Sturdy Outlook Regardless of Gen-AI Headwinds


Upwork NASDAQ: UPWK is a Technology agency that operates as a web-based market, connecting freelance employees and unbiased contractors with employers. In 2024, the inventory worth is down 29% on account of fears that AI will get rid of many freelance Jobs. Now, most analysts masking the inventory have a purchase ranking on IT. Let us take a look at Upwork’s enterprise traces and up to date monetary outcomes. We’ll additionally discover fears about AI hurting the freelance work mannequin and provides an outlook on the agency.

Detailing Upwork’s Enterprise Mannequin and Income Era 

Upwork Inc. stock logo
$10.75

+0.16 (+1.51%)

(As of 06/28/2024 ET)

52-Week Vary
$8.49

$16.36

P/E Ratio
30.72

Value Goal
$17.80

On its annual filing, Upwork calls itself “the world’s largest work market.” IT measures this utilizing gross companies quantity (GSV). GSV represents the overall quantity these trying to rent (purchasers) spend on the agency’s choices, plus charges charged to these searching for work (expertise). The agency enabled $4.1 billion of GSV in 2023, 94% of which got here from the USA.

The first type of income era is by deducting a proportion of the expertise’s pay. The corporate often deducts 10% from the contractor’s cost.

The corporate has two choices directed at purchasers: Market and Enterprise. Market provides purchasers entry to the positioning’s fundamental hiring options. Enterprise supplies bigger purchasers with extra sources to assist scale their enterprise utilizing development and cost-efficiency methods. They assign devoted billing, account administration, and enterprise analytics groups to purchasers to drive these methods.

Two different necessary factors of word: In Might 2023, Upwork fired 15% of its employees, principally in its gross sales division, and its major competitor is Fiverr NYSE: FVRR.

Upwork Q1 2024 Earnings: EPS and Income Beat, Shares Unstable Regardless of Sturdy Metrics

Upwork released its Q1 2024 earnings on Might 1, 2024. IT beat on each earnings per share (EPS) and income.  EPS got here in at $0.13, two cents above estimates. Income got here in at $191 million, $5 million above estimates. The share worth surged, climbing by nearly 9% in a single day. But, optimism shortly pale. By the following week, the achieve disappeared, and since that launch, shares have dropped by 11%. GSV grew 1%, and income grew 19% from the final yr.

Nevertheless, the agency’s “take price” is probably the most encouraging metric. The agency supplies this tradition metric, which is outlined as the overall income divided by the overall GSV, with minor changes. The take price reveals the margin the agency brings in on the worth that its purchasers generate. The take price for Q1 was 18.9%, which elevated 2.9% from the earlier yr. It is a massive growth within the firm’s margins, which could be very encouraging. The corporate additionally elevated the variety of lively purchasers on the platform from the earlier yr by 5%.

Upwork Ought to Overcome Gen-AI Headwinds

Seeing Upwork’s dramatic worth drop during the last yr is considerably puzzling. The share worth is up solely 6% from Aug. 2, 2023. The S&P 500 is up 22% over the identical interval. That is regardless of the agency truly changing into worthwhile since then, reporting optimistic earnings during the last three quarters. The inventory traded at a lot increased ranges in 2022 when its earnings had been unfavourable. Shares are down 52% since July 4, 2023. This is because of issues about generative AI’s impact on the corporate, which has pushed its shares down whereas driving the market up.

Total MarketRank™
3.45 out of 5

Analyst Score
Reasonable Purchase

Upside/Draw back
65.6% Upside

Quick Curiosity
Bearish

Dividend Power
N/A

Sustainability
N/A

Information Sentiment
0.50mentions of Upwork in the last 14 days

Insider Buying and selling
Promoting Shares

Projected Earnings Development
34.62%

See Full Particulars

Opinions about how AI will have an effect on the freelance work mannequin differ. AI will lower many Jobs that require low-skill and repetitive work. A latest examine confirmed that because the introduction of Open AI’s ChatGPT, job postings for “automation-prone” freelance work dropped 21%. This was notably pronounced in writing, coding, and picture creation. Nevertheless, the remaining Jobs required increased ability ranges and paid freelancers extra. Though many Jobs shall be misplaced, different Jobs with totally different ability units ought to exchange them.

Whereas issues about Gen-AI are comprehensible, Upwork’s latest outcomes don’t lie. IT doesn’t make sense for the agency to be buying and selling at over 50% lower than when IT was severely unprofitable. The agency displaying its means to extend its take price considerably and enhance lively purchasers within the face of Gen-AI headwinds makes this much more head-scratching. Analysts agree. The common worth goal of analysts masking the agency that up to date their rankings since Q1 earnings is available in at $17.50, implying a 66% upside.

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