Upwork Inc.

NYSE:UPWK

Current price as of 12/26/2021: $35.87


Overview

Upwork Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates an online talent marketplace that enables businesses to find and work with various independent professionals and agencies in the United States and internationally. The company's platform provides access to talent with various skills across a range of categories, including sales and marketing, customer service, data science and analytics, design and creative, web, mobile, and software development. The company's platform offers access to various functionalities for remote engagements with freelancers comprising of communication and collaboration, time tracking, invoicing, and payment. Its marketplace offers managed and internet escrow agency services. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Risk / Reward

Based on 7 Wall Street analysts offering 12 month price targets for Upwork

Average price target: $61.71

The average price target represents an implied 72.04% price increase from the last price of $35.87

Lowest price target: $45.00

The Lowest price target represents an implied 24.45% price increase from the last price of $35.87

Company Potential

The freelance platform market is very huge and still in its growth phase. According to Upwork Inc. the Total Addressable Market (TAM) is $1.3 Trillion. According to a study done by Orbis Research, the global freelance platform market size is projected to boom at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.3% during 2021 to 2026. (Global freelance platform market size is projected to boom (globenewswire.com)) Furthermore, the company pointed out 3 very important trends in their Q3 shareholder letter on why they think the growth has yet to stop:

• First, the corporate war for talent, especially elite talent, has intensified and moved to a new frontier as 10 million Americans are currently considering leaving their full-time jobs to gain more flexibility freelancing and organizations increasingly realize that a talent strategy predicated only on full-time employees doing all the work will leave them behind.

• Second, a new type of career path has emerged, with half of the Gen Z talent pool actually choosing to start their careers in freelance rather than full time employment, reflecting an important mental shift in the workforce.

• A third observation is that as more and more customers participate in this market, they tend to invest in one preferred platform once they’ve found it. We already see this trend with larger companies as they adopt solutions such as our Bring Your Own Talent product as part of their own moves toward vendor consolidation.

The market potential also reflects in the numbers of the company, as they were able to grow revenue by 32% year-over-year to $128.1 million in the third quarter of 2021. The forecast for the full fiscal year is between $496 million and $498 million, which would represent a 33% year-over-year increase. Upwork is a scalable business meaning they can add a large amount of users without adding a large cost to the business.

Company Risk

The company has an incredibly diverse clientele base, from hobby freelancers to Fortune 100 companies. With that in mind their marketplace offerings include Upwork Basic, Upwork Plus, Upwork Business, Upwork Enterprise, and Upwork Payroll to accommodate businesses of any size.

81.87% of the public stock is held by institutions, indicating the “Smart Money” sees value and security in this business. The current ratio of the company sits at a comfortable 3.88 this indicates the company has more than ample cash to cover debt obligations. This coupled with cash flow the company produces puts their cash runway over 3 years.

Lastly the business model is very sticky, since freelancers generally tend to focus on one platform that works for them, therefore once a client has started building his base on one platform, he is bound to stay. On Trustpilot, the company maintains 4.5 out of 5-star rating with over 7,000 reviews.

Conclusion

Upwork Inc. is well positioned in a fast growing industry. So far they have shown an ability to capitalize on the freelance/ WFH market growth. Analysts and institutions seem to think this company is undervalued still. The company hasn’t turned a profit and wont for the foreseeable future. For a growth company this isn’t a massive deal as they establish a brand and grow market share. On the bright side they do produce enough cash to grow revenue and keep the wheels spinning.

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