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PSince this                  

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

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 000-50658

 

Marchex, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

Delaware

 

35-2194038

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

520 Pike Street, Suite 2000

Seattle, WA

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(I.R.S Employer

Identification No.)

 

98101

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (206331-3300

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class B Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share

 

MCHX

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

(NASDAQ Global Select Market)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    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 such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, 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

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

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 or 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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

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 voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of the shares of Class B common stock on The NASDAQ Stock Market on June 30, 2020 was $59,475,678.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Class A common stock outstanding as of March 29, 2021 was 4,660,927. The number of shares of Registrant’s Class B common stock outstanding as of March 29, 2021 was 36,645,894.

Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein.

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

Page

Part I

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

4

 

 

 

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

11

 

 

 

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

26

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

26

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

26

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

26

 

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

27

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

27

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

28

 

 

 

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

40

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

41

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

75

 

 

 

ITEM 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

75

 

 

 

ITEM 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

75

 

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

76

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

76

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

76

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

76

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES

76

 

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

77

 

 

 

i


 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We use words such as “believes”, “intends”, “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “may”, “will” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding our future operating results, financial position, prospects, acquisitions, dispositions, and business strategy, expectations regarding our growth and the growth of the industry in which we operate, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are inherently uncertain as they are based on our expectations and assumptions concerning future events. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements we make. There are a number of important factors that could cause the actual results of Marchex to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Any or all of our forward-looking statements in this report may turn out to be inaccurate. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. They may be affected by inaccurate assumptions we might make or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties, including the risks, uncertainties and assumptions described in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report, and those described from time to time in our future reports filed with the SEC. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this report may not occur as contemplated, and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated or implied by the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this report are made as of the date hereof, based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

 

 

3


 

 

PART 1

ITEM  1.

BUSINESS.

Overview

References herein to “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Marchex, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries unless the context specifically states or implies otherwise.

 

Marchex is a conversational analytics and solutions company that helps businesses connect, drive, measure, convert callers into customers, and connects the voice of the customer to their business. We deliver data insights and incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered functionality that drives insights and solutions to help companies find, engage and support their customers across voice and text-based communication channels.

 

In October 2020, we sold certain assets related to the Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets not related to core conversational analytics (the “Divestiture”). This Divestiture has been classified as discontinued operations for the year ended December 31, 2020. See Note 12. Discontinued Operations of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

We believe that mobile devices have changed the consumer journey and that people are spending increasingly more time than in the past on their smartphones. It’s become more common for a consumer to research products and services on their mobile devices and interact with a business through phone calls or text communications. We believe that understanding this behavior enables businesses to get a better understanding of communication with their customers and prospects across the communication channels they prefer.

We believe that we have a set of tools for enterprises that depend on phone calls, texts and other communication channels to help convert prospects into customers, to deliver compelling customer experiences during the sales process and to maximize advertising returns. Our mission is to help our customers grow by giving them real-time insights into the conversations they have with their customers across phone, text and other communication channels. Marchex leverages proprietary data and conversational insights to deliver real-time AI-powered functionality that drives solutions that help enable brands to personalize customer interactions in order to accelerate sales and grow their business. We connect key media sources – paid and owned – to offline purchase outcomes and deliver these insights directly into marketer workflows. We develop and provide products and services for businesses of all sizes that depend on calls, texts and other communication channels to drive sales. Our analytics products can provide actionable intelligence on the major media channels our customers use to acquire customers over the phone.

Our primary product offerings are:

 

Marchex Call Analytics. Marchex Call Analytics is an analytics platform for enterprises that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales, appointments and reservations. Marketers use this platform to understand which marketing channels, advertisements, search keywords, or other digital marketing advertising formats are driving calls to their business, allowing them to optimize their advertising expenditures across media channels. Marchex Call Analytics also includes technology that extracts data and insights about what is happening during a call and measures the outcome of the calls and return on investment. The platform also includes technology that can block robocalls, telemarketers and spam calls to help save businesses time and expense. Marchex Call Analytics data can integrate directly into third-party marketer workflows such as Salesforce, Eloqua, Adobe, Google, Kenshoo, Marin Software, Facebook and Instagram, in addition to other marketing dashboards and tools. Customers pay us a fee for each call/text or call/text related data element they receive from calls or texts, including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on pre-negotiated rates.

 

 

Marchex Call Analytics, Conversation Edition. Marchex Call Analytics, Conversation Edition is a product that can enable actionable insights for enterprise, mid-sized and small businesses. It leverages our proprietary and patent pending speech recognition technology. Marchex Call Analytics, Conversation Edition incorporates machine and deep learning algorithms and AI-powered conversation analysis functionality that can give customers strategic, real-time visibility into company performance in customer interactions. The product includes customizable dashboards and visual analytics to make it easier for marketers, salespeople and call center teams to realize actionable insights across a growing amount of call

4


 

 

data. According to a February 2018 MarketsandMarkets report, the speech analytics market is expected to grow from $941 million in 2017 to $2.2 billion by 2022.

 

 

Text Analytics and Communications. Marchex Sonar Intelligent Messaging is a solution for intelligent mobile messaging that enables operations, sales, and marketing teams in businesses to engage in two-way communications with field staff, prospects and customers via text/SMS messages. This can enable communication that is personal to occur at scale, leading to significant increases in critical actions, customer engagement and conversions. According to a 2018 study by Mobilesquared, there were 1.67 trillion applications to consumer SMS messages globally with the number expected to rise to 2.8 trillion by 2022. According to a 2017 study from Listrak, 75% of consumers prefer offers from businesses delivered via text and business offers delivered via SMS text marketing had a 97% read-rate.

 

 

Call Monitoring.  Marchex provides businesses the ability to have an unbiased view into every inbound or outbound call, from providing a call recording, to offering services to create customized call performance scorecards, both of which can help businesses learn more about their customers and enhance service quality and customer satisfaction. Through these services, businesses can customize the insights they want in order to improve business practices and to grow faster.

 

 

Marchex Sales Edge. Marchex Sales Edge incorporates artificial intelligence-based functionality within the product suite that can help enable businesses to understand customer conversations in phone calls and via text, in real-time and at scale, and can help enable businesses to learn how to optimize the sales process in order to take the right actions to win more business. These sales enablement solutions can arm businesses with the data-driven intelligence they need to deliver on-demand and personalized customer experiences. Marchex Sonar Intelligent Massaging also provides a sales enablement solution for SMS text message-based conversations. Marchex Sales Edge products include:  

    

 

Marchex Sales Edge Rescue. Marchex Sales Rescue combines Marchex artificial intelligence and machine learning with conversational call monitoring and scoring services and can alert businesses when potential buyers hang up without making an appointment or purchase, or when certain calls did not meet the business’ sales or customer service standards. Marchex Sales Rescue can identify in real-time when potential high-value customer prospects engaged in conversations with sales representatives are mishandled in any number of ways and can give businesses the opportunity to re-engage immediately to capture these potentially lost opportunities, as well as avoid undesired customer experiences. It can give businesses a more complete picture of the in-bound opportunities they are missing, while also measuring the effectiveness and impact of capturing those opportunities through outbound engagement.

 

 

Marchex Sales Edge Enterprise. Marchex Sales Edge Enterprise is a product for corporate managers that can provide conversation performance insights and trends across a brand or network of distributed business locations. The conversational data analyses can provide critical sales insights that can help enterprises boost outcomes across national and regional sales organizations.

 

 

Marchex Marketing Edge. Marchex Marketing Edge is a conversational analytics solution for marketers in enterprise, mid-sized and small businesses that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales, appointments and reservations. It helps enable marketers to make data-driven decisions that improve marketing performance. Marketers can use this solution to understand which marketing channels, advertisements, search keywords, or other digital marketing advertising formats are driving calls to their business, enabling them to optimize their advertising expenditures across media channels and increase return on ad spend (ROAS). In addition to call and text tracking, Marchex Marketing Edge also includes conversation intelligence technology that can automatically transcribe, redact and score calls. Marchex Marketing Edge also seamlessly integrates with Marchex Sales Edge so sales teams can be empowered to receive real-time text and/or email notifications when a caller showing high purchase intent ends a conversation without making an appointment or a purchase so they can reengage to save the sale. Marchex Marketing Edge includes technology that can block robocalls, telemarketers and spam calls to help save businesses time and expense. Marchex Marketing Edge data can integrate directly into third-party systems such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, Search Ads 360, Google Campaign Manager, Microsoft Advertising, Adobe, Kenshoo, Acquisio, Salesforce and HubSpot in addition to other marketing and chat offerings. In October 2020, the Company sold certain assets related to its Call

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Marketplace, Local Leads Platform, and other assets not related to core conversational analytics. As a result, the operating results related to these assets are shown as discontinued operations in the Consolidated Statements of Operations for all periods presented. See Note 12. Discontinued Operations of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

We operate primarily in domestic markets.

Industry Overview

Mobile phone growth has changed the way customers and businesses interact. The majority of the world’s population now utilizes mobile phones and the mobile phone usage is expected to continue to emerge as the primary consumer communication device of the future. According to Cisco, the total number of global mobile subscribers will grow from 5.1 billion (66% of the population) in 2018 to 5.7 billion (71% of the population) by 2023. This growth in mobile smartphone usage is also changing the way businesses and consumers interact. According to a 2019 eMarketer study, consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices than in front of televisions for the first time, a trend that is forecasted to grow. According to MarketingCharts, the top two uses of mobile phones among consumers are texting/messaging and calling. We believe it is critical for many businesses to develop strategies to understand their consumer engagement via calls and texts as well as to reach consumers on mobile devices.

For many businesses, calls and texts are critical to drive sales. For businesses of all sizes, in-bound phones calls can be a key source of new customer leads and increased revenue. We believe consumers that call or text businesses directly typically have higher purchase intent and can be more likely to make a purchase or become a customer. According to a July 2017 independent research study by Forrester Consulting, the study found that phone customers convert faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate than customers who contact brands through other channels. Based on a survey of marketing decision makers, the study found that that 60% of marketers said that those who initiate an inbound call in the course of the customer journey convert an average of 30% faster, spend an average of 28% more, and 54% of marketers said they have a 28% higher retention rate. Calls and texts can be particularly relevant in high-value categories, such as automotive, digital agencies, home services, insurance, telecommunications and travel and hospitality, where transaction values are large, complex or require additional information prior to completion. Calls and texts are also important for local businesses that set appointments or sell products and services over the phone.

Calls and texts are becoming the increasingly important to business and consumer interactions and to mobile advertising. We believe the demand for businesses to connect with consumers over the phone, combined with the inherent functionality and technical capabilities of mobile devices, will result in calls and texts becoming a primary measurement unit/format for mobile advertising. As customers continue to shift their budgets to accommodate for the growth of mobile channels, we believe the market for conversation analytics and advertising solutions will grow even more. According to a study from Grand View Research, global mobile advertising is expected to grow at a 20% compounded annual growth rate from $65 billion in 2019 to 2027.  In addition, SMS marketing is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 20% from 2019 through 2025 from $3.5 billion. Calls and texts are two of the primary consumer communication methods with businesses on mobile devices and building solutions to help businesses understand their consumer interactions through these communication channels can help businesses engage and grow.

Understanding calls and/or texts is highly complex. Unlike clicks, impressions and other actions that are tracked and measured in digital format, calls and text messages take place offline and require unique technical capabilities and expertise to accurately measure and analyze. To realize the full benefit of call and/or text-based marketing, customers need technology that allows them to capture and analyze attributes of a call and/or text before, during and after the call and/or text is completed. This technology can connect the conversation from the placed advertisement through the interaction with the business, often with individual sales representatives, to understand the effectiveness of the marketing action. This can help better measure return on investment (“ROI”) and optimize marketing campaigns across media channels. For example, customers want to be able to dynamically track the source of a call back to the media channels and advertisements that influenced the consumer to make the call. Once a call is initiated, technology is required to understand what is happening on a call, to record anonymized calls, and to block unwanted or spam calls. For customers with call center operations, calls are often tracked and routed through interactive voice response (“IVR”) phone systems and integrated with customer relationship management (“CRM”) applications and back-office systems to measure transactions and return on investment. Successful marketing analytics for calls and texts requires expertise from multiple disciplines, including digital advertising, communications infrastructure, voice and speech recognition expertise, and marketing software.

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Competitive Strengths and Competition

We believe that the principal factors that drive success in the market are our competitive strengths, including:

Focus on calls and texts. Over the past several years, with the increasing importance that mobile devices play in consumer interactions with businesses and in advertising, we have shifted the focus of our company to address the large opportunity to help businesses accelerate sales through improving their interactions with consumers over the phone and, more recently, through text communications. As consumer usage and mobile performance advertising has grown over the last decade, it is driving growth in offline actions like calls and texts. As one of the first companies to help businesses utilize data driven insights and analytics to accelerate sales from phone conversations, we have developed solutions which can deliver measurable return on investment to both large national brands and local small businesses through tying these offline phone conversations to their online marketing initiatives and offering sales acceleration solutions to help business create a better customer experience and grow sales. Our conversational analytics technology and products are specifically designed to help address the challenges associated with closing the loop between digital marketing and phone calls. We are developing solutions that can provide customers insights across a broad spectrum of conversations they are have with their customers in voice and text communications along with solutions to engage consumers in their preferred communication channels. Working closely with our customers, we have innovated in speech technology, creating specific solutions to address common needs and wants among both large enterprise customers and small businesses. We believe we are unique with our call and more recently text focused approach to technology developments and marketing solutions, facilitating a competitive advantage as mobile advertising grows and advertising budgets shift towards performance-based formats and consumer communication channels with businesses expand across multiple communication channels.

Call analytics platform powered by proprietary speech technology. Marchex’s speech technology delivers data and can provide closed loop marketing insights on offline customer interactions and operational insights to customers looking to accelerate sales and to measure the performance of their customer interactions during the sales process over the phone. When consumers call a business or call center from their phones, our technology can analyze that call data using machine and deep learning algorithms and AI-powered conversation analysis functionality that can deliver real-time conversational insights and feedback to companies on the quality of their customer interactions during the sales process as well as to identity lost businesses opportunities. Our data can also help customers adjust and improve their marketing strategies in order to create personalized solutions to drive more sales over the phone either directly with the business or the call center. This intelligence can help advertisers optimize their ad campaigns across media channels, keywords, and creative elements, which helps maximize their return on investment. We also provide integrations with other marketing dashboards to provide advertisers one place to review their analytics information. Integrations may take the form of working with CRM platforms or customer-specific systems, with the purpose of enhancing advertisers’ understanding and measurement of outcomes at scale. We are consistently working to create products to help advertisers understand what is happening on the calls with their customers and how to spend their budgets more efficiently, whether the channel is online, offline, or mobile. Our speech analytics technology can help determine which of these calls converts into a sale. Access to these insights provides advertisers visibility and measurement into their ad expenditures. With Marchex’s Speech Analytics technology, we are leveraging proprietary technology to analyze and deliver actionable advertising and operational insights to advertisers that engage with consumers over the phone.

Transparent pricing model. Marchex generally charges based on the number of conversations, either by call or text, that occur between a business and its customers, which it processes on behalf of the business. This enables businesses to adopt Marchex products through a transparent model that scales as a customer’s usage increases and may include a minimum commitment. Through our conversational analytics technology, we can develop a deep understanding of which publishers, devices, ad formats, keywords and ad creatives drive conversation conversion for specific advertising verticals and helps optimize the placements of advertisements across different sources that drive valuable call or text leads for customers. We work with customers to define a quality call or text conversation for their business, and then generally charge our customers, on a per call or text conversation basis. Similarly, as customers look to gain critical business insights or alerts at the moment a conversation with a sales representative or business fails to produce a desired outcome, Marchex will earn a fee based on the number of conversations it applies its sales engagement technology to on behalf of the customer which may include a minimum commitment. As a result, we are able to provide a measurable return on investment for our customers.

 

Scalable technology platform and business model. We have developed our technology platform to address large customers, while also being able to support a large number of small local businesses. Our platform can support hundreds of millions of calls and thousands of unique customer accounts, and in aggregate help brands manage many dollars in advertising spend across various digital channels.

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The market for our service offerings is highly competitive, rapidly evolving, and subject to changing technology and shifting customer needs. We compete with conversation analytics providers such as Twilio, EZ Texting, CallSource, CallRail, and DialogTech. As we advance our data analytics technologies, the competitive landscape will increase and become broader.

 

Our Strategy

 

Innovating on Conversational Analytics Technology and Solutions. We plan to continue to expand and invest in our speech analytics technology and expand our AI, data science, and machine learning capabilities. We also plan to continue to expand our range of call, text, and other communication channels analytics and engagement product capabilities by growing our conversation analytics and solutions offerings, including AI-driven speech technology solutions, call tracking, call monitoring, text communications, keyword-level tracking, display ad impression measurement and other products as part of our owned, end-to-end, call and text-based advertising solutions. Our expanding capabilities are enabling us to develop new solutions, like sales acceleration and personalization solutions that enable us to take advantage of our growing conversational data assets.

Supporting and Growing the Number of Customers Using Our Products and Services. We plan to continue to provide a consistently high level of service and support to our conversational analytics and solutions customers and we will continue to help them achieve their return on investment goals. We are focused on increasing our customer base through our direct sales and marketing efforts, including strategic sales, inside sales, and additional partnerships with resellers.

Pursuing Selective Acquisition Opportunities. We intend to pursue select acquisition opportunities and will apply evaluation criteria to any acquisitions we may pursue in order to enhance our strategic position, strengthen our financial profile, augment our points of defensibility and increase shareholder value. We will focus on acquisition opportunities that represent one or more of the following characteristics:

 

revenue growth and expanding margins and operating profitability or the characteristics to achieve larger scale and profitability;

 

opportunities for business model, product or service innovation, evolution or expansion;

 

under-leveraged and under-commercialized assets in related or unrelated businesses;

 

an opportunity to enhance efficiencies and provide incremental growth opportunities for our operating businesses; and

 

business defensibility.

Evolving Our Business Strategy. Our industry is undergoing significant change and our business strategy is continuing to evolve to meet these changes. In order to profitably grow our business, we may need to expand into new lines of business beyond our current focus of providing mobile advertising analytics products and services, which may involve pursuing strategic transactions, including potential acquisitions of, or investments in, related or unrelated businesses. In addition, we may seek divestitures of existing businesses or assets. For example, in October 2020, we sold certain assets related to our Call Marketplace, Local Leads Platform and other assets not related to core conversational analytics.   

Developing New Markets. We intend to analyze opportunities and may seek to expand our technology-based products into new business areas where our services can be replicated on a cost-effective basis, or where the creation or development of a product or service may be appropriate. We have technology integration partnerships and referral agreements with Adobe, Google Search, and Salesforce, Facebook, and other third-party marketers. We anticipate utilizing various strategies to enter new markets, including developing strategic relationships; innovating with existing proprietary technologies; acquiring products that address a new category or opportunity; and creating joint venture relationships.

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Sales, Marketing & Business Development

Our sales department focuses on adding new customers to our business and growing existing customer relationships, while our business development and partnership department focuses on adding new customers, reseller partnerships and servicing existing partnerships. Our marketing department focuses on promoting our services through online customer acquisition, affiliate relationships, press coverage, strategic marketing campaigns and industry exposure. Advertising and promotion of our services is broken into the following main categories:

 

Direct Sales. Our direct sales team targets new relationships with national and global customers and the advertising agencies that represent them through in-person presentations, direct marketing, telesales and attendance at industry events, among other methods. Our customer agreements include a combination of agency fees and cost-per-action fees.

 

Technology Integration Partnerships and Referral Agreements. We have integration partnerships with Adobe, Google, Salesforce, Customer Relationship Management software providers and other third-party channel partners. We also have referral agreements with entities that promote our services to large numbers of potential customers including select technology partners. Our referral partner agreements are based on revenue sharing.

 

Reseller Partnerships. We have a business development team that focuses primarily on securing partnerships with large reseller partners, under which we supply and integrate our products and services. Our reseller partner agreements include a combination of revenue and profit sharing, licensing revenue, conversation analytics, and text conversation cost per actions.

 

We intend to continue our strategy of increasing our customer base through sales and marketing programs while being efficient in terms of our marketing and advertising costs. We continually evaluate our marketing and advertising strategies to optimize the effectiveness of our programs and their return on investment.

 

Information Technology and Systems

We have a proprietary technology platform for the purposes of managing and delivering call and cost-per-conversation analytics and texting products and services to our partners. We also combine third-party licenses and hardware to create an operating environment for delivering high quality products and services, with such features as automated online account creation and management process for customers, real-time customer support with both interactive and online reporting for customers and partners. We employ commercially available technologies and products distributed by various companies, including Cisco, Dell, Oracle, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, and IBM. We also utilize public domain software such as Apache, Linux, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Java, Scala and Tomcat.

Our technology platform is compatible with many systems used by our customers, enabling us to deliver call and cost-per-action analytics and texting products and services through mobile, online and offline sources in rapid response to user queries made through our customers at scale. We continue to build and innovate additional functionality to attempt to meet the quickly evolving demands of the marketplace. We devote significant financial and human resources to improving our customer experiences by continuing to develop our technology infrastructure. The cost of developing our technology solutions is included in the overall cost structure of our services and is not separately funded by any individual customers. In order to maintain a professional level of service and availability, we primarily rely upon third parties to provide hosting services, including hardware support and service, and network monitoring at various domestic and international locations. Our servers and cloud-based services are configured for high availability and large volumes of call, mobile and texting based traffic and are located in leased third party facilities or deployed through cloud-based solution providers. Back-end databases make use of redundant servers and data storage arrays. We also have standby servers that provide for additional capacity as necessary. The facilities housing our servers provide redundant HVAC, power and internet connectivity. As revenue grows and the volume of transactions and call, mobile and texting traffic increases, we will need to expand our network infrastructure. Inefficiencies in our network infrastructure to scale and adapt to higher call, mobile and texting traffic volumes could materially and adversely affect our revenue and results of operations.

 

We continuously review ways to improve major aspects of our technology support and maintenance, including improving, upgrading and implementing business continuity plans, data retention initiatives, and backup and recovery processes.

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Seasonality

 

Historically, we have experience seasonality and we believe that we will continue to do so. Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, call volumes in certain verticals such as home services are generally higher than during other times of the year. Further, during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volumes. The extent to which call volumes may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Historically, we have seen this trend generally reversing in the first quarter of the calendar year with increased call volumes and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.

Intellectual Property and Proprietary Rights

       We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws in the United States and other jurisdictions, as well as license agreements and other contractual protections, to protect our proprietary technology. We also rely on a number of registered and unregistered trademarks to protect our brand.

As of December 31, 2020, in the United States, we have been issued 26 patents, which are estimated to expire between 2027 and 2038, and have 7 patent applications pending for examination. As of such date, in Canada we also have 1 issued patent which expires in 2026 and 1 patent application pending for examination. In addition, as of December 31, 2020, we have 11 trademarks registered in the United States, 4 trademarks pending registration in the United States, and 32 trademarks registered in foreign jurisdictions.  

We further seek to protect our intellectual property rights by implementing a policy that requires our employees and independent contractors involved in development of intellectual property on our behalf to enter into agreements acknowledging that all works or other intellectual property generated or conceived by them on our behalf are our property, and assigning to us any rights, including intellectual property rights, that they may claim or otherwise have in those works or property, to the extent allowable under applicable law.

Employees

As of December 31, 2020, we employed a total of 245 full-time employees. We have never had a work stoppage, and none of our employees are represented by a labor union. We consider our employee relationships to be positive. If we were unable to retain our key employees or we were unable to maintain adequate staffing of qualified employees, particularly during peak sales seasons, our business would be adversely affected.

Web site

Our web site, www.marchex.com, provides access, without charge, to our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are electronically filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To view these filings, please go to our web site and click on “Investor Relations” and then click on “SEC Filings.” Investors and others should note that we announce material financial information to our investors using our investor relations website, press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts. We also use the following social media channels as a means of disclosing information about us, our services, and other matters, and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD:

 

Marchex Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/marchex)

 

Marchex Company Blog (http://wwwblog.marchex.com/blog)

 

Marchex LinkedIn Account (http://linkedin.com/company/marchex)  

The information we post through these social media channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor the above account and the blog, in addition to following our investor relations website, press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts. This list may be updated from time to time. The information we post through these channels is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS

An investment in our Class B common stock involves various risks, including those mentioned below and those that are discussed from time to time in our other periodic filings with the SEC. Investors should carefully consider these risks, along with the other information contained in this report, before making an investment decision regarding our stock. There may be additional risks of which we are currently unaware, or which we currently consider immaterial. All of these risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and the value of our stock.

FINANCIAL RISKS

The continuing impacts of COVID-19 are highly unpredictable and could be significant, and may have an adverse effect on our business, operations and our future financial performance.

In late 2019, COVID-19 emerged and by early March 2020 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Governments and municipalities around the world instituted measures in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, including quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, school closings, travel restrictions, and closure of non-essential businesses. By the end of March 2020, the macroeconomic impacts became significant, exhibited by, among other things, a rise in unemployment and market volatility.

The global health and economic implications of this pandemic has had and is expected to continue to have significant impacts on our business, operations and future financial performance at least for the near term. As a result of the scale of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the speed at which the global community has been impacted, our quarterly and annual revenue trends or growth rates and expenses as a percentage of our revenues may differ significantly from our historical trends and rates, and our future operating results may fall below expectations.

The impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations and future financial performance could include, but are not limited to: significant decline in revenues due to customers adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including many of our larger customers (such as automotive manufacturing, automotive services, dental and health provider networks, home services, real estate, small business resellers, agencies and hospitality companies, which have seen their operations largely limited or shut-down); significant decline in revenues as customer spending slows due to an economic downturn; significant decrease in our operating cash flows as a result of decreased customer spending and deterioration in the credit quality of our customers, which could adversely affect our accounts receivables; sales prospects delaying decision making and reducing propensity to purchase; extensive recent burn rate and anticipated continued significant burn rate; challenges in servicing customers and extending and entering into new agreements; anticipated reduction in customer budgets and slower sales cycles; customer requests for price concessions and extended payment terms; customer cancellations and inability to pay; customer reconsideration and delay in launching previously slated test programs with us; our working capital needs and declining cash position; recent and potentially future losses and asset impairments; suspension of hiring initiatives; absence of debt or equity financing alternatives; and the rapid and broad-based shift to a remote working environment creates inherent productivity, connectivity, and oversight challenges. In addition, the changed environment under which we are operating could have an impact on our internal controls over financial reporting as well as our ability to meet a number of our compliance requirements in a timely or quality manner.

We have largely incurred net losses since our inception, and we may incur net losses in the foreseeable future.

We had an accumulated deficit of $298.7 million as of December 31, 2020. Our net expenses may increase based on the initiatives we undertake which for instance, may include increasing our sales and marketing activities, hiring additional personnel, incurring additional costs as a result of being a public company, acquiring additional businesses and making additional equity grants to our employees. This may result in the reduction of our cash balances or the incurrence of debt.  

 

We have in the past and may in the future find it advisable to take measures to streamline operations and reduce expenses, including, without limitation, reducing our workforce or discontinuing certain products or businesses. Such measures may place significant strains on our management and employees, and could impair our development, marketing, sales, and customer support efforts. We may also incur liabilities from these measures. Such effects from streamlining could have a negative impact on our business and financial results.

We believe that our future revenue growth will depend on, among other factors, our ability to attract new customers, compete effectively, maximize our sales efforts, demonstrate a positive return on investment,

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successfully improve existing products and services, and develop successful new products and services. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.

 

We received approximately 29% of our revenue from our five largest customers for the year ended December 31, 2020, and the loss of one or more of these customers could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Our five largest customers accounted for approximately 29% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020. In particular, our customers in the automotive and related services sectors account for a significant portion of our revenue.

Many of our customers are not subject to long term contracts with us or have contracts with near term expiration dates and are able to reduce or in some cases cease spending at any time and for any reason. We have agreements with certain large customers which provide flexibility around financial commitments, termination rights, indemnification, and security obligations. Our large customers may vary spend levels and there can be no assurances that our large customers will continue to spend at levels similar to prior quarters. If any of our largest customers are acquired, such acquisition may impact its spending with us. Furthermore, our large customers from time to time may impose financial condition, data security and privacy or insurance requirements that we may not be able to satisfy.  A significant reduction in spending by our largest customers, or the loss of one or more of these customers, if not replaced by new customers or an increase in business from existing customers, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our large customers have substantial negotiating leverage, which may require that we agree to terms and conditions that may have an adverse effect on our business.

Our large customers have substantial purchasing power and leverage in negotiating contractual arrangements with us. These customers may seek for us to develop additional features, may require penalties for failure to deliver such features, may seek discounted product or service pricing, and may seek more favorable contractual terms. As we sell more products and services to this class of customer, we may be required to agree to such terms and conditions. Such large customers also have substantial leverage in negotiating resolution of any disagreements or disputes that may arise. Any of the foregoing factors could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If some of our customers experience financial distress or suffer disruptions in their business, their weakened financial position could negatively affect our own financial position and results.

We have a diverse customer base, and, at any given time, one or more customers may experience financial distress, file for bankruptcy protection, go out of business, or suffer disruptions in their business. We believe this risk is magnified at least for the near term by the disruption caused by the recent coronavirus outbreak. In addition, this disruption has disproportionately impacted certain business sectors, including sectors where we have significant customers such as automotive, financial services, home services and travel and hospitality. If a customer with whom we do a substantial amount of business experiences financial difficulty or suffers disruptions in their business, it could delay or jeopardize the collection of accounts receivable, result in significant reductions in services provided by us and may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity.

We may need additional funding to meet our obligations and to pursue our business strategy. Additional funding may not be available to us and our financial condition could therefore be adversely affected.

We may require additional funding to meet our ongoing obligations and to pursue our business strategy, which may include the selective acquisition of businesses and technologies. In addition, we have incurred, and we may incur certain obligations in the future. There can be no assurance that, if we were to need additional funds to meet these obligations, additional financing arrangements would be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Furthermore, if adequate additional funds are not available, we will be required to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate material parts of the implementation of our business strategy, including potential additional acquisitions or internally-developed businesses.

 

During the second quarter of 2020, we secured $5.3 million in promissory notes to bank lenders pursuant to government loan programs (collectively, the “Loans”). At December 31, 2020, the remaining balance was $5.1

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million. The difference relates to the October 2020 sale of Call Marketplace, Local Leads, and other operations not core to the analytics business.

 

The Loans were made under, and are subject to the terms and conditions of, the CARES Act and are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”). The Loans bear an interest rate of 1% per annum, have a two-year maturity, and allow for early repayment and a deferment period until a final forgiveness decision is made between lenders and the SBA. Amounts under the Loans will be repayable to the lenders in monthly installments following the deferment period. The Loans or portions thereof may be eligible for forgiveness if certain requirements of the government program are met. Should we be audited or reviewed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a result of filing an application for forgiveness or otherwise, such audit or review could result in the diversion of management’s time and attention and legal and reputational costs. If we were to be audited and receive an adverse finding in such audit, we could be required to return the full amount of the Loans, which could reduce our liquidity, and potentially subject us to fines and penalties.

Our quarterly results of operations might fluctuate due to seasonality, which could adversely affect our growth rate and in turn the market price of our securities.

Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future due to seasonality. Our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, call volumes in certain verticals such as home services are generally higher than during other times of the year and during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volumes. The extent to which call volumes may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Prolonged or severe decreases in call volumes during these periods may adversely affect our growth rate and results, and in turn, the market price of our securities. Historically, we have seen this trend generally reversing in the first quarter of the calendar year with increased call volumes and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.

We are exposed to risks associated with credit card fraud and credit payment, and we may continue to suffer losses as a result of fraudulent data or payment failure by customers.

We have suffered losses and may continue to suffer losses as a result of payments made with fraudulent credit card data. Our failure to control fraudulent credit card transactions could reduce our net revenue and gross margin and negatively impact our standing with applicable credit card authorization agencies. In addition, under limited circumstances, we extend credit to customers who may default on their accounts payable to us or fraudulently “charge-back” amounts on their credit cards for services that have already been delivered by us.

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, which could harm our brand and operating results.

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable and accurate financial reports and effectively prevent fraud. We have devoted significant resources and time to comply with the internal control over financial reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. In addition, Section 404 under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires that we assess and in certain instances for our auditors to attest to the effectiveness of our controls over financial reporting. Our current and future compliance with the annual internal control report requirement will depend on the effectiveness of our financial reporting and data systems and controls across our operating subsidiaries. We expect these systems and controls to become increasingly complex to the extent that we integrate acquisitions and our business grows. To effectively manage this growth, we will need to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls and our reporting systems and procedures. We cannot be certain that these measures will ensure that we design, implement and maintain adequate controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation or operation, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our financial reporting obligations. Inadequate internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our stock and our access to capital.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 could adversely affect our business and financial condition.

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive Federal tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”). The Tax Act makes a U.S. federal net operating

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loss generally less valuable as an asset and changes use limitations. Net operating losses arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 are limited in use to offset eighty percent of taxable income, without the ability to carryback such net operating losses, but with an indefinite carryforward of such losses (instead of the former 2-year carryback and 20-year carryforward for net operating losses arising in taxable years beginning before December 31, 2017). Our ability to utilize our net operating losses is conditioned upon our achieving profitability in the future and generating U.S. federal taxable income and our operating loss carryforwards generated prior to December 31, 2017 could expire unused.

We may be required to pay additional income, sales, or other taxes.

Tax authorities at the international, federal, state and local levels are continually reviewing the appropriate treatment of companies engaged in e-commerce and digital information services. Furthermore, from time to time, various state, federal and other jurisdictional tax authorities undertake reviews of us and our filings. In evaluating the exposure associated with various tax filing positions, we may on occasion accrue charges for probable exposures. We cannot predict the outcome of any of these reviews nor whether any will have a material adverse impact on our business. In addition, the Seattle, WA City Council has implemented a new employee payroll expense tax which increases our tax expense since a number of our employees are based in Seattle.  

Our operations are less diversified, and we have reduced sources of revenue following the divestiture transaction, which may negatively impact the value and liquidity of our Class B common stock.

We consummated the divestiture of our media assets in October 2020, in part to focus on the conversational analytics and sales engagement solutions opportunity. Following the divestiture, the scope of our operations has been reduced in that our sources of revenue are limited to our call analytics business, through which we provide various analytics solutions and products, but without our former call marketplace product, local leads product or other related assets and operations. We may not be able to secure additional sources of revenue or to grow our remaining call analytics business, which could negatively impact the value and liquidity of our Class B common stock.  

We have discretion in the use of the proceeds from the divestiture transaction and may not use them effectively.

Upon the consummation of the divestiture transaction, we received cash proceeds. We plan to use the proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes in connection with our call analytics business. Our management has broad discretion in the application of the proceeds from the divestiture transaction and could spend the proceeds in ways that do not improve our results of operations or enhance the value of our Class B common stock. The failure by our management to apply these funds effectively could result in financial losses that could have a material adverse effect on our business and cause the price of our Class B common stock to decline. Pending their use, we may invest the proceeds in a manner that does not produce income or that loses value.

 

STRATEGIC RISKS

 

The markets in which we operate are highly competitive and rapidly changing and we may be unable to compete successfully.  

 

There are a number of companies that develop or may develop products that compete in our targeted markets. We compete with call analytics technology providers such as Twilio, Invoca, DialogTech, and Convirza. As we continue to advance our data analytics technologies, we anticipate facing increased competition from companies providing broader products and solutions, such as companies like Oracle and Google (which offers Google Ads call tracking).  The markets for our products and services are characterized by intense competition, evolving industry and regulatory standards, emerging business and distribution models, disruptive software and hardware technology developments, short product and service life cycles, price sensitivity on the part of customers, and frequent new product introductions. Current and potential competitors have established, or may establish, cooperative relationships among themselves or with third parties to increase the ability of their technologies to address the needs of our prospective customers. Furthermore, there has been a trend toward industry consolidation in our markets for several years. We expect this trend to continue as companies attempt to strengthen or hold their market positions.  

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The competition in our targeted markets could adversely affect our operating results by reducing the volume of the products and services we license or sell or the prices we can charge. Some of our current or potential competitors have significantly greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. These competitors may be able to respond more rapidly than we can to new or emerging technologies or changes in customer requirements. They may also devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sale of their products than we do. To the extent they do so, market acceptance and penetration of our products and services, and therefore our revenues, may be adversely affected. Our success depends substantially upon our ability to enhance our products and services and to develop and introduce, on a timely and cost-effective basis, new products and services that meet changing customer requirements and incorporate technological enhancements. If we are unable to develop or acquire new products, services, functionalities or technologies to adapt to these changes our business will suffer.

The conversational analytics and solutions market may develop more slowly than expected, which could harm our business.

If the market for conversational analytics solutions develops more slowly than we expect, our business could suffer. Our future success is highly dependent on the commitment of advertisers and marketers to mobile communications as an advertising and marketing medium, the increased adoption by businesses of conversational analytics and solutions, and our ability to sell our conversational analytics and solutions services to large to small customers in different verticals as well as to reseller partners and agencies. The mobile advertising and marketing market is rapidly evolving and most businesses have historically not utilized nor allocated a portion of their marketing and/or sales budgets to conversational analytics and solutions. As a result, the future demand and market acceptance for conversational analytics and related services is uncertain.

We depend on the growth of mobile technologies, call technologies, the Internet and the Internet infrastructure for our future growth and any decrease in growth or anticipated growth in mobile, telecommunications, and Internet usage could adversely affect our business prospects.

Our future revenue and profits, if any, depend upon the continued widespread use of mobile technologies and the Internet as an effective commercial and business medium. Factors which could reduce the widespread use of mobile technologies (including mobile devices, in particular) and the Internet include possible disruptions or other damage to the mobile, Internet or telecommunications infrastructure and networks; failure of the individual networking infrastructures of our customers or cloud-based providers alleviate potential overloading and delayed response times; increased governmental regulation and taxation; and actual or perceived lack of data security or privacy protection.

In particular, concerns over the security of online transactions and the privacy of users, including the risk of identity theft, may inhibit the growth of Internet and mobile usage, including commercial transactions. In order for the mobile and online commerce market to develop successfully, we and other market participants must be able to transmit confidential information, including credit card information, securely over public networks. Any decrease in anticipated mobile and Internet growth and usage could have a material adverse effect on our business prospects.

 

Our business strategy is evolving and may involve pursuing new lines of business or strategic transactions and investments, some of which may not be successful.

Our industry is undergoing significant change and our business strategy is continuing to evolve to meet these changes. In order to profitably grow our business, we may need to expand into new lines of business beyond our current focus of providing call and text analytics and communications services, which may involve pursuing strategic transactions, including potential acquisitions of, or investments in, related or unrelated businesses. In addition, we may seek divestitures of existing businesses or assets and may pursue other strategic alternatives and opportunities. There can be no assurance that we will be successful with our efforts to evolve our business strategy and we could suffer significant losses as a result, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Our acquisitions could divert management’s attention, cause ownership dilution to our stockholders, cause our earnings to decrease and be difficult to integrate.

Our business strategy includes identifying, structuring, completing and integrating acquisitions. Acquisitions involve a high degree of risk. We may also be unable to find a sufficient number of attractive opportunities to meet our objectives which include revenue growth, profitability and competitive market share. Our acquired companies may have histories of net losses and may expect net losses for the foreseeable future.

Acquisitions are accompanied by a number of risks that could harm our business, operating results and financial condition: we could experience a substantial strain on our resources, including time and money, and we may not be successful; our management’s attention could be diverted from our ongoing business concerns; we may seek to enter new markets where we have no or limited experience or where competitors may have stronger market positions; integrating new companies, including Telmetrics, Callcap and Sonar, may take longer than expected; while integrating new companies, we may lose key executives or other employees of these companies; we may issue shares of our Class B common stock as consideration for acquisitions which may result in ownership dilution to our stockholders; acquisitions of certain companies may result in us pursuing a diversified operating or holding company structure to allow us to focus on running diverse businesses independently, but in such event we may not realize the anticipated strategic benefits; we could fail to successfully integrate our financial and management controls, technology, reporting systems and procedures, or adequately expand, train and manage our workforce; we could experience customer dissatisfaction or performance problems with an acquired company or technology; we could become subject to unknown or underestimated liabilities of an acquired entity or incur unexpected expenses or losses from such acquisitions, including litigation; we could incur possible impairment charges related to goodwill or other intangible assets resulting from acquisitions or other unanticipated events or circumstances, any of which could harm our business; and we may be exposed to investigations and/or audits by federal, state or other taxing authorities.

Consequently, we might not be successful in integrating any acquired businesses, products or technologies, and might not achieve anticipated revenue and cost benefits.

 

We may decide to dispose of assets or a business that may no longer help us meet our objectives.  

If we decide to sell assets or a business, we may encounter difficulty in finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner, which could delay the achievement of our strategic objectives. We may also dispose of a business at a price or on terms that are less desirable than we had anticipated. In addition, we may experience greater disruption to our remaining business than expected, and the impact of the divestiture on our revenue may be larger than projected, including with respect to our recent divestiture of our media assets to focus on the conversational analytics and sales engagement solutions opportunity.

 

OPERATIONAL RISKS

 

We depend on being able to secure enough phone numbers to support our customers and other users of our services and any obstacles that we face which prevent us from meeting this demand could adversely affect our business.

 

We utilize phone numbers as part of a number of information and analytic services to our customers, such as our call and text analytics and communications. We secure a majority of our phone numbers through telecommunication carriers that we have contracted with and a smaller number through the 800 Service Management System, and such telecommunication carriers provide the underlying telephone service. Our telecommunications carriers and telephone number acquisition process are subject to the rules and guidelines established by the Federal Communications Commission. Furthermore, we may be directly subject to certain telecommunications-related regulations. The Federal Communications Commission and our telecommunication carriers may change the rules and guidelines for securing phone numbers or change the requirements for retaining the phone numbers we have already secured. As a result, we may not be able to secure or retain sufficient phone numbers needed for our services. We may also be limited in the number of available telecommunications carriers or vendors to provide such phone numbers to us in the event of any industry consolidations. In addition, mobile carriers are, or are currently contemplating, modifying messaging volume caps, adding significant one-time and recurring registration requirements for each phone number, and imposing significant additional fees. Any of the foregoing factors could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Our international operations and any expansion subjects us to additional risks and uncertainties and we may not be successful with our international operations.

We have operations in Canada and through our other international subsidiaries, in other countries. We have international subsidiaries in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Any international expansion presents unique challenges and risks. Compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business in international jurisdictions and could interfere with our ability to offer our products and services to one or more countries or expose us or our employees to fines and penalties. We may also have to offer our products and services in a modified format which may not be as compelling to certain customers, and we are subject to increased foreign currency exchange rate risks and our international operations and any expansion will require additional management attention and resources. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in our international operations.

There are risks inherent in conducting business in international markets, including: the need to localize our products and services to foreign customers’ preferences and customs, including the possibility of storing data locally if customers require; difficulties in managing operations due to language barriers, distance, staffing and cultural differences; application of foreign laws and regulations to us, in particular data and privacy regulations in Europe and other international jurisdictions, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation; compliance with anti-bribery laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Anti-Bribery Act; tariffs and other trade barriers; fluctuations in currency exchange rates; establishing local offices, sales channels, management systems and infrastructures; reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries; changes in foreign political and economic conditions; compliance with the laws of numerous taxing jurisdictions, both foreign and domestic; foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States; the complexity and potentially adverse tax consequences of U.S. tax laws as they relate to our international operations; increased costs to establish and maintain effective controls at foreign locations; and overall higher costs of doing business internationally.

Our technical systems are vulnerable to interruption and damage that may be costly and time-consuming to resolve and may harm our business and reputation.

A disaster could interrupt our services for an indeterminate length of time and severely damage our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from: fire; floods; network failure; hardware failure; software failure; power loss; telecommunications failures; break-ins; terrorism, war or sabotage; computer viruses; denial of service attacks; penetration of our network by unauthorized computer users and “hackers” and other similar events; natural disasters, including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes; and other unanticipated problems.

We may not have developed or implemented adequate protections or safeguards to overcome any of these events. We also may not have anticipated or addressed many of the potential events that could threaten or undermine our technology network. Any of these occurrences could cause material interruptions or delays in our business, result in the loss of data or render us unable to provide services to our customers. In addition, if a person is able to circumvent our security measures, he or she could destroy or misappropriate valuable information, including sensitive customer information, or disrupt our operations. We have deployed firewall hardware intended to thwart hacker attacks. Although we maintain property insurance and business interruption insurance, our insurance may not be adequate to compensate us for all losses that may occur as a result of a catastrophic system failure or other loss, and our insurers may not be able or may decline to do so for a variety of reasons. If we fail to address these issues in a timely manner, we may lose the confidence of our customers and reseller partners, our revenue may decline and our business could suffer. In addition, as we expand our service offerings and enter into new business areas, we may be required to significantly modify and expand our software and technology platform. If we fail to accomplish these tasks in a timely manner, our business and reputation will likely suffer. Furthermore, some of these events could disrupt the economy and/or our customers’ business activities and in turn materially affect our operating results.

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Cybersecurity risks could adversely affect our business and disrupt our operations.

The threats to network and data security are increasingly diverse and sophisticated. Despite our efforts and processes to prevent breaches, our devices, as well as our servers, computer systems, and those of third parties that we use in our operations are vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, including cyber-attacks such as viruses and worms, phishing attacks, denial-of-service attacks, physical or electronic break-ins, employee theft or misuse, and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering with our servers and computer systems or those of third parties that we use in our operations, which could lead to interruptions, delays, loss of critical data, unauthorized access to user data, and loss of customer confidence. In addition, we may be the target of email scams that attempt to acquire personal information or Company assets. Despite our efforts to create security barriers to such threats, we may not be able to entirely mitigate these risks. Any cyber-attack that attempts to obtain our or our users’ data and assets, disrupt our service, or otherwise access our systems, or those of third parties we use, if successful, could adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition, be expensive to remedy, and damage our reputation. In addition, any such breaches may result in negative publicity, adversely affect our brand, decrease demand for our products and services, and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.

We rely on third-party technology, platforms, carriers, communications providers, and server and hardware providers, and a failure of service by these providers could adversely affect our business and reputation.

We rely upon third-party colocation providers to host our main servers. If these providers are unable to handle current or higher volumes of use, experience any interruption in operations or cease operations for any reason or if we are unable to agree on satisfactory terms for continued hosting relationships, we would be forced to enter into a relationship with other service providers or assume hosting responsibilities ourselves. If we are forced to switch hosting facilities, we may not be successful in finding an alternative service provider on acceptable terms or in hosting the computer servers ourselves. We may also be limited in our remedies against these providers in the event of a failure of service. In the past, we have experienced short-term outages in the service maintained by one of our colocation providers.

We rely upon third-party cloud providers to host certain of our products and services and this reliance is anticipated to increase over time.  We may experience interruptions, delays and outages in service and availability from time to time as a result of problems with our third‑party cloud providers’ infrastructure. Lack of availability of this infrastructure could be due to a number of potential causes including technical failures, natural disasters, fraud or security attacks that we cannot predict or prevent. In addition, if our security, or that of any of these third‑party cloud providers, is compromised, or our products and services are unavailable to our customers within a reasonable amount of time or at all, then our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

We also rely on a select group of third party providers for components of our technology platform and support for our services, such as hardware and software providers, telecommunications carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and credit card processors. As a result, key operational resources of our business are concentrated with a limited number of third party providers. A failure or limitation of service or available capacity by any of these third-party providers could adversely affect our business and reputation. Furthermore, if any of these providers are unable to provide the levels of service and dedicated resources over time that we required in our business, we may not be able to replace certain of these providers in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective or satisfactory to our customers, and as a result our business could be materially and adversely affected. Short term or repeat problems with any of these service providers could provide an interruption of service or service quality impairment to significant customers, which could also impact materially our revenue in any period due to credits or potential loss of significant customers.

If our security measures, including those of our vendors or partners, are breached or are perceived as not being secure, we may lose customers and incur significant legal and financial exposure and suffer an adverse effect on our business.

We store and transmit data and information about our customers and their respective users. We also work with vendors and partners who may come into contact with certain data, such as carriers, colocation and data storage facilities. We deploy security measures to protect this data and information, as do third parties we utilize to assist in data and information storage. Our security measures and those of the third parties we partner with to assist in data and information storage, as well as to assist in the delivery of services to our customers, may suffer breaches. Security breaches of our data storage systems or our third-party colocation and technology providers we utilize to store data and information relating to our customers and their respective users could expose us to significant

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potential liability. Similarly, security breaches of our vendors and partners, or ineffective data security by our vendors or partners, may result in similar significant liability. In addition, security breaches, actual or perceived, could result in legal liability, government fines, and the loss of customers that could potentially have an adverse effect on our business.

LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE RISKS

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights, which could adversely affect our competitive position.

We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws in the United States and other jurisdictions, as well as license agreements and other contractual protections, to protect our proprietary technology. We also rely on a number of registered and unregistered trademarks to protect our brand.

As of December 31, 2020, in the United States, we have been issued 26 patents, which are estimated to expire between 2027 and 2038, and have 7 patent applications pending for examination. As of such date, in Canada we also have 1 issued patent which expires in 2026 and 1 patent application pending for examination. In addition, as of December 31, 2020, we have 11 trademarks registered in the United States, 4 trademarks pending registration in the United States, and 32 trademarks registered in foreign jurisdictions.

The status of any patent involves complex legal and factual questions. The scope of allowable claims is often uncertain. As a result, we cannot be sure that: (1) any patent application filed by us will result in a patent being issued; (2) that any patents issued in the future will afford adequate protection against competitors with similar technology; and (3) that the patents issued to us, if any, will not be infringed upon or designed around by others.

We further seek to protect our intellectual property rights by implementing a policy that requires our employees and independent contractors involved in development of intellectual property on our behalf to enter into agreements acknowledging that all works or other intellectual property generated or conceived by them on our behalf are our property, and assigning to us any rights, including intellectual property rights, that they may claim or otherwise have in those works or property, to the extent allowable under applicable law.

Despite our efforts to protect our technology and proprietary rights through intellectual property rights, licenses and other contractual protections, unauthorized parties may still copy or otherwise obtain and use our software and other technology.

In addition, we may in the future expand our international operations, and effective intellectual property, copyright, trademark and trade secret protection may not be available or may be limited in foreign countries. Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our business or our ability to compete. Further, companies in the internet, communications and technology industries may own large numbers of patents, copyrights and trademarks and may frequently threaten litigation, or file suit against us based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights, which may adversely affect our business or financial prospects.

We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents, which could be expensive and time consuming.

We may initiate patent litigation against third parties to protect or enforce our patent rights, and we may be sued by others seeking to invalidate our patents or prevent the issuance of future patents. We may also become subject to interference proceedings conducted in the patent and trademark offices of various countries to determine the priority of inventions. The defense and prosecution, if necessary, of intellectual property suits, interference proceedings and related legal and administrative proceedings is costly and may divert our technical and management personnel from their normal responsibilities. We may not prevail in any of these suits. An adverse determination of any litigation or defense proceedings could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and could put our patent applications at risk of not being issued. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. In addition, during the course of this kind of litigation, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments in the litigation. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have an adverse effect on the trading price of our Class B common stock.

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We may incur liabilities for the activities of our customers and other users of our services, which could adversely affect our business.

The actual or perceived improper sending of text messages or voice calls may subject us to potential risks, including liabilities or claims relating to consumer protection laws and regulatory enforcement, including fines. For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 restricts telemarketing and the sending of automatic SMS text messages without explicit customer consent.  The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to the delivery of text messages or voice calls are continuously evolving and developing. If we do not comply with these laws or regulations or if we become liable under these laws or regulations due to the failure of our customers to comply with these laws by obtaining proper consent, we could face direct liability.  We rely on contractual representations made to us by our customers that they will comply with our acceptable use restrictions and applicable law in using our services. We cannot predict whether our role in facilitating our customers’ or other users’ activities would expose us to liability under applicable law.

Even if claims asserted against us do not result in liability, we may incur substantial costs in investigating and defending such claims. If we are found liable for our customers’ or other users’ activities, we could be required to pay fines or penalties, redesign business methods or otherwise expend resources to remedy any damages caused by such actions and to avoid future liability, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our insurance policies may not provide coverage for liability arising out of activities of our customers or other users of our services. In addition, we may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate insurance coverage to reduce or limit the liabilities associated with our businesses. Any costs incurred as a result of such liability or asserted liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

We may be subject to intellectual property claims, which could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to use certain critical technologies, divert our resources and management attention from our business operations and create uncertainty about ownership of technology essential to our business.

Our success depends, in part, on our ability to operate without infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. There can be no guarantee that any of our intellectual property will not be challenged by third parties. We may be subject to patent infringement claims that would be costly to defend and could limit our ability to use certain critical technologies.

We believe that a consolidation of patent portfolios by major technology companies and independent asset holding companies will increase the chances of aggressive assertions of patent and other intellectual property claims. Within the technology telecommunications and online sectors, among other related sectors, we have witnessed various claim holders and alleged rights holders pursue business strategies devoted to extracting settlements or license fees for a wide range of basic and commonly accepted methods and practices.

We may be subject to those intellectual property claims in the ordinary course of our business. Also, our partners and customers may also find that they are subject to similar claims, in which case we may be included in any related process or dispute settlement. Any patent or other intellectual property litigation could negatively impact our business by diverting resources and management attention from other aspects of the business and adding uncertainty as to the ownership of technology, services and property that we view as proprietary and essential to our business. In addition, a successful claim of patent infringement against us and our failure or inability to license the infringed or similar technology on reasonable terms, or at all, could prevent us from using critical technologies which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Federal, state, and foreign regulation of telecommunications and data privacy may adversely affect our business and operating results.

We provide information and analytics services to our customers and reseller partners. In connection therewith, we obtain certain telecommunications products and services from carriers in order to deliver these packages of information and analytic services.

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Telecommunications laws and regulations (and interpretations thereof) are evolving in response to rapid changes in the telecommunications industry. If our carrier providers were to be subject to any changes in applicable law or regulation (or interpretations thereof), or additional taxes or surcharges, then we in turn may be subject to increased costs for their products and services or receive products and services that may be of less value to our customers, which in turn could adversely affect our business and operating results. Furthermore, our call recording and/or monitoring services may directly subject us to certain telecommunications-related regulations. Finally, in the event that any federal or state regulators were to expand the scope of applicable laws and regulations or their application to include certain end users and information service providers, then our business and operating results could also be adversely affected. The following existing and possible future federal and state laws could impact the growth and profitability of our business:

 

The Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), and the regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission under Title II of the Act, may impose federal licensing, reporting and other regulatory obligations on the Company. To the extent we contract with and use the networks of voice over IP service providers, new legislation or FCC regulation in this area could restrict our business, prevent us from offering service or increase our cost of doing business. There are an increasing number of regulations and rulings that specifically address access to commerce and communications services on the Internet, including IP telephony. We are unable to predict the impact, if any, that future legislation, legal decisions or regulations concerning voice services offered via the Internet may have on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The U.S. Congress, the FCC, state legislatures or state agencies may target, among other things, access or settlement charges, imposing taxes related to Internet communications, imposing tariffs or other regulations based on encryption concerns, or the characteristics and quality of products and services that we may offer. Any new laws or regulations concerning these or other areas of our business could restrict our growth or increase our cost of doing business.

 

The FCC has initiated a proceeding regarding the regulation of broadband services. The increasing growth of the broadband IP telephony market and popularity of broadband IP telephony products and services heighten the risk that the FCC or other legislative bodies will seek to regulate broadband IP telephony and the Internet. In addition, large, established telecommunication companies may devote substantial lobbying efforts to influence the regulation of the broadband IP telephony market, which may be contrary to our interests.

 

There is risk that a regulatory agency will require us to conform to rules that are unsuitable for IP communications technologies or rules that cannot be complied with due to the nature and efficiencies of IP routing, or are unnecessary or unreasonable in light of the manner in which we offer voice-related services such as call recording services to our customers.

 

Federal and state telemarketing laws including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) which limits the use of autodialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages and fax machines, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. In recent years, the TCPA has become a fertile source for both individual and class action lawsuits and regulatory actions.  Specifically, the TCPA restricts telemarketing and the use of automatic SMS text messages without proper consent. The scope and interpretation of the laws that are or may be applicable to the delivery of text messages are continuously evolving and developing.  If we do not comply with these laws or regulations or if we become liable under these laws or regulations due to the failure of our customers to comply with these laws by obtaining proper consent, we could face liability.

 

Laws affecting telephone call recording and data protection, such as consent and personal data statutes. Under the federal Wiretap Act, at least one party taking part in a call must be notified if the call is being recorded. Under this law, and most state laws, there is nothing illegal about one of the parties to a telephone call recording the conversation. However, several states (i.e., California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington) require that all parties consent when one party wants to record a telephone conversation. The telephone recording laws in other states, like federal law, require only one party to be aware of the recording.

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The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act may require that we undertake material modifications to our platforms and processes to permit wiretapping and other access for law enforcement personnel.

 

Under various Orders of the Federal Communications Commission, we may be required to make material retroactive and prospective contributions to funds intended to support Universal Service, Telecommunications Relay Service, Local Number Portability, the North American Numbering Plan and the budget of the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Laws in most states of the United States of America may require registration or licensing of one or more of our subsidiaries, and may impose additional taxes, fees or telecommunications surcharges on the provision of our services which we may not be able to pass through to customers.

 

Our international operations may expose us to telecommunications regulations and data and privacy regulations in the countries where we are operating and these regulations could negatively affect the viability of our business in those regions.

We may also be subject to costs and liabilities with respect to privacy issues. Several companies have incurred penalties for failing to abide by the representations made in their public-facing privacy policies. In addition, several states have passed laws that require businesses to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect sensitive personal information and to provide notice to consumers in the event of a security breach. For example, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase data breach litigation. Further, it is anticipated that additional federal and state privacy-related legislation may be enacted. Such legislation could negatively affect our business.

Foreign countries may enact laws that could negatively impact our business and/or may prosecute us for violating existing laws. Such laws might include EU member country conforming legislation under applicable EU Privacy, eCommerce, Data Protection Directives (and similar legislation in other countries where we may have operations), and the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is directly applicable to all member states and which has substantial compliance obligations and significant potential administrative fines for non-compliance. Any costs incurred in addressing foreign laws could negatively affect the viability of our business. Our exposure to this risk will increase to the extent we expand our operations internationally.  

In addition, the potential regulation of new and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (“AI”) which we are increasingly building into many of our new offerings, may result in increased compliance costs and risks.  Any additional costs and penalties associated with increased compliance and risk reduction could make certain offerings less profitable or increase the difficulty of bringing certain offerings to market.

We may face risks related to litigation that could result in significant legal expenses and settlement or damage awards.

From time to time, we are subject to claims and litigation, which could seriously harm our business and require us to incur significant costs.

We are generally obliged, to the extent permitted by law, to indemnify our current and former directors and officers who are named as defendants in these types of lawsuits. Defending against litigation may require significant attention and resources of management. Regardless of the outcome, such litigation could result in significant legal expenses.

If we are a party to material litigation and if the defenses we claim are ultimately unsuccessful, or if we are unable to achieve a favorable settlement, we could be liable for large damage awards that could have a material adverse effect on our business and Consolidated Financial Statements.

22


 

We may be subject to securities litigation in connection with the divestiture transaction, which is expensive and could divert our attention.

We may be subject to securities litigation in connection with the divestiture transaction, including possible regulatory action or class action lawsuits. Litigation is frequently initiated in connection with merger and acquisition transactions, particularly those involving insiders. Regulatory inquiries and litigation are complex and could result in substantial costs, divert our management's attention and resources, and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

GENERAL RISKS

We are susceptible to general economic conditions, natural catastrophic events and public health crises, and a downturn in spending by customers could adversely affect our operating results.

Our operating results will be subject to fluctuations based on general economic conditions. Deterioration in economic conditions could cause decreases in or delays in customer spending and reduce and/or negatively impact our short-term ability to grow our revenues. Further, any decreased collectability of accounts receivable or early termination of agreements due to deterioration in economic conditions could negatively impact our results of operations.

Furthermore, our business is subject to the impact of natural catastrophic events such as earthquakes, floods or power outages, political crises such as terrorism or war, and public health crises, such as disease outbreaks, epidemics, or pandemics (including COVID-19) on the U.S. and global economies, our markets and business locations.

The loss of our senior management, including other key personnel, could harm our current and future operations and prospects.

We are heavily dependent upon the continued services of members of our senior management team and other key personnel. Each member of our senior management team and other key personnel are at-will employees and may voluntarily terminate his or her employment with us at any time with minimal notice. Following any termination of employment, each of these members would only be subject to a twelve-month non-competition and non-solicitation obligation with respect to our customers and employees under our standard confidentiality agreement. The loss of the services of any member of our senior management, including other key personnel, for any reason, or any conflict among our senior management or other key personnel, could harm our current and future operations and prospects. We have experienced turnover in certain senior executives in recent years. Additional turnover at the senior management level may create instability within the Company and our employees may decide to terminate their employment, which could further impede the maintenance of our day to day operations. Such instability could impede our ability to implement fully our business plan and growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects.

We may have difficulty retaining current personnel as well as attracting and retaining additional qualified, experienced, highly skilled personnel, which could adversely affect the implementation of our business plan.

Our performance is largely dependent upon the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. In order to fully implement our business plan, we will need to retain our current qualified personnel, as well as attract and retain additional qualified personnel. Thus, our success will, in significant part, depend upon our retention of current personnel as well as the efforts of personnel not yet identified and upon our ability to attract and retain highly skilled managerial, engineering, sales and marketing personnel. We are also dependent on managerial and technical personnel to the extent they may have knowledge or information about our businesses and technical systems that may not be known by our other personnel. There can be no assurance that we will be able to attract and retain necessary personnel. The failure to hire and retain such personnel could adversely affect the implementation of our business plan.

If we are unable to obtain and maintain adequate insurance, our financial condition could be adversely affected in the event of uninsured or inadequately insured loss or damage. Our ability to effectively recruit and retain qualified officers and directors may also be adversely affected if we experience difficulty in maintaining adequate directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.

We may not be able to obtain and maintain insurance policies on terms affordable to us that would adequately insure our business and property against damage, loss or claims by third parties. To the extent our business, property or systems suffer any damages, losses or claims by third parties that are not covered or adequately covered by

23


 

insurance, our financial condition may be materially adversely affected. We currently have directors’ and officers’ liability insurance. If we are unable to maintain sufficient insurance as a public company to cover liability claims made against our officers and directors, we may not be able to retain or recruit qualified officers and directors to manage our company, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations.

It may be difficult for us to retain or attract qualified officers and directors, which could adversely affect our business and our ability to maintain the listing of our Class B common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

We may be unable to attract and retain qualified officers, directors and members of board committees required to provide for our effective management as a result of changes in the rules and regulations which govern publicly-held companies, including, but not limited to, certifications from executive officers and requirements for financial experts on boards of directors. The perceived increased personal risk associated with these changes may deter qualified individuals from accepting these roles. Further, applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the NASDAQ Stock Market heighten the requirements for board or committee membership, particularly with respect to an individual’s independence from the corporation and level of experience in finance and accounting matters. We may have difficulty attracting and retaining directors with the requisite qualifications. If we are unable to attract and retain qualified officers and directors, our business and our ability to maintain the listing of our shares of Class B common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market could be adversely affected.

Our Class B common stock prices have been and are likely to continue to be highly volatile.

The trading prices of our Class B common stock have been and are likely to continue to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations and has at times declined significantly.

Our stock prices may fluctuate in response to a number of events and factors, which may be the result of our business strategy or events beyond our control, including: actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results; developments concerning proprietary rights, including patents, by us or a competitor; announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, financings, commercial relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments; loss of senior management or other key personnel; registration of additional shares of Class B common stock in connection with acquisitions; lawsuits initiated against us or lawsuits initiated by us; announcements of acquisitions or technical innovations; potential loss or reduced contributions from customers, reseller partners and agencies; significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of technology companies in general and of companies in our industry in particular; changes in growth or earnings estimates or recommendations by analysts; changes in the market valuations of similar companies; changes in our industry and the overall economic environment, including but not limited to uncertainty attributable to public health crises, such as disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics (including COVID-19); volume of shares of Class B common stock available for public sale, including upon conversion of Class A common stock or upon exercise of stock options; Class B common stock repurchases under our share repurchase program; sales and purchases of stock by us or by our stockholders, including sales by certain of our executive officers and directors pursuant to written pre-determined selling and purchase plans under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”); short sales, hedging and other derivative transactions on shares of our Class B common stock; and an adverse impact on us from any of the other risks cited in this Risk Factors section.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the market for mobile and online commerce companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the listed companies. These broad market and industry factors may seriously harm the market price of our Class B common stock, regardless of our operating performance. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies.

Litigation against us, whether or not judgment is entered against us, could result in substantial costs and potentially economic loss, and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources, any of which could seriously harm our financial condition. Additionally, there can be no assurance that an active trading market of our Class B common stock will be sustained.

24


 

If securities analysts do not continue to publish research or publish negative research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class B common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our stock or publishes negative research about our business, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the market for our stock and demand for our stock could decrease, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

Our founder controls the outcome of stockholder voting, and there may be an adverse effect on the price of our Class B common stock due to the disparate voting rights of our Class A common stock and our Class B common stock.

As of December 31, 2020, Russell C. Horowitz, our founder, beneficially owned 100% of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock, which shares represented 75% of the voting power of all outstanding shares of our capital stock. The holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock have identical rights except that the holders of our Class B common stock are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of our Class A common stock are entitled to twenty-five votes per share on all matters to be voted on by stockholders. This concentration of control could be disadvantageous to our other stockholders with interests different from those of our founder. This difference in the voting rights of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock could adversely affect the price of our Class B common stock to the extent that investors or any potential future purchaser of our shares of Class B common stock give greater value to the superior voting rights of our Class A common stock.

Further, as long as our founder has a controlling interest, he will continue to be able to elect all or a majority of our board of directors and generally be able to determine the outcome of all corporate actions requiring stockholder approval. As a result, our founder will be in a position to continue to control all fundamental matters affecting our company, including any merger involving, sale of substantially all of the assets of, or change in control of, our company. The ability of our founder to control our company may result in our Class B common stock trading at a price lower than the price at which such stock would trade if our founder did not have a controlling interest in us. This control may deter or prevent a third-party from acquiring us which could adversely affect the market price of our Class B common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions may limit the ability of another party to acquire us, which could cause our stock price to decline.

Our certificate of incorporation, as amended, our by-laws, as amended, and Delaware law contain provisions that could discourage, delay or prevent a third party from acquiring us, even if doing so may be beneficial to our stockholders. In addition, these provisions could limit the price investors would be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class B common stock. The following are examples of such provisions in our certificate of incorporation, as amended, or our by-laws, as amended: the authorized number of our directors can be changed only by a resolution of our board of directors; advance notice is required for proposals that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings; there are limitations on who may call stockholder meetings; and our board of directors is authorized, without prior stockholder approval, to create and issue “blank check” preferred stock.

We are also subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which provides, subject to enumerated exceptions, that if a person acquires 15% or more of our voting stock, the person is an “interested stockholder” and may not engage in “business combinations” with us for a period of three years from the time the person acquired 15% or more of our voting stock. The application of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company.

We may not pay dividends on our Class B common stock in the future.

Under Delaware law, dividends to stockholders may be made only from the surplus of a company, or, in certain situations, from the net profits for the current or prior fiscal year. We declared and paid a special dividend in the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, respectively. Special dividends generally result in a reduction in stock price with the dividend distributed. In addition, we paid a quarterly dividend on our Class B common stock from November 2006 through May 2015. Our ability to pay dividends is dependent upon a variety of factors, including our financial results, liquidity and financial condition and capital requirements. There is no assurance that we will pay dividends in the future.

25


 

ITEM  1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES.

Our headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington and consist of approximately 36,000 square feet of leased office space. We lease additional office space in Wichita, Kansas and Mississauga, Canada. Our information technology systems are hosted and maintained in third-party facilities under collocation services agreements. See Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Information Technology and Systems.”

We believe that our existing facilities, together with additional space we believe we can lease at reasonable market rates, are adequate for our near-term business needs.

ITEM  3.

We are not a party to any material legal proceedings. From time to time, however, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, including claims of alleged infringement of intellectual property rights, and a variety of claims arising in connection with our products and services.

ITEM  4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

Not Applicable.

26


 

PART II

ITEM  5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

Market Information

Our Class B common stock has been traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “MCHX” since March 31, 2004 when we completed our initial public offering at a price of $6.50 per share. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our Class B common stock. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high and low closing sales prices for Marchex’s Class B common stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market:

 

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

Year ended December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

4.90

 

 

$

2.82

 

Second Quarter

 

$

5.42

 

 

$

4.10

 

Third Quarter

 

$

4.97

 

 

$

3.14

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

4.15

 

 

$

3.03

 

Year ended December 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

4.03

 

 

$

1.33

 

Second Quarter

 

$

1.89

 

 

$

1.25

 

Third Quarter

 

$

2.12

 

 

$

1.44

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

2.45

 

 

$

1.68

 

 

Holders

As of March 26, 2021, there was 1 stockholder of record of our Class A common stock and there were approximately 47 stockholders of record of our Class B common stock, respectively. Since many of our shares of Class B common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these record holders.

Dividends

In December 2017, the Company declared a special cash dividend in the amount of $0.50 per share on its Class A and B common stock and recorded a Dividends Payable of $21.9 million in its Consolidated Balance Sheet at December 31, 2017. The Company paid the total dividend of $21.9 million in the first quarter of 2018. Our ability to pay dividends is dependent upon a variety of factors, including our financial results, liquidity and financial condition and capital requirements. There is no assurance that we will pay dividends in the future.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

In November 2014, we established a 2014 share repurchase program, which supersedes and replaces any prior repurchase programs, and authorized the Company to repurchase up to 3 million shares in the aggregate of the Company’s Class B common stock. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, capital availability, and other market conditions. During the fourth quarter of 2020, we did not have any shared repurchases under this program and 1,319,128 Class B common shares remain available for purchase under the plan.

In October 2020, the Company repurchased 5 million shares of its Class B common stock for $10.8 million in cash pursuant to a joint and equal tender offer with Edenbrook Capital, LLC.

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

As a smaller reporting company under SEC Regulations, we are not required to provide this information.

27


 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements which appear elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements. Please see page 1 on this Annual Report on Form 10-K “Forward-Looking Statements” and Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Risk Factors” for a discussion of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions associated with these statements.

Overview

Marchex is a conversational analytics and solutions company that helps business connect, drive, measure,  convert callers into customers, and connects the voice of the customer to their business. We deliver data insights and incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered functionality that drives insights and solutions to help companies find, engage and support their customers across voice and text-based communication channels.

We believe that we have a set of tools for enterprises that depend on phone calls, texts and other communication channels to help convert prospects into customers, to deliver compelling customer experiences during the sales process and maximize returns. Our mission is to help our customers grow by giving them real-time insights into the conversations they are having with their customers across phone, text and other communication channels. Marchex leverages proprietary data and conversational insights to deliver real-time AI-powered functionality that drives solutions that help enable brands to personalize customer interactions in order to accelerate sales and grow their business.

We were incorporated in Delaware on January 17, 2003.

We have offices in Seattle, Washington; Wichita, Kansas; and Mississauga, Canada.

 

Recent Developments

 

New Product Launch

 

In November 2020, we launched Marchex Marketing Edge, a new solution that enables brand marketers and agencies to tie revenue-generating conversations back to the specific marketing campaigns that generated them. This new product captures conversational data across multiple communication channels, including calls, text, and chat - as well as web form completions - and uses AI-powered conversation intelligence to identify and classify the conversations that can drive sales. It helps enable businesses to complete and enrich the picture of their digital marketing performance and power automated actions by flowing conversational data into a growing list of third party Martech, Adtech, CRM and chat systems, and makes it simpler to create custom integrations.

 

Divestiture

 

In October 2020, we sold certain assets related to the Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets not related to core conversational analytics (the “Divestiture”). The purchaser is a related party controlled by a shareholder and officers of the Company. At closing, we received cash consideration of approximately $2.3 million. The sale also includes (i) contingent consideration based on the achievement of certain revenue and thresholds from the Call Marketplace, Local Leads Platform and the purchaser’s total business; (ii) certain contingent sale transaction consideration; (iii) shares of Class B common stock in the purchaser equal to the issuance of a 10% equity interest; and (iv) the cancellation of Company stock options for 1.5 million shares held by two executive officers of our Company who were involved in the transaction.

 

In connection with the closing, we also entered into an administrative support services agreement with the purchaser pursuant to which we will provide administrative services to the purchaser for a support services fee, with certain guaranteed payments to us in the first year and contingently in the second year following closing.

 

This Divestiture has been classified as discontinued operations for the year ended December 31, 2020. See Note 12. Discontinued Operations of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

 

28


 

 

Tender Offer

 

In October 2020, we completed a joint and equal tender offer with Edenbrook Capital, LLC for the purchase of 10 million shares of Class B common stock at $2.15 per share, of which our share of the repurchase totaled approximately $10.8 million for 5 million shares.

 

COVID-19

 

In late 2019, an outbreak of COVID-19 emerged and by early March 2020 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Across the United States and the world, governments and municipalities instituted measures in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, including quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, school closings, travel restrictions and the closure of non-essential businesses. By the end of March 2020, the macroeconomic impacts became significant, exhibited by, among other things, a rise in unemployment and market volatility.

 

The rapid spread of COVID-19 globally has resulted in increased travel restrictions and disruption and shutdown of businesses. We have experienced adverse impacts from quarantines, market downturns and changes in customer behavior related to pandemic fears and impacts on our workforce due to COVID-19. In addition, many of our customers, reseller partners and agencies, service providers and suppliers have experienced financial distress, and may file for bankruptcy protection, go out of business, or suffer further disruptions in their business due to the coronavirus outbreak. The extent to which the coronavirus impacts our continuing results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, but has resulted in a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition at least for the near term.

 

For most of the quarter ended March 31, 2020, our results reflect historical trends and seasonality. However, beginning in March 2020 and through December 31, 2020, we experienced a decline in revenues due to the impact of COVID-19 and the related reductions in global economic activity and reduced spending by our customers in response to the macroeconomic impact. We also assessed the realized and potential credit deterioration of our customers due to changes in the macroeconomic environment, which has been reflected in an increase in our allowance for credit losses for accounts receivable as of the year ended December 31, 2020. Additionally, we determined that indicators of impairment had occurred during the first quarter of 2020, which resulted in us performing an interim impairment analysis during the first quarter of 2020. As a result of this interim impairment test, we recognized an impairment of our intangible long-lived assets and goodwill during the first quarter of 2020. See the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information. For additional information for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global disruptions on our business and operations, refer to “Results of Operations” within this discussion and analysis and Item 1.A of Part I, “Risk Factors”.

 

Acquisition

 

In December 2019, we acquired 100% of the outstanding stock of Sonar Technologies, Inc. (“Sonar”) for consideration of approximately $8.5 million in cash at closing and approximately 1.0 million shares of Class B common stock to be issued over the three-year period following the acquisition date, with the timing of issuance subject to certain conditions and with any shares not previously issued to be issued on the fifth anniversary of the acquisition date. We also agreed to issue up to approximately 389,000 shares of Class B common stock based upon the achievement of certain financial target goals by Sonar in 2020. These financial targets were not met in 2020.

The Company accounted for the Sonar acquisition as a business combination. See Note 9. Acquisition of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Factors Affecting our Performance

We utilize phone numbers as part of a number of analytics services to our customers such as our call and text analytics and communications. If we are not able to secure or retain sufficient phone numbers needed for our services or we are limited in the number of available telecommunication carriers or vendors to provide such phone numbers to us in the event of any industry consolidation or if telecommunication carriers or vendors were to experience system disruptions, our revenue and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. We anticipate that these variables will fluctuate in the future, affecting our ability to grow and our financial results. In particular, it is difficult to project call and text usage, the number of calls or texts or other actions performed by users of our services.

29


 

Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future due to seasonality. Our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, call volumes in certain verticals such as home services are generally higher than during other times of the year and during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volumes. The extent to which call volumes may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Prolonged or severe decreases in call volumes during these periods may adversely affect our growth rate and results and in turn the market price of our securities. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year. Historically, we have seen this trend generally reversing in the first quarter of the calendar year with increased call volumes and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.

 

In addition, as discussed elsewhere in this report, we have and may continue to experience impacts from quarantines, market downturns and changes in customer behavior related to the pandemic. We believe that our future revenue growth will depend on, among other factors, our ability to attract new customers, compete effectively, maximize our sales efforts, successfully improve existing analytics products and sales engagement solutions, and develop successful new products and solutions. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and to manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.

 

Components of the Results of our Operations

 

Revenue

 

We generate the majority of our revenues from core analytics and solutions services. Our call analytics technology platform provides data and insights that can measure the performance of calls and texts for our customers. We generate revenue from our call analytics technology platform when customers pay us a fee for each call/text or call/text related data element they receive from calls or texts including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on a pre-negotiated rate. Customers typically receive the benefit of our services as they are performed and substantially all of our revenue is recognized over time as services are performed.

In certain cases, we record revenue based on available and reported preliminary information from third parties. Collection on the related receivables may vary from reported information based upon third party refinement of the estimated and reported amounts owed that occurs subsequent to period ends.

Service Costs

Our service costs represent the cost of providing our services to our customers. These costs primarily consist of telecommunication costs, including the use of phone numbers relating to our services; colocation service charges of our network equipment; bandwidth and software license fees; network operations; and payroll and related expenses of personnel, including stock based compensation.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of payroll and related expenses for personnel engaged in marketing and sales functions; advertising and promotional expenditures including online and outside marketing activities; cost of systems used to sell to and serve customers; and stock-based compensation of related personnel.

Product Development

Product development costs consist primarily of expenses incurred in the research and development, creation and enhancement of our products and services.

Our research and development expenses include payroll and related expenses for personnel; costs of computer hardware and software; costs incurred in developing features and functionality of the services we offer; and stock-based compensation of related personnel.

30


 

For the periods presented, substantially all of our product development expenses are research and development. Product development costs are expensed as incurred or capitalized into property and equipment in accordance U.S. GAAP.

General and Administrative

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of payroll and related expenses for executive and administrative personnel; professional services, including accounting, legal and insurance; bad debt provisions; facilities costs; other general corporate expenses; and stock-based compensation of related personnel.

Stock-Based Compensation

We measure stock-based compensation cost at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and recognize it as expense over the vesting or service period, as applicable, of the stock-based award using the straight-line method. We account for forfeitures as they occur. Stock-based compensation expense is included in the same lines as compensation paid to the same employees in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

Amortization of Intangibles from Acquisitions

Amortization of intangible assets excluding goodwill relates to intangible assets identified in connection with our acquisitions. The intangible assets have been identified as customer relationships; acquired technology; non-competition agreements; tradenames. These assets are amortized over useful lives ranging from 12 to 60 months.

Provision for Income Taxes

We utilize the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax law is recognized in results of operations in the period that includes the enactment date.

 

Results of Operations

The following table presents revenue from continuing operations and certain of our operating results from continuing operations as a percentage of revenue (in thousands):

 

 

 

Year ended

December 31, 2019

 

 

% of

revenue

 

 

Year ended

December 31, 2020

 

 

% of

revenue

 

Revenue from continuing operations

 

$

54,489

 

 

 

100

%

 

$

51,218

 

 

 

100

%

Expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service costs

 

$

18,003

 

 

 

33

%

 

$

20,888

 

 

 

41

%

Sales and marketing

 

 

13,729

 

 

 

25

%

 

$

16,656

 

 

 

33

%

Product development

 

 

17,879

 

 

 

33

%

 

$

21,001

 

 

 

41

%

General and administrative

 

 

13,022

 

 

 

24

%

 

$

12,796

 

 

 

25

%

Amortization of intangible assets from acquisitions

 

 

6,263

 

 

 

11

%

 

$

5,331

 

 

 

10

%

Acquisition and disposition related benefits

 

 

(447

)

 

 

-1

%

 

$

(1,043

)

 

 

-2

%

 

 

$

68,449

 

 

 

126

%

 

$

75,629

 

 

 

148

%

 

31


 

 

Stock-based compensation expense was included in the following operating expense categories as follows (in thousands):

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Service costs

 

$

113

 

 

$

36

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

469

 

 

 

1,041

 

Product development

 

 

233

 

 

 

358

 

General and administrative

 

 

2,000

 

 

 

2,172

 

Total stock-based compensation

 

$

2,815

 

 

$

3,607

 

 

See Note 5(b). Stock Option Plan of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, as well as our Critical Accounting Policies for additional information about stock-based compensation.

 

Revenue

Revenue decreased 6% from $54.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $51.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. This decrease was due primarily to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customer usage, rate discounts provided as a result of customer distress, and to a lesser extent, fewer customer accounts. These decreases were offset in part due to a full year of revenue contribution from Sonar, which we acquired in December 2019.

In the immediate term, we expect our revenues to be modestly lower or similar to levels of our most recent quarter as a result of the business disruption caused by the continuing coronavirus pandemic. While we saw some recovery in the latter part of 2020, we expect the disruption to our customers and our prospective customers will cause further delays in the sales process, delays in signing new customers, a decrease in business and rates from existing customers, and also delays in launching pilots and tests and new customer programs that were previously planned, resulting in lower near term revenues from our customers as well as lower than anticipated future new revenues from our prospective customers. We also expect that financial difficulties and business interruptions caused by the coronavirus impact has and will further result in some cases in payment delays, and an impairment of our customers’ ability to make payments, which we expect will further reduce our revenues from recent quarterly results.

 

In the longer term, we believe that our new product releases and growth initiatives may enable the Company to progress, resulting in an opportunity for potential revenue growth. A preliminary indicator of this potential growth is that several customers and prospective customers have indicated that they plan to initiate trials and are considering the adoption of new products, which would result in new revenue opportunities.

 

Expenses

 

Service Costs. Service costs increased 16% from $18.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $20.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a percentage of revenues, service costs were 33% and 41% for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The increase in dollars was primarily due to an increase in communication and network costs totaling $3.0 million resulting from our infrastructure initiatives, which include cloud migration initiatives, certain platform integrations and other initiatives. The increase as a percentage of revenue was primarily the result of these initiatives in conjunction with lower corresponding revenues in 2020.

We expect in the near and intermediate term that service costs in absolute dollars will be similar in relation to the most recent periods. Upon completion of various 2021 infrastructure efficiency initiatives, there may also be a positive impact on service costs as a percentage of revenue and further benefit in the event we generate contribution from new launches of analytics products and sales engagement solutions.

Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expenses increased 21% from $13.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $16.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a percentage of revenue, sales and marketing expenses were 25% and 33% for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The net increase in dollars and as a percentage of revenue was primarily attributable to an aggregate net increase in personnel and outside service provider costs and stock-based compensation costs totaling $3.6 million, offset in part by an aggregate net decrease in travel related costs largely due to pandemic influenced restrictions and outside marketing costs totaling $700,000. The increase in personnel costs was primarily the result of an increase in the

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number of personnel to enhance our sales and marketing activities, and to a lesser extent, as a result of the acquisition of Sonar in 2019. The percentage of revenue increase was also attributable to lower revenues in 2020.

We expect some volatility in sales and marketing expenses based on the timing of marketing initiatives but expect sales and marketing expenses in the near term to increase in connection with any revenue increase. We also expect, to the extent that we increase our marketing activities, this could correspondingly also cause an increase as a percentage of revenue. We also believe that if pandemic related restrictions ease, travel related costs will increase as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020.

Product Development. Product development expenses increased 17% from $17.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $21.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a percentage of revenue, product development expenses were 33% and 41% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The net increase in dollars and as a percentage of revenue was primarily due to an aggregate increase in personnel and outside service provider costs totaling $3.2 million, which was primarily the result an increased investment in our product and infrastructure initiatives, as well as the acquisition of Sonar in December 2019. The percentage of revenue increase was also attributable to lower revenues in 2020.

In the immediate and longer term, to the extent our revenues increase, we expect that product development expenses will increase in absolute dollars as we increase the number of personnel and consultants to enhance our service offerings.

General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses decreased 2% from $13.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $12.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. As a percentage of revenue, general and administrative expenses were 24% and 25% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. The slight decrease in dollars was primarily comprised of a decrease in personnel and outside service provider costs and stock-based compensation costs totaling $600,000 and a decrease in travel related costs of $200,000, offset by an aggregate increase in professional fees, and bad debt expenses of approximately $600,000 that were largely a result of pandemic influences on customers.

We also expect our general and administrative expenses to increase to the extent that we expand our operations and incur additional costs in connection with being a public company, including expenses related to professional fees and insurance, and as a result of stock-based compensation expense. We also expect fluctuations in our general and administrative expenses to the extent the recognition timing of stock compensation is impacted by market conditions relating to our stock price. In addition, we anticipate that our general and administrative expenses will be adversely impacted by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic at least for the near term.

Amortization of Intangible Assets from Acquisitions. Intangible amortization expenses was $6.3 million and $5.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, The expense was associated with amortization of intangible assets acquired in the Telmetrics and Callcap acquisitions in November 2018 for the 2019 period, and with amortization of intangible assets acquired in the Telmetrics and Callcap acquisitions and the Sonar acquisition in 2019 for the 2020 period. During 2019 and 2020, the amortization of intangibles related to service costs, sales and marketing and general and administrative expenses. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded an impairment charge totaling $5.0 million relating to our intangible assets from acquisitions. For additional information, see the discussion in “Impairment of Goodwill and Impairment of Intangible Assets from Acquisitions” below.

Acquisition and Disposition-related Benefits. The change in the acquisition and disposition-related benefits from $400,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019 to $1.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 was primarily due to a $1.5 million adjustment in 2020 to the estimated fair value of our contingent consideration liabilities related to our acquisition of Telmetrics in November 2018 and our acquisition of Sonar in December 2019, offset by accretion of interest expense and professional and related fees primarily associated with acquisition and disposition related matters during the year ended December 31, 2020.

Impairment of Goodwill and Impairment of Intangible Assets from Acquisitions. For the three months ended March 31, 2020, our stock price was impacted by volatility in the U.S. financial markets as a result of the rapid spread of the coronavirus globally which has resulted in increased travel restrictions and disruption and shutdown of businesses, and traded below the then book value for an extended period of time. Accordingly, we tested our goodwill for impairment and concluded that the carrying value exceeded the estimated fair value of our single reporting unit and recognized an estimated impairment loss during the first quarter of 2020 of $14.7 million. The estimated fair value of our single reporting unit was based on estimates of future operating results, discounted cash flows and other market-based factors, including our stock price. The goodwill impairment loss resulted primarily from a sustained decline in our common stock share price and market capitalization as well as lower projected revenue growth rates and profitability levels compared to historical results. The lower projected operating results

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reflect changes in assumptions related to organic revenue growth rates, market trends, business mix, cost structure, and other expectations about the anticipated short-term and long-term operating results. As of December 31, 2020, we have $17.6 million of goodwill remaining on our balance sheet.

In addition, we performed an interim impairment test of our long-lived intangible assets using an undiscounted cash flow analysis to determine if the cash flows expected to be generated by the asset groups over the estimated remaining useful life of the primary assets were sufficient to recover the carrying value of the asset groups, which were determined to be at the acquisition level (Telmetrics, Callcap and Sonar). Based on this analysis, which included evaluating various cash flow scenarios, the undiscounted cash flows were not sufficient to recover the carrying value of the groups. As a result, we were required to determine the fair value of each asset group. To estimate the fair value, we utilized both the cost recovery and income approach, which is based on a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis and calculates the fair value by estimating the after-tax cash flows attributable to the asset group and then discounting the after-tax cash flows to present value using a risk-adjusted discount rate. Assumptions used in the DCF require significant judgment, including judgment about appropriate discount rates and terminal values, growth rates, and the amount and timing of expected future cash flows. The forecasted cash flows are based on our most recent strategic plan and for periods beyond the strategic plan, our estimates were based on assumed growth rates expected as of the measurement date. We believe our assumptions were consistent with the plans and estimates that a market participant would use to manage the business. Based on the results of this testing, we recorded a pretax non-cash impairment totaling $5.0 million in the first quarter of 2020 relating to customer relationships, technologies, non-compete agreements and tradenames. This charge is reflected in our Consolidated Statements of Operations for the year ending December 31, 2020. The identified intangible assets acquired in the Telmetrics, Callcap and Sonar acquisitions, after this charge, are $9.2 million in aggregate as of December 31, 2020 and are being amortized on a straight-line basis over a range of useful lives of 12 to 60 months.

The current business environment is subject to evolving market conditions and requires significant management judgment to interpret the potential impact to our assumptions. To the extent that changes in the current business environment impact our ability to achieve levels of forecasted operating results and cash flows, or should other events occur indicating the remaining carrying value of our assets might be impaired, we would test our goodwill and intangible assets for impairment and may recognize an additional impairment loss to the extent that the carrying amount exceeds such assets’ fair values. No additional impairment of our intangible assets has been discovered since the first quarter of 2020.  We will continue to monitor our financial performance, stock price and other factors in order to determine if there are any additional indicators of impairment. As a result, we may record an additional impairment loss in the near or intermediate term, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Income Tax (Benefit). The income tax (benefit) from continuing operations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 was ($3.5 million) and ($1.9 million), respectively. The income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2019 consisted primarily of deferred tax benefits related to one of our foreign jurisdictions, tax benefits from the release of a portion of our valuation allowance resulting from the acquisition of Sonar, and an allocation of profits to discontinued operations. The income tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2020 consisted primarily of deferred tax benefits related to one of our foreign jurisdictions and an allocation of profits to discontinued operations, offset in part by U.S. state income tax expense. The effective tax rate differed from the expected tax rate of 21% for 2019 and 2020 due to a full valuation allowance and to a lesser extent due to state income taxes, non-deductible stock-based compensation related to incentive stock options recorded under the fair-value method, federal research and development credits, and other non-deductible amounts. We recognized approximately $290,000 of federal research and experimental credits for 2020.

At December 31, 2020, based on all the available evidence, both positive and negative, we determined that it is not more likely than not that our deferred tax assets (excluding certain insignificant Canadian deferred tax assets) will be realized and accordingly, we have recorded a 100% valuation allowance of $43.3 million against our net deferred tax assets ($44.6 million of deferred tax assets that are partially offset by $1.3 million in reversing deferred tax liabilities). This compares to a 100% valuation allowance of $19.1 million at December 31, 2019. The 2019 valuation allowance includes a partial release of $1.0 million as a result of newly recognized deferred tax liabilities related to the acquisition of Sonar in December 2019, as well as a reclassification of $18.4 million of the valuation allowance to discontinued operations. In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, based on all the available evidence, both positive and negative, we considered whether it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets depends on the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences are deductible. We considered the future reversal of deferred tax liabilities, carryback potential, projected taxable income, and tax planning strategies as well as the Company’s history of taxable income or losses in the relevant jurisdictions in making this assessment. We have incurred federal taxable losses in 2019 and 2020.

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Discontinued Operations, net of tax. In October 2020, we sold certain assets related to the Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets note related to core conversational analytics. The operating results related to these dispositions are shown as discontinued operations, net of tax.

Income from discontinued operations, net of tax, was $5.7 million and $3.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively. In the October 2020 sale, we received net cash proceeds at closing of $2.3 million and the sale includes contingent earn-out payments that depend on the achievement of certain sales thresholds. No gain or loss on the sale of discontinued operations was recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Operations as it was sold to a related party. See Note 12. Discontinued Operations of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion.

Net Loss. Net loss from continuing operations was $9.7 million in 2019 compared to net loss of $42.0 million in 2020. The increase in loss during the year ended December 31, 2020 was primarily attributable to a long-lived intangible assets and an estimated goodwill impairment charge with no corresponding amounts in the 2019 period, and to a lesser extent, higher amortization of intangible assets from acquisitions costs in 2020 as a result of the Sonar acquisition in December 2019 and due to higher operating costs in the 2020 period. These increases in costs were partially offset by a $1.5 million adjustment in the 2020 period to the estimated fair value of our contingent consideration liabilities related to our acquisition of Telmetrics in November 2018 and to our acquisition of Sonar in December 2019.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As of December 31, 2019 and 2020, we had cash and cash equivalents of $41.7 million and $33.9 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, we had current debt of $5.1 million and current and long-term contractual obligations of $7.5 million, of which $5.3 million is for rent under our facility operating leases.

Cash used in operating activities was $3.4 million during the year ended December 31, 2020, of which approximately $7.0 million was used by continuing operations and $3.6 was provided by discontinued operations. The cash used in continuing operations was primarily a result of a net loss of $42.0 million, adjusted for non-cash items of $29.6 million, which primarily included the aggregate estimated impairment of goodwill and intangible assets from acquisitions of $19.6 million, in addition to depreciation and amortization, stock based compensation, the allowance for doubtful accounts and other changes in working capital, offset by an adjustment to the estimated fair value of our contingent consideration liability related to our acquisition of Telmetrics in November 2018 and Sonar in December 2019.

Cash provided by operating activities was $5.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2019, of which approximately $800,000 was used by continuing operations and $5.9 million was provided by discontinued operations. The cash used in continuing operating activities was primarily a result of a net loss of $9.7 million adjusted for non-cash items of $8.7 million, which included depreciation and amortization, stock based compensation, allowance for doubtful accounts, offset by a change in deferred taxes and the change in the estimated fair value of our contingent consideration liability related to our acquisition of Telmetrics in November 2018.

We expect that, at least for the near term, our revenues will be lower than in recent periods as a result of business disruption to our customers and prospects caused by the continuing pandemic. We do believe the disruption will impact our business in the intermediate and long term as well in part because several customers have had their operations permanently impacted or shut down. Further, we expect in 2021, that in some cases financial difficulties and business interruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak have and will result in further payment delays and an impairment of our customers to make payments. In turn, this will also cause our revenues to be lower than current levels if customers are unable to procure our services at the same volumes as previously, which we expect will be the case for several of our customers. It will also adversely impact our collectability associated with our accounts receivable balances and result in higher bad debt expenses. In addition, we expect it will reduce our cash flows from the levels we have experienced in recent periods. This expected adverse impact on our operating cash flows will correspondingly reduce our liquidity

Additionally, the Seattle, WA City Council recently implemented a new employee payroll tax which imposed a quarterly tax on businesses with rates ranging from 0.7% to 2.4% on certain employee and independent contractor earnings and will be effective January 1, 2021. We expect that this new employee payroll tax expense will result in an increase in our operating expenses since a number of our employees are based in Seattle. In addition, we expect it will reduce our cash flows to some extent from the levels we have experienced in recent periods. This expected impact on our operating cash flows will correspondingly reduce our liquidity.

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Cash provided by investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2020 of $981,000 was all attributable to continuing operations and was primarily attributable to cash received from the sale of certain assets related to the Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets note related to core conversational analytics in October 2020, partially offset by cash paid for purchases of property and equipment. Consideration received at closing consisted of cash proceeds of $2.3 million. Our liquidity and results of operations will be significantly affected by divesting these operations as the associated revenue and expenses and any potential contribution will no longer be included in our results of operations.

Cash used in investing activities was $9.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2019, of which approximately $9.6 million was used by continuing operations and $100,000 was used in discontinued operations. The cash used in continuing investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 was primarily attributable to cash paid for our acquisition of Sonar in 2019, net of cash acquired, and purchases of property and equipment.

We expect property and equipment purchases in the near and intermediate term to be relatively similar compared to our most recent periods. We expect any increase to our operations to have a corresponding increase in expenditures for our systems and personnel. We plan to make a strategic expense investment in 2021 to address various infrastructure initiatives, including consolidating infrastructure and data centers. In consideration of the strategic expense initiative, we expect our expenditures for product development initiatives will be relatively stable to modestly higher in the near and intermediate term and increase in the longer term in absolute dollars with any acceleration in development activities and as we increase the number of personnel and consultants to enhance our service offerings. In the intermediate to long term, we also expect to increase the number of personnel supporting our sales, marketing and related growth initiatives.

 

Cash used in financing activities was $5.5 million during the year ended December 31, 2020, of which approximately $5.7 million was used by continuing operations and $200,000 was provided by discontinued operations. The cash used in continuing financing activities was primarily attributable to repurchases of common stock, offset by proceeds received as part of the CARES Act funding. During the second quarter of 2020, we secured promissory notes to bank lenders pursuant to government loan programs (“the Loans”). The balance at December 31, 2020 is $5.1 million. The Loans were made under, and are subject to the terms and conditions of, the CARES Act and are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”). The Loans bear an interest rate of 1% per annum, have a two-year maturity, and allows for early repayment and a deferment period in excess of six months. Amounts under the loans will be repayable to the lenders in monthly installments following the six-month deferment period. We expect this repayment commencement period to be in the third quarter of 2021. The loans or portions thereof may be eligible for forgiveness if certain requirements of the government program are met, however, in the event we assess and determine all or a portion may be eligible for forgiveness, the amount, if any, that ultimately may be forgiven is uncertain. Due to the uncertainties concerning the anticipated timing of repayment that are not within our control as well as the evolving parameters and interpretations of requirements, these loans are presented as a current liability on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. In addition, under a foreign wage subsidy program in response to the pandemic, a subsidiary received approximately $415,000 in funding, that was treated as a reduction of payroll expenses during year ended December 31, 2020.

The repurchases of common stock were a result of a joint and equal tender with Edenbrook Capital LLC for 10 million shares of the Company's Class B common stock at $2.15 per share, of which the Company's share of the repurchase totaled approximately $10.8 million for 5 million shares. In November 2014, our board of directors authorized a new share repurchase program (the “2014 Repurchase Program”) which supersedes and replaces any prior repurchase programs. Under the 2014 Repurchase Program, we are authorized to repurchase up to 3 million shares of our Class B common stock in the aggregate through open market and privately negotiated transactions, at such times and in such amounts as we deem appropriate. Repurchases may also be made under a Rule 10b5-1 plan, which would permit shares to be repurchased when we might otherwise be precluded from doing so under insider trading laws. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, capital availability, and other market conditions. The 2014 Repurchase Program does not have an expiration date and may be expanded, limited or terminated at any time without prior notice. We have made no repurchases under the 2014 Repurchase Program for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020.

Cash provided by continuing financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2019 of approximately $1.9 million was primarily attributable to proceeds from option exercises.

Based on our operating plans we believe that our resources will be sufficient to fund our operations, including any investments in strategic initiatives, for at least twelve months, however the length and severity of the pandemic could influence our operating plans and resources significantly. Additional equity and debt financing may be needed

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to support our acquisition strategy, our long-term obligations and our company’s needs. There can be no assurance that, if we needed additional funds, financing arrangements would be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Failure to generate sufficient revenue or raise additional capital could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue as a going concern and to achieve our intended business objectives.

Critical Accounting Policies

Our Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared using accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (U.S. GAAP). Our critical accounting policies are those that we believe have the most significant impact to reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses and the related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities and that require the most difficult, subjective, or complex judgements.

The policies below are critical to our business operations and the understanding of our results of operations. In the ordinary course of business, we make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to the reporting of our results. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

While our significant accounting policies are more fully described in Note 1. Description of Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Practices, we believe the following topics reflect our critical accounting policies and our more significant judgement and estimates used in the preparation of our financial statements.

Principles of Consolidation

 

Our Company consolidates all entities that we control by ownership of a majority voting interest. Additionally, there are situations in which U.S. GAAP requires consolidation even though the usual condition of consolidation (ownership of a majority voting interest) does not apply. Generally, this occurs when an entity holds an interest in another business enterprise that was achieved through arrangements that do not involve voting interests, which results in a disproportionate relationship between such entity's voting interests in, and its exposure to the economic risks and potential rewards of, the other business enterprise. This disproportionate relationship results in what is known as a variable interest, and the entity in which we have the variable interest is referred to as a "VIE." An enterprise must consolidate a VIE if it is determined to be the primary beneficiary of the VIE. The primary beneficiary has both (1) the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the entity's economic performance and (2) the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE.

 

Our Company holds a remaining interest in the related party purchaser of our divested operations, for which we determined we were not the primary beneficiary. Our variable interests in this VIE primarily relate to the issuance of a 10% equity interest in the related party purchaser; contingent consideration related to the transaction; and an administrative support services arrangement. Refer to Note 12, Discontinued Operations. Although this financial arrangement resulted in our holding variable interests in this related party entity, it did not empower us to direct the strategic and operational activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance.

 

All inter-company transactions and balances have been eliminated in consolidation. Certain reclassifications have been made to the Consolidated Financial Statements in the prior periods to conform to the current period presentation.

 

Revenue

 

We generate the majority of our revenues from core analytics and solutions services. Our call analytics technology platform provides data and insights that can measure the performance of calls and texts for our customers. We generate revenue from our call analytics technology platform when customers pay us a fee for each call/text or call/text related data element they receive from calls or texts including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on a pre-negotiated rate. As such, the majority of total revenue is derived from contracts that include consideration that is variable in nature. The

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variable elements of these contracts primarily include the number of transactions (for example, the number qualified phone calls).

 

Customers typically receive the benefit of our services as they are performed and substantially all of our revenue is recognized over time as services are performed. The majority of the Company’s customers are invoiced on a monthly basis following the month of the delivery of services and are required to make payments under standard credit terms.

For arrangements that include multiple performance obligations, the transaction price from the arrangement is allocated to each respective performance obligation based on its relative standalone selling price and recognized when revenue recognition criteria for each performance obligation are met. The standalone selling price for each performance obligation is established based on the sales price at which we would sell a promised good or service separately to a customer or the estimated standalone selling price.

In certain cases, we record revenue based on available and reported preliminary information from third parties. Collection on the related receivables may vary from reported information based upon third-party refinement of the estimated and reported amounts owed that occurs subsequent to period ends.

Stock-Based Compensation

FASB ASC Topic 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation (ASC 718) requires the measurement and recognition of compensation for all stock-based awards made to employees, non-employees and directors including stock options, restricted stock issuances, and restricted stock units be based on estimated fair values. We account for forfeitures as they occur. We measure stock-based compensation cost at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and recognize it as expense over the vesting or service period, as applicable, of the stock-based award using the straight-line method.

We generally use the Black-Scholes option pricing model as our method of valuation for stock-based awards with time-based vesting. Our determination of the fair value of stock-based awards on the date of grant using an option pricing model is affected by our stock price as well as assumptions regarding a number of highly complex and subjective variables. These variables include, but are not limited to, the expected life of the award, our expected stock price, volatility over the term of the award and actual and projected exercise behaviors.

Although the fair value of stock-based awards is determined in accordance with ASC 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation the assumptions used in calculating fair value of stock-based awards and the use of the Black-Scholes option pricing model is highly subjective, and other reasonable assumptions could provide differing results. As a result, if factors change and we use different assumptions, our stock-based compensation expense could be materially different in the future. See Note 6(b). Stock Option Plan in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts and Advertiser Credits

Accounts receivable balances are presented net of allowance for doubtful accounts and advertiser credits. The allowance for doubtful accounts is our best estimate of the amount of probable credit losses in our accounts receivable. We determine our allowance based on analysis of historical bad debts, advertiser concentrations, advertiser creditworthiness and current economic trends. We review the allowance for collectability on a quarterly basis. Account balances are written off against the allowance after all reasonable means of collection have been exhausted and the potential recovery is considered remote. If the financial condition of our advertisers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, or if we underestimated the allowances required, additional allowances may be required which would result in increased general and administrative expenses in the period such determination was made.

We determine our allowance for advertiser credits and adjustments based upon our analysis of historical credits. Material differences may result in the amount and timing of our revenue for any period if our management made different judgments and estimates.

Goodwill and Intangible Assets

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed in business combinations accounted for under the purchase method. Intangible assets from acquisitions represent customer relationships, technologies, non-compete agreements, and tradenames related to previous acquisitions. These assets are determined to have definite lives and are amortized on a straight-line basis

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over the estimated period over which we expect to realize economic value related to the intangible asset. The amortization periods range from one year to 5 years.

We apply the provisions of the FASB ASC Topic 350, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other” (ASC 350) whereby assets acquired in a purchase business combination and determined to have an indefinite useful life are not amortized, but instead test for impairment at least annually. ASC 350 also requires that intangible assets with definite useful lives be amortized over the respective estimated lives to their estimated residual values and reviewed for impairment in accordance with ASC 360, “Property Plant and Equipment” (ASC 360). Intangible assets are "grouped" and evaluated for impairment at the lowest level of identifiable cash flows.

Goodwill is tested annually on November 30 for impairment. Goodwill and intangible assets are also tested more frequently if events and circumstances indicate that the assets might be impaired. The provisions of the accounting standard for goodwill and other intangible assets allow us to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform a quantitative impairment test. Events and circumstances considered in determining whether the carrying value of goodwill and intangible assets may not be recoverable include but are not limited to: significant changes in performance relative to expected operating results; significant changes in the use of the assets; and significant changes in competition and market dynamics. These estimates are inherently uncertain and can be affected by numerous factors, including changes in economic, industry or market conditions, changes in business operations, a loss of a significant customer, changes in competition or changes in the share price of common stock and market capitalization. If our stock price were to trade below book value per share for an extended period of time and/or we experience adverse effects of a continued downward trend in the overall economic environment, changes in the business itself, including changes in projected earnings and cash flows, we may have to recognize an impairment of all or some portion of our goodwill and intangible assets. An impairment loss is recognized to the extent that the carrying amount exceeds the asset or asset group’s fair value. If the fair value is lower than the carrying value, a material impairment charge may be reported in our financial results. We exercise judgment in the assessment of the related useful lives of intangible assets, the fair values, and the recoverability. In certain instances, the fair value is determined in part based on cash flow forecasts and discount rate estimates. We cannot accurately predict the amount and timing of any impairment of goodwill or intangible assets. Should the value of goodwill or intangible assets become impaired, we would record the appropriate charge, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Any future impairment charges could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

Provision for Income Taxes

We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. and certain international jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in evaluating our uncertain tax positions and determining our provision for income taxes. We utilize the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax law is recognized in results of operations in the period that includes the enactment date.

We determined that it is not more likely than not that our deferred tax assets (excluding certain insignificant Canadian deferred tax assets) will be realized and accordingly recorded 100% valuation allowance against these deferred tax assets as of December 31, 2019 and 2020. In assessing whether it is more likely than not that our deferred tax assets will be realized, factors considered included: historical taxable income, historical trends related to advertiser usage rates, projected revenues and expenses, macroeconomic conditions, issues facing the industry, existing contracts, our ability to project future results and any appreciation of its other assets. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets depends on the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences are deductible. We considered the future reversal of deferred tax liabilities, carryback potential, projected taxable income, and tax planning strategies as well as its history of taxable income or losses in the relevant jurisdictions in making this assessment. Based on the level of historical taxable losses and the uncertainty of projections for future taxable income over the periods for which the deferred tax assets are deductible, we concluded that it is not more likely than not that the gross deferred tax assets will be realized.

From time to time, various state, federal, and other jurisdictional tax authorities undertake reviews of us and our filings. We believe any adjustments that may ultimately be required as a result of any of these reviews will not be material to the financial statements.

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Leases

We determine if an arrangement is a lease at inception. This determination generally depends on whether the arrangement conveys to us the right to control the use of an explicitly or implicitly identified fixed asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. Control of an underlying asset is conveyed to us if we obtain the rights to direct the use of and to obtain substantially all of the economic benefits from using the underlying asset. We have lease agreements which include lease components. We do not have lease agreements which include non-lease components or variable lease components.

Operating leases are included in right of use assets (“ROU”) and lease liabilities on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Operating lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. Operating lease payments are recognized as lease expense on a straight-line basis over the lease term. We primarily leases office facilities which are classified as operating leases. We do not have finance leases. ASC 842 requires a lessee to discount its unpaid lease payments using the interest rate implicit in the lease or, if that rate cannot be readily determined, its incremental borrowing rate. As an implicit interest rate is not readily determinable in our leases, we use our incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. The lease term for all of our leases includes the non-cancellable period of the lease. Options for lease renewals have been excluded from the lease term (and lease liability) for our leases as the reasonably certain threshold is not met. Lease payments included in the measurement of the lease liability are comprised of fixed payments.

The new standard also provides practical expedients for an entity’s ongoing accounting. We elected the short-term lease recognition exemption for all leases that qualify. This means, for those leases that qualify, we did not recognize ROU assets or lease liabilities, and this included not recognizing ROU assets or lease liabilities for existing short-term leases of those assets in transition. We also elected the practical expedient to not separate lease and non-lease components for all of its leases.

Recent Accounting Pronouncement Not Yet Effective

For discussion regarding recent accounting pronouncements not yet effective, see Note 1(r). Description of Business and Summary – Recent Accounting Pronouncement Not Yet Effective of the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.

As a smaller reporting company under SEC Regulations, we are not required to provide this information.  

40


 

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

 

 

Page

Marchex, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

42

6

 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets as of December 31, 2019 and 2020

 

45

 

 

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

 

46

 

 

 

Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

 

47

 

 

 

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

 

48

 

 

 

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

 

49

 


41


 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of

Marchex, Inc.

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Marchex, Inc. and subsidiaries (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders’ equity and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the consolidated results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Emphasis of a Matter - Discontinued Operations

 

As described in notes 1 and 12 to the consolidated financial statements, in October 2020, the Company completed a transaction with a related party entity controlled by a shareholder and officers of the Company resulting in the disposition of its interests in certain assets related to its Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets (the “disposal group”). The assets and liabilities as of December 31, 2019, of the disposal group, and the related operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, are presented as discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

 

Basis for Opinion

 

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures to respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

Critical Audit Matters

 

The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.

 

Impairment of Intangible Assets

 

42


 

 

As described in Notes 1 and 10 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company reviews its long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable.  Recoverability of assets held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds fair value. During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recorded an impairment of its identifiable intangible assets from acquisitions in the amount of $5.0 million.

 

We identified the measurement of the intangible asset impairment loss as a critical audit matter. The Company’s identification of asset groups, estimates of expected future cash flows, and fair value estimates of each asset group were highly dependent on judgments made by management, including forecasts of future market and economic conditions. The significant assumptions used in the Company’s fair value estimates included forecasts of future revenues, customer churn rates, operating margins and discount rates. Auditing these assumptions required a high degree of auditor judgment.

 

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included, among others:

 

 

Assessing the appropriateness of management’s identification of asset groups through review of forecasts and readily apparent cash flows.

 

 

Evaluating management’s process for developing the fair value estimates, including assessing reasonableness of valuation methodologies, performing sensitivity analyses of significant assumptions to evaluate the changes in the fair value of the asset groups, and assessing historical accuracy of management's estimates.

 

 

Testing the forecasts of future revenues, customer churn rates, operating margins and discount rates and the underlying data used by the Company in its analysis by comparing to market data, historical trends, and call volume data.

 

 

Assessing the Company’s discounted cash flow estimates, including selection of appropriate discount rates with the assistance of auditor-employed value specialists.

 

Variable Interest Entities and Related Party Transaction

 

As described in Notes 1 and 12 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company sold its interests in certain assets related to the Local Leads Platform, Call Marketplace and other assets to a related party entity controlled by a shareholder and officers of the Company. The Company concluded that the related party entity is a variable interest entity (VIE) and that the Company is not the primary beneficiary as it does not have the power to direct the activities that are most significant to the VIE. Therefore, the Company has not consolidated the VIE.

 

In determining whether the Company may be considered the primary beneficiary of the VIE, the Company considered the nature of its ongoing involvement with the VIE, including its administrative support services arrangement, 10% equity interest, and contingent consideration arrangements related to the transaction. As a result of the substantial related party relationship between the Company and the VIE, significant judgements were required by management in their assessment of whether those arrangements provide the entity with the power to direct the business activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of the VIE.

 

We identified management’s conclusion that the Company is not the primary beneficiary as a critical audit matter because of the significant judgments necessary for management to determine whether the explicit and implicit arrangements in place with the related party provide the Company with the power to direct the activities that are most significant to the VIE. Due to the complexity and nature of the related party relationships, auditing the Company’s conclusion that it is not the primary beneficiary was especially subjective and required a high degree of auditor judgment.

 

The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included:

 

 

Obtaining an understanding of the purpose and design of the related party VIE, including making inquiries of management and reading the VIE’s governing documents and the Company’s public disclosures.

 

43


 

 

 

Evaluating management’s identification of the activities that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance based on our understanding of the design of the entity and nature of the divested business.

 

 

Assessing management’s evaluation of how decisions about the significant activities of the VIE are made, including evaluating the voting rights and privileges of the VIE’s equity holders, the composition of the board of directors, and the nature and terms of the Company’s administrative support services arrangement with the VIE.

 

 

Consulting with subject matter experts to assess the appropriateness of the Company’s accounting conclusions.

 

/s/ Moss Adams LLP

 

Seattle, Washington

March 31, 2021

 

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2017.

44


 

MARCHEX, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

Consolidated Balance Sheets

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

41,731

 

 

$

33,851

 

Accounts receivable, net

 

 

7,525

 

 

 

6,331

 

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

 

2,015

 

 

 

2,160

 

Current assets of discontinued operations

 

 

11,148

 

 

 

 

Total current assets

 

 

62,419

 

 

 

42,342

 

Property and equipment, net

 

 

2,995

 

 

 

2,747

 

Other assets, net

 

 

312

 

 

 

1,345

 

Right-of-use lease asset

 

 

5,801

 

 

 

3,744

 

Goodwill

 

 

32,330

 

 

 

17,558

 

Intangible assets from acquisitions, net

 

 

19,485

 

 

 

9,196

 

Long-term assets of discontinued operations

 

 

1,159

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

124,501

 

 

$

76,932

 

Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

 

$

618

 

 

$

2,424

 

Accrued benefits and payroll

 

 

2,694

 

 

 

5,975

 

Other accrued expenses and current liabilities

 

 

4,165

 

 

 

4,210

 

Deferred revenue and deposits

 

 

866

 

 

 

1,393

 

Lease liability current

 

 

1,500

 

 

 

1,827

 

Loan obligations, current

 

 

 

 

 

5,123

 

Current liabilities of discontinued operations

 

 

7,703

 

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

17,546

 

 

 

20,952

 

Deferred tax liabilities

 

 

981

 

 

 

156

 

Lease liability non-current

 

 

5,664

 

 

 

3,136

 

Other non-current liabilities

 

 

473

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities

 

 

24,664

 

 

 

24,244

 

Commitments and contingencies - See Note 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common stock, $0.01 par value. Authorized 137,500 shares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A: 12,500 shares authorized; 4,661 shares issued and

   outstanding at December 31, 2019 and 2020

 

 

49

 

 

 

49

 

Class B: 125,000 shares authorized; 39,610 shares issued and

   outstanding at December 31, 2019, including 1,030 shares

   of restricted stock; and 36,462 shares issued and outstanding at

   December 31, 2020, including 1,007 shares of restricted stock

 

 

396

 

 

 

365

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

359,632

 

 

 

350,960

 

Accumulated deficit

 

 

(260,240

)

 

 

(298,686

)

Total stockholders’ equity

 

 

99,837

 

 

 

52,688

 

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

 

$

124,501

 

 

$

76,932

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

45


 

MARCHEX, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

Consolidated Statements of Operations

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2019

 

 

2020

 

Revenue

 

$

54,489

 

 

$

51,218

 

Expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service costs (1)

 

 

18,003

 

 

 

20,888

 

Sales and marketing (1)

 

 

13,729

 

 

 

16,656

 

Product development (1)

 

 

17,879

 

 

 

21,001

 

General and administrative (1)

 

 

13,022

 

 

 

12,796

 

Amortization of intangible assets from acquisitions (2)

 

 

6,263

 

 

 

5,331

 

Acquisition and disposition related benefits

 

 

(447

)

 

 

(1,043

)

Total operating expenses

 

 

68,449

 

 

 

75,629

 

Impairment of goodwill

 

 

 

 

 

(14,688

)

Impairment of intangible assets from acquisitions

 

 

 

 

 

(4,959

)

Loss from operations

 

 

(13,960

)

 

 

(44,058

)

Interest income and other, net

 

 

752

 

 

 

123

 

Loss before provision for income taxes

 

 

(13,208

)

 

 

(43,935

)

Income tax (benefit)

 

 

(3,476

)

 

 

(1,917

)

Loss from continuing operations

 

 

(9,732

)

 

 

(42,018

)

Income from discontinued operations, net of tax

 

 

5,690

 

 

 

3,572

 

Net loss applicable to common stockholders

 

$

(4,042

)

 

$

(38,446

)

Basic and diluted net loss per Class A share

   applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations

 

$

(0.21

)

 

$

(0.91

)

Discontinued operations, net of tax

 

 

0.12

 

 

$

0.08

 

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per Class A share

   applicable to common stockholders

 

$

(0.09

)

 

$

(0.83

)

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per Class B share

   applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations

 

$

(0.21

)

 

$

(0.91

)

Discontinued operations

 

 

0.12

 

 

$

0.08

 

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per Class B share

   applicable to common stockholders

 

$

(0.09

)

 

$

(0.83

)

Shares used to calculate basic net loss per share

   applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A

 

 

4,793

 

 

 

4,661

 

Class B

 

 

40,667

 

 

 

41,599

 

Shares used to calculate diluted net loss per share

   applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A

 

 

4,793

 

 

 

4,661

 

Class B

 

 

45,460

 

 

 

46,260

 

(1) Excludes amortization of intangibles from acquisitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Components of amortization of intangibles from acquisitions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Service costs

 

$

2,331

 

 

$

2,636

 

       Sales and marketing

 

 

2,497

 

 

 

2,053

 

       General and administrative

 

 

1,435

 

 

 

642

 

Total

 

$

6,263

 

 

$

5,331

 

 

See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

 

46


 

 

MARCHEX, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity

(in thousands)

 

 

 

 

Class A

 

 

Class B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

common stock

 

 

common stock

 

 

Treasury stock

 

 

paid-in

 

 

Accumulated

 

 

stockholders’

 

 

 

Shares

 

 

Amount

 

 

Shares

 

 

Amount

 

 

Shares

 

 

Amount

 

 

capital

 

 

deficit

 

 

equity

 

Balances at December 31, 2018

 

 

5,056

 

 

$