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Q4 2024 Clearwater Analytics Holdings Inc Earnings Call


Alex Smith; Analyst; JPMorgan Chase & Co

Peter James Heckmann; Analyst; D.A. Davidson & Co.

Rishi Nitya Jaluria; Analyst; RBC Capital Markets

David B. Unger; Analyst; Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Gabriela Borges; Analyst; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Brian Jeffrey Schwartz; Analyst; Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Dylan Tyler Becker; Analyst; William Blair & Company L.L.C.

Yun Suk Kim; Analyst; Loop Capital Markets LLC



Good day, everyone. Thank you for standing by, and welcome to Clearwater analytics Fourth Quarter 2023 earnings conference call. During today's presentation, all parties will be in a listen only mode. Following the presentation, the call will be open for questions.
I would now like to turn the call over to Joon Park, Head of Investor Relations at Clearwater analytics. Do please go ahead.

Thank you, and welcome, everyone, to Clearwater analytics Fourth Quarter and Full Year 20.3 financial results conference call. Joining me on the call today are Sandeep Shah, Chief Executive Officer, and Jim Cox, Chief Financial Officer. After their remarks, we will open the call to a question and answer session. I would like to remind all participants that during this conference call. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Expressions of future goals, intentions and expectations, including in relation to business outlook, future financial and product performance and similar items, including without limitation, expressions using the terminology may will can expect and believe and expressions which reflect something other than historical facts are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including those discussed in the Risk Factors section of our filings with the SEC Actual results may differ materially from any forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect events that may arise after this conference call, except as required by law. For more information, please refer to the cautionary statement included in our earnings press release before the market opened this morning. We plan to file with the SEC, a Form 10 K for the fiscal year ended December 31st, 2023.
Lastly, our metrics discussed on this call are presented on a non-GAAP or adjusted basis and include the results of JUMP technology since the acquisition on November 30th, 2022, unless otherwise noted, a reconciliation to GAAP results can be found in the earnings press release that we have posted to our Investor Relations website.

With that, I'll turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Saha.
Thank you, Jill, and thank you all for joining us.
Let me start by saying that I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a company over the last five years, we are on a mission to be the world's most trusted and comprehensive technology platform that simplifies the entire investment management lifecycle and eventually revolutionizes the world of invest. While we are very ambitious, we want to build a durable business that grows consistently while improving unit economics, margin, EBITDA and cash flow. That's why 2023 was a great year. Revenue grew 21.3%. Gross margin was 139 basis points better than the previous year. Adjusted EBITDA was 203 basis points higher than the previous year.
And finally, our cash flow for the year increased by 57.2%. We have often talked about the power of a single-instance multitenant platform and the network effect it produces, but the growth in Europe and then in Asia. And finally, new asset classes have masked the true impact. We're delighted to note that in 2023, we grew our revenue 21% without adding a single net new employee to our operations team, reflecting the true power of the network effect aided by GNER. We have always insisted that it was not just about cost efficiency clients would be happier because the network effect made our data better and they would get the data faster. No surprise then that even though we did not add any operational headcount, we grew NPS and improved our employee satisfaction score.
Finally, we are taking the JNI power technology we have been using internally to our customers, and we launched Clearwater's intelligent console this month Clearwater success starts with disruptive technology at our core. We believe that the level of complexity across the investing world is incredibly high and is a moving target. The emergence of new asset classes, new geographies, new rules and regulations surrounding investments.
And finally, regulatory reporting oil continue to add to complexity. We simply cannot solve this effectively with patchwork legacy technology that is why we believe that our prospects need to move to a modern technology like Clearwater and our platform, which is truly disruptive. I've never been more ready to scale. We completed the transition to the public cloud in less than a year with little to no disruption to the operating teams of clients, thereby meaningfully altering our ability to scale the business and because it is a single-instance multitenant platform. There is no migration, all not most, but all of our clients it automatically on the public cloud.
Let me pause here for much of our industry. Such a migration would have been a multiyear endeavor, not for us because we had a single instance multi-tender platform Make no mistake. This endeavor took much of last year and involved more than half of our R&D team. With that completed, we are really excited that we can now devote more than 60% of all R&D capacity growth related product developed and while new products take some time to build and get to market, we have the track record with PRISM and LPX. so that we know how to innovate effectively we view the journey towards NRR. one 15 as an incredibly strategic endeavor and investing in new products that we deliver to our current customers is absolutely integral floorplan More specifically, we are working jointly with our customers to innovate in five different areas. Number one, investment data consolidation, which includes our Clearwater Prism product that offers a centralized hub of investment data, which can then be used for client analytics and reporting, thereby helping our clients grow faster. An example is a win with a large private investment firm. They were struggling with custodial feeds reconciliation and accurate tax law data and wanted a holistic view of the cost to the brokerage and alternative asset by pulling data from their accounting system, the CRM and the general ledger, we prove that Clearwater's combined offering of the accounting platform and a next-gen Investment Data Hub has the capacity to make the business much more efficient and competitive number two asset class and fund expansion like our Clearwater LPX. and MLX products and other solutions that allow clients to dive deeper into those assets and analyze the underlying assets in much greater detail. Let me give you some real-life examples.
For Q4.
We have continued to win RPX and ILPX. clarity B. As you know, late last year, we launched Clearwater MLX, a comprehensive all-in-one solution for mortgage loan investors. In 2023, we partnered with one of our retail clients, who's now transitioning the business purpose loans to MLS before choosing Clearwater. Those clients struggled with the competing product that couldn't handle draws on construction loans. After reviewing the available solution to the market, they opted for Clearwater, MLX and we're delighted to count them. As you know, those satisfied repeat clients, number three, front and middle office solutions that allow customers to get a full front-to-back solution from Clearwater in a modular architecture by including Clearwater, core jump Performance Plus and risk plus. This opens new TAM within and outside our current customer base. And an example of this is our recent win with TCRCCR. is a leading reinsurer in Europe that selected Clearwater's platform for the entire investment lifecycle. Number four platform innovations that provide our existing clients, specialized add-on modules for their accounting and reporting needs. These include regional specific country-specific GAAP accounting, customized data feeds and toolkits that support our clients' unique period end closed requirements. Number five, new frontier that allow us to apply advanced technology like generative AI and machine learning to the investment world, both for rental benefit and for clients who use these solutions, take the manual work out of things like book yield calculations, perform INCOME validations, verify long-term procedures are correct and more you can think of this as the intersection of process and technology that empowers people to move faster while still ensuring quality. And while it is early days for the innovative products we are bringing to market, there are some very good initial time.
Let me begin with a leading insurer in the North American insurance market. This client is an excellent example of successfully integrating the Clearwater platform with our JUMP OMS. solution provide a comprehensive platform during the search for NOMS. to comply with new regulations mandating a T plus one trading system. This insurer evaluated other solutions in the industry. The Clearwater jump OMS. proved how it can optimize each step of the trade workflow, specifically with our accounting system as an ideal connection point, we met all the requirements for this insurer, instilling the confidence and trust necessary for them partner with us.
Another example is the progress we have made in the stable value funds domain in Q4, a global investment management firm operating with fully homegrown systems faced significant strain on the IT resources and the manual work from the operations team with the rapid expansion into new contract types, asset classes and clients. The teams operated on different platforms and relied heavily on email, but data exchange, front office group lacked insight into the underlying investments of their contracts, hindering the ability to evaluate new potential strategies and differentiate themselves in the market. The back-office teams struggled to meet the demands of the front office group in a timely manner, resulting in a flood of e-mails reaching issuers, subadvisors, internal trade desks, fund accountants and other stakeholders. Clearly, what I provided the best in class solution they need both teams now operate on the same system, enabling easy access to data for end users and significantly reducing the strain and risk across the organization. Our client sort of vendor whose platform would become an industry gold standard and they identified two order as precisely that our ability to showcase our stable value product, capable of supporting front middle and back office functions outperformed other competing products. They evaluated in Q4, a leading retirement and life insurance company chose Clearwater to power an automated solution for the European taxonomy reporting, thus fulfilling its ESG reporting requirements. This client is working with Clearwater to integrate the new datasets, including non-native Clearwater airborne portfolios and further streamline the client's ESG reporting process. Clearly, what I presume ingests portfolio data, including separate account investments, not on Clearwater, enriches it with ESG data runs calculation and generates a required ESG report. Client is very pleased with our world-class fine services team, and we consistently demonstrated the agility and commitment to address our clients' customer requirements, thereby achieving the goals.
Looking ahead, we wanted to do the following number one, focus on innovation, leading to increased back-to-base sales and thereby continue to make progress on a path towards and our R. one 15, we are investing heavily and expect to see some results in 2024 and a more robust return on investment in 2025 second, grow our presence in Europe and Asia more aggressively towards that end, we are excited to welcome Keith. We Reto to our executive team has a deep understanding of the industry has over 20 years of experience in high-growth companies, selling financial markets and is a perfect fit to lead Clearwater's expansion internationally in Amea and Apex number three, investment in accounting technology accounts for roughly one big client spend. And we want to add capabilities and products that allow us to address the other three BPS, which constitutes the full investment management space to help that transition, we are very happy to welcome an accurate to our team. Cn is our Chief Strategy Officer and as outgrow market and then IHS market. And finally, S&P through organic growth and M&A. Fourth, focus on continued operational excellence via increased use of JNI. As a summary, we continue to delight our customers and I'm grateful for the trust they have in us. We have an exciting multiyear product road map along the five vectors I just described. We have a team of industry experts who ensure our client success, and we are capitalizing on the latest technologies to improve both our internal operations and deliver unparalleled scale and growth opportunities for so many critical companies around the world.
With that, I'd like to turn it back to Jim to cover our detailed metrics and Guy.

Thanks, Sandeep, and thank you all for joining us on the heels of Q3 strong results. I'm happy to report robust results where we beat guidance on the top and bottom line for both Q4 and the full year 2023 full year revenue grew at 21% year over year while expanding margin with Q4 EBITDA margin at 30.3% and full year EBITDA margin at 28.8%, which was higher than the prior year's full year EBITDA margin by 200 basis points. At our Investor Day, we announced our intent to expand EBITDA margin by 200 basis points in 2024 and by another 200 basis points in 2025. We expect to over-deliver on this margin expansion by delivering over 31% EBITDA margin for the full year 2024.
Now turning to revenue in the quarter and full year 2023 results in 2023. We're proud to have delivered year-over-year revenue growth of 21.3% with full year revenue of $368.2 million.
Despite the challenging macro environment in the overall fintech industry in Q4 2023, we delivered $99.0 million in revenue, which translates to 19.8% year over year revenue growth. In addition, our clients continue to remain with us with a world-class gross retention rate of 98%. This really reflects our best in class customer satisfaction. We have achieved 98% gross retention for 19 out of the last 20 quarters. Our path to NRR. one 15 is based on our solid bedrock gross revenue retention. Although the 98% is so routine for us that it's not really newsworthy. These gross retention numbers are truly exceptional across any business. Our net revenue retention rate continued to remain healthy at 1.7 as of December 31st, 2023, which is higher than last year's one of six heading into 2024. We continue to be focused on our path towards NRR of one, 15 or beyond through upsell of new products and modules two existing clients, successful rollout of Clearwater, LTX, MLX Prism and the JUMP solutions in 2023. It's been a good harbinger of our pathway to the NRR. one 15 level. And now that we have allocated more than 60% of our R&D capacity for growth, we look forward to reaping the rewards of additional upsell capabilities in the future also in 2023, we set the foundation for our go-to market to more efficiently upsell our product offerings and our clients are excited about Clearwater's dynamic ability to meet their specific needs in an ever-changing investment world. Annualized recurring revenue or ARR at the end of December 2023 was $379.1 million, representing a year-over-year increase of 17.2%, an increase of 80 basis points over 2020 two's annual growth rates as of December 31st, 2023, the Clearwater platform processes and reports on 7.3 trillion in assets daily. This represents an increase of almost 1 trillion over the prior year. This reflects business growth both from new clients as well as existing clients. We grew the number of clients with over 1 million in ARR to 86, which represents an impressive 28% year-over-year growth and proves that we are helping the most sophisticated clients with their most significant problem.
Now let's turn to profitability. We're pleased to report that both our gross margin and EBITDA margin remained strong in Q4 following upon the strong profitability from the prior quarter. In Q4, we achieved gross profit at 76.2 million and which is 77% gross margin. This shows that we are on our way towards our long-term gross margin goal of 80% and reflects the operational improvements we have made over the prior two years. In addition, we reported $30 million in adjusted EBITDA, which is 30.3% EBITDA margin in the fourth quarter and comfortably beat our Q4 EBITDA guidance and improved over the prior year by 80 basis points and 360 basis points better than our Q1 2023 EBITDA margin. Just like in the prior quarter, our outperformance in revenue flowed straight through to EBITDA as we continue to enjoy tangible efficiency gains within the operations and R&D teams utilizing our machine learning and JNI technology, we are proud to have achieved 21% year over year growth rate in full year 2023 revenue, while increasing total headcount across all our departments by less than 2% during the year, we have learned to deliver more efficiently with greater productivity throughout our company to support our clients.
With respect to our R&D spend as a percentage of revenue, it increased in the full year 2023 to 26.4%. That's up from our prior year's 24.7%. We expect to continually increase the aggregate amount spent on R&D each year. However, the percent of revenue spent on R&D is expected to moderate down in the future since we've already completed our migration to the public cloud in Q4, equity-based compensation was 23.7 million, a decrease of 7.6 million from Q3. This decrease was primarily attributable to the reversal of 6.9 million of expense related to jump performance shares. Although jump grew, it did not achieve the result necessary to vest in the performance awards related to 2023. In Q4, we recorded an $8.3 million tax receivable agreement expense, bringing total expense for the year to 14.4 million. This compares to $11.6 million in 2022. As a reminder, this expense is paid in lieu of the income tax the Company would have paid if the company did not receive the benefit of tax deductions from exchanges from its historical owners. In general, the tax receivable agreement expense is 85% of the income tax. The Company would have paid, but for such deductions providing a 15% benefit to the Company.
Now let me turn to the balance sheet and cash flow. We ended the quarter with 317.7 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments. This represents a healthy 24.3% increase year over year. Total debt was $48 million, thereby resulting in net cash holdings of approximately $270 million. Free cash flow was 22.5 million in Q4 and 79 million for the full year. Free cash flow for the full year 2023 represented a conversion rate of EBITDA to free cash flow of 75% higher than our previously mentioned steady-state level of 70% that accounts for seasonality in free cash flow between the quarters, our accounts receivable balance remained $92 million consistent from September to December. These strong collections and lower unbilled AR contributed to our strong Q4 free cash flow numbers. In addition, for the first time, we paid $8 million related to the tax receivable agreement expenses. So those working capital changes offset each other nicely.
Now let's turn to guidance. For the full year 2024. We expect revenue to be in the range of 431 to 437 million, representing approximately 17% to 19% year-over-year growth. This guidance assumes that our NRR. remains in that same 1.6 to 1.8 range that we've experienced this year. In the first quarter 2024, we expect revenue to be $100.5 million, representing first quarter revenue growth of 19%. For the full year 2024, we expect our adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of 135 to $137 million. This reflects an approximately 250 basis point improvement from 2023. This 28% year-over-year increase and adjusted EBITDA is even greater than our announced improvement of 200 basis points per year that we just announced at our September Investor Day is all the more impressive when you consider that both Q3 and Q4 adjusted EBITDA margins significantly outperformed our guidance. We have this confident in our margin improvement because of the significant efficiencies we are seeing throughout the business. These include machine learning and artificial intelligence activities, but truly belie the power of the network effect. In the first quarter of 2024, we expect adjusted EBITDA to be $28.8 million or 28.7% EBITDA margin, which is approximately 200 basis points better than the first quarter of 2023 for 2024. Total equity-based compensation is expected to be approximately $106 million, a slight decrease from the $108 million recorded in 2023. And as a percentage of revenue, this would be a 5% reduction. Depreciation and amortization expense is expected to be approximately $11 million and our full year non-GAAP effective tax rate is expected to be 25% after a strong year of delivering results in 2023.
In 2024, we're focused on driving consistent revenue while flexing our margin expansion muscle.
With that, I'll turn it over to Sandy to provide some closing thoughts.

Thanks, Jim. I'm very excited about Clearwater's journey through the last five years and we look forward with renewed confidence and determination. We are building a track record of setting goals and exceeding them. Each goal we set we meet we set out to be durable. We are we set out to demonstrate growth. We have set out to drive improved gross margin, EBITDA and cash flow, and we have done just that. And as we look to 2024.

We're committed to continuing these successes.
Thank you.

Question and Answer Session


If you would like to ask a question, please press star followed by one on your telephone keypad. If you'd like to remove the question, please press star followed by two again to ask a question, press star one. As a reminder, if you're using a speakerphone, please remember to pick up your handset before asking your question. We will pause briefly as questions are registered.
First question is from the line of Kevin McVeigh with UBS.
Your line is now open.

Thanks, so much and congratulations on really just exceptional execution really across the board. Big Sandy deleveraging or Jim, in the R & D seems pretty special in terms of it sounds like you're allocating more based on the leverage. Is there any way to think about that in terms of how that translates to growth?

I wanted to start there, Kevin. Thank you for the question. So I think the best way to think about that might be that 50% of our R&D capacity last year was devoted to moving to the public cloud and that has been now completed. So we now are devoting 60% of capacity really onto innovation and growth. Now this is five programs. Two of those are already being run by these three programs and new, but just like any other product innovation, we expect impact in 2024 in the second half and really a more substantial impact in 2025, but we feel like we have to make these investments in the investment. And Prism is doing really well investment in LPX. and LBX. clarity and MLX is doing well. So we feel we have to have this pipeline of products if ever drive towards sustained NRR of one one five, and that's the Holy Grail. And so these investments are really for that purpose.

That's helpful.

And then I know it's still relatively early, but have you seen any kind of behavioral changes in clients in terms of your initiatives around G&A. I where they're looking for certain modules are leaning into certain things more than others because it is so transformational that you and I wonder if there's anything you're seeing from a client perspective that you just kind of highlight even though denote relatively early?

Yes, Kevin. Look, I do completely completely think that generator VI. and machine learning together is fully transformative and disruptive.
There is no question about that. Other clients excited about it.
Yes, every time we roll out a feature or functionality, clients are really happy to trial. Do beta testing and provide input to our development teams. But when you think about what we are doing, Kevin, with Jenny, I essentially have three things we could do. One is if you allow clients to ask the question themselves, our teams don't even get the question. So this is what you refer to as client deflection. So the inquiries which come in our questions. People have about the data. They can answer a certain portion themselves. But obviously, those don't questions don't even come to us and therefore, you need less capacity to answer that the second one is just our ability to respond to questions. So when you take an experience client services person, they can respond in a certain fashion. But generally, I allows a much more junior person to also provide an answer, the similar level of expertise. And thirdly, because of GNER, you can provide a faster and more comprehensive answer. So something which would take three or four Bakken four to the client. You can now Ansible comprehensive comprehensively Virginia asset of does that for years is what the follow-on question is likely to be. So I do feel there is a lot of excitement and you might have read. We took our internal internal product, if you will, and launched it last week for clients to use and set up the excitement is there are clients asking us proactively?
No, I think at this point we are at I think we have a strong position in the clients' minds about a company which is sort of leading at little. So I don't think this is a position where the clients are pushing us. I think they look to us. So to innovate.

That makes perfect sense.

Thank you.

Yes, thank you for your question. And the next question is from the line of James Faucette with Morgan Stanley.
Your line is now open.

Everyone. It's Mike on FunTown for James. Thanks for taking my question. I just wanted to ask on the revenue outlook and particularly, John, I mean, given the fact that we're now lapping, John, is the implication that jump was probably contributing a bit more to revenue than you initially had thought on. And the reason I asked that question is because if I look at the rate release And Jim, you reiterated this about jump revenue growth, sort of not meeting the thresholds for RSU vesting. So just wanted to think about the pairing of those two dynamics? Any color there would be helpful.

Thanks, Michael. This is Jim. So on first of all, look at the guidance for Q1, and I would say that's a full apples to apples comparison, right? And so I think that that's an appropriate way to think about on that as weak as we think about it, Tom, as it relates to jump jump did grow this year. We're very happy with how it performed. But as part of the acquisition process, we mutually agreed to ambitious growth targets for that business to achieve on that those performance share program. And so they did not they did not achieve that. And so that's the reflection in the equity. And I think that the picture for the growth rate. Just a two one stands for itself. Sandeep, would you like to add anything?

That helps, Paul.

So that's good.
Thank you.

Right. And maybe just a quick follow-up on that on maybe just on some of the new product contribution, you obviously cited LTX, MLS, Prism jump, et cetera. On the commentary about NRR sort of in that 1.61 or eight range is helpful on. Is it fair to assume that like as you think about the go-to-market motion, that in addition to sort of driving that NRR over time that new product contribution is becoming a bit more impactful to the growth algorithm than it historically has been. Just any any directional color there would be helpful. Thanks, guys.

Yes, thank you, Michael of this, Sandeep, look, I think that once we completed the move into the public cloud, which was very late last year, that's when we launch these additional innovation programs we obviously have experience with LTX and Prism. And therefore, we expect them to have some impact in H2 of this year, but really a more robust impact in 2025 so I think Jim said in his comments that our current guidance assumes the 1.6 to 1.8 and RR. So really from that, you can we can see that we expect marginal impact in 2024. But we also think that the growth from and our 1.8 to 1.5 is almost entirely made up of new products and services we can take to market. So we have a lot of high expectations also because these are not ideas. We came up. Many of these ideas were developed jointly with clients. So we feel pretty pretty good about it. But we just don't expect in the current forecast and guides and to be majorly impactful in 2024 appreciate that.

Thank you both.

Thank you for your question. Next question is from the line of Alexi Gaugler with JPMorgan.
Your line is now open.

Alex Smith

Hi, this is Alex Smith on for Alexia Google, and thank you for taking your question. For the first question. I was hoping to ask about the OMS. and PMS. applications, but Jump right Are those still mostly products for European customers? And how is the traction bringing them to the United States follow-up, Bob?

So this is Sandeep. So look at the if you think about jump in just sort of step back and think about jump. We thought they would give us better presence in Europe and they have. But the other one was would they expand our offering to the asset management industry and frankly they have. But the OMSPMS., like you pointed out, was a little bit more directed at North America because we had the clients did not have an order management system and a portfolio management system and jump was going to bring that in. So I think in the in the in Q4, we announced two different wins where you had the OMSPMS. from jump and the core Clearwater platform working together and sold together to solve an end to end the need of a client. So I think it's working exactly like what part do we think would we have wanted to be faster? Yes, but is it is it working like we thought it would work in the OMSPS. for insurance market?
I think exactly so.
Got it.
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. And for my second question, I wanted to ask around the net revenue retention rate. Obviously, there's always some noise and fluctuations there, but it's been going down for the past few quarters. I was wondering if there's anything to call out there.
Thank you.

Thanks, Ella.

This is Jim.
And so I think there's nothing to call out there. If you recall it just rounded two slightly to 1.9, so on to one oh eight, one or seven in that area, 1% here or there is there's any matter of of reasons for that to change. The core kind of algorithm now is 98% gross retention, a couple of percent from price increases, couple of percent from on asset additions. And profitability at our clients and a few percent in the existing products that we're selling today.
Then you extend that algorithm to say, oh, how does that go from this level? To the one 15 that we see in the future. And that is all around the product initiatives that as Sandeep was describing, we think there's much more product to sell across our client base and we're building it and jump is a great example of where we have bought items. As Sandeep says, it takes time. We're very impatient and we would always like it to go faster. But I think we see the opportunity to really broaden our footprint within our existing clients in the insurance space as well as in the asset management space, but that's kind of the journey for 2014 and 2015 as these products come online, very 24, Zoom and 20.

But we fight and keep some money 24, 2025 star, but it back to get banking.
Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Thank you for your question. And next question is from the line of Peter Heckmann with D.A. Davidson.
Your line is now open.

Peter James Heckmann

Good afternoon and thanks for taking the question. I didn't hear as much now. Sometimes I miss a lot of data there, but I didn't hear as much out of the Asia-Pac a regional market in the fourth quarter. Can you give us an update there and how you're kind of thinking about that in terms of a patch in total revenue in 24.

And because of this, as Sandeep said, look, I don't think we have a clear and we should have been that Shane accurate obviously joined us clearly this year, and he's based in Hong Kong, and he's obviously been in Hong Kong for several years, understands the market really well. And so we are looking as we had said, I think in Q3 and Q4 to make a real push in that industry in that market, and that is really driven by our success. We have had with large insurers in that market. So have you got a lot more deals there know, do we have a really high-quality pipeline there?
Yes, we do. So I just think it is obviously a really small market for us right now, but we do expect that to sort of grow meaningfully this year itself. That's the best I think in from the Apex side, I think you're building a team with a senior executive at the ELT level sitting in Hong Kong.
Jim, would you add anything to that and so thanks, Pete.
Yes, I think obviously, the commitment is there.

We didn't mention anything specifically this quarter, but kind of when you look overall at 2023 versus 2022, the US and North America grew faster in 2023 than it did in 2022.
The Amea market grew faster as well, but and also faster than North America and Asia grew fastest, albeit off of a very small base. And so look, I'm kind of for 2023, international revenue is going to be 18% of total revenue, but nice acceleration across all regions.

That's really helpful. And then if you could just add, maybe not necessarily prediction, but how are you feeling about landing some of the additional kind of top 25 global insurance carriers them and in 2024 and even working on some of those pretty hard RevPAR was not really that from the stimulus.

And I can say more than that, except to say we feel really, really good. I think com clients who would have thought two or three in three years back continuing to engage with us very constructively and we continue to make solid progress. So we feel really good about about our ability to go out and land large, large logos.

So we should just stay tuned.

Yes, I appreciate it.

Thank you.
Thank you for your question. Next question is from the line of Rishi Jaluria with RBC.
Your line is now open.

Rishi Nitya Jaluria

Wonderful. Hey, Sandeep, A.J., and thanks. So much for taking my question. I wanted to start maybe first off, you're having good signs of success with that with jump. Obviously more work to get done there.

Maybe how would you.

How should we be thinking about your view of M&A, helping you add more product functionality to kind of get that four points of uplift from spending that you've talked about historically that I've got a quick follow-up now.

We should And look, we are really serious about what we said at Investor Day. We think we have to be disciplined. It's got to work. M&a has to work more programmatically, and it has to be something we can take back to our current customers. So when you put it in that construct, we thought we could do something off and on. But what we did was we went and hired and broaden Shane accurately to the team. She has worked for a long time at market which then became our largest market and then became S and P and the growth in those. Those two companies, if you will recall, was half organic and half inorganic.

So they really hold the ability to do that.

They know how to do that. And she brings just a wealth of experience, not necessarily in investment accounting, but in the other three bps so we joined that is already fairly hard at work. And what we hope to do is more programmatically look at this and where we buy assets, which which we can take to our current client base. So we expect to be much more aggressive, if you will, in this year and the next few years as we try and attack that three bps organically also. So like we talked about these five programs, some of them as organic, but we also appreciate that we're not going to be able to build everything ourselves so that is something we're excited about. We think you will hear more through 2024 and down also 2025 and from that time on.

Got it. That's really helpful.
Maybe a follow-up to that philosophically.
So what does help you historically against a lot of your legacy competitors has been people appreciate it's a single platform, a single pane of glass or together well, whereas a lot of your competitors have kind of a franking stack where it's a bunch of different assets that aren't integrated. How do you avoid falling into the trap that a lot of your competitors have, but that has turned them into share donors and allowed you to grow.

Yes, no, I completely look, we are very, very thoughtful about that. But when you think about the technology stack, it revolves around the security Master and the data flow. So if you create multiple security Masters for all kinds of reasons and you have two sets of data and three sets of data and four sets of data. Then you go into this BRIAN casino architecture, you speak to.
Right? And but if you did something where data goes out of the Clearwater platform. There are some business functions that get done and it comes back to the Clearwater platform. Then then, of course, you haven't muddy the data, the security Master and the architecture. So yes, we have to be very thoughtful about it because once you go down that path, you sort of then you do money. So yes, so philosophically, I'm completely in agreement with you that we would have to be very thoughtful about the architecture. I mean, it makes a big difference because we are single-instance, multi-tenant cloud data of all that matters. And so we expect us to be very careful with that.
Got it. Really helpful.

Thank you so much.
Thank you.

Thank you for your question.
Next question is from the line of Michael Turrin with Wells Fargo.
Your line is now open.
Hey, thanks.

David B. Unger

It's David undrawn for Michael Turits. And I appreciate you taking the questions on this $1 million plus customer stat, which is great, 20% growth year on year. I'm curious just the fit like how much of it was new wins versus AUM growth versus cross-sell a little bit of color there.


Thanks, David.
This is Jim. So it was a nice combination of all of those and as well as one other factor, right, which is as we're onboarding clients. And today, we might have a situation where we're charging them some rate during the onboarding and then they step up to be a million customers once they're fully live and on the platform. So it would be it would be across all of those, it three vectors.

Appreciate that, gentlemen. And any changes you're seeing in terms of pipeline conversion from this quarter versus historical trends?

Thanks, Rob.

This is something some look at the your Q4 was good, but it was more heavily in December. So booking was much heavier in December, which is not always the case more often than not. You see spread out across Q4, but it was very heavy in December our booking for the year was the highest it's ever been in our history. So the booking continues to grow nicely. Our pipeline, we saw pretty significant growth throughout the year. We ended the year with significant growth in our pipeline. The sharpest increase, though, was in asset management, and we saw that and frankly, maybe a little bit aided by John because we can now provide a more comprehensive solution and you can provide the earlier solutions and asset management insurance, while answering another question also spoke about the very large clients or prospects, pardon me who are now in the pipeline who frankly had never been in the pipeline before. So we feel like the pipeline grew robustly, feel the booking was, like I said, the highest. It's been in the Company's history. And then the only other issue was just new logos versus non new logos, if you will. And if you go back, it was roughly half and half new logos versus on in 2023 versus 2022. The new logo contribution was just a little bit higher than it was in 2022 so no real material change in the distribution of the booking or the pipe, but just slightly higher on new logos.

Appreciate that detail, Sandy, thank you.

Thank you for your question.
Next question is from the line of Gabriela Borges with Goldman Sachs.
Your line is now open.

Gabriela Borges

Hi, good afternoon. Thank you.
Sandy pension, I know how convicted you are that Clearwater has a 20% plus and maybe even 25% plus normalized growth company.
Help us understand the starting point for revenue guidance this year. I know you set guidance that you want to outperform, but how about help us think about the overhang to revenue growth this year that's leading you to set an initial starting point that is below the 20% plus, but I know you aspire to you want to take that or.

Sure, sure.



Yes, Gabriel. Yes, happy to take that. So piano, Gabriela, it's a bit of the same story as last year, right?
We guided and and drove drove forward off of that guidance. As I recall last year, Q1 was lower than the full year guide and the feedback was, how are you going to ramp in the second half of the year? And we said, hey, we have these things coming on board and I feel a lot of confidence about that, and that worked out pretty well. As we as Sandy just mentioned, we were in Q4, the bookings were heavily in December versus throughout the whole quarter.
And these are also large programs as well.
And so when you start to look at those having just closed and looking at kind of the periods for when that client will go live and getting those implementations up and running. And you just have to be thoughtful about the variety of outcomes that could occur as it relates to that. So I think we're on contract, and we're trying to guide confidently. And so we thought about it in that sense on I'm In addition, but I think we also have to be prudent and and deliver throughout the period.

The one data point I might add is okay at the beginning. One one item I might add give you, though, is that if you look at ARR growth to the end of 2022, it was 16.4%, and we delivered what we did in 23 at the end of last year. The ARR growth was 17.2%. So really 80 basis points better than how we entered 2023.
Now you can just take that one data point and sort of extrapolate all the way. But we feel like we are starting in a good spot of these large programs, make us a little bit more cautious because they tend to be more lumpy. If you will, but the business grow nicely, we think a bit, if that's helpful color.
Thank you. And Jim, I wanted to follow-up on your commentary on NRR and particularly the contributions that you can get from pricing. I believe in the prepared remarks you made a couple of comments about AUM and the AUM trends for the business being favorable or at least more favorable than what they were in 2022. So help us understand with the new pricing model that you implemented from 2022, are you now seeing a benefit and a tailwind to your revenue growth from being able to do the AUM plus the more nuanced pricing model because you have now have AUM growing on the platform again of what may have been a more volatile 2020? In other words, can you underwrite pricing contributing more so the growth algorithm now than a year ago?

So the AUM component of growth.
So so you're right, Gabriela in the base plus model, we do always have the upside from AUM growth. And and obviously, we mitigated that on the downside through the base plus model, but we have tried to maintain that on the upside going forward. And so we do have that on optionality. When we think about what we're underwriting for growth, we don't think about market conditions changing in that way.
But you are absolutely right.
It was a significant headwind in 2022, and it was not in 2023. But we haven't contemplated any you could you could hypothesize that there could be rate changes that could change asset levels at some point in the future?
We haven't taken a viewpoint on Gabriela at this point, but it would be an opportunity should should does correct.
Thank you very much.

Thank you.

Thank you for your question. And next question is from the line of Brian Schwartz with Oppenheimer.
Your line is now open.

Brian Jeffrey Schwartz

Yes, hi. Thanks for taking my question this afternoon and congratulations on a great year in 2023. I have one question. I just wanted to chat take a high-level question just about the macro and the demand environment. It may maybe Sandy with up from customers that you're talking to and their appetite to invest more in your technologies and how you're thinking about budget growth from those customers? Does it feel like that is loosening up on that appetite to spend compared to last quarter, the Q3 second half of last year. And Doug or Jim, maybe it's just a high-level question asking the assumption underlying the macro and kind of end market budget growth with your 2024 guidance.

Thank you very much, but Jim, you want it.

So why don't I just start by saying that we were surprised with how much movement we got in December, but just the fact we did Nordics. So it felt like something loosened up towards the end of last year and do we continue to see that? I think we have reasonable expectations, but we don't see anything dramatically different the macro and things like that. We simply just don't take a point of view because we think if anything, it's likely to be positive to us, right. When you think about even interest rates, we think you know at, you know, we think if anything does happen there, we think it will be likely positive. So we don't we don't build that into our model.
W commentary on that.

I would say, Brian, we we are pretty neutral VZV and the overall macro environment because there's reasons to buy Clearwater when times are good and companies are going public.
We add lots of clients when a lot of our asset management clients are thinking of us as a way to create efficiency and scale. And so there's a lot of different reasons why clients Visa be there many, many different reasons why clients select Clearwater as it relates to the kind of overall macro environment. Our sales team is pretty agile at modifying to the specific needs of those clients, which may be more impacted by the overall macro environment. And so I think we I think we see an opportunity to continue to win share in any of those market conditions.

Thank you.

Thank you for your question. Next question is from the line of Dillon Vecchi with William Blair.

Dylan Tyler Becker

Your line is open as gentlemen and appreciated here. Maybe, Sandeep, for you, there's been kind of a lot of evolution in the regulatory landscape and environment across kind of geographies here and over the last several years, I wonder how that evolution maybe plays into incremental emphasis from the customer base on data integrity transparency around that reporting capability and that kind of compounding complexity, maybe how JNI plays into that and what that could mean from a workflow perspective, not only for from the reporting angle, but also how that flows into compliance as well?

Yes, we love it.

Absolutely love the complexity. I'm actually out to Edinburgh right now. And we were speaking to the sales team and every time regulations change and become more complex, our data quality becomes even more important. And if clients have a patchwork of legacy systems, it becomes really hard and clear what our value proposition signs every time regulations become more complex or you have new asset classes, alternative assets or people invest globally or people invest in different regions. So yes, I think the short answer is those are very high-quality impetus for us to go out and get clients to move to our platform. So we love it.
Super helpful.

That makes a ton of sense.
And then maybe two outside of reporting, obviously, risk management is key for some of your customer base is maybe in particular reinsurance. They've seen some pressure their models, but again, that risk management evolution, maybe the reinsurance landscape again, the adaptability there to anything you guys are seeing in that particular end segment or end market?

Yes, I think in my prepared remarks, you spoke about a reinsurer. So you're exactly right, frankly, this question is exactly on the money because it is an issue. When you think about risk there is a whole mathematical side of risks, which is there. But there's also the other side, which is is your data in a consumable fashion by these risk models. So either of those to help us. And so I shouldn't I shouldn't say we like it, but the fact is that higher regulations are more complicated reporting needs and more complicated risk management, all of those help make the case or a move into a Clearwater like platform.

Thanks, Andy. Appreciate it.

Thank you.

Thank you for your questions. Next question is from the line of Yun Kim with Loop Capital Markets.
Your line is now open.

Okay, great.

Yun Suk Kim

I'll make it pretty quick on how should we think about sales capacity this year and the timing of the ramp on any focus on I'm thinking international sales capacity this year?

So this was from the PIP.
Yes, a lot of Solium continue to make very significant investments Northern Europe and in Asia Pacific behind the leadership of Keith, I like we spoke about and also Shane. So we expect to make significant investments and we are making already significant investments in Europe and Asia because we do think we can accelerate growth in these markets. And I do think like Jim pointed out, they have grown nicely and we do continue to believe that there will be outsized growth in these markets in the years to come. So yes, we do continue to think that there's strong GTM investments and areas, and that's why you have more moderated EBITDA forecasting because we believe we have to continue to invest in R&D, and we believe we have to continue to increase our investments in GTM And we because of the efficiency on our system, we feel we can do both of those things while delivering an improved EBITDA number. And we are guiding to 250 basis points this year. So we think you can do all three and really comes from the capabilities of the platform from Agility, add something to that our facts.


Thank you.
For your question.
There are no additional questions waiting at this time. I'll pass the call back to Sandy for any closing remarks.

I just wanted to thank everyone for your continued interest in our company. We have Bob spent over the year the years gone by, and we remain really confident about what we can build here. And we really thank you for your indulgence and your questions.
Yes, thank you.

That concludes the call and thank you for joining. You may now disconnect your lines.