross revenue is $1.07 billion or more; (iii) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities; or (iv) date on which we qualify as a “large accelerated filer,” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act, which would occur at the end of the fiscal year in which the market value of our
common stock held by non-affiliates exceeded $700.0 million as of the end of the second quarter of that fiscal year, and after which we have been a reporting company for at least 12 months. Further, pursuant to Section 107 of the JOBS Act, as an emerging growth company, we have elected to take advantage of the extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. As a result, our results of operations and financial statements may not be comparable to the results of operations and financial statements of other companies who have adopted the new or revised accounting standards. We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result, our stock price may be more volatile.
The issuance of additional stock in connection with financings, acquisitions, investments, our stock incentive plans, or otherwise will dilute all other stockholders.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue up to 2,000,000,000 shares of Class A common stock, up to 300,000,000 shares of Class B common stock, and up to 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock with such rights and preferences as may be determined by our board of directors. Subject to compliance with applicable rules and regulations, we may issue shares of Class A common stock or securities convertible into shares of our Class A common stock from time to time in connection with a financing, acquisition, investment, our stock incentive plans or otherwise. Any such issuance could result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders and cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.
Certain provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of our company more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove members of our board of directors or current management, and may adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could delay or prevent a change in control of our company. These provisions could also make it difficult for stockholders to elect directors that are not nominated by the current members of our board of directors or take other corporate actions, including effecting changes in our management. These provisions include:
•our dual class common stock structure, which provides our holders of Class B common stock with the ability to significantly influence the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval, even if they own significantly less than a majority of the shares of our outstanding Class A and Class B common stock;
•a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which could delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;
•the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;
•the exclusive right of our board of directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of our board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;
•a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders, which prohibition will take effect on the first date on which the number of outstanding shares of our Class B common stock represents less than 10% of the aggregate number of outstanding shares of our Class A common stock and our Class B common stock, taken together as a single class;
•the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairperson of our board of directors, chief executive officer or by the board of directors acting pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of our board of directors, which could delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;
•certain amendments to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation require the approval of two-thirds of the then-outstanding voting power of our capital stock; and
•advance notice procedures with which stockholders must comply to nominate candidates to our board of directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.
These provisions may prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, from merging or combining with us for a certain period of time.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, and to the extent enforceable, the federal district courts of the United States, will be the exclusive forum for certain disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for:
•any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;
•any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty;
•any action asserting a claim against us arising under the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws;
•any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; and
•any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal-affairs doctrine.
However, this exclusive forum provision does not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act. In addition, our amended and restated bylaws provide that the federal district courts of the United States will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, subject to and contingent upon a final adjudication in the State of Delaware of the enforceability of such exclusive forum provision.
These exclusive-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters occupies approximately 68,791 square feet in Sunnyvale, California under a lease that expires in 2025. We also lease offices in California, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, as well as locations internationally, including in Australia, Germany, India, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
We believe that our existing facilities are sufficient for our current needs. In the future, we may need to add new facilities and expand our existing facilities as we add employees, grow our infrastructure and evolve our business, and we believe that suitable additional or substitute space will be available on commercially reasonable terms to meet our future needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are currently involved in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, (the “USPTO”), regarding our U.S. trademark registrations for “CrowdStrike Falcon” and our U.S. application to register our “Falcon OverWatch” trademark. On November 23, 2016, Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, filed a Petition for Cancellation of our “CrowdStrike Falcon” trademark registrations and a Notice of Opposition against our “Falcon OverWatch” trademark application before the USPTO, TTAB. On January 3, 2017, we filed answers to both the cancellation and opposition proceedings, and the proceedings thereafter were consolidated. On November 21, 2018, we filed a Petition for Partial Cancellation or Amendment of one of FICO’s “Falcon” trademark registrations, and on December 10, 2018, the parties filed a joint request to consolidate the proceedings and adjust the schedule. On January 16, 2019, FICO moved to dismiss our petition. On July 2, 2019, the TTAB consolidated the proceedings and granted FICO’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend. On July 22, 2019, we filed an Amended Petition for Cancellation or Amendment and on August 12, 2019, FICO moved to dismiss our Amended Petition for Cancellation. On January 31, 2020, the TTAB denied the motion to dismiss as to two grounds for partial cancellation and as to the request for amendment, and granted the motion as to a third ground for partial cancellation of one of FICO’s “Falcon” registrations and the claim for abandonment of both of FICO’s “Falcon” trademark registrations, with the right to reassert both claims for relief. The TTAB also set a new schedule for the consolidated proceedings, with trial periods set to begin on December 6, 2020. On March 18, 2020, we filed a motion for leave to file a Second Amended Petition to include a claim for abandonment for two of FICO’s “Falcon” trademark registrations. We are vigorously defending the case, but given the early stage, although a loss may reasonably be possible, we are unable to predict the likelihood of success of FICO’s claims or estimate a loss or a range of loss. As a result, no liability has been recorded as of January 31, 2020 or January 31, 2019.
In addition, from time to time, we are a party to various litigation matters and subject to claims that arise in the ordinary course of business. In addition, third parties may from time to time assert claims against us in the form of letters and other communications. For any claims for which we believe a liability is both probable and reasonably estimable, we record a liability in the period for which it makes this determination. There is no pending or threatened legal proceeding to which we are a party that, in our opinion, is likely to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial statements; however, the results of litigation and claims are inherently unpredictable. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on our business because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources, and other factors. In addition, the expense of litigation and the timing of this expense from period to period are difficult to estimate, subject to change and could adversely affect our results of operations.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Markets Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
Our common stock is listed and traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CRWD” since June 12, 2019. Prior to that date, there was no public market for our common stock.
Holders of Record
As of January 31, 2020, we had 271 holders of record of our common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings for use in the operation of our business and do not expect to pay any dividends on our capital stock in the foreseeable future. Additionally, our ability to pay dividends is limited by restrictions on our ability to pay dividends or make distributions under the terms of our credit facility. Any future determination to declare dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on a number of factors, including our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, general business conditions, and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
The information required by this item with respect to our equity compensation plans is incorporated by reference to our Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the fiscal year ended January 31, 2020.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds
(a) Sale of Unregistered Equity Securities
(b) Use of Proceeds from Public Offering of Common Stock
On June 11, 2019, the SEC declared our registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-231461) for our IPO effective. There have been no material changes in the planned use of proceeds from our IPO as described in our final prospectus filed with the SEC on June 13, 2019.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Stock Performance Graph
This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act.
We have presented below the cumulative total return to our stockholders between June 12, 2019 (the date our common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq) through January 31, 2020 in comparison to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Standard & Poor Information Technology Index. All values assume a $100 initial investment and data for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Standard & Poor Information Technology Index assume reinvestment of dividends. The comparisons are based on historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, the future performance of our common stock.
|Company/ Index||June 12, 2019||June 30, 2019||July 31, 2019||August 31, 2019||September 30, 2019||October 31, 2019||November 30, 2019||December 31, 2019||January 31, 2020|
|CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc.||$||100.00 || ||$||117.74 || ||$||153.57 || ||$||140.14 || ||$||100.53 || ||$||86.05 || ||$||100.00 || ||$||85.98 || ||$||105.33 || |
|S&P 500||$||100.00 || ||$||107.05 || ||$||108.59 || ||$||106.87 || ||$||108.87 || ||$||111.22 || ||$||115.26 || ||$||118.74 || ||$||118.69 || |
|S&P Information Technology||$||100.00 || ||$||109.13 || ||$||112.77 || ||$||111.10 || ||$||112.78 || ||$||117.16 || ||$||123.47 || ||$||129.02 || ||$||134.13 || |
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The selected consolidated statements of operations data presented below for fiscal 2020, fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of January 31, 2020 and 2019 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements that are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for fiscal 2017 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of January 31, 2018, and 2017 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in the future. Effective February 1, 2019, the Company adopted
Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”) as discussed in Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our Consolidated Financial Statements. Prior periods were not retrospectively adjusted, and accordingly, the consolidated statement of operations data for the years ended January 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of January 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 were prepared using the prior revenue recognition standard referred to as ASC 605. The selected consolidated financial data and other data set forth below should be read in conjunction with the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
|Year Ended January 31,|
|(in thousands, except per share data)|
|Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:|
|Subscription||$||436,323 || ||$||219,401 || ||$||92,568 || ||$||37,895 || |
|Professional services||45,090 || ||30,423 || ||26,184 || ||14,850 || |
|Total revenue||481,413 || ||249,824 || ||118,752 || ||52,745 || |
|Cost of revenue|
|112,474 || ||69,208 || ||39,857 || ||24,378 || |
Professional services (1)
|29,153 || ||18,030 || ||14,629 || ||9,628 || |
|Total cost of revenue||141,627 || ||87,238 || ||54,486 || ||34,006 || |
|Gross profit||339,786 || ||162,586 || ||64,266 || ||18,739 || |
Sales and marketing(1)(2)
|266,595 || ||172,682 || ||104,277 || ||53,748 || |
Research and development(1)(2)
|130,188 || ||84,551 || ||58,887 || ||39,145 || |
General and administrative(1)
|89,068 || ||42,217 || ||32,542 || ||16,402 || |
|Total operating expenses||485,851 || ||299,450 || ||195,706 || ||109,295 || |
|Loss from operations||(146,065)|| ||(136,864)|| ||(131,440)|| ||(90,556)|| |
|Interest expense||(442)|| ||(428)|| ||(1,648)|| ||(615)|| |
|Other income (expense), net||6,725 || ||(1,418)|| ||(1,473)|| ||(82)|| |
|Loss before provision for income taxes||(139,782)|| ||(138,710)|| ||(134,561)|| ||(91,253)|| |
|Provision for income taxes||(1,997)|| ||(1,367)|| ||(929)|| ||(87)|| |
|Net loss||$||(141,779)|| ||$||(140,077)|| ||$||(135,490)|| ||$||(91,340)|| |
|Accretion of redeemable convertible preferred stock||— || ||— || ||(5,853)|| ||(17,012)|| |
|Net loss attributable to Class A and Class B common stockholders, basic and diluted||$||(141,779)|| ||$||(140,077)|| ||$||(141,343)|| ||(108,352)|| |
Net loss per share attributable to Class A and Class B common stockholders, basic and diluted(3)
|$||(0.96)|| ||$||(3.12)|| ||$||(3.38)|| ||$||(2.73)|| |
Weighted-average shares used in computing net loss per share attributable to Class A and Class B common stockholders, basic and diluted(3)
|148,062 || ||44,863 || ||41,876 || ||39,706 || |
(1)Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:
|Year Ended January 31,|
|Subscription cost of revenue||$||5,226 || ||$||689 || ||$||89 || ||$||50 || |
|Professional services cost of revenue||2,486 || ||205 || ||252 || ||41 || |
|Sales and marketing||23,919 || ||5,175 || ||1,386 || ||638 || |
|Research and development||15,403 || ||7,815 || ||3,429 || ||561 || |
|General and administrative||32,906 || ||6,621 || ||7,187 || ||704 || |
|Total stock-based compensation expense||$||79,940 || ||$||20,505 || ||$||12,343 || ||$||1,994 || |
(2)Includes amortization of acquired intangible assets as follows:
|Year Ended January 31,|
|Subscription cost of revenue||$||323 || ||$||327 || ||$||287 || ||$||97 || |
|Sales and marketing||123 || ||143 || ||20 || ||— || |
|Research and development||41 || ||113 || ||321 || ||— || |
Total amortization of purchased intangibles
|$||487 || ||$||583 || ||$||628 || ||$||97 || |
(3)See Note 2 and Note 14 to our consolidated financial statements elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for an explanation of the method used to calculate our basic and diluted net loss per share attributable to our common stockholders and the weighted-average number of shares used in the computation of the per share amounts.
|As of January 31,|
|Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:|
|Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities||$||912,064 || ||$||191,655 || ||$||65,772 || ||$||33,450 || |
Working capital (deficit)(1)
|$||678,540 || ||$||49,968 || ||$||(12,279)|| ||$||(19,013)|| |
|Total assets||$||1,404,906 || ||$||433,219 || ||$||217,703 || ||$||91,371 || |
|Deferred revenue, current and noncurrent||$||571,168 || ||$||290,067 || ||$||158,950 || ||$||76,551 || |
|Redeemable convertible preferred stock||$||— || ||$||557,912 || ||$||351,016 || ||$||214,728 || |
|Accumulated deficit||$||(637,487)|| ||$||(519,126)|| ||$||(378,948)|| ||$||(243,458)|| |
Total stockholders’ equity (deficit)
|$||742,607 || ||$||(487,793)|| ||$||(369,474)|| ||$||(243,453)|| |
(1)Working capital (deficit) is defined as current assets less current liabilities.
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates and beliefs. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include those discussed below and elsewhere in this prospectus, particularly in the sections titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors.” Our fiscal year end is January 31, and our fiscal quarters end on April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31. Our fiscal years ended January 31, 2020, January 31, 2019, and January 31, 2018, are referred to herein as fiscal 2020, fiscal 2019, and fiscal 2018, respectively.
We founded CrowdStrike in 2011 to reinvent security for the cloud era. When we started the company, cyberattackers had a decided, asymmetric advantage over existing security products. We turned the tables on the adversaries by taking a fundamentally new approach that leverages the network effects of crowdsourced data applied to modern technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and graph databases. Realizing that the nature of cybersecurity problems had changed but the solutions had not, we built our CrowdStrike Falcon platform to detect threats and stop breaches.
We believe we are defining a new category called the Security Cloud, with the power to transform the security industry much the same way the cloud has transformed the CRM, HR, and service management industries. With our Falcon platform, we created the first multi-tenant, cloud native, intelligent security solution capable of protecting workloads across on-premise, virtualized, and cloud-based environments running on a variety of endpoints such as desktops, laptops, servers, virtual machines, and IoT devices. Our Falcon platform is composed of two tightly integrated proprietary technologies: our easily deployed intelligent lightweight agent and our cloud-based, dynamic graph database called Threat Graph. Our solution benefits from crowdsourcing and economies of scale, which we believe enables our AI algorithms to be uniquely effective. We call this cloud-scale AI. We initially provided intelligence and incident response services while we developed our Falcon platform. In June 2013, we first began providing EDR capabilities as a single solution. In February 2017, as we executed on our Falcon platform expansion strategy, we began offering these and additional capabilities as separate cloud modules. This strategic move facilitated new customer adoption and allowed us to further expand within our customer base. Today, we offer 11 cloud modules on our Falcon platform via a SaaS subscription-based model that spans multiple large security markets, including endpoint security, security and IT operations (including vulnerability management), and threat intelligence.
On June 14, 2019 we closed our initial public offering, or IPO, in which we issued and sold 20,700,000 shares of Class A common stock. The price per share to the public was $34.00. We received aggregate proceeds of $665.1 million from the IPO, net of underwriters’ discounts and commissions and before deducting estimated offering costs of $5.9 million. Upon the closing of the IPO, all shares of our outstanding preferred stock automatically converted into 131,267,586 shares of Class B common stock. In connection with our IPO, all shares of our common stock outstanding prior to our IPO were automatically converted into shares of Class B common stock.
The World Health Organization has declared the recent COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 on our operational and financial performance will depend on certain developments, including the duration and spread of the outbreak; impact on our customers and our sales cycles; impact on our customer, employee, and industry events; and effect on our vendors, all of which are uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. We are conducting business as usual with modifications to employee travel, employee work locations, and cancellation of certain marketing events, among other modifications. Other companies are taking precautionary and preemptive actions to address COVID-19 and may take further actions that alter their normal business operations. We will continue to actively monitor the situation and may take further actions that alter our business operations as may be required by federal, state, or local authorities, or that we determine are in the best interests of our employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and stockholders. At this point, the extent to which the COVID-19 may impact our financial condition or results of operations is uncertain. Furthermore, due to our subscription based business model, the effect of the COVID-19 may not be fully reflected in our results of operations until future periods, if at all.
Our Go-To-Market Strategy
We sell subscriptions to our Falcon platform and cloud modules to organizations across multiple industries. We primarily sell subscriptions to our Falcon platform and cloud modules through our direct sales team that leverages our network of channel partners. Our direct sales team is comprised of field sales and inside sales professionals who are segmented by a customer’s number of endpoints.
We have a low friction land-and-expand sales strategy. When customers deploy our Falcon platform, they can start with any number of cloud modules and we can activate additional cloud modules in real time on the same agent already deployed on the endpoint. This architecture has also allowed us to begin to offer a free trial of our Falcon Prevent module directly from our website or the AWS Marketplace, and we plan to extend this capability to additional modules in the future. Once customers experience the benefits of our Falcon platform, they often expand their adoption over time by adding more endpoints or purchasing additional modules. We also use our sales team to identify current customers who may be interested in free trials of additional cloud modules, which serves as a powerful driver of our land-and-expand model. By segmenting our sales teams, we can deploy a low-touch sales model that efficiently identifies prospective customers.
We began as a solution for large enterprises, but the flexibility and scalability of our Falcon platform has enabled us to seamlessly offer our solution to customers of any size—from those with hundreds of thousands of endpoints to as few as three. We have expanded our sales focus to include any organization without the need to modify our Falcon platform for small and medium sized businesses.
A substantial majority of our customers purchase subscriptions with a term of one year. Our subscriptions are generally priced on a per-endpoint and per-module basis. We recognize revenue from our subscriptions ratably over the term of the subscription. We also generate revenue from our incident response and proactive professional services, which are generally priced on a time and materials basis. We view our professional services business primarily as an opportunity to cross-sell subscriptions to our Falcon platform and cloud modules.
Certain Factors Affecting Our Performance
Adoption of Our Solutions. We believe our future success depends in large part on the growth in the market for cloud-based SaaS-delivered endpoint security solutions. Many organizations have not yet abandoned the on-premise legacy products in which they have invested substantial personnel and financial resources to design and maintain. As a result, it is difficult to predict customer adoption rates and demand for our cloud-based solutions.
New Customer Acquisition. Our future growth depends in large part on our ability to acquire new customers. If our efforts to attract new customers are not successful, our revenue and rate of revenue growth may decline. We believe that our go-to-market strategy and the flexibility and scalability of our Falcon platform allow us to rapidly expand our customer base. Our incident response and proactive services also help drive new customer acquisitions, as many of these professional services customers subsequently purchase subscriptions to our Falcon platform. Many organizations have not yet adopted cloud-based security solutions, and since our Falcon platform has offerings for organizations of all sizes, worldwide, and across industries, we believe this presents a significant opportunity for growth.
Maintain Customer Retention and Increase Sales. Our ability to increase revenue depends in large part on our ability to retain our existing customers and increase the ARR of their subscriptions. We focus on increasing sales to our existing customers by expanding their deployments to more endpoints and selling additional cloud modules for increased functionality. In February 2017, we transitioned our platform from a single offering into highly-integrated offerings of multiple SKU cloud modules. We initially launched this strategy with our IT hygiene, next-generation antivirus, EDR, managed threat hunting, and intelligence modules, and added five additional modules between February 2017 and October 2019. The Falcon Platform currently has 11 cloud modules that span endpoint security, security operations, and threat intelligence.
Invest in Growth. We believe that our market opportunity is large and requires us to continue to invest significantly in sales and marketing efforts to further grow our customer base, both domestically and internationally. Our open cloud architecture and single data model have allowed us to rapidly build and deploy new cloud modules, and we expect to continue investing in those efforts to further enhance our technology platform and product functionality. In addition to our ongoing investment in research and development, we may also pursue acquisitions of businesses, technologies, and assets that complement and expand the functionality of our Falcon platform, add to our technology or security expertise, or bolster our leadership position by gaining access to new customers or markets. Furthermore, we expect our general and administrative expenses to increase in dollar amount for the foreseeable future given the additional expenses for accounting, compliance, and investor relations as we become a public company.
We monitor the following key metrics to help us evaluate our business, identify trends affecting our business, formulate business plans, and make strategic decisions.
We define a subscription customer as a separate legal entity that has entered into a distinct subscription agreement for access to Falcon platform for which the term has not ended or with which we are negotiating a renewal contract. We do not consider our channel partners as customers, and we treat managed service security providers, who may purchase our products on behalf of multiple companies, as a single customer. While initially we focused our sales and marketing efforts on large enterprises, in recent years we have also increased our sales and marketing to small and medium sized businesses.
The following table sets forth the number of our subscription customers as of the dates presented:
|As of January 31,|
|(in thousands)|| |
|Subscription customers||5,431 || ||2,516 || ||1,242 || |
|Year-over-year growth||116 ||%||103 ||%||176 ||%|
Annual Recurring Revenue (“ARR”)
ARR is calculated as the annualized value of our customer subscription contracts as of the measurement date, assuming any contract that expires during the next 12 months is renewed on its existing terms. To the extent that we are negotiating a renewal with a customer after the expiration of the subscription, we continue to include that revenue in ARR if we are actively in discussion with such an organization for a new subscription or renewal, or until such organization notifies us that it is not renewing its subscription.
The following table sets forth our ARR as of the dates presented:
|As of January 31,|
|(dollars in thousands)|
|Annual recurring revenue||$||600,456 || ||$||312,656 || ||$||141,314 || |
|Year-over-year growth||92 ||%||121 ||%||140 ||%|
Dollar-Based Net Retention Rate
Our dollar-based net retention rate compares our ARR from a set of subscription customers against the same metric for those subscription customers from the prior year. Our dollar-based net retention rate reflects customer renewals, expansion, contraction, and churn, and excludes revenue from our incident response and proactive services. We calculate our dollar-based net retention rate as of period end by starting with the ARR from all subscription customers as of 12 months prior to such period end, or Prior Period ARR. We then calculate the ARR from these same subscription customers as of the current period end, or Current Period ARR. Current Period ARR includes any expansion and is net of contraction or churn over the trailing 12 months but excludes revenue from new subscription customers in the current period. We then divide the Current Period ARR by the Prior Period ARR to arrive at our dollar-based net retention rate.
Since January 2016, our dollar-based net retention rate has consistently exceeded 100%, which is primarily attributable to an expansion of endpoints within, and cross-selling additional cloud modules to, our existing subscription customers. Our dollar-based net retention rate can fluctuate from period to period due to large customer contracts in a given period, which may reduce our dollar-based net retention rate in subsequent periods if the customer makes a larger upfront purchase and does not continue to increase purchases.
|As of January 31,|
|Dollar-based net retention rate||124 ||%||147 ||%||119 ||%|
Our dollar-based net retention rate has varied from quarter to quarter due to a number of factors and we expect that trend to continue. For example in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, we had an outsized expansion deal that contributed 11 percentage points to our net retention in that quarter. While we once again expanded within this account in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, the impact was smaller than the prior year. In addition, we have seen strong success with our strategy to land bigger deals with more modules, and we are also seeing an acceleration in our acquisition of new customers. While we view these two trends as positive developments, they have a natural trade off on our ability to expand business with existing customers in the near term.
Components of Our Results of Operations
Subscription Revenue. Subscription revenue primarily consists of subscription fees for our Falcon platform and additional cloud modules that are supported by our cloud-based platform. Subscription revenue is driven primarily by the number of subscription customers, the number of endpoints per customer, and the number of cloud modules included in the subscription. We recognize subscription revenue ratably over the term of the agreement, which is generally one to three years. Because our subscription customers are generally billed upfront, we have recorded significant deferred revenue. Consequently, a substantial portion of the revenue that we report in each period is attributable to the recognition of deferred revenue relating to subscriptions that we entered into during previous periods. We typically invoice our customers annually in advance or multi-year in advance.
Professional Services Revenue. Professional services revenue includes incident response and proactive services, forensic and malware analysis, and attribution analysis. Professional services are generally sold separately from subscriptions to our Falcon platform, although customers frequently enter into a separate arrangement to purchase subscriptions to our Falcon platform at the conclusion of a professional services arrangement. Professional services are available through hourly rate and fixed fee contracts, one-time and ongoing engagements, and retainer-based agreements. For time and materials and retainer-based arrangements, revenue is recognized as services are performed. For fixed fee contracts, we recognize revenue by applying the proportional performance method.
Cost of Revenue
Subscription Cost of Revenue. Subscription cost of revenue consists primarily of costs related to hosting our cloud-based Falcon platform in data centers, amortization of our capitalized internal-use software, employee-related costs such as salaries and bonuses, stock-based compensation expense, benefits costs associated with our operations and support personnel, software license fees, property and equipment depreciation, and an allocated portion of facilities and administrative costs.
As new customers subscribe to our platform and existing subscription customers increase the number of endpoints on our Falcon platform, our cost of revenue will increase due to greater cloud hosting costs related to powering new cloud modules and the incremental costs for storing additional data collected for such cloud modules and employee-related costs. We intend to continue to invest additional resources in our cloud platform and our customer support organizations as we grow our business. The level and timing of investment in these areas could affect our cost of revenue in the future.
Professional Services Cost of Revenue. Professional services cost of revenue consists primarily of employee-related costs, such as salaries and bonuses, stock-based compensation expense, technology, property and equipment depreciation, and an allocated portion of facilities and administrative costs.
Gross Profit and Gross Margin
Gross profit and gross margin have been and will continue to be affected by various factors, including the timing of our acquisition of new subscription customers, renewals from existing subscription customers, sales of additional modules to existing subscription customers, the data center and bandwidth costs associated with operating our cloud platform, the extent to which we expand our customer support and cloud operations organizations, and the extent to which we can increase the efficiency of our technology, infrastructure, and data centers through technological improvements. We expect our gross profit to increase in dollar amount and our gross margin to increase modestly over the long term, although our gross margin could fluctuate from period to period depending on the interplay of these factors. Demand for our incident response services is driven by the number of breaches experienced by non-customers. Also, we view our professional services solutions in the context of our larger business and as a significant lead generator for new subscriptions. Because of these factors, our services revenue and gross margin may fluctuate over time.
Our operating expenses consist of sales and marketing, research and development and general administrative expenses. For each of these categories of expense, employee-related expenses are the most significant component, which include salaries, employee bonuses, sales commissions, and employer payroll tax. Operating expenses also include an allocated portion of overhead costs for facilities and IT.
Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expenses primarily consist of employee-related expenses such as salaries, commissions, and bonuses. Sales and marketing expenses also include stock-based compensation; expenses related to our Fal.Con customer conference and other marketing events; an allocated portion of facilities and administrative expenses; and cloud hosting and related services costs related to proof of value efforts. Prior to February 1, 2019, we amortized sales commissions on a straight-line basis to sales and marketing expense over the term of the subscription. On February 1, 2019, we adopted ASC 606, and began capitalizing and amortizing sales commissions and any other incremental payments made upon the initial acquisition of a subscription or upsells to existing customers to sales and marketing expense over the estimated customer life, and amortizing any such expenses paid for the renewal of a subscription to sales and marketing expense over the term of the renewal.
We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in dollar amount as we continue to make significant investments in our sales and marketing organization to drive additional revenue, further penetrate the market, and expand our global customer base. However, we anticipate sales and marketing costs to decrease as a percentage of revenue over time.
Research and Development. Research and development expenses primarily consist of employee-related expenses such as salaries and bonuses; stock-based compensation, consulting expenses related to the design; development, testing, and enhancements of our subscription services; and an allocated portion of facilities and administrative expenses. Our cloud platform is software-driven, and our research and development teams employ software engineers in the design, and the related development, testing, certification, and support of these solutions.
We expect research and development expenses to increase in dollar amount as we continue to increase investments in our technology architecture and software platform. However, we anticipate research and development expenses to decrease as a percentage of our total revenue over time, although our research and development expenses may fluctuate as a percentage of our total revenue from period-to-period depending on the timing of these expenses.
General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses consist of employee-related expenses such as salaries and bonuses; stock-based compensation; and related expenses for our executive, finance, human resources; and legal organizations. In addition, general and administrative expenses include outside legal, accounting, and other professional fees; and an allocated portion of facilities and administrative expenses.
We expect to incur additional expenses as a result of operating as a public company. As a result, we expect our general and administrative expenses to increase in dollar amount. However, we anticipate general and administrative expenses to decrease as a percentage of our total revenue over time.
Other Income (Expense), Net. Other income (expense), net, consists primarily of income earned on our cash equivalents and marketable securities; expense related to the fair value of warrants for our redeemable convertible preferred stock; interest expense on our bank facility; and foreign currency transaction gains and losses.
Provision for Income Taxes. The provision for income taxes consists primarily of income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business, as well as state income taxes in the United States. We have not recorded any U.S. federal income tax expense. We maintain a full valuation allowance on our U.S. federal and state and U.K. deferred tax assets as we have concluded that it is more likely than not that those deferred assets will not be utilized.
Results of Operations
The following tables set forth our consolidated statements of operations in dolla