We are a leading cloud-based technology company in Latin America and a market leader in Brazil in terms of revenue. We are focused on developing and providing affordable, easy-to-use, reliable and seamlessly integrated software solutions to retailers in Latin America, through our software-as-a-service, or SaaS, business model. During 2018, our subscription revenue accounted for 86.8%, or R$680.8 million, of our gross operating revenue, an increase of 15.5% over 2017 in reais. During the three-month period ended March 31, 2019, our subscription revenue accounted for 89.1%, or R$180.5 million, of our gross operating revenue, an increase of 11.1% over the corresponding period in 2018 in reais. With a comprehensive offering of solutions, we are an end-to-end service provider that offers business management tools, payment solutions, e-commerce and omni-channel applications through an integrated and ever-evolving platform to retailers of all sizes and capabilities.
Since our incorporation in 1985, our consumer-centric and entrepreneurial culture has been focused on innovation, agility, and building a reliable infrastructure, all of which have enabled us to adapt to our customers’ needs, deliver user-friendly software solutions and services and develop a comprehensive portfolio of integrated solutions. These capabilities have contributed to our resilient and predictable operations, with subscription revenue accounting for 86.8% of our gross operating revenue in 2018 and a quarterly customer retention rate of over 99% through the year. In addition, our growth is supported by a strong track record of adding new products to our portfolio, including our most recent Linx Pay Hub integrated payment processing solution, in order to anticipate trends and adapt to changes in our market. These ongoing efforts are exemplified by the upcoming products we intend to launch in 2019, including a QR code acceptance solution at cash registers that replaces debit cards and a digital wallet for retail customers that do not want a checking account.
As a result of our innovation capacity, ability to adapt to evolving customer needs and our cross-selling efforts, we have successfully retained and increased year-over-year the share of our services in our customers’ wallet, as demonstrated in the following cohort analysis. For purposes of the following chart, we define (1) “annual cohort” as the subscription revenue generated from customers and that is added to our portfolio of customers in a given year and (2) “compound cohort growth rate” as the percentage of the subscription revenue generated by the relevant annual cohort of customers in 2018 relative to the revenue generated by the same annual cohort in the year immediately after they were added to our portfolio of customers. Compound cohort growth rates are calculated using this method to capture customer-generated revenues over a 12-month period (a full fiscal year), while also mitigating the fact that customers are added to the portfolio on different days of the year. Annual cohort revenue estimated using this metric takes into consideration both new organic customers and customers of companies that we acquire. As evidenced in the following chart, all of our annual cohorts have been kept at more than 100% of their respective initial annual revenue.
As result of over 30 years of operations dedicated to the retail sector in Brazil, we have developed in-depth specialized knowledge and competitive advantages that have allowed us to become the leading player in the Brazilian software market. Consequently, we achieved a 41.3% market share in 2017 in terms of revenue in the retail management software solutions segment, according to the 2018 IDC Survey. We have successfully leveraged our extensive customer base to explore cross selling opportunities, resulting in greater economies of scale, greater customer loyalty (as reflected by our high customer retention rates) and lower customer acquisition costs, translating into a hard to replicate business model with strong natural barriers against the entry of competitors.
Throughout our history, we have adapted our operations to our customers’ needs and market trends by expanding our product portfolio to offer a unique integrated platform with comprehensive solutions and leading to a compelling value proposition. For instance, in addition to Linx Core, our core product line that offers integrated business management systems, we launched Linx Digital in 2018, an e-commerce platform and application designed to improve the omni-channel shopping experience for both retailers and their customers. Through Linx Digital, retailers are able to interact with their clients and deliver a seamless experience across a variety of channels, including physical stores, mobile applications and the internet. Moreover, in 2018, we further adapted to our customers’ ever-evolving needs and launched Linx Pay Hub to offer payment processing solutions integrated with our Linx Core and Linx Digital product lines. By providing mission critical services and integrated solutions to our customers, we are able to better understand their business performance preferences while further enhancing our portfolio of offerings with a comprehensive payment processing solution.
The graphic below illustrates our primary product lines, each of their main services and international benchmarks.
In addition to our own organic innovation capabilities we have also increased our retail product offerings through strategic acquisitions of synergic businesses with our own operations, enabling us to further develop our product developing capabilities. From 2008 to March 31, 2019, we have completed 28 acquisitions, which we believe is a testament to our ability to identify, execute and integrate acquisitions in a consistent and disciplined manner. We believe that we are a differentiated platform with the knowledge to capitalize on consolidation opportunities in our market segment and explore new verticals as the relationship between retailers and their customers continues to evolve.
To support our growth trajectory, we successfully completed the initial public offering of our common shares in Brazil in 2013 and rapidly became one of the country’s most prominent technology companies listed on the Novo Mercado segment, the listing segment of the B3 with the highest corporate governance standards. Moreover, on September 26, 2016, we completed the follow-on public offering of our common shares, using the net proceeds from the issuance to finance strategic acquisitions in the retail software sector.
Our Product Lines
We offer three primary product lines: Linx Core, Linx Digital and Linx Pay Hub. We initiated our operations through our Linx Core product line, and as part of our efforts to adapt to ever-evolving customer needs, we created our Linx Digital and, most recently, Linx Pay Hub product lines. The solutions we offer through our product lines are specially designed for our customers’ value chain ERP/POS offerings with the objective of developing a fully integrated ecosystem and becoming an end-to-end service provider for retailers. We believe that these three verticals allow us to become a partner of choice to retailers by providing services that increase efficiencies, integrating digital and physical stores, while ensuring a flexible payment solution suitable for each.
Our Linx Core product line provides integrated business management systems. Linx Core products cater to the entire retail chain, from business automation software that performs all necessary operations at the POS to comprehensive ERP applications, which include, among other features, inventory management, CRM tools, financial, accounting and tax management, product lifecycle management, supply management, loyalty programs, e-receipt and other interconnected features. By offering our POS as a primary product, we are able to cross-sell many of our ERP capabilities by highlighting the seamless experience they provide. As of December 31, 2018, more than 45,000 retailers used Linx Core.
We design our Linx Core software products to enable retailers to adapt to changing business requirements through consistent innovations and frequent upgrades that provide new functionalities and support our customers’ navigation of the complex Brazilian tax system as well as evolving regulatory requirements. According to the 2018 IDC Survey, spending related to software in the Brazilian retail market totaled R$2.4 billion in 2017, or 10.4% growth over 2016.
Our software products are evolving in response to performance demands and user experiences. Furthermore, through our cloud-based infrastructure we can derive even more operating leverage as we continue to grow our services and solutions, resulting in increased margins.
Through Linx Core, we believe that we have the capability to offer our customers simple and cost-effective solutions that meet their requirements, personalized for their size and their verticals. Our modular and cloud-based solutions efficiently serve both small, medium and large-scale enterprises as well as large multinational retail chains. We offer our customers in-depth operational knowledge and best practices across a variety of verticals, including clothing stores, vehicle dealerships, pharmacies, electronic goods and household appliances stores, department stores, home improvement stores, fast food chains and gas stations.
Our in-depth knowledge of the Brazilian retail sector also enables us to offer focused innovative, scalable and machine-learning technology, tailored to the retail market as well as e-commerce platforms, data analytics and OMS technology fully integrated with our ERP software.
Our Linx Digital product line is subdivided into three categories:
- Linx Commerce: Our e-commerce platform, which provides our customers with a seamless and personalized cross-channel solution that enables a true omni-channel shopping experience (e.g., interactive electronic catalog with information regarding inventory and prices, among other functionalities);
- Linx Impulse: big data and machine-learning based solutions for e-commerce operations, such as search and recommendation, re-engagement and advertising. Data engineering is key to unlocking insights by combining, integrating and analyzing data focusing on driving customer acquisition and loyalty. In this context, our Linx Impulse product offering is capable of analyzing consumer behavior to help our customers improve their client conversion rates by, for example, reducing the shopping cart abandon rate (which represents the rate at which shoppers select a product for purchase online but abandon the purchase prior to its consummation), personalizing campaigns to increase revenue, predicting and avoiding customer churn and lowering customer acquisition costs; and
- Linx Omni: OMS technology, which provides our customers with an integrated tool to manage multiple distribution channels and inventories seamlessly. With this solution, a brick-and-mortar store can fulfill an order accessing the inventory of another store and deliver it to the client at home, for example, reducing stockout, improving customer experience and reducing logistics costs.
Based on our knowledge of the retail sector, we believe that e-commerce has significant growth potential in Brazil. In addition, the e-commerce conversion rate (which represents the rate at which shoppers enter a retailer’s website and ultimately purchase a product) in Brazil was only 1.4% in 2017 according to the E-commerce Radar 2017 Survey published by ABCOMM. We believe that our product and service offerings will positively impact these rates through our rapid cycle of innovation as well as our Linx Digital capabilities, including big data and machine-learning technologies, each of which form an integral part our “Linx Impulse” strategy.
In October 2018, we further expanded our platform to include payment solutions through Linx Pay Hub in response to our customers’ ever-evolving needs. We believe that our ability to offer payments solutions powered by a full-fledged platform allows us to explore new product verticals at lower customer acquisition costs, differentiate ourselves from other commoditized and/or non-integrated solutions and increase our client loyalty. We believe these services can also be an important source of future growth given our relevant market share in the management software retail sector, high customer retention rates and superior services. In 2017, approximately R$250 billion in GMV were processed in our Linx Core platform, equivalent to approximately 18.4% of the industry’s total purchase volume according to ABECS. Our goal is to cross-sell and convert as many of our customers into Linx Pay Hub and capture a large share of this revenue opportunity. We are confident in our ability to execute this strategy given our product portfolio integration and compelling value proposition.
Our Linx Pay Hub product line offers wide range of services and solutions to our merchants, including mainly the following:
- TEF: a subscription-based model that is fully integrated with our POS/ERP software and provides a faster and safer way for our customers to transact with merchant acquirers and their clients. Our TEF solution has already been adopted at more than 40,000 points of sale;
- Linx Pay: Sub-acquiring services to convert our customers into our payments platform; and
- Payment split: the ability to split payments between different recipients (such as different service providers or sales channels) and perform a more efficient transaction from an operational and tax perspective.
With the combination of our core and digital solutions and the capabilities of our payments platform, our customers are able to have a seamless experience.