Digital Turbine - Q3 Earnings

Morning all.

I just wanted to flag up one of my companies, Digital Turbine (APPS) that reported Q2 last night. To me it was a stunning quarter, backing up their breakthrough Q1, and they are starting to demonstrate management can execute with a big opportunity ahead.

I wrote about them back in August……

  • Revenue was a big beat on forecasts, $70.9 million, representing an increase of 116% YOY, and up
    from 90% in Q1. The trend is up.
  • Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA2 for the fiscal second quarter was $16.5 million, representing growth
    of 265% YOY
  • Non-GAAP free cash flow3 totaled $21.5 million in the fiscal second quarter of 2021, as compared
    to $5.7 million in the fiscal second quarter of 2020.

Bill Stone, CEO. “We set all-time revenue, profitability, and free cash flow records, and we accelerated top-line growth and profitability amid powerful secular tailwinds that are driving strong demand for both our Application Media and Content Media service offerings.”

A very bullish earnings call, they are bringing on new lines of revenue, and seem to be positioning themselves as one of the leaders of mobile app digital advertising.

Its still a tiny 2-3b market cap…


Sorry it was meant to be titled Q2 Earnings!

This is one of those companies that teases my quantitative vs. qualitative investor mindset.

Quantitatively, it seems like a brilliant investment across almost all metrics: hypergrowth revenue, surging EBITDA, increasing FCF, margin improvement, raised guidance, etc. All with a small market cap with potential for huge growth.

But I just can’t get under the qualitative side of the business. They essentially pre-install apps in Android devices that fills people’s phones with ads, or install other apps that users might or might not need/want.

Can I foresee continued growth and future adjacent opportunities? Sure. For now though, I struggle to convince myself to allocate my capital on an investment that I don’t feel passionate about. And even less on a product that I would probably consider a nuisance.

Perhaps more hours of due-diligence, or commentary for others can begin shifting my perspective…


I dove into APPS at one point and decided to pass. While I am not bothered by the fact that it’s basically spam, the biggest risk factor I saw was that they are reliant on a few key partners for app install inventory. If Verizon decides to use a new partner, or a law is passed to stop this practice of pre-installing apps, they are toast.

These risk factors fall into the existential category and yes, they are unlikely. I would estimate it at 15%. But why bother? I would rather take my chances with SNOW.

Obviously, some may feel differently. This stock has been on a tear.

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First post on the board - thank you all for creating this space for people to learn - APPS is a large part of my holdings so I’d like to provide my 2c based what I saw.


IMO their financials are impeccable - what jumps out is the 53% pro forma growth, up from 28% last q. I would take the 116% YoY growth with a grain of salt because although they acquired Mobile Posse with cash and no dilution in stocks, it is not organic growth but more of a revenue increase from acquisition. 53% pro forma growth is organic.

There gross margin is in the 40%-45% range which is much lower than the SaaS companies discussed on this board.

App install, as GolfCaddy4PLynch mentioned, has inherent risk that comes from working with big telecom companies. So I like that they have increased their recurring revenue business (acquired through the $75M cash purchase of Mobile Posse) is now $21M quarterly and 40% of their total revenue, up from 10% from the same quarter last year.

Their $72-$75M Q3 guidance is likely sandbagging again - one of the analysts asked if they have factored the macroeconomics and flat US phone sales trend into the guidance and the CEO basically said yes and we are optimistic about our products.

Some thoughts on the call

In the call the CEO said their App install business saw 50% YoY, with 30% YoY growth in the US, while US Android phone sales has been flat. This to me is a good sign because it means they are able to generate more revenue per phone. He did say that the company expect flat phone sales in the next few q’s in the US due to macro condition. IMO this is a plus on their execution - they can’t control phone sales but were able to generate more revenue.

They also said 34% of their US app-install revenue came from clients from outside of US e.g. Alibaba, Tencent, TikTok. I am unsure what to make of it but it seems like they are able to generate more revenue per app slot by acquiring international customers.

The biggest point in the call to me was that they increase recurring revenue from $14M to $21M - a 50% QoQ increase!! - that the CEO attributed to better execution and rebounding macro conditions. He hinted that there will be a lot more cross-selling down the road but they haven’t even started yet. From the call I expect the proportion of recurring revenue continues to rise and takes up more and more of the company’s total revenue.

So far I’m very impressed with the CEO’s ability to execute and create new revenue streams. Really want to see what the “television offerings in 2021” is about.

About the company

The CEO has a 91% rating on Glassdoor from employees.

In the Q1 call he called out that the company is generating more than $1M revenue per employee - sounds like a big plus to me in terms of execution but I’m not sure how that compares to other companies on the board.

The CEO’s base salary from their 10-K is $500K per year + stock grants. APPS is not CEO led but a large portion of compensation is tied to stock - which also sounds like a big plus to me.

I don’t have much issue with the app install ad business per say - I think the app companies (Pandora, Pinterest, TikTok, …) needs ways to acquire customers and pre-install app makes sense for many countries outside of the US.

My biggest problem as an investor is that I have not had a chance to “use” their product - unlike Facebook I have no idea what kind of content they are pushing. For example, CEO mentioned Chrome in the recurring revenue business and I haven’t found how they monetize off Chrome yet, which sounds cross-platform to me but I haven’t validated yet.

As of writing it’s trading at -7% so there could be red flags in the call that I haven’t noticed. Any thought or insight or counterargument welcome.



Correcting some mistakes I made in the previous post - I apologize for cluttering the board.

they have increased their recurring revenue business (acquired through the $75M cash purchase of Mobile Posse) is now $21M quarterly and 40% of their total revenue
Their quarterly recurring revenue is around $28M, of which $21M is generated from Content Media, acquired through Mobile Posse.

The biggest point in the call to me was that they increase recurring revenue from $14M to $21M
They increased their Content Media business acquired through Mobile Posse, which is a subset of their recurring revenue, from $14M to $21M with minimal cross-selling on APPS partners based on the call.

APPS is not CEO led but a large portion of compensation is tied to stock
I meant not founder led. APPS is an old company that has found a new way to make money.