Initially when monday (MNDY) was brought to the board a few weeks back by CloudL, I was not interested. I thought, “another project management software? I can easily name five other competitors and this can’t be that difficult to recreate.” While that all could be true, Saul then posted all of their numbers in a very concise way showing how impressive their business and growth are. This piqued my interest a bit. I was then discussing the company and my concerns with another investor on this board and he encouraged me enough to take a second look. Even though I was worried about the perceived lack of moat with this company, since it seems like there is such a greenfield opportunity before them, moat really doesn’t play much of a factor until that opportunity shrinks. My conclusion after my deep dive: this company is clearly doing something right and I want to be a part of it.
Instead of rehashing info that was already laid out well in previous posts, I figured I’d bring some new information here so that all of the posts can be viewed as a collective.
- I couldn’t find CloudL’s first post bringing the company to the board
- Saul’s post on the numbers: https://discussion.fool.com/why-i-invested-in-monday-34925522.as…
- FoolishJeff’s post with some good info on the company: https://discussion.fool.com/mondaycom-research-34920486.aspx
I wanted to lay out some pros and cons and then dive into the comparison with Asana as this has been brought up a lot.
Monday uses monday
I would highly recommend this interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_uUwAbjQsk) as it shows the two co-founders personalities well while still revealing a lot about the business. They mentioned how they use their own software in order to run their business. This was striking for me because I am not sure I can name another one of this board’s darlings that consistently uses their own software non-stop. I can’t express enough how advantageous this is for the company as it perpetually reveals weaknesses, bugs, issues, and areas for improvement to the team who builds the software itself. They gave an example that they have showers in the office and made a board which displayed who was using what shower by means of their automation.
Asana also said they use their software to run their business so even though I am not to the Asana comparison section yet, I figured I’d mention that.
Another tidbit from the interview was how the co-founders decided early on to make the company fully transparent. This means every metric, board presentation, etc would be available to the entire company. They told a story about how early on one employee took a picture of all their revenue metrics and posted it on social media. They got a call from an investor (pre-IPO) freaking out about their competitors seeing it. The two founders reaction was that if the revenue numbers are better than the competition, they will be scared to death. If it isn’t better, then monday has a problem and it isn’t the dashboard of metrics that was shared.
Applicable quote from the YouTube interview above: “The more you share, the more everyone feels empowered in the organization.”
They think they haven’t hit hypergrowth yet
During the earnings call, the CFO was asked a question about geographic trends. He had this to say:
"So as a reminder we enjoyed the hyper-growth before COVID and we expect to continue to grow to the type of scale also post-COVID. Hopefully, it will come soon."
My takeaway from this: they are thinking actual hyper-growth, similar to pre-COVID, has yet to return.
I don’t know if this is a function of being an Israeli company versus an American company, but they seem to have the best international opportunity and are taking advantage of it. The best metric showing this is that they currently have their software offered in 14 languages while Asana has 6. This will be time consuming and expensive for Asana to catchup here. MNDY are certainly not only international as 48% of their revenue is in the USA, I just think they poised to capture the international greenfield more rapidly than someone like Asana.
$875M in cash, $21M in debt…enough said there.
From their latest filing, Roy Mann (Co-CEO, Co-Founder) has 13.5%, Eran Zinman (Co-CEO, Co-Founder) has 5.2%, and Jeff Horing (outside investor) has 37.6%. I am not sure why or how this investor got such a large stake but I do not like that someone outside the company has 3x the ownership of one co-founder and 7x the other co-founder.
Although after the interview linked above, I do see a great camaraderie between the two co-founders, I don’t like that there are two CEOs. Their thought process is that they don’t want the business to be centralized so they share it between co-CEOs. Roy Mann was initially the sole CEO and then Eran Zinman moved from a CTO role to co-CEO in Nov 2020. I personally wish he had stayed as CTO but we shall see how this plays out.
I don’t like that there is a lot of competition and I also don’t like that there isn’t a clear leader in this space (more on that in the comparison section). Ideally I would invest in the company that is dominating its field, laughing at the so-called competition; that is not what is happening here. As stated above I see this as less of a concern only because the market is so wide open, competition plays less of a role.
Let me start off this section with two tables below, directly comparing Asana and monday in revenue, S&M, and >$50K customers. S&M is all GAAP because there was more info than non-GAAP, it is easier to pull, and the SBC didn’t seem extreme in either company as to distort the results. Also I recognize that Asana’s quarters end a month after monday’s.
**MNDY** **Q2-2021** **Q1-2021** **Q4-2020** **Q3-2020** **Q2-2020** **Q1-2020** **Q4-2019** **Q3-2019** **Q2-2019** Revenue (M) $70.6 $59.0 $50.1 $42.6 $36.5 $31.9 $26.6 $21.1 $17.0 Cust >$50K ARR 470 335 264 185 144 105 76 46 23 S&M (M) $61.1 $63.0 $56.9 $57.9 $39.6 $36.9 $30.4 $33.3 $26.7 S&M Per Rev 86.5% 106.9% 113.5% 135.9% 108.7% 115.7% 114.2% 158.2% 157.0% S&M Efficiency 1.35 1.61 1.92 1.62 2.04 1.43 1.50 1.65 Revenue QoQ 19.7% 17.6% 17.7% 16.8% 14.2% 20.0% 26.4% 23.8% Revenue YoY 93.7% 84.7% 88.5% 102.3% 114.4% >$50K ARR QoQ 40.3% 26.9% 42.7% 28.5% 37.1% 38.2% 65.2% 100.0% 155.6% >$50K ARR YoY 226.4% 219.0% 247.4% 302.2% 526.1% 1066.7% 1166.7% **ASAN** Revenue (M) $89.5 $76.7 $68.4 $58.9 $52.0 $47.7 $43.5 $38.1 $33.1 Cust >$50K ARR 598 485 397 318 283 252 207 156 109 S&M (M) $63.9 $56.8 $53.5 $48.0 $38.8 $36.1 $30.9 $35.9 $20.2 S&M Per Rev 71.4% 74.1% 78.3% 81.6% 74.6% 75.7% 71.1% 94.3% 60.9% S&M Efficiency 1.11 1.61 1.27 1.41 2.09 1.82 1.66 1.01 0.92 Revenue QoQ 16.7% 12.1% 16.1% 13.2% 9.1% 9.7% 14.2% 15.1% 18.3% Revenue YoY 72.0% 60.7% 57.3% 54.7% 57.2% 70.6% >$50K ARR QoQ 23.3% 22.2% 24.8% 12.4% 12.3% 21.7% 32.7% 43.3% >$50K ARR YoY 111.3% 92.5% 91.8% 103.8% 160.0%
Two different go-to-market strategies
From Asana’s 2020 10-K:
“A majority of our paying customers initially adopt our platform through self-service and free trials. Once adopted, customers can expand through self-service or with the assistance of our direct sales team, which is focused on promoting new use cases of Asana.”
From monday’s F-1:
“Historically, customers would adopt and expand on the platform on a self-serve basis, independent of any assistance. In addition to our self-serve funnel, as of 2018, we began to invest in our sales, customer success and partners teams to help our customers obtain more value out of the platform. As a result of the investments described above, we have seen significant growth in the customer spend from our cohorts during the first 12 months of their subscriptions to monday. For example, the new ARR generated from our 2018, 2019 and 2020 cohorts was higher than the new ARR generated by our 2016 cohort by 6.7x, 16.0x and 27.1x respectively.”
From monday’s Q2 earnings call when asked about profitability on the income statement:
“The improvement was driven primarily by lower marketing investment as we are becoming more efficient. Allocating our marketing spend to focus on customers with 10 plus users and enterprise customers. We continue to make a substantial investment in our sales organization and have significantly expanded our sales team over the last year.”
What I glean from all of this is that monday used to do a self-service funnel and it wasn’t working great so they shifted and started spending A LOT on S&M in order to go to the customers instead of letting them come to them. There is an image on the F-1 that shows the amount of spend per annual cohort over time. I encourage everyone to go look at that chart to understand the magnitude of the shift. Meanwhile Asana is still mainly going off of self-service and free trials. This is evidenced by comparing the two company’s S&M/Rev, which is a great segway to my next point.
MNDY’s S&M Blitzkrieg
Just look at the table above for a moment. Notice the difference in S&M Per Rev between the two companies. While there is a noticeable difference in the resulting revenue growth YoY, the most striking difference is the growth in customers spending >$50K in ARR. This tells me that MNDY is hammering the enterprise market (which they define an enterprise customer as one who spends >$50K per year) with outsized S&M spending while Asana is not. I also think this is why ASAN’s investor material shares customers who spend >$5K in ARR while MNDY does not.
We are currently at the point where the two curves cross. Over the next two quarters, if these rates persistent, MNDY will cross over ASAN and leave them in the dust. My theory is that since these numbers are all out in the open now, ASAN will up their S&M spend to keep up, otherwise I just don’t see how they can compete long-term. MNDY has no intention of slowing down either. In the earnings call they said S&M per Rev only looks better this quarter because “the pace of our revenue growth has outpaced the investment growth.”
One point for ASAN is that they spend less on S&M but are more efficient. I look at S&M Efficiency as previous quarter’s S&M spend divided by quarterly increase in revenue times 4 (annualized). I think of this as how many S&M dollars are needed in order to gain how much in ARR. I have seen other people calculate this differently but this makes the most sense to me. Overall MNDY spends more than ASAN to earn that extra ARR.
I wish I had a definitive winner here. Typically I go to Reddit when I want to see reviews of the software that we follow. That community is knowledgeable and blunt. I had a hard time finding anything beneficial there between MNDY and ASAN. I ended up watching numerous comparison videos on YouTube and came away with the feeling that these two software packages are pretty equal. I actually watched one video that said Asana is easier to use while Monday is more powerful and then another video that said the exact opposite.
I am not a user by any means but my personal conclusion from all of the research was that monday seemed to be more optionable, more robust, more adaptable and ready to be expanded into new territories while Asana is purpose-built and would have a harder time expanding. Again, only conjecture, take it for what it is.
I watched a few interviews with the Asana founders and the monday founders. I was much more impressed with the monday founders. Honestly, this is my personal opinion, but I fundamentally disagree with the worldview of the Asana leadership. This matters as an investor, and for me, it makes me walk the other way. I think BroadwayDan summed it up best (https://discussion.fool.com/broadway-dan39s-2020-annual-review-3… “I just can’t stand billionaires crowing about their Buddhist enlightenment.”
On the other hand, the two co-founders from monday are relatable, have known each other since they were 18 when they met in military service, and seem less idealistic. On the flipside, Asana seems to be an amazing place to work based on all the awards they get and their Glassdoor ratings so clearly the leadership knows how to please employees.
As some of you may know, I value a company relative to its growth (https://discussion.fool.com/valuing-growth-34768591.aspx). I look at EV/GP/%RevGrowth. Typically I look at something <0.75 as “reasonably priced,” the higher the number, the more “expensive.” This is not a strict rule, just a tool in the toolbox to compare one company to another. I am throwing in a few more companies as reference since this might be new to most.
Overall I have come to learn that this is a wide open market ripe for the taking. As they said on the monday earnings call: “On 70% of the deals we see literally no competition. Usually, customers use email, and spreadsheets, and PowerPoint, and email to communicate and collaborate. And it just seems that everybody are trying to improve update work and make it more efficient.”
I tend to think the MNDY is the better of the two and I believe the numbers will show their dominance within 1-2 quarters. Monday is hammering the enterprise market while it seems that Asana is a little more laissez faire in that arena, currently favoring profitability over scale (as compared to MNDY). It’ll be an interesting competition between these two over the years so grab some popcorn.
Long MNDY ~3% and looking to add