10-K 1 izea19123110-k.htm 10-K Document

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from _________________ to _________________
 
Commission File No.: 001-37703
 
IZEA WORLDWIDE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Nevada
 
37-1530765
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 

480 N. Orlando Avenue, Suite 200
Winter Park, FL
 
32789
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)

 
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:  (407) 674-6911
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share
 
The Nasdaq Capital Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  o   No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  o   No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes  x  No  o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes  x    No  o
 



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer  o
 
Accelerated filer  o
Non-accelerated filer  x
 
Smaller reporting company x
 
 
Emerging growth company o
 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes  o   No  x

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates as of June 28, 2019 (the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was $12,915,988 based on the closing bid price of the registrant's common stock of $0.5125 per share on June 28, 2019 (the last trading day prior to the end of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter). All executive officers and directors of the registrant and all 10% or greater stockholders have been deemed, solely for the purpose of the foregoing calculation, to be “affiliates” of the registrant.

 As of March 27, 2020, there were 35,077,660 shares of our common stock outstanding.


DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None

 






Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

Table of Contents
 

 
Page
PART I
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 


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PART I

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”) contains “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The statements, which are not historical facts contained in this report, including those contained in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and the notes to our consolidated financial statements, particularly those that utilize terminology such as “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “believes,” “thinks,” “intends,” “likely,” “projects,” “plans,” “pursue,” “strategy” or “future,” or the negative of these words or other words or expressions of similar meaning, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on currently available operating, financial and competitive information, and are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Future events and our actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those reflected in these forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to, the following:

our ability to raise additional funding needed to fund our business operation in the future;
our ability to maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting;
our ability to regain compliance with the requirements for continued listing of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market;
our ability to protect our intellectual property;
customer cancellations;
our ability to maintain and grow our business;
results of any present or future arbitration or litigation;
competition in the industry;
variability of operating results;
our ability to satisfy the requirements for continued listing of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market;
our ability to maintain and enhance our brand;
accuracy of tracking the number of user accounts;
our development and introduction of new products and services;
the successful integration of acquired companies, technologies and assets into our portfolio of software and services;
marketing and other business development initiatives;
general government regulation;
economic conditions, including as a result of health and safety concerns;
dependence on key personnel;
the ability to attract, hire and retain personnel who possess the technical skills and experience necessary to meet the service requirements of our customers;
the potential liability with respect to actions taken by our existing and past employees;
risks associated with international sales;
and the other risks and uncertainties described in the Risk Factors section of this Annual Report.

All forward-looking statements in this document are based on our current expectations, intentions and beliefs using information currently available to us as of the date of this Annual Report, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.



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ITEM 1 – BUSINESS

Our Mission
Our mission is to champion the world's creators by helping them monetize their content, creativity, and influence.
Our Business

IZEA Worldwide, Inc. (together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, “we,” “us,” “our,” “IZEA” or the “Company”) is a Nevada corporation that was founded in February 2006 under the name PayPerPost, Inc. and became a public company in May 2011. In January 2015, IZEA purchased all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of Ebyline, Inc. (“Ebyline”). In July 2016, IZEA purchased all the outstanding shares of capital stock of ZenContent, Inc. (“ZenContent”). The legal entity of ZenContent was dissolved in December 2017 and Ebyline was dissolved in December 2019 after all assets and transactions were transferred to IZEA. In March 2016, we formed IZEA Canada, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary incorporated in Ontario, Canada, to operate as a sales and support office for IZEA's Canadian customers. On July 26, 2018, we merged with TapInfluence, Inc. (“TapInfluence”) pursuant to the terms of an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated as of July 11, 2018 and amended July 20, 2018.

Effective August 20, 2018, we changed our name from IZEA, Inc. to IZEA Worldwide, Inc. Our Company is headquartered near Orlando, Florida with additional offices in California, Colorado, Illinois, and Canada.

We create and operate online marketplaces that connect marketers, including brands, agencies, and publishers, with content creators such as bloggers and tweeters (“creators”). The creators are compensated by us for producing unique content such as long and short form text, videos, photos, status updates, and illustrations for marketers or distributing such content on behalf of marketers through their personal websites, blogs, and social media channels. Our technology brings the marketers and creators together, enabling their transactions to be completed at scale through the management of custom content workflow, creator search and targeting, bidding, analytics and payment processing.

Marketers engage us to gain access to our industry expertise, technology, data, analytics, and network of creators. The majority of the marketers engage us to perform these services on their behalf, but they also have the ability to use our marketplaces on a self-service basis by licensing our technology. Our technology is used for two primary purposes: the engagement of creators for influencer marketing campaigns and the engagement of creators to create stand-alone custom content for the marketers' own use and distribution.

Influencer Marketing. We work with marketers to enable influencer marketing campaigns at scale. A subset of influencer marketing known as “Sponsored Social” is when a company compensates creators to share sponsored content with the creators’ social network followings. This sponsored content is included within the body of the content stream. We believe that we pioneered the concept of a marketplace for sponsorships on the social web in 2006 with the launch of our first platform, PayPerPost. We have focused on scaling our product and service offerings ever since, including by acquiring TapInfluence in July 2018.

Custom Content. We also work with marketers to augment or replace their content development efforts. Our network of creators produces editorial and marketing content that can be published both online and offline. Our network of creators includes professional journalists, subject matter experts, bloggers and everyday content creators, allowing our customers to produce content ranging from complex white papers to simple product descriptions. Many of our content customers use this service to create a steady stream of posts for their corporate blogs. We first began offering custom content services in 2015 after our acquisition of Ebyline, a leading marketplace in the editorial content space, and continued to expand this offering with our acquisition of ZenContent in July 2016, a company that predominantly focused on e-commerce-related asset creation.

Our Platforms
The IZEA Exchange. The IZEA Exchange (“IZEAx”) is designed to provide a unified ecosystem that enables the creation and publication of multiple types of custom content through our creators’ personal websites, blogs, and social media channels, including among others, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We extensively use this platform to manage influencer marketing campaigns on behalf of our marketers. This platform is also available directly to our marketers as a self-service tool and as a licensed white label product. IZEAx was engineered from the ground-up to replace all of our previous platforms with an integrated offering that is improved and more efficient. For influencer marketing campaigns, IZEAx provides integrated mechanisms for Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) legal compliance. In particular, the integrated FTC compliance framework

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requires creators to provide disclosure to their followers with respect to the sponsored nature of the content and allows marketers to review the content for FTC compliance.
Ebyline. In January 2015, we acquired Ebyline and its technology platform that was created to source and compensate creators specifically for the creation and delivery of professional editorial content. Ebyline was originally designed as a self-service content marketplace to replace editorial newsrooms located in the news agencies with a “virtual newsroom” of creators to produce their content needs and to handle their content workflow. After the acquisition, we began to utilize the creators in the Ebyline platform to produce professional custom content for brands, in addition to the self-service functionality used by newspapers. We have been incorporating certain functions of this platform into IZEAx in order to have one consolidated platform in the future and by December 2019, we migrated all remaining customers into our IZEAx platform and dissolved the Ebyline entity.

ZenContent. In July 2016, we acquired ZenContent including its custom content creation workflow technology and database of creators. ZenContent’s platform enables us to produce highly scalable, multi-part production of content for both e-commerce entities, as well as brand customers. The ZenContent platform allows us to parse work out to a wide array of qualified creators who together can develop custom content assets with unmatched quality, speed, and price. This platform is currently utilized by our campaign fulfillment team to service orders for custom content. We plan to integrate certain functions of the ZenContent platform into IZEAx in order to have one consolidated platform in the future.

TapInfluence. In July 2018, we acquired TapInfluence and its technology platform. TapInfluence markets and sells software-as-a-service “SaaS” software that is complementary to IZEA’s existing influencer marketing products and services. We have been incorporating certain functions of this platform into IZEAx and improved influencer discovery and content workflow in order to have one consolidated platform in the future. Throughout 2019, we migrated the users of this platform over to IZEAx and we have discontinued use of this platform in March 2020.

IZEAx, Ebyline, ZenContent and TapInfluence were designed with the same purpose: to streamline transactions between our internal campaign fulfillment team, marketers and creators. We utilized these proprietary technologies to create efficiencies and economies of scale for all parties. The knowledge base and technology from these platforms provide marketers with access to a large network of creators along with complete workflow management, content control, payment processing and related performance tracking.
We believe that IZEAx should improve our ability to more efficiently match marketplace participants as the number of marketers and creators using the platform increases. To date, we have completed over 3.8 million influencer and content marketing transactions for customers ranging from small local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We consider each individual piece of custom content, sponsored post or other update as an individual transaction so long as the creator of that content is being compensated for the transaction.
Industry Background and Trends

When IZEA first launched PayPerPost in 2006, the concept of a brand paying bloggers to create sponsored content on their blogs was highly controversial among both marketers and content creators. The idea was introduced at a time when there were no ads on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, and social media was largely void of corporate marketing messages. Over the past fourteen years, the landscape has dramatically changed. Today, strategic engagement in the social-sphere are the table stakes for modern brands - largely in part to changes in consumer behavior and the large-scale adoption of social media platforms. Similarly, those same companies are now producing custom marketing content for their social channels and embracing influencer marketing as a means to reach their customers.
While industry research indicates that brand spending on influencer and content marketing has grown dramatically in the last several years, the business processes and practices have not evolved in a meaningful way for the majority of buyers and sellers. The markets that we operate in are highly fragmented, highly competitive, and are largely limited by the current inefficiencies inherent in our space. Most marketers have been forced to utilize a variety of execution partners and manual processes to navigate the complicated landscape, often resulting in low returns on their time investment or worse-yet, questionable results. We believe this is largely due to marketers and creators lacking an efficient way to identify and engage each other in a marketplace of scale.
At the same time, influencers and content creators seeking to monetize their communities and work product are faced with significant challenges in making marketers aware of their services and in finding quality brands who are motivated to sponsor them. In addition, those creators with smaller followings simply lack the individual influence and audience needed to warrant the processing of a micro-transaction. In many cases, it costs a marketer more money to issue a traditional check to a

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small creator than the value of the sponsorship payment itself. Further complicating the sponsorship process for both parties are federal regulations around social media endorsements, tax reporting generally applicable to anyone receiving income for services, and the associated campaign tracking required to provide compliance. While many marketers would prefer to be “part of the conversation,” we believe the complexity and cost of individual sponsorship often deters them from doing so.
We believe that addressing the current challenges in efficiency and measurable success via technology represents a significant opportunity for us. IZEA ultimately solves these challenges with targeted, scalable marketplaces that aggregate content creators and marketers. In doing so, we offer an efficient, innovative way for creators and marketers of all sizes to find each other and form a compensated relationship.
Our Business Model

Since our inception in 2006, we have worked diligently to establish and leverage key strengths in our business model, including:
A culture of innovation and creativity. We believe the only way to survive and thrive in our rapidly changing world is to change ahead of it. We are in a state of constant evolution and re-invention; this is “The IZEA Way.” We have created a culture committed to innovation and creativity that challenges convention, takes calculated risks, and breaks new ground. IZEA team members are protective and proud of our culture by applying its “humble, yet hungry” attitude to all facets of our business. Our people and their innovations ultimately provide us with what we see as our largest competitive advantage.
First-mover advantage. We believe that by pioneering the modern influencer marketing industry and investing heavily in innovation, acquisitions and marketing, we have been able to acquire a vast amount of industry knowledge, market insights and technology. The software foundation we have built over time is expansive with the amount of actionable data we have accumulated from our network of creators and the execution of customer programs. Those new to the space face a significant technology investment requirement and steep learning curve in order to compete in a complex and rapidly evolving industry.
Best in class technology. Based on our focused research and knowledge of our space, we believe that the feature set in IZEAx is among the most comprehensive influencer marketing platform for enterprise users. While our industry is challenged by multiple competitive claims and vaporware, we have developed a complete, enterprise-grade solution for those seeking to execute large scale influencer marketing campaigns from beginning to end.
Experienced management team, board of directors, and strategic advisors. Our management team includes not only a highly experienced team of entrepreneurs and executives from the digital media, technology and entertainment industries, but also outstanding board members who are experts in their respective fields. See Item 10 under Part III of this Annual Report for details.
Our Growth Strategy
After nearly fourteen years of working in and developing the influencer and content marketing categories, we believe our business model is market-tested and our industry is established. Our development efforts have included assembling a diverse and experienced senior management team and engineering team, launching and optimizing our proprietary marketplaces, developing a cross-platform sales force and refining our message to the market. Key elements of our strategy to accelerate revenue growth and continue product development include:
Software + Service. IZEA’s flexible client engagement model is designed to appeal to both agency and brand customers with various need states. We are able to structure content and influencer marketing programs that align with the goals, resources, and profile of our customers. IZEA clients are able to license our software to run their own programs, hire our team for fully outsourced managed services, or engage us in a hybrid model which combines access to our software with collaborative execution.

Product development. Since 2009, we have invested over $24.1 million in engineering resources and product development, creating a meaningful competitive moat of features and functionality in our platform. We continue to recruit additional engineering and product innovation team members to enhance IZEAx and to develop new technology ideas within this platform that complement our mission as a company. In addition to ongoing development of our core IZEAx platform, we have begun development on complementary software services that leverage IZEAx technologies while simultaneously enhancing the value of IZEAx. In late 2019, we released the beta version of BrandGraph, our social media insight platform. In 2020, we intend to release Shake, which will allow marketers and brands to transact in a new way. Both of these services make use of IZEA’s existing customer base of marketers and creators in order to develop new revenue streams.

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Large network of users. IZEA is a driving force in the broader “creator economy,” allowing everyone from college students and stay-at-home individuals to celebrities and accredited journalists the opportunity to monetize their content, creativity and influence through our platform. As of December 31, 2019, we had more than 885,000 user accounts in IZEAx. These accounts have connections to over 986,000 social media accounts with an approximate aggregate reach to 8.5 billion non-unique fans and followers of IZEAx creators. Our total number of user accounts may be higher than the number of our actual individual creators because some creators may have created multiple user accounts.
Creators are able to join our platforms for free, but they may also choose to pay to upgrade their accounts to enable additional services and benefits. These individuals are compensated by us for producing content for our market clients or distributing such content on behalf of brands through their personal websites, blogs, and social media channels. We continually seek for ways to increase the ability for our creators to generate revenue. As such, we implemented the ability for them to earn referral fees, for a period of time, based on revenue generated by other creators they refer into IZEAx.

By continually developing our creator network, we make our marketplace more attractive to our customers who seek a wide variety of creators to fulfill their content and advertising needs. As marketers utilize our marketplace to a greater extent, we expect to increase the monetization opportunities for creators, which should, in turn, attract even more creators and further enhance value for our marketers.

Sales and Marketing

We primarily sell influencer marketing and custom content campaigns through our sales team and our platforms. We target regional, national and global brands and advertising agencies in the following ways:

Client Development Team.  We have a client development team each of whom is assigned a geographic region or specific markets, primarily within the United States and Canada. The team members are responsible for identifying and managing sales opportunities to brands and agencies who are seeking to outsource some or all of the planning and production of their content and advertising needs.

Partnership Team.  The partnership team initiates SaaS license opportunities with brands and agencies who seek to utilize additional functionality on our platforms on a self-service basis to facilitate custom content and influencer marketing campaigns.

Self-Service.  Customers in need of influencer discovery software can license our technology by signing up directly with a credit card on the IZEA website.

Industry Acumen. Our team possesses a strong marketing and advertising background. We focus our corporate marketing efforts on increasing brand awareness, communicating each of our platform advantages, generating qualified leads for our sales team and growing our creator network. Our corporate marketing plan is designed to continually elevate awareness of our brand and generate demand for social sponsorship. We rely on a number of channels in this area, including tradeshows, third-party social media platforms (e.g., Facebook and Twitter), IZEA-hosted community events, paid searches, content marketing, influencer marketing and our corporate websites.

Customers and Revenue

We generate revenue from five primary sources: (1) revenue from our managed services when a marketer (typically a brand, agency or partner) pays us to provide custom content, influencer marketing, amplification or other campaign management services (“Managed Services”); (2) revenue from fees charged to software customers on their marketplace spend within our IZEAx and TapInfluence platforms (“Marketplace Spend Fees”); (3) revenue from fees charged to access the IZEAx, Ebyline, and TapInfluence platforms (“License Fees”); (4) revenue from transactions generated by the self-service use of our Ebyline platform for professional custom content workflow (“Legacy Workflow Fees”); and (5) revenue derived from other fees such as inactivity fees, early cash-out fees, and plan fees charged to users of our platforms (“Other”). After the migration of the last customers from the Ebyline platform to IZEAx in December 2019, there will no longer be any revenue generated from the Legacy Workflow Fees and all future revenue will be reported as Marketplace Spend Fees.

As discussed in more detail within “Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates” under Part II, Item 7 and in “Note 1. Company and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” under Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report, revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees is reported on a net basis and revenue from all other sources, including Managed Services, License Fees and Other are reported on a gross basis. We further categorize these sources into three primary

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groups: (1) Managed Services (2) SaaS Services, which includes revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees, License Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees, and (3) Other.
    
We provide services to customers in multiple industry segments, including consumer products, retail/e-tail, lifestyle, technology, and travel. Our business serves advertising and public relations agencies, as well as brands and businesses directly. In many cases, influencer marketing dollars flow through the advertising or public relations agency, even when we have a direct relationship with the brand.

We generate the majority of our revenue from our Managed Services customers. Managed Services accounted for approximately 81% and 88% of our revenue during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. SaaS Services accounted for approximately 18% and 12% of our revenue during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Other Revenue accounted for less than 1% of our revenue during each of the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
    
Changes in how we control and manage our platforms, our contractual terms, our business practices, or other changes in accounting standards or interpretations, may change the reporting of our revenue. See “Note 1. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” under Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report for more information as it relates to our revenue recognition policies.

Our customers are predominantly located in the United States and Canada. We had no customer that accounted for more than 10% of our revenue during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 or 2018. Revenue from our Canadian customers accounted for approximately $1.6 million (8%) and $2 million (10%) of our revenues during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Technology

IZEAx spans multiple social networks and creator-owned blog websites. We aggregate creators in IZEAx, which allows us to create scale and targeting for marketers. We provide the ability to target our creators based on a variety of software rules and filters. We provide self-service platforms that service all business types and sizes. Unlike a traditional public relations model, marketers only pay for completed posts. We provide trackable results by automatically embedding tracking links and pixels, as well as support, for third-party tracking. We also provide dashboards for real-time reporting and immediate feedback.

Privacy and Security

We are committed to protecting the personal privacy of our marketers and creators. Any personal information that we collect is processed in accordance with our Privacy Policy, and we employ reasonable and appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the personal information.

Product Development

Our product development team is responsible for platform and infrastructure development, application development, user interface and application design, enterprise connectivity, Internet applications and design, quality assurance, documentation and release management. One of our core strengths is our knowledge of and experience in launching and operating scalable content and influencer marketing marketplaces. Our product development expenses include salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock­-based compensation, employee benefit costs, and miscellaneous departmental costs related to our development team along with hosting and software subscription costs. These costs were approximately $4.2 million and $3.0 million, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, and are included in general and administrative expense.

We launched IZEAx in March 2014 and unveiled our latest version 3.0 of the platform in April 2019. We continue to add new features and additional functionality to this platform each year. These new features will enable our platform to facilitate the contracting, workflow, and delivery of direct content as well as provide for invoicing, collaborating and direct payments for our SaaS customers. We incurred and capitalized software development costs of $590,549 and $755,164 in our balance sheet during the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Our team believes that constant innovation is the only way to achieve long-term growth and our intention is to focus the majority of our engineering resources on the IZEAx platform for the foreseeable future. We intend to continue to invest in the creation of new technology additions that complement our core offerings.


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Competition

We face competition from multiple companies in the influencer and content marketing categories. Direct and indirect competitors in the influencer marketing space include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linqia and Collective Bias. We also face competition in the content marketing space from companies such as Contently, NewsCred and Scripted. In addition, there are a number of traditional advertising agencies, public relations firms and niche consultancies that provide content development and conduct manual influencer outreach programs.

Competition could result in significant price competition, declining margins and reductions in advertising revenue. In addition, as we continue our efforts to expand the scope of our services with IZEAx, we may compete with a greater number of other companies across an increasing range of different services, including in vertical markets where competitors may have advantages in expertise, brand recognition and other areas. If existing or future competitors develop or offer products or services that provide significant performance, price, creative or other advantages over those offered by us, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be negatively affected.

We also compete with traditional advertising media such as direct mail, television, radio, cable and print for a share of marketers' total advertising budgets. Many current and potential competitors enjoy competitive advantages over us, such as longer operating histories, greater name recognition, larger customer bases, greater access to advertising space on high-traffic websites, and significantly greater financial, technical, sales and marketing resources.

Proprietary Rights

Proprietary rights are important to our success and our competitive position. To evolve and secure our proprietary rights, we rely on intellectual property and trade secret laws, confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions.

As of December 31, 2019, we owned 34 domestic trademark registrations in the United States, 14 foreign registrations on the International Register, and had 4 total pending applications (3 in the United States and 1 foreign). During the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, we abandoned 1 inactive U.S. trademark. As of December 31, 2019, we also owned approximately 314 domain names related to the various aspects of IZEA’s products and services.

We actively protect our intellectual property rights but have encountered challenges following the decisions in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S.208, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) and Intellectual Ventures I LLC vs. Symantec Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2016), which changed the patent environment for software-based applications. As a result, given the difficulty in overcoming U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejections of certain of our pending patent applications, management has decided not to actively pursue, at this time, patent protection for our software-based applications. We met with similar resistance in seeking patent protection for our software-based applications internationally. However, we retain our pending foreign patent application in Brazil.

Government Regulation

We are subject to a number of foreign and domestic laws and regulations that affect companies conducting business on the Internet, many of which are still evolving and could be interpreted by regulators or in the courts in ways that could adversely affect our business model. In the United States and abroad, laws relating to the liability of providers of online services for activities of their users and other third parties are currently being tested by a number of claims. These regulations and laws may involve taxation, tariffs, privacy and data protection, consumer protection, content, copyrights, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, and online payment services. In addition, governments may seek to censor content available on our platforms or may even attempt to completely block access to our platforms. Accordingly, adverse legal or regulatory developments could substantially harm our business.

We are subject to a variety of federal, state and international laws and regulations governing privacy, information security and data protection laws (“Privacy Laws”). Legislators and/or regulators in countries in which we operate are increasingly adopting or revising Privacy Laws. All U.S. states have passed data breach notification laws and others have adopted or expanded laws and regulations that address the security of personal information and the collection and use of personal information through websites. In particular, California passed a broad-reaching consumer privacy law in June 2018.
The U.S. Congress also is considering implementation of a national Privacy Law. Outside the U.S., the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective May 25, 2018, has extra-territorial scope and substantial fines (up to 4% of global annual revenue or €20M, whichever is greater). In 2018, Brazil passed a law similar to GDPR and other countries are considering similar laws.Enforcement of Privacy Laws also has increased over the past few years.Accordingly, new and revised Privacy Laws, together with stepped-up enforcement of existing Privacy Laws, could significantly affect our current

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and planned privacy, data protection and information security-related practices, our collection, use, sharing, retention and safeguarding of consumer and/or employee information and some of our current or planned business activities. Furthermore, the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act has provisions that limit, but do not necessarily eliminate, our liability for linking to third-party websites that contain materials that infringe copyrights or other intellectual property rights of third parties, so long as we comply with the statutory requirements of this act. Complying with these various laws could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner adverse to our business.

We, as an e-commerce service provider, are subject to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 (the “FTC Act”), which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including advertising and marketing on the Internet. At the state level, a majority of states have consumer protection laws similar to the FTC Act that also prohibit unfair and deceptive business practices. In certain cases, we are retained by marketers to manage their advertising campaigns through our platforms, thereby increasing our exposure as not only the service provider but also the medium through which advertisements are broadcast. In addition to those requirements, the marketers, creators, and agencies that use our platforms are subject to specific guidance and regulations regarding online advertising, such as the Dot Com Disclosures - Information about Online Advertising, issued by the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements, issued in 2015, and the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (known as the Endorsement Guide) which were adopted in 2009, updated and reissued by the FTC in 2013, and further clarified in 2015 and are regularly enforced. The Endorsement Guide, for example, significantly extends the scope of potential liability associated with the use of testimonials and endorsements, including injecting endorsement requirements into advertising methods such as blogging, posting on Instagram, tweeting, and other online posting of sponsored advertisements by a creator. In particular, the Endorsement Guide provides that creators must always clearly and conspicuously disclose the material connection between the creator and the marketer, such as if they received consideration for blogging or posting about a particular product, service, brand or the like, whether the consideration comprises something tangible (i.e. cash, discounts, objects that are provided to them at no cost, even for testing purposes) or intangible (such as accolades and more prominent future blogging or posting opportunities). In addition, the creator must not make claims about the product or service he or she is discussing that go beyond what the marketer could say about the product or service. The Endorsement Guide further provides that the marketer should ensure that creators speaking on its behalf are provided guidance and training needed to ensure their claims, statements and representations are truthful, transparent and properly substantiated, and monitor the activities of creators speaking on its behalf. If a creator, blogger, agency or marketer should fail to comply with the Dot Com Disclosures, the Endorsement Guide or any other FTC rule, regulation or policy, which may be manifest by making deceptive, misleading or unsubstantiated claims and representations, failing to disclose a sponsorship relationship or otherwise, then various parties related to the advertising campaign (including the service provider of the platform over which the campaign is managed) may be subject to liability as a result of such non-compliance. In the event it was found that we (or one of our marketer customers) failed to comply with the FTC Act or state consumer protection laws, it could result in the potential imposition of equitable redress or penalties that could include monetary damages, a modification of certain business practices, or an order to cease certain aspects of our operations. Other countries, such as Canada and EU member states, also have laws, regulations and rules that mirror the FTC Endorsement Guide and similar consumer protection laws and guidance.

More generally, if there is negative consumer perception and mistrust of the practice of compensating creators to endorse the marketers' specific products, then marketers may become less interested in using influencer marketing platforms like ours as a means for advertising which could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business and financial results.
    
We are committed to promoting ethical social sponsorship practices and have established terms of service for users of our platforms, which refer to the Endorsement Guide and include one or more of the following:

Mandatory Disclosure. We mandate disclosure of the sponsored relationship between the marketer and creator. By default, a sponsorship cannot be published through the platform unless a phrase or paragraph disclosing the sponsored relationship is included. For example, a creator is required to select one of a number of disclosure phrases such as “sponsored,” “advertisement” or “ad” prior to the publication of a tweet or a post. Other social sponsorship forms may be monitored through a Disclosure Audit tool that monitors posts on an ongoing basis to make sure they continue to include disclosure after the initial posts are approved. Failure to disclose the sponsored relationship is a violation of our terms of service, which may result in the withholding of payment for the sponsorship and the creator being removed from our network.

Freedom of Choice. Creators are free to choose which sponsorships to publish. Our platforms do not auto-inject a marketer's message into an influencer's social media network.

Authentic Voice. We encourage honesty of opinion in the selection of sponsorships by a creator and similarly we encourage marketers to create opportunities that allow the creator to write the sponsorship in their own words, provided that a

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creator always adheres to our terms of service and code of ethics which includes disclosing their sponsored relationships at all times while using any of the platforms.

Transparency of Identity. Our platforms are designed to be open, safe environment for our marketers, creators and users. In fact, we do not cloak the identities of marketers or creators. Both parties involved in a potential transaction can see each other's profiles and make informed decisions before engaging with each other.

Pre-Publication Marketer Review. Marketers may choose to review their sponsored content before it is published and to request a change to the sponsored content prior to publication in the case of factual inaccuracies.

Reporting Violations. We have zero tolerance for violations of our terms of service and encourage the reporting of violations directly to IZEA. If violations are reported, we promptly investigate them and in appropriate cases, marketers, creators and users are removed from our network and prohibited from using our sites. In addition, we take an active role in reporting spam accounts to Twitter and Facebook.

We also believe, and have subsequently included requirements within our terms of service, based on positions taken by certain federal courts and the FTC, that communications and messages disseminated by creators through social media networks are subject to and must comply at all times with CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) requirements.

To date, we have not been materially impacted by the rules governing messaging over social media networks and social sponsorship, including the CAN-SPAM Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. However, we cannot predict the impact of future regulations on us and marketers and creators who use our platforms, nor can we predict the impact of attempts to circumvent our mechanisms that are designed to ensure compliance.

Employees

As of December 31, 2019, we had a total of 122 employees, of which 117 were full-time employees, including 51 in sales and marketing, 23 in campaign fulfillment, 31 in technology and development and 12 in administration and finance. None of our employees are represented by a collective bargaining agreement, nor have we experienced any work stoppage. We consider our relationship with our employees to be good. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to attract and retain highly qualified engineers, sales and marketing, account management, and senior management personnel.

Available Information
    
IZEA was founded in February 2006 under the name PayPerPost, Inc. and became a public company incorporated in the state of Nevada in May 2011. Effective August 20, 2018, we changed our name from IZEA, Inc. to IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
     
Our executive offices are located at 480 N. Orlando Avenue, Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789 and our telephone number is (407) 674-6911.  We maintain a corporate website at https://izea.com.  Our Annual Report, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, including exhibits, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are available free of charge on our website, as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Our SEC reports and other filings can be accessed through the investors section of our website, or through https://www.sec.gov. Information on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report or any other report we file or furnish with the SEC.

Investors and others should note that we use social media to communicate with our subscribers and the public about our Company, our services, new product developments and other matters. Any information that we consider to be material to an investor's evaluation of our Company will be included in filings accessible through the SEC website, and may also be disseminated using our investor relations website (https://izea.com) and press releases. However, we encourage investors, the media, and others interested in our Company to also review our social media channels @izea on Twitter and izeainc on Facebook. The information contained in these social media channels is not part of, and is not incorporated into or included in, this Annual Report.


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ITEM 1A – RISK FACTORS

In addition to the information set forth in this report, you should carefully consider the factors discussed under Item 1A of Part I to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 regarding the numerous and varied risks, known and unknown, that may prevent us from achieving our goals. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, financial condition or results of operation may be materially and adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our common stock could decline, and investors could lose all or part of their investment. These risk factors may not identify all risks that we face, and our operations could also be affected by factors that are not presently known to us or that we currently consider to be immaterial to our operations.

Risks Related to our Business and Industry
 
We have a history of annual net losses, expect future losses and cannot assure you that we will achieve profitability. We will need to raise additional capital if we are going to continue as a going concern.
 
We have incurred significant net losses and negative cash flow from operations for most periods since our inception, which has resulted in a total accumulated deficit of $60,384,769 as of December 31, 2019.For the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, we had a net loss of $7,290,120, including a $7,167,704 loss from operations.  We have not achieved profitability and cannot be certain that we will be able to maintain these growth rates or realize sufficient revenue to achieve profitability. If we achieve profitability, we may not be able to sustain it.

We will require additional capital in the near term to continue as a going concern to proceed with our business plan and to meet our growth and profitability targets. We believe that cash on hand at December 31, 2019 and other potential sources of cash, including revenues we may generate and additional borrowings on our secured credit facility, will be sufficient to fund our current operations for the next twelve months. However, if we do not increase our borrowing levels or otherwise raise additional capital in the next several months, we will need to significantly slow or pause our development activities until we raise additional funds.

Unfavorable global economic conditions, including as a result of health and safety concerns, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
 
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic and recommended containment and mitigation measures worldwide. As the spread continues throughout the United States, we have directed all of our staff to work from home effective March 16, 2020. All of our business operations and ability to support our customers is fully functional while our employees are working from remote locations. While the disruption is currently expected to be temporary, there is uncertainty around the duration and the total economic impact.

Our business relies heavily on people, and adverse events such as health-related concerns experienced by our employees, the inability to travel and other matters affecting the general work environment will impact our business near term. We cannot fully quantify the impact to our business operations as a result of COVID-19 at this time. We may lose the services of a number of our employees or experience system interruptions, which could lead to diminishment of our regular business operations, inefficiencies and reputational harm. Any of the foregoing could harm our business and we cannot anticipate all the ways in which the current global health crisis and financial market conditions could adversely impact our business.

The outbreak and attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in extreme volatility and disruptions in the capital and credit markets. A severe or prolonged economic downturn could result in a variety of additional risks to our business, including weakened demand from our customers and delays in client payments. Given the current conditions, we may not have the ability to raise additional capital from the financial markets if additional capital is needed to sustain us for extended periods of lost revenue. If we are unable to obtain such additional financing on a timely basis or generate sufficient revenues from operations, we may have to curtail our activities, reduce expenses, and/or sell assets, perhaps on unfavorable terms, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and ultimately we could be forced to discontinue our operations and liquidate.

We identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting in previous years and cannot assure you that additional material weaknesses will not be identified in the future.

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting (as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act). We reported in previous annual reports that
our management identified a material weakness relating to an error in the presentation of revenues and classification of

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expenses in certain financial statements issued in prior years. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Although our management has determined that the remediation of this material weakness has been completed and that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2019, given the complexity of accounting rules and recent turnover of our principal financial officer position, we may in the future identify additional significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. The existence of a material weakness could result in errors in our financial statements that could result in a restatement of financial statements, cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, leading to a decline in our stock price.

We make numerous estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies and these estimates create complexity in our accounting. If our accounting is erroneous or based on assumptions that change or prove to be incorrect, our operating results could change from investor expectations, which could cause our stock price to fall.

We are required to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP. Such estimates and assumptions include, but are not limited to, judgments related to revenue recognition, stock­ based compensation, credit risk, and values surrounding software development, intangible assets and goodwill, and their economic useful lives.
 
Various factors contribute to complexity in our accounting. For example, the recognition of our revenue is governed by certain criteria that determine whether we report revenue either on a gross basis, as a principal, or net basis, as an agent, depending upon the nature of the sales transaction. Changes in how we control and manage our platforms, our contractual terms, our business practices, or other changes in accounting standards or interpretations, may change the reporting of our revenue on a gross to net or net to gross basis. As a result, we may experience significant fluctuations in our revenue depending on the nature of our sales and our reporting of such revenue and related accounting treatment, without any change in our underlying business or net income. Our guidance or estimates about the combination of gross or net revenue are based upon the volumes and characteristics that we believe will be the mix of revenue during the period. Those estimates and assumptions may be inaccurate when made or may be rendered inaccurate by subsequent changes in circumstances, such as changing the characteristics of our offerings or particular transactions in response to client demands, market developments, regulatory pressures, acquisitions, and other factors. In addition, we may incorrectly extrapolate from revenue recognition treatment of prior transactions to future transactions that we believe are similar, but that ultimately are determined to have different characteristics that dictate different revenue reporting treatment. These factors may make our financial reporting more complex and difficult for investors to understand, may make comparison of our results of operations to prior periods or other companies more difficult, may make it more difficult for us to give accurate guidance, and could increase the potential for reporting errors.

Further, our acquisitions have imposed purchase accounting requirements, required us to integrate accounting personnel, systems, and processes, necessitated various consolidation and elimination adjustments, and imposed additional filing and audit requirements. Ongoing evolution of our business, changes in underlying GAAP and any future acquisitions, will compound these complexities. Our operating results may be adversely affected if we make accounting errors or our judgments prove to be wrong, assumptions change or actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our operating results to fall below investor expectations or guidance we may have provided, resulting in a decline in our stock price and potential legal claims.

Impairment of our intangible assets could result in significant charges that would adversely impact our future operating results.

We have significant goodwill of approximately $8.3 million. We assess the potential impairment of goodwill and our finite-lived intangible assets on an annual basis, as well as whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. As of September 30, 2019, we identified a triggering event due to the reduction of our market capitalization below our carrying value as a result of the decline in our stock price. We then performed an interim valuation and determined that the fair value of the Company exceeded the carrying value. Therefore, we determined that goodwill was not impaired as of September 30, 2019. On October 1, 2019, the time of our annual review of goodwill and our finite-lived intangible assets, we determined that there were no material changes in assumptions from the valuation that was performed as of September 30, 2019. We further evaluated our assumptions as of December 31, 2019, to determine if there were any new triggering events from the time of our valuation on September 30, 2019 and determined that there were none. Future adverse changes in these or other unforeseeable factors could result in an impairment charge that would impact our results of operations and financial position in the reporting period identified.

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We have not yet extended our monthly arrangements for flexible office space in our remote offices, nor signed a new lease for our headquarters after our current lease expires in April 2020, which could negatively impact our business.

In light of the uncertain and rapidly evolving situation relating to the spread of the COVID-19 - specifically stay-at-home orders imposed by certain states and localities - we have not signed a renewal on the lease for our corporate headquarters in Winter Park, Florida, which expires in April 2020. Additionally, we plan to vacate and cancel the various co-working facilities our team members use around the country as their terms expire in the next one to six months. As a result, our management team and all of our employees will temporarily work remotely. While our employees are accustomed to working remotely or working with other remote employees and customers, and on March 13, 2020, we proactively instituted a work-from-home policy in response to COVID-19 concerns, our workforce has not previously been fully remote. Although we continue to monitor the situation and may adjust our current plans as more information and guidance become available, not doing business in-person could negatively impact our marketing efforts, challenge our ability to enter into customer contracts in a timely manner, slow down our recruiting efforts, or create operational or other challenges as we adjust to a fully-remote workforce, any of which could harm our business. Additionally, when we determine it prudent to end our work-from-home policy, we will need to enter into a new lease for office space and/or arrangements for the use of co-working facilities. Although we believe suitable office space will be readily available when this time comes, we may encounter difficulties or delays in finalizing the terms of such lease arrangements or in obtaining rent prices at acceptable rates.

Historically, we have not relied upon patents to protect our proprietary technology, and our competitors may be able to offer similar products and services, which would harm our competitive position.

Our success depends upon our proprietary technology. We do not have registered patents on any of our current platforms because we have determined that the costs of patent prosecution outweigh the benefits given the alternative of reliance upon copyright law to protect our computer code and other proprietary technology and properties. In addition to copyright laws, we rely upon service mark and trade secret laws, confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to establish and protect our proprietary rights. As part of our confidentiality procedures, we enter into non-disclosure agreements with our employees and consultants. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our products or to obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary or develop similar technology independently. Policing unauthorized use of our products is difficult, and while we are unable to determine the extent to which piracy of our software products exists, software piracy can be expected to be a persistent problem. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect proprietary rights to as great an extent as do the laws of the United States, and effective copyright, trademark, trade secret and patent protection may not be available in those jurisdictions. Our means of protecting our proprietary rights may not be adequate to protect us from the infringement or misappropriation of such rights by others and we cannot assure you that that our competitors will not independently develop similar technology, duplicate our products and services or design around any intellectual property rights we hold.

We cannot provide any assurance that our proprietary rights with respect to our products or services will be viable or have value in the future since the validity, enforceability and type of protection of proprietary rights in Internet-related industries are uncertain and still evolving.

If third parties claim that we infringe their intellectual property rights, it may result in costly litigation.

We cannot assure you that third parties will not claim our current or future products or services infringe their intellectual property rights. Any such claims, with or without merit, could cause costly litigation that could consume significant management time. As the number of product and services offerings in our market increases and functionalities increasingly overlap, companies such as ours may become increasingly subject to infringement claims. These claims, even if not meritorious, could be expensive to defend and could divert management's attention from operating our business. These claims also might require us to enter into royalty or license agreements. If required, we may not be able to obtain such royalty or license agreements, or obtain them on terms acceptable to us.

Further, in recent years, there has been significant litigation in the United States involving patents and other intellectual property rights, particularly in the software and Internet-related industries. If we become liable to third parties for infringing their intellectual property rights, we could be required to pay a substantial award of damages and to develop non-infringing technology, obtain a license or cease selling the products that contain the infringing intellectual property. We may be unable to develop non-infringing technology or obtain a license on commercially reasonable terms, if at all.

We were named as a defendant in a securities class action lawsuit and other shareholder derivative lawsuits. Other similar or related claims or investigations could result in substantial damages and cost and may divert management’s time and attention from our business.

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We recently settled a securities class action lawsuit and two shareholder derivatives lawsuits filed against us and our management alleging violations of federal securities laws and breaches of fiduciary duties. These lawsuits have, and any other similar or related claims or investigations, could, result in the diversion of management’s time and attention away from business operations, which could harm our business and also harm our relationships with existing customers, vendors and business partners. Lawsuits may also materially damage our reputation and the value of our brand. Our legal expenses incurred in defending the lawsuits, and any other similar or related matters, could be significant, and a ruling against us, or any settlement, could have a material adverse effect on us.

There can be no assurance that any litigation to which we may become a party in the future will be resolved in our favor. Lawsuits that we may become party to are subject to inherent uncertainties, and the costs to us of defending litigation matters will depend upon many unknown factors. Any claim that is successfully decided against us may require us to pay substantial damages, including punitive damages, and other related fees. We may also determine that a settlement of one or more of the actions is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders. Regardless of whether lawsuits are resolved in our favor or if we are the plaintiff or the defendant in the litigation, any lawsuits to which we are or may become a party will likely be expensive and time consuming to defend or resolve.

Intense competition in our target markets could impair our ability to grow and to achieve profitability.
 
The market for influencer and content marketing is highly competitive. We expect this competition to continue to increase, in part because there are no significant barriers to entry to our industry for those that operate in a Managed Services or an agency-type model. Increased competition may result in reduced pricing for managed campaigns, reduced margins and reduced revenue as a result of lost market share. Our principal competitors include other companies that provide marketers with Internet advertising solutions and companies that offer pay per click search services.
 
Within the enterprise software unit of IZEA’s business (“SaaS Services”), while there is a higher technological barrier to entry, IZEA is vulnerable to new entrants with access to fresh capital and the ability to replicate upon previous research and development investments made by us. This is particularly challenging given the minimal opportunity to protect our internet-based software via patents.

We also compete with traditional advertising media, such as direct mail, television, radio, cable and print for a share of marketers' total advertising budgets. Many current and potential competitors enjoy competitive advantages over us, such as longer operating histories, greater name recognition, larger customer bases, greater access to advertising space on high-traffic websites, and significantly greater financial, technical, sales and marketing resources. As a result, we may be unable to compete successfully. If we fail to compete successfully, we could lose customers and our revenue and results of operations could decline.

In addition, as we continue our efforts to expand the scope of our services, we may compete with a greater number of other media companies across an increasing range of different services, including in vertical markets where competitors may have advantages in expertise, brand recognition and other areas. If existing or future competitors develop or offer products or services that provide significant performance, price, creative or other advantages over those offered by us, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be negatively affected.

We are continuing to develop our IZEAx platform and have transitioned certain features and customers from our legacy Ebyline and TapInfluence platforms. Our updated IZEAx platform may not achieve sufficient market acceptance to be commercially viable for open marketplace or SaaS services.

In April 2019, we released version 3.0 of IZEAx, which allows marketers to make offers that require a single creator to complete multiple tasks or deliverables. Throughout the remainder of 2019, we continued to add additional features to support our SaaS partners and integrate the Ebyline and TapInfluence platform offerings for custom content services within our IZEAx platform. By the end of 2019, nearly all of the Ebyline and TapInfluence customers and creators were migrated off of those platforms and onto the IZEAx platform. We are continuing to develop our primary platform, IZEAx, and we intend to focus the majority of our engineering resources on the IZEAx platform for the foreseeable future. We are spending a significant amount of time and resources on the development of this platform, and we cannot provide any assurances of its short or long-term commercial success or growth. There is no assurance that the amount of money being allocated for the platform will be sufficient to complete it, or that such completion will result in significant revenues or profit for us.

With the merging of the two platforms into IZEAx there is a risk of decreased revenue from marketers if they do not understand the changes or do not believe that the IZEAx platform can provide them with a similar or improved service from

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what they received in the Ebyline or TapInfluence platforms. If our marketers and creators do not perceive this platform to be of high value and quality, we may not be able to retain them or acquire new marketers and creators.

We depend on our ability to attract and retain customers that are prepared to offer products or services on compelling terms through IZEAx. Additionally, we rely on marketers who purchase direct custom content from our creators in our platforms. We must continue to attract and retain customers in order to increase revenue and achieve profitability. If existing or future competitors develop or offer products or services that provide significant performance, price, creative or other advantages over this platform, demand for IZEAx may decrease. In addition, we may experience attrition in our customers in the ordinary course of business resulting from several factors, including losses to competitors, mergers, closures or bankruptcies. If we are unable to attract new customers in numbers sufficient to grow our business, or if too many customers are unwilling to offer products or services with compelling terms to our creators through our platforms, of if creators stop offering their services through our platform, our operating results will be adversely affected.

Our total number of user accounts may be higher than the number of our actual individual marketers or creators and may not be representative of the number of persons who are active users.

Our total number of user accounts in the IZEAx platform may be higher than the number of our actual individual marketers and creators because some may have created multiple accounts for different purposes, including different user connections. We define a user connection as a social account or blog that has been added to IZEAx under a user account. It is possible for one user to add as many user connections as they like, and it is common for talent mangers and large publishers to add several connections under a single account. Given the challenges inherent in identifying these creators, we do not have a reliable system to accurately identify the number of actual individual creators, and thus we rely on the number of total user connections and user accounts as our measure of the size of our user base. In addition, the number of user accounts includes the total number of individuals that have completed registration through a specific date, less individuals who have unsubscribed, and should not be considered as representative of the number of persons who continue to actively create to fulfill the sponsorships offered through our platforms. Many users may create an account but may not actively participate in marketplace activities.

Delays in releasing enhanced versions of our products and services could adversely affect our competitive position.
 
As part of our strategy, we expect to periodically release enhanced versions of IZEAx and related services. Even if our new versions contain the features and functionality our customers want, in the event we are unable to timely introduce these new product releases, our competitive position may be harmed. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully complete the development of currently planned or future products in a timely and efficient manner. Due to the complexity of these products, internal quality assurance testing and customer testing of pre-commercial releases may reveal product performance issues, undesirable feature enhancements or additional desirable feature enhancements that could lead us to postpone the release of these new versions. In addition, the reallocation of resources associated with any postponement would likely cause delays in the development and release of other future products or enhancements to our currently available products. Any delay in releasing other future products or enhancements of our products could cause our financial results to be adversely impacted.

We rely on third-party social media platforms to provide the mechanism necessary to deliver influencer marketing, and any change in the platform terms, costs, availability, or access to these technologies could adversely affect our business.

We rely on third-party social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to serve as the mechanism for publishing influencer marketing to targeted audiences, in order to deliver our influencer marketing services to our customers. These platforms include technologies that provide some of the core functionality required to operate the influencer marketing portion of our platform, as well as functionalities such as user traffic reporting, ad-serving, content delivery services and reporting. There can be no assurance that these providers will continue to make all or any of their technologies available to us on reasonable terms, or at all. Third-party social media platforms may start charging fees or otherwise change their business models in a manner that impedes our ability to use their technologies. In any event, we have no control over these companies or their decision-making with respect to granting us access to their social media platforms or providing us with analytical data, and any material change in the current terms, costs, availability or use of their social media platforms or analytical data could adversely affect our business.

Our business depends on continued and unimpeded access to the Internet by us and by our customers and their end users. Internet access providers or distributors may be able to block, degrade or charge for access to our content, which could lead to additional expenses to us and our customers and the loss of end users and advertisers.


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Products and services such as ours depend on our ability and the ability of our customers' users to access the Internet. Currently, this access is provided by companies that have, or in the future may have, significant market power in the broadband and Internet access marketplace, including incumbent telephone companies, cable companies, mobile communications companies and government-owned service providers. Some of these providers may take, or have stated that they may take, measures that could degrade, disrupt, or increase the cost of user access to products or services such as ours by restricting or prohibiting the use of their infrastructure to support or facilitate product or service offerings such as ours, or by charging increased fees to businesses such as ours to provide content or to have users access that content. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released an order, commonly referred to as net neutrality, that, among other things, prohibited (i) the impairment or degradation of lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, application or service and (ii) the practice of favoring some Internet traffic over other Internet traffic based on the payment of higher fees. In December 2017, the FCC voted to overturn the net neutrality regulations imposed by the 2015 order. Internet service providers in the U.S. may now be able to impair or degrade the use of, or increase the cost of using, our products or services. Such interference could result in a loss of existing viewers, subscribers and advertisers, and increased costs, and could impair our ability to attract new viewers, subscribers and advertisers, thereby harming our revenues and growth.

Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could result in unanticipated losses that could adversely affect our results of operations and financial position.

We are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations because a portion of our sales, expenses, assets and liabilities are denominated in foreign currencies. Changes in the value of foreign currencies, particularly the Canadian dollar, affect our results of operations and financial position. With respect to international sales initially priced using U.S. dollars as a cost basis, a decrease in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar would make our products less price competitive. Once the product is sold at a fixed foreign currency price, we could experience foreign currency gains or losses that could have a material effect on our operating results.

New tax treatment of companies engaged in Internet commerce may adversely affect the commercial use of our services and our financial results.
 
Due to the global nature of social media and our services, it is possible that various states or foreign countries might attempt to regulate our transmissions or levy sales, income or other taxes relating to our activities. Tax authorities at the international, federal, state and local levels are currently reviewing the appropriate treatment of companies engaged in Internet commerce. New or revised international, federal, state or local tax regulations may subject us or our creators to additional sales, income and other taxes. We cannot predict the effect of current attempts to impose sales, income or other taxes on commerce over social media. New or revised taxes and, in particular, sales taxes, VAT and similar taxes would likely increase the cost of doing business online and decrease the attractiveness of advertising and selling goods and services over social media. New taxes could also create significant increases in internal costs necessary to capture data, and collect and remit taxes. Any of these events could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
 
We may become subject to government regulation and legal uncertainties that could reduce demand for our products and services or increase the cost of doing business, thereby adversely affecting our financial results.
 
As described in the section “Business - Government Regulation,” we are subject to laws and regulations applicable to businesses generally and certain laws or regulations directly applicable to service providers for advertising and marketing Internet commerce. Due to the increasing popularity and use of social media, it is possible that a number of laws and regulations may become applicable to us or may be adopted in the future with respect to social media covering issues such as: 
truth-in-advertising;
user privacy;
taxation;
right to access personal information;
copyrights;
distribution; and
characteristics and quality of services.
 
The applicability of existing laws governing issues such as property ownership, copyrights and other intellectual property, encryption, taxation, libel and export or import matters to social media platforms is uncertain. The vast majority of these laws were adopted prior to the broad commercial use of social media platforms and related technologies. As a result, they do not contemplate or address the unique issues of social media and related technologies. Changes to these laws intended to address these issues, including some recently proposed changes, could create uncertainty in the social media marketplace. Such

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uncertainty could reduce demand for our services or increase the cost of doing business due to increased costs of litigation or increased service delivery costs.
 
Our influencer marketing business is subject to the risks associated with word of mouth advertising and endorsements, such as violations of the “truth-in-advertising,” the FTC Endorsement Guide and other similar global regulatory requirements and, more generally, loss of consumer confidence.

We do not engage in targeted or online behavioral advertising practices, nor do we compile or use information concerning consumer behavior on an individual level, but we may do so from time to time in the aggregate and on an anonymous basis to analyze our services and offerings, and to better optimize them for improved business results.  As the practice of targeted advertising is increasingly scrutinized by both regulators and the industry alike, a greater emphasis has been placed on educating consumers about their privacy choices on the Internet, and providing them with the right to opt in or opt out of targeted advertising. The common thread throughout both targeted advertising and the FTC requirements described in detail in the section “Business - Government Regulation” is the increased importance placed on transparency between the marketer and the consumer to ensure that consumers know the difference between “information” and “advertising” on the Internet, and are afforded the opportunity to decide how their personal information will be used in the manner to which they are marketed. There is a risk regarding negative consumer perception of the practice of “undisclosed compensation” of social media users to endorse specific products. As described in the section “Business - Government Regulation,” we undertake various measures through controls across our platforms and by monitoring and enforcing our code of ethics to ensure that marketers and creators comply with the FTC's Endorsement Guide (and analogous laws and guidance in other countries) when utilizing our websites, but if competitors and other companies do not, it could create a negative overall perception for the industry. Not only will readers stop relying on blogs for useful, timely and insightful information that enrich their lives by having access to up-to-the-minute information that often bears different perspectives and philosophies, but a lack of compliance will almost inevitably result in greater governmental oversight and involvement in an already-highly regulated marketplace. A pervasive overall negative perception caused by a failure of our own preventative measures or by others not complying with the FTC's Endorsement Guide (among the FTC's other acts, regulations and policies, and among analogous laws and guidance in other countries,) could result in reduced revenue and results of operations and higher compliance costs for us.
 
Failure to comply with federal, state and international privacy laws and regulations, or the expansion of current or the enactment of new privacy laws or regulations, could adversely affect our business.
 
A variety of federal, state and international laws and regulations govern the collection, use, retention, sharing and security of personal information (“Privacy Laws”). Privacy Laws are evolving and subject to potentially differing interpretations. The European Union adopted the GDPR, which went into effect in May 2018, and requires companies to satisfy stricter requirements regarding the handling of personal and sensitive data, including its collection, use, protection and the ability of persons whose data is stored to correct or delete such data about themselves. EU Member States also are enacting national GDPR-implementing laws that are in some cases stricter or different from GDPR.During 2018, Brazil enacted a law similar to GDPR and other countries are expanding or considering their Privacy Laws to follow suit. Complying with these new and expanded Privacy Laws will cause us to incur substantial operational costs or may require us to change our business practices. For example, noncompliance with the GDPR could result in proceedings against us by governmental entities or others and fines up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of annual global revenues as well as damage to our reputation and brand. We also may find it necessary to establish systems to effectuate cross-border personal data transfers of personal information originating from the European Economic Area, Australia, Japan and other non-U.S. jurisdictions, which may involve substantial expense and distraction from other aspects of our business.

We have made public certain statements about our privacy practices concerning the collection, use and disclosure of creators' personal information on our websites and platforms. Several Internet companies have incurred penalties for failing to abide by the representations made in their public-facing privacy policies. In addition, several states have adopted legislation that requires businesses to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect sensitive personal information and to provide notice to consumers in the event of a security breach. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with our public-facing privacy policies, FTC requirements or orders or other federal, state or international privacy or consumer protection-related laws, regulations or industry self-regulatory principles could result in claims, proceedings or actions against us by governmental or other entities or the incurring by us of other liabilities, which could adversely affect our business. In addition, a failure or perceived failure to comply with industry standards or with our own privacy policies and practices could result in a loss of creators or marketers and adversely affect our business. Federal, state and international governmental authorities continue to evaluate the privacy implications of targeted advertising, such as the use of cookies and other tracking technology. The regulation of these cookies and other current online advertising practices could adversely affect our business.
 

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Our business depends on a strong brand, and if we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, or if we receive unfavorable media coverage, our ability to expand our base of creators and marketers will be impaired and our business and operating results will be harmed.
 
We believe that the brand identity that we have developed has significantly contributed to the success of our business. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing the “IZEA” brand is critical to expanding our base of creators and marketers. Maintaining and enhancing our brand may require us to make substantial investments and these investments may not be successful. If we fail to promote, maintain, and protect the “IZEA” brand, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected. We anticipate that, as our market becomes increasingly competitive, maintaining and enhancing our brand may become increasingly difficult and expensive. Unfavorable publicity or consumer perception of our platforms, applications, practices or service offerings, or the offerings of our marketers, could adversely affect our reputation, resulting in difficulties in recruiting, decreased revenue and a negative impact on the number of marketers and the size of our creator base, the loyalty of our creators and the number and variety of sponsorships we offer each day. As a result, our business, prospects, results of operation and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

Our business depends on our ability to maintain and scale the network infrastructure necessary to operate our platforms and applications, and any significant disruption in service on our platforms and applications could result in a loss of creators or marketers.
 
Creators and marketers access our services through our platforms and applications. Our reputation and ability to acquire, retain, and serve our creators and marketers are dependent upon the reliable performance of our platforms and applications and the underlying network infrastructure. If our creator base continues to grow, we will need an increasing amount of network capacity and computing power. We have spent and expect to continue to spend substantial amounts for data centers and equipment and related network infrastructure to handle the traffic on our platforms and applications. The operation of these systems is expensive and complex and could result in operational failures. In the event that our creator base or the amount of traffic on our platforms and applications grows more quickly than anticipated, we may be required to incur significant additional costs. Interruptions in these systems, whether due to system failures, computer viruses or physical or electronic break-ins, could affect the security or availability of our platforms and applications, and prevent our creators and marketers from accessing our services. A substantial portion of our network infrastructure is hosted by third-party providers. Any disruption in these services or any failure of these providers to handle existing or increased traffic could significantly harm our business. Any financial or other difficulties these providers face may adversely affect our business, and we exercise little control over these providers, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide. If we do not maintain or expand our network infrastructure successfully or if we experience operational failures, we could lose current and potential creators and marketers or transactions between the two groups, which could harm our operating results and financial condition.
 
If our security measures are breached, or if our services are subject to attacks that degrade or deny the ability of users to access our platforms, our platforms and applications may be perceived as not being secure, marketers and creators may curtail or stop using our services, and we may incur significant legal and financial exposure.

Our platforms and applications and the network infrastructure that is hosted by third-party providers involve the storage and transmission of marketer and creator proprietary information, and security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss of this information, litigation and potential liability. Our security measures may be breached due to the actions of outside parties, employee error, malfeasance, security flaws in the third-party hosting service that we rely upon or any number of other reasons and, as a result, an unauthorized party may obtain access to our data or our marketers' or creators' data. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, marketers or creators to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data or our marketers' or creators' data.  Although we do have security measures in place, we have had instances where some customers have used fraudulent credit cards in order to pay for our services. While these breaches of our security did not result in material harm to our business, any future breach or unauthorized access could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation and a loss of confidence in the security of our platforms and applications that could potentially have an adverse effect on our business. Because the techniques used to obtain and use unauthorized credit cards, obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures on a timely basis. If an actual or perceived breach of our security occurs, the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures could be harmed and we could lose marketers, creators and vendors and have difficulty obtaining merchant processors or insurance coverage essential for our operations.
 

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If our technology platforms contain defects, we may need to suspend their availability and our business and reputation would be harmed.
 
Platforms as complex as ours often contain unknown and undetected defects or performance problems. Many serious defects are frequently found during the period immediately following introduction and initial release of new platforms or enhancements to existing platforms. Although we attempt to resolve all defects that we believe would be considered serious by our customers before making our platforms available to them, our products are not defect-free. We may not be able to detect and correct defects before releasing our product commercially. We cannot ensure that undetected defects or performance problems in our existing or future products will not be discovered in the future or that known defects, considered minor by us, will not result in serious issues for our customers. Any such defects or performance problems may be considered serious by our customers, resulting in a decrease in our revenues.
 


We may be subject to lawsuits for information by our marketers and our creators, which may affect our business.
 
Laws relating to the liability of providers of online services for activities of their marketers or of their social media creators and for the content of their marketers' listings are currently unsettled. It is unclear whether we could be subjected to claims for defamation, negligence, copyright or trademark infringement or claims based on other theories relating to the information we publish on our websites or the information that is published across our platforms. These types of claims have been brought, sometimes successfully, against online services and print publications in the past. We may not successfully avoid civil or criminal liability for unlawful activities carried out by our marketers or our creators. Our potential liability for unlawful activities of our marketers or our creators or for the content of our marketers' listings could require us to implement measures to reduce our exposure to such liability, which may require us, among other things, to spend substantial resources or to discontinue certain service offerings. Our insurance may not adequately protect us against these types of claims and the defense of such claims may divert the attention of our management from our operations. If we are subjected to such lawsuits, it may adversely affect our business.
 
If we fail to detect click-fraud or other invalid clicks, we could lose the confidence of our marketers and advertising partners as a result of lost revenue to marketers or misappropriation of proprietary and confidential information, thereby causing our business to suffer.
 
“Click-fraud” is a form of online fraud when a person or computer program imitates a legitimate user by intentionally clicking on an advertisement for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having an actual interest in the target of the advertisement's link. We are exposed to the risk of fraudulent or illegitimate clicks on our sponsored listings. The security measures we have in place, which are designed to reduce the likelihood of click-fraud, detect click-fraud from time to time. Although the instances of click-fraud that we have detected to date have not had a material effect on our business, click-fraud could result in a marketer experiencing a reduced return on their investment in our advertising programs because the fraudulent clicks will not lead to revenue for the marketers. As a result, our marketers and advertising partners may become dissatisfied with our advertising programs, which could lead to loss of marketers, advertising partners and revenue. In addition, anyone who is able to circumvent our security measures could misappropriate proprietary and confidential information or could cause interruptions in our operations. We may be required to expend significant capital and other resources to protect against such security breaches or to address problems caused by such breaches. Concerns over the security of the Internet and other online transactions and the privacy of users may also deter people from using the Internet to conduct transactions that involve transmitting confidential information.

The influencer and content marketing industry is subject to rapid technological change and, to compete, we must continually enhance our products and services.
 
We must continue to enhance and improve the performance, functionality and reliability of our products and services. The influencer and content marketing industry is characterized by rapid technological change, changes in user requirements and preferences, frequent new product and service introductions embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards and practices that could render our products and services obsolete. In the past, we have discovered that some of our customers desire additional performance and functionality not currently offered by our products. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to develop new products and services that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of our customers, and respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices on a cost-effective and timely basis. The development of our technology and other proprietary technology involves significant technical and business risks. We may fail to use new technologies effectively or to adapt our proprietary technology and systems to customer requirements

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or emerging industry standards. If we are unable to adapt to changing market conditions, customer requirements or emerging industry standards, we may not be able to increase our revenue and expand our business.
 
If we lose key personnel or are unable to attract and retain additional qualified personnel we may not be able to successfully manage our business and achieve our objectives.

We believe our future success will depend upon our ability to retain our key management, including Edward H. Murphy, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Ryan S. Schram, our Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Murphy, who is our founder, has unique knowledge regarding the influencer marketing space, business contacts, and system design and development expertise regarding our platforms that would be difficult to replace. Mr. Schram has sales, marketing, and business development expertise that our other officers do not possess. Even though we have employment agreements in place with each of them, if Messrs. Murphy and Schram were to become unavailable to us, our operations would be adversely affected. Although we maintain “key-man” life insurance for our benefit on the lives of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Schram, this insurance may be inadequate to compensate us for the loss of our executive officers.

     Our future success and our ability to expand our operations will also depend in large part on our ability to attract and retain additional qualified engineers, sales and marketing and senior management personnel. Competition for these types of employees is intense due to the limited number of qualified professionals and the high demand for them, particularly in the Orlando, Florida area where our headquarters are located. We have in the past experienced difficulty in recruiting qualified personnel. Failure to attract, assimilate and retain personnel, including key management, technical, sales and marketing personnel, would have a material adverse effect on our business and potential growth.
 
Public company compliance may make it more difficult to attract and retain officers and directors.
 
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and new rules subsequently implemented by the SEC have required changes in corporate governance practices of public companies.  As a public company, we expect these rules and regulations to increase our compliance costs and to make certain activities more time consuming and costly.  As a public company, we also expect that these rules and regulations may make it more difficult and expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage.  As a result, it may be more difficult and costly for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Board of Directors or as executive officers.


Risks Relating to our Common Stock

If we fail to regain compliance with the minimum closing bid requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market or to satisfy other requirements for continued listing, our common stock may be delisted and the price of our common stock and our ability to access the capital markets could be negatively impacted.

Our common stock is listed for trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”). To maintain this listing, we must satisfy Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements, including, among other things, a minimum closing bid price requirement of $1.00 per share.

On June 13, 2019, we received a notification letter from Nasdaq informing us that for the prior 30 consecutive business days, the bid price of our common stock had closed below $1.00 per share. This notice had no immediate effect on our Nasdaq listing and we had 180 calendar days, or until December 10, 2019, to regain compliance. Our common stock had not regained compliance with the minimum bid price per share requirement as of such date. Therefore, by letter dated December 10, 2019, we requested an additional 180 days in which to regain compliance, including by effecting a reverse stock split, if necessary.

On December 11, 2019, we received notice from Nasdaq informing us that we have been granted an additional 180-day period, or until June 8, 2020, to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement. If at any time during this second 180-day period the closing bid price of our common stock is at least $1.00 per share for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days and provided we meet the continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other applicable requirements for initial listing on Nasdaq, Nasdaq staff have stated it will provide written confirmation of compliance. If compliance cannot be demonstrated by June 8, 2020, Nasdaq staff will provide written notification that our securities will be delisted. At that time, we have the ability to appeal the staff’s determination to a hearings panel. We can give no assurance that we will regain or demonstrate compliance by June 8, 2020 or that Nasdaq would grant any request for an appeal to a hearings panel.

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If we are unable to regain compliance with the minimum closing bid price requirement by June 8, 2020 or if we fail to meet any of the other continued listing requirements, our common stock may be delisted from Nasdaq, which could reduce the liquidity of our common stock materially and result in a corresponding material reduction in the price of our common stock. In addition, delisting could harm our ability to raise capital through alternative financing sources on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and may result in the potential loss of confidence by investors, employees and business development opportunities. Such a delisting likely would impair your ability to sell or purchase our common stock when you wish to do so. Further, if we were to be delisted from Nasdaq, our common stock may no longer be recognized as a “covered security” and we would be subject to regulation in each state in which we offer our securities. Thus, delisting from Nasdaq could adversely affect our ability to raise additional financing through the public or private sale of equity securities, would significantly impact the ability of investors to trade our securities and would negatively impact the value and liquidity of our common stock.

We have raised, and may need to raise, additional capital to meet our business requirements in the future and such capital raising may be costly or difficult to obtain and could dilute current stockholders’ ownership interests.

We have incurred losses since inception and expect to continue to incur losses until we are able to significantly grow our revenues. Our cash balance as of December 31, 2019 was $5,884,629. However, we expect additional financing transactions will be necessary to meet our business requirements in future years, if we do not achieve profitability.

Although revenue from our SaaS Services is increasing, we have seen a year-over-year decreases in revenue from Managed Services. The majority of this revenue results from numerous individual one-time customer orders, which we cannot predict with reasonable certainty. If our annual revenue does not increase, we may need additional financing to maintain and expand our business. Such financing may not be available on favorable terms, if at all. Any additional capital raised through the sale of equity or equity linked securities may dilute current stockholders’ ownership percentages and could also result in a decrease in the market value of our equity securities. The terms of any securities issued by us in future capital transactions may be more favorable to new investors, and may include preferences, superior voting rights and the issuance of warrants or other derivative securities, which may have a further dilutive effect on the holders of any of our securities then outstanding.

If we are unable to obtain such additional financing on a timely basis or generate sufficient revenues from operations, we may have to curtail our activities and growth plans, reduce expenses, and/or sell assets, perhaps on unfavorable terms, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, and ultimately we could be forced to discontinue our operations and liquidate, in which event it is unlikely that stockholders would receive any distribution on their shares.

In addition, we may incur substantial costs in pursuing future capital financing, including investment banking fees, legal fees, accounting fees, securities law compliance fees, printing and distribution expenses and other costs. We may be required to bear the costs even if we are unable to successfully complete any such capital financing. We may also be required to recognize non-cash expenses in connection with certain securities we issue, such as convertible promissory notes and warrants, which may adversely impact our financial results.

Exercise of stock options, warrants and other securities will dilute your percentage of ownership and could cause our stock price to fall.
 
As of March 27, 2020, we had 35,077,660 shares of common stock issued, which includes 350,510 shares of unvested restricted stock, outstanding stock options to purchase 1,349,002 shares of our common stock at an average exercise price of $3.18 per share, unvested restricted stock units of 1,030,225 shares with an intrinsic value of $182,350, and outstanding warrants to purchase 12,500 shares of our common stock at an average exercise price of $10.20 per share.

As of March 27, 2020, we also have reserved shares to issue stock options, restricted stock or other awards to purchase or receive up to 1,268,085 shares of common stock under our May 2011 Equity Incentive Plan, 4,375 shares of common stock under our August 2011 Equity Incentive Plan, and 410,817 shares of common stock under our 2014 Employee Stock Purchase Plan. In the future, we may grant these additional shares or issue new securities, in accordance with terms defined in employment agreements or as part of additional incentive programs. The exercise, conversion or exchange by holders of stock options, restricted stock units, or warrants for shares of common stock, or the issuance of new shares of common stock for additional compensation future equity offerings will dilute the percentage ownership of our stockholders. Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock could cause the price of our common stock to fall and could impair our ability to raise capital by selling additional securities.


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If securities or industry analysts do not publish or cease publishing research or reports about us, our business, or our market, or if they adversely change their recommendations regarding our stock, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
 
The trading market for our common stock is influenced by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. No person is under any obligation to publish research or reports on us, and any person publishing research or reports on us may discontinue doing so at any time without notice. If adequate research coverage is not maintained on our company or if any of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business or provide relatively more favorable recommendations about our competitors, our stock price would likely decline. If any analysts who cover us were to cease coverage of our Company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

Our earnings are subject to substantial quarterly and annual fluctuations and to market downturns.
 
Our revenues and earnings may fluctuate significantly in the future. General economic or other political conditions may cause a downturn in the market for our products or services. A future downturn in the market for our products or services could adversely affect our operating results and increase the risk of substantial quarterly and annual fluctuations in our earnings. Our future operating results may be affected by many factors, including, but not limited to: our ability to retain existing or secure anticipated marketers and creators; our ability to develop, introduce and market new products and services on a timely basis; changes in the mix of products developed, produced and sold; disputes with our marketers and creators; and general economic conditions causing a reduction in spending by our customers.  These factors affecting our future earnings are difficult to forecast and could harm our quarterly and/or annual operating results. The change in our earnings or general economic conditions may cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate.
 
Our stock price may be volatile.

While our shares of common stock are listed for trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market, the stock market in general, and the stock prices of technology-based companies in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of any specific public company.  The market price of our common stock has historically experienced and may continue to experience significant volatility. As a result, the market price could fluctuate widely in price in response to various factors, many of which are beyond our control, including the following:
changes in our industry;
competitive pricing pressures;
our ability to obtain working capital financing;
additions or departures of key personnel;
limited “public float” in the hands of a small number of persons whose sales or lack of sales could result in positive or negative pricing pressure on the market prices of our common stock;
expiration of any Rule 144 holding periods or registration of unregistered securities issued by us;
sales of our common stock;
our ability to execute our business plan;
operating results that fall below expectations;
loss of any strategic relationship;
regulatory developments; and
economic and other external factors, including effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
These and other market and industry factors may cause the market price and demand for our common stock to fluctuate substantially, regardless of our actual operating performance, which may limit or prevent investors from readily selling their shares of common stock and may otherwise negatively affect the liquidity of our common stock.



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ITEM 1B - UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.


ITEM 2 - PROPERTIES

Our corporate headquarters are located at 480 N. Orlando Avenue, Suite 200 in Winter Park, Florida. We occupy this 15,500 square foot space pursuant to a sublease agreement with a term that originally expired in April 2019. In January 2019, we exercised our option to extend this lease for one additional year until April 2020. There are no additional renewal terms within the existing agreement. We also occupy flexible office space under monthly membership contracts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, Illinois, and Toronto. We believe these facilities are adequate and suitable for our current business needs. We do not own any real property. Given the current economic environment, we are considering all our options for our headquarters after April 2020, including remote working environments and flexible leased office space.


ITEM 3 – LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

A securities class action lawsuit, Julian Perez, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. IZEA, Inc., et al., case number 2:18-cv-02784-SVW-GJS was instituted April 4, 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against us and certain of our executive officers on behalf of certain purchasers of our common stock. The plaintiffs sought to recover damages for investors under federal securities laws. The Company estimated and accrued a potential loss of $500,000 relating to its potential liability arising from the Perez lawsuit and accrued for such amount in its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 included in this Annual Report. 
     On April 15, 2019, a stipulation of settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that contained settlement terms as agreed upon by the parties to the Perez class action lawsuit described above. The motion for preliminary approval of the settlement was granted on May 7, 2019. According to the terms of the settlement, as agreed upon by the parties, IZEA’s insurer deposited $800,000 into the settlement fund and the Company paid the remainder of the Company’s previously accrued insurance deductible of $400,000 into escrow to be used as settlement funds, inclusive of lead plaintiff awards and lead counsel fees. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an order approving the settlement of the Perez class action lawsuit on September 26, 2019, which required that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice.

On July 3, 2018, a shareholder derivative lawsuit, Korene Stuart v. Edward H. Murphy et al., case number A-18-777135-C was instituted in the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, Clark County against certain executive officers and members of the Board of Directors for IZEA. IZEA was named as a nominal defendant. The plaintiff sought to recover damages on behalf of the Company for purported breaches of the individual defendants’ fiduciary duties as directors and/or officers of IZEA, unjust enrichment, abuse of control, gross mismanagement, and waste of corporate assets in violation of state common law.

Additionally, on October 19, 2018, a shareholder derivative lawsuit, Dennis E. Emond v. Edward H. Murphy et al., case number 2:18-cv-9040, was instituted in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against certain executive officers and members of the Board of Directors for IZEA.  IZEA was named as a nominal defendant.  An amended complaint was filed on October 31, 2018. The plaintiff sought to recover damages on behalf of the Company for purported breaches of the individual defendants’ fiduciary duties as directors and/or officers of IZEA, and gross mismanagement, and under federal securities laws.

On March 6, 2019, a stipulation of settlement was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California that contained settlement terms as agreed upon by the parties to the Stuart and Emond shareholder derivative lawsuits described above (the “Settlement”). The Settlement terms agreed upon by the parties included that IZEA would direct its insurers to make a payment of $300,000 as a fee and service award to the plaintiffs and their counsel in the Stuart and Emond lawsuits and further that IZEA would enact certain corporate governance reforms. The motion for preliminary approval of the Settlement was granted on August 28, 2019 by the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an order on January 13, 2020, which required that the Emond lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice.  According to the terms of the Settlement, as agreed upon by the parties, following the approval of the Settlement by the U. S. District Court for the Central District of California and on or before February 26, 2020, the parties were required to seek an order from the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada dismissing the Stuart lawsuit with prejudice. On or about March 6, 2020, the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada issued an order dismissing the Stuart lawsuit with prejudice.

From time to time, we may become involved in various other lawsuits and legal proceedings that arise in the ordinary course of our business. Litigation is, however, subject to inherent uncertainties, and an adverse result in these or other matters may arise from time to time that may harm our business. We are currently not aware of any other legal proceedings or claims that we believe would or could have, individually or in the aggregate, a material adverse effect on us. Regardless of final outcomes, however, any such proceedings or claims may nonetheless impose a significant burden on management and employees and may come with costly defense costs or unfavorable preliminary interim rulings.


ITEM 4 – MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.


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PART II


ITEM 5 - MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Common Stock Information

Our shares of common stock trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol IZEA. As of March 30, 2020, we had approximately 189 shareholders of record of our common stock.  This number does not include beneficial owners whose shares are held in the names of various securities brokers, dealers and registered clearing agencies.

Dividend Policy

We have never paid dividends to holders of our common stock and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future as we intend to retain any earnings for use in our business. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

See the section “Equity Compensation Plan Information,” under Part III, Item 11 of this Annual Report.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

Except as previously reported in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC during the year ended December 31, 2019, there were no unregistered sales of equity securities by us during the year ended December 31, 2019.     
    
Share Repurchase Program

On July 1, 2019, the Board authorized and approved a share repurchase program under which the Company may repurchase up to $3,500,000 of its common stock from time to time through December 31, 2020, subject to market conditions. As of December 31, 2019, the Company had not repurchased any shares of common stock under the share repurchase program.


ITEM 6 - SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

Not applicable for smaller reporting companies.


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ITEM 7 – MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Company Overview
IZEA creates and operates online marketplaces that connect marketers, including brands, agencies, and publishers, with content creators such as bloggers and tweeters (“creators”). Our technology brings the marketers and creators together, enabling their transactions to be completed at scale through the management of custom content workflow, creator search and targeting, bidding, analytics and payment processing.
We help power the creator economy, allowing everyone from college students and stay-at-home individuals to celebrities and accredited journalists the opportunity to monetize their content, creativity and influence through our marketers. These creators are compensated by IZEA for producing unique content such as long and short form text, videos, photos, status updates, and illustrations for marketers or distributing such content on behalf of marketers through their personal websites, blogs, and social media channels.
Marketers engage us to gain access to our industry expertise, technology, data, analytics, and network of creators. The majority of the marketers engage us to perform these services on their behalf, but they also have the ability to use our marketplaces on a self-service basis by licensing our technology. Our technology is used for two primary purposes: the engagement of creators for influencer marketing campaigns, or the engagement of creators to create stand-alone custom content for the marketers’ own use and distribution. Marketers receive influential consumer content and engaging, shareable stories that drive awareness.
    Our primary technology platform, The IZEA Exchange (“IZEAx”) enables transactions to be completed at scale through the management of custom content workflow, creator search and targeting, bidding, analytics, and payment processing. IZEAx is designed to provide a unified ecosystem that enables the creation and publication of multiple types of custom content through a creator’s personal websites, blogs, or social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, among others. Until December 2019 when it was merged into IZEAx, we operated the Ebyline technology platform, which we acquired in January 2015. The Ebyline platform was originally designed as a self-service content marketplace to replace editorial newsrooms located in the news agencies with a “virtual newsroom” of creators to produce their content needs and to handle their content workflow. After the acquisition, we began to utilize the creators in the Ebyline platform to produce professional custom content for brands, in addition to the self-service functionality used by newspapers. In July 2016, we acquired the ZenContent technology platform to use as an in-house workflow tool that enables us to produce highly scalable, multi-part production of content for both e-commerce entities, as well as brand customers. The TapInfluence technology platform, acquired in 2018, performed in a similar manner to IZEAx and was being utilized by the majority of the TapInfluence customers as a self-service platform via a licensing arrangement, allowing access to the platform and its creators for self-managed marketing campaigns. By the end of 2019, nearly all of the Ebyline and TapInfluence customers and creators were migrated off of those platforms and onto the IZEAx platform.

Key Components of Results of Operations

Overall consolidated results of operations are evaluated based on Revenue, Cost of Revenue, Sales and Marketing expenses, General and Administrative expenses, Depreciation and Amortization, and Other Income (Expense), net.

Revenue

We generate revenue from five primary sources: (1) revenue from our managed services when a marketer (typically a brand, agency or partner) pays us to provide custom content, influencer marketing, amplification or other campaign management services (“Managed Services”); (2) revenue from fees charged to software customers on their marketplace spend within our IZEAx and TapInfluence platforms (“Marketplace Spend Fees”); (3) revenue from fees charged to access the IZEAx, Ebyline, and TapInfluence platforms (“License Fees”); (4) revenue from transactions generated by the self-service use of our Ebyline platform for professional custom content workflow (“Legacy Workflow Fees”); and (5) revenue derived from other fees such as inactivity fees, early cash-out fees, and plan fees charged to users of our platforms (“Other”). After the migration of the last customers from the Ebyline platform to IZEAx in December 2019, there will no longer be any revenue generated from the Legacy Workflow Fees and all future revenue will be reported as Marketplace Spend Fees.

As discussed in more detail within “Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates” under Part II, Item 7 and in “Note 1. Company and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” under Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report, revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees is reported on a net basis and revenue from all other sources, including Managed Services, License Fees and Other are reported on a gross basis. We further categorize these sources into three primary

24


groups: (1) Managed Services (2) SaaS Services, which includes revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees, License Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees, and (3) Other.

Cost of Revenue

    Our cost of revenue consists of direct costs paid to our third-party creators who provide the custom content, influencer marketing or amplification services for our Managed Service customers where we report revenue on a gross basis. It also includes internal costs related to our campaign fulfillment and SaaS support departments.These costs include salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock­-based compensation, employee benefit costs, and miscellaneous departmental costs related to the personnel who are primarily responsible for providing support to our customers and ultimately fulfillment of our obligations under our contracts with customers. Where appropriate, we capitalize costs that were incurred with software that is developed or acquired for our revenue supporting platforms and amortize these costs over the estimated useful lives of those platforms. This amortization is separately stated under depreciation and amortization in our consolidated statements of operations.

Sales and Marketing
    
Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock­-based compensation, employee benefit costs, travel and miscellaneous departmental costs for our sales and sales support personnel, as well as marketing expenses such as brand marketing, public relation events, trade shows and marketing materials, and travel expenses.

General and Administrative
    
Our general and administrative expense consists primarily of salaries, bonuses, commissions, stock­-based compensation, employee benefit costs, and miscellaneous departmental costs related to our executive, finance, legal, human resources, and other administrative personnel. It also includes travel, public company and investor relations expenses, as well as accounting and legal professional services fees, leasehold facilities­ related costs, and other corporate­ related expenses. General and administrative expense also includes our technology and development costs consisting primarily of our payroll costs for our internal engineers and contractors responsible for developing, maintaining and improving our technology, as well as hosting and software subscription costs. These costs are expensed as incurred, except to the extent that they are associated with internal use software that qualifies for capitalization, which are then recorded as software development costs in the consolidated balance sheet. We also capitalize costs that are related to our acquired intangible assets. Depreciation and amortization related to these costs are separately stated under depreciation and amortization in our consolidated statements of operations. General and administrative expense also includes current period gains and losses on costs previously accrued related to our acquisitions.

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization consists primarily of amortization of our internal use software and acquired intangible assets from our business acquisitions. To a lesser extent, we also have depreciation and amortization on equipment and leasehold improvements used by our personnel. Costs are amortized or depreciated over the estimated useful lives of the associated assets.

Other Income (Expense)

Interest Expense. Interest expense is mainly related to the imputed interest on our acquisition costs payable and interest when we use our secured credit facility.
    
Change in Fair Value of Derivatives, net. On occasion, we enter into financing transactions that give rise to derivative liabilities. Additionally, we issue restricted stock that may vest over future periods. These financial instruments are carried at fair value in our financial statements. Changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments are required to be recorded in other income (expense) in the period of change.

Other Income (Expense). Other income consists primarily of interest income for interest earned or changes in value on our cash and cash equivalent balances and foreign currency exchange gains and losses on foreign currency transactions, primarily related to the Canadian Dollar.

25


Results of Operations for the Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated statements of operations and the change between the periods:
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2019
 
2018
 
$ Change
% Change
Revenue
$
18,955,672

 
$
20,099,695

 
$
(1,144,023
)
(6
)%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Costs and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of revenue (exclusive of amortization)
8,521,353

 
9,042,155

 
(520,802
)
(6
)%
Sales and marketing
6,240,263

 
6,484,320

 
(244,057
)
(4
)%
General and administrative
9,611,131

 
8,683,911

 
927,220

11
 %
Depreciation and amortization
1,750,629

 
1,298,359

 
452,270

35
 %
Total costs and expenses
26,123,376

 
25,508,745

 
614,631

2
 %
Loss from operations
(7,167,704
)
 
(5,409,050
)
 
(1,758,654
)
33
 %
Other income (expense):
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest expense
(233,654
)
 
(269,473
)
 
35,819

(13
)%
Change in fair value of derivatives, net

 
(11,794
)
 
11,794

(100
)%
Other income (expense), net
111,238

 
(28,090
)
 
139,328

(496
)%
Total other expense, net
(122,416
)
 
(309,357
)
 
186,941

(60
)%
Net loss
$
(7,290,120
)
 
$
(5,718,407
)
 
$
(1,571,713
)
27
 %

Revenue
The following table illustrates our revenue by type, the percentage of total revenue by type, and the change between the periods:
 
Twelve Months Ended
December 31,
 
 
 
 
2019
 
2018
 
$ Change
% Change
Managed Services Revenue
$
15,432,868

81
%
 
$
17,594,124

88
%
 
$
(2,161,256
)
(12
)%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legacy Workflow Fees
156,119

1
%
 
216,173

1
%
 
(60,054
)
(28
)%
Marketplace Spend Fees
1,270,560

7
%
 
1,080,609

5
%
 
189,951

18
 %
License Fees
1,986,285

10
%
 
1,151,242

6
%
 
835,043

73
 %
SaaS Services Revenue
3,412,964

18
%
 
2,448,024

12
%
 
964,940

39
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Revenue
109,840

1
%
 
57,547

%
 
52,293

91
 %
Total Revenue
$
18,955,672

100
%
 
$
20,099,695

100
%
 
$
(1,144,023
)
(6
)%

Historically, we have invested the majority of our time and resources in our Managed Services business, which provides the majority of our revenue. Our acquisitions of Ebyline and ZenContent allowed us to expand our product offerings to provide custom content in addition to and in combination with our influencer marketing campaigns to expand our Managed Services. Our July 2018 merger with TapInfluence provided a springboard for SaaS Services and an immediate increase of market share in the Marketplace Spend Fees and License Fees on SaaS Services.    
Managed Services is generated when a marketer (typically a brand, agency or partner) pays us to provide custom content, influencer marketing, amplification or other campaign management services. Managed Services revenue during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, decreased 12% from the same period in 2018, due to a 30% decrease in our front-line sales personnel which resulted in lower bookings and revenue in the first three quarters of 2019. However, revenue per sales person increased approximately 25% compared to 2018.
SaaS Services revenue is generated by the self-service use of our technology platforms by marketers to manage their own content workflow and influencer marketing campaigns. It consists of fees earned on the marketer’s spend within the IZEAx, TapInfluence and Ebyline platforms, along with the license and support fees to access the platform services.    

26


Legacy Workflow Fees revenue represents self-service transactions through the Ebyline platform for professional custom content workflow. This revenue has been declining year over year due to the ongoing consolidation and cutbacks in the newspaper industry, natural customer attrition and customer migration to our IZEAx platform. Revenue from Legacy Workflow Fees decreased to $156,119 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, compared to $216,173 for same period in 2018. With the addition of TapInfluence and its SaaS revenue model and our modifications to IZEAx which now allows marketers to purchase custom content, in addition to sponsored posts, we have migrated the last customers from the Ebyline platform into IZEAx in December 2019 and will no longer have any revenue from this source.
Marketplace Spend Fees revenue primarily results from marketers and partners using the IZEAx, and beginning in July 2018, the TapInfluence, platforms on a SaaS basis to distribute content for marketing and influencer marketing campaigns. We increased our revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees by $189,951 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 when compared with the same period of 2018, primarily as a result of our merger with TapInfluence as well as an increased investment in SaaS sales efforts. Revenue from Marketplace Spend Fees represents our net margins received on this business.
License Fees revenue is generated primarily through the granting of limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable licenses to customers for the use of the IZEAx and TapInfluence technology platforms for an agreed-upon subscription period. Customers license the platforms to manage their own influencer marketing campaigns. Fees for subscription or licensing services are recognized straight-line over the term of the service. License Fees revenue increased during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 to $1,986,285, primarily as a result of the merger with TapInfluence as well as an increased investment in SaaS sales efforts, compared to $1,151,242 in the same period of the prior year.
Other revenue consists of other fees, such as inactivity fees, early cash-out fees, and plan fees charged to users of our platforms. These fees did not have a significant effect on our revenue for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 or 2018.

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 decreased by $520,802, or approximately 6%, compared to the same period in 2018. Cost of revenue as a percentage of revenue remained consistent at 45% in 2018 and 45% in 2019.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 decreased by $244,057, or approximately 4%, compared to the same period in 2018. Our average number of direct sales personnel, excluding support personnel, decreased by 22% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 when compared with 2018 which, along with the decrease in variable compensation linked with sales performance, contributed to a reduction in sales and marketing payroll and personnel related expenses. This decrease was offset by a $248,000 increase in our marketing expenses to generate awareness and future revenue.

General and Administrative
General and administrative expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 increased by $927,220, or approximately 11%, compared to the same period in 2018. General and administrative expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 increased due to (i) an impairment on our software & technology intangible assets of approximately $418,000 due to the phase out of certain technology after migration into IZEAx, (ii) increased contractor costs of approximately $232,000 due to additional engineering and accounting contractors utilized during 2019 and approximately $165,000 less in capitalized developments costs, (iii) increased software and license fees of approximately $311,000 for additional web hosting costs for additional data usage from users in our system, (iv) higher payroll, stock compensation, and personnel-related expenses of approximately $57,000 due to higher salaries,and (v) increased insurance expense of approximately $33,000 due to increases in our insurance premiums.
General and administrative expense decreased by approximately $640,000 as a result of decreased professional fees compared to the same period in 2018. Prior year professional fees were higher than normal due to our acquisition activities, additional procedures related to revised statements and implementation of ASC 606 in our public filings, along with an accrual of $500,000 for estimated legal expenses on litigation.

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 increased by $452,270, or

27


approximately 35%, compared to the same period in 2018.

Depreciation and amortization expense on property and equipment was $131,121 and $222,912 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Depreciation expense has declined primarily due to certain assets becoming fully depreciated.

Amortization expense was $1,619,508 and $1,075,447 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Amortization expense related to intangible assets acquired in the Ebyline, ZenContent, and TapInfluence acquisitions was $1,228,433 and $780,960 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, while amortization expense related to internal use software development costs was $391,075 and $294,487 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Amortization on our intangible acquisition assets increased in 2019 due to the full year of amortization of the TapInfluence intangible assets acquired in July 2018. However, this expense will decrease in the future periods as these assets are fully amortized. Amortization on our internal use software is expected to increase in future periods due to the release of IZEAx 3.0 in April 2019.

Other Income (Expense)
 
Interest expense decreased by $35,819 to $233,654 during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 due primarily to the elimination of borrowings on our secured credit facility after May 2019 and the reduction in amounts owed on our acquisition costs payable in 2019.

We recorded $11,794 resulting from the change in the fair value of restricted stock for the twelve months ended December 31, 2018 with no comparable amount for the same period in 2019.

The $139,328 increase in other income during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018 results from a combination of net currency exchange gains related to our Canadian transactions, and interest and value earned on our invested cash and cash equivalents subsequent to our May 2019 equity offering.

Net Loss
 
Net loss for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 was $7,290,120, a $1,571,713 increase in the net loss of $5,718,407 for the same period in 2018. The increase in net loss was impacted largely by increases in non-cash items such as asset impairment and amortization and changes in acquisition cost values discussed above.


Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Below are financial measures of our gross billings and Adjusted EBITDA. These are “non-GAAP financial measures” as defined under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We use these non-GAAP financial measures to assess the progress of our business and make decisions on where to allocate our resources. As our business evolves, we may make changes in future periods to the key financial metrics that we consider to measure our business.

Gross Billings by Revenue Stream
Company management evaluates its operations and makes strategic decisions based, in part, on gross billings from its two primary types of revenue, Managed Services and SaaS Services. We define gross billings as the total dollar value of the amounts earned from our customers for the services we performed, or the amounts billed to our customers for their self-service purchase of goods and services on our platforms. Gross billings are the amounts of our reported revenue plus the cost of payments we made to third-party creators providing the content or sponsorship services, which are netted against revenue for generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”) reporting purposes.

Gross billings for Managed Services is the same as revenue reported in our consolidated statements of operations on a GAAP basis, as there is no requirement to net the costs of revenue against the revenue. Gross billings for Marketplace Spend and Legacy Workflow Fees (which are included in SaaS Services) differ from revenue reported for these services in our consolidated statements of operations on a GAAP basis. These services are presented net of the amounts we pay to the third-party creators providing the content or sponsorship services. Gross billings for all other revenue types equals the revenue reported in our consolidated statements of operations.

We consider gross billings to be an important indicator of our potential performance as it measures the total dollar volume of transactions generated through our marketplaces. Tracking gross billings allows us to monitor the percentage of

28


gross billings that we are able to retain after payments to our creators. Additionally, tracking gross billings is critical as it pertains to our credit risk and cash flow. We invoice our customers based on our services performed or based on their self-service transactions plus our fee. Then we remit the agreed-upon transaction price to the creators. If we do not collect the money from our customers prior to the time of payment to our creators, we could experience large swings in our cash flows. Finally, gross billings allows us to evaluate our transaction totals on an equal basis in order for us to see our contribution margins by revenue stream so that we can better understand where we should be allocating our resources.

The following table sets forth our gross billings by revenue type, the percentage of total gross billings by type, and the change between the periods:
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2019
 
2018
 
$ Change
 
% Change
Managed Services Gross Billings
$
15,432,868

 
53%
 
$
17,594,124

 
59%
 
$
(2,161,256
)
 
(12)%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legacy Workflow Fees
2,155,550

 
8%
 
3,048,503

 
10%
 
(892,953
)
 
(29)%
Marketplace Spend Fees
9,264,892

 
32%
 
8,127,774

 
27%
 
1,137,118

 
14%
License Fees
1,986,285

 
7%
 
1,151,242

 
4%
 
835,043

 
73%
SaaS Services Gross Billings
13,406,727

 
47%
 
12,327,519

 
41%
 
1,079,208

 
9%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Revenue
109,840

 
—%
 
57,547

 
—%
 
52,293

 
91%
Total Gross Billings
$
28,949,435

 
100%
 
$
29,979,190

 
100%
 
$
(1,029,755
)
 
(3)%
Gross billings for Managed Services revenue were $15,432,868 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of $2,161,256 compared to the same period in 2018. The decrease in Managed Services revenue for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 is attributable to the decrease in the sales team compared to the same period in 2018. The increase of $1,079,208 in SaaS Services revenue for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, was primarily due to the addition of TapInfluence in July 2018 and our focus towards expanding our SaaS offerings and sales team. We expect our merger with TapInfluence to have a continuing positive impact on our future gross billings with respect to our SaaS Services revenue as we build on the significant marketer base obtained from the merger, offset by the phasing out of our Legacy Workflow activity.
The following table sets forth a reconciliation from the GAAP measurement of revenue to our non-GAAP financial measure of gross billings stated above and the percentage change between the periods:
 
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019
 
2018
 
$ Change
 
% Change
Revenue
 
$
18,955,672

 
$
20,099,695

 
$
(1,144,023
)
 
(6)%
Plus payments made to third-party creators (1)
 
9,993,763

 
9,879,495

 
114,268

 
1%
Gross billings
 
$
28,949,435

 
$
29,979,190

 
$
(1,029,755
)
 
(3)%
(1)
Payments made to third-party creators for the Legacy Workflow and Marketplace Spend components of our revenue reported on a net basis for GAAP.

Adjusted EBITDA
We define Adjusted EBITDA as earnings or loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, non-cash stock-based compensation, gain or loss on asset disposals or impairment, changes in acquisition cost estimates, and all other unusual or non-cash income and expense items such as gains or losses on settlement of liabilities and exchanges, and changes in the fair value of derivatives, if applicable.

We use Adjusted EBITDA as a measure of operating performance, for planning purposes, to allocate resources to enhance the financial performance of our business, and in communications with our Board of Directors regarding our financial performance. We believe that Adjusted EBITDA also provides useful information to investors as it excludes transactions not related to our core cash-generating operating business activities, and it provides consistency and facilitates period-to-period comparisons. We believe that excluding these transactions allows investors to meaningfully trend and analyze the performance of our core cash-generating operations.


29


All companies do not calculate Adjusted EBITDA in the same manner, and Adjusted EBITDA as presented by us may not be comparable to Adjusted EBITDA presented by other companies, which limits its usefulness as a comparative measure. Moreover, Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for an analysis of our results of operations as under GAAP. These limitations are that Adjusted EBITDA:

does not include stock-based compensation expense, which is a non-cash expense, but has been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a significant recurring expense for our business and an important part of our compensation strategy;
does not include stock issued for payment of services, which is a non-cash expense, but has been, and is expected to be for the foreseeable future, an important means for us to compensate our directors, vendors and other parties who provide us with services;
does not include changes in acquisition cost estimates as a result of the allocation of acquisition costs payable to compensation expense which may be a significant recurring expense for our business if we continue to make business acquisitions;
does not include gains or losses on the settlement of acquisition costs payable or liabilities when the stock value, as agreed upon in the agreement, varies from the market price of our stock on the settlement date. This is a non-cash expense, but was a recurring expense for our business on certain business contracts where the amounts could vary;
does not include unusual or expected non-recurring items such as large litigation reserves;
does not include depreciation and intangible assets amortization expense, impairment charges and gains or losses on disposal of equipment, which is not always a current period cash expense, but the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to be replaced in the future; and
does not include changes in fair value of derivatives, interest expense and other gains, losses, and expenses that we believe are not indicative of our ongoing core operating results, but these items may represent a reduction or increase in cash available to us.

Because of these limitations, Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as a measure of discretionary cash available to us to invest in the operation and growth of our business or as a measure of cash that will be available to us to meet our obligations. You should compensate for these limitations by relying primarily on our GAAP results and using these non-GAAP financial measures as supplements. In evaluating these non-GAAP financial measures, you should be aware that in the future, we may incur expenses similar to those for which adjustments are made in calculating Adjusted EBITDA. Our presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures should also not be construed to infer that our future results will be unaffected by unusual or non-recurring items.

The following table sets forth a reconciliation from the GAAP measurement of net loss to our non-GAAP financial measure of Adjusted EBITDA for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
 
Twelve Months Ended
December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
Net loss
$
(7,290,120
)
 
$
(5,718,407
)
Non-cash stock-based compensation
634,651

 
580,693

Non-cash stock issued for payment of services
141,665

 
125,000

Change in fair value of derivatives

 
11,794

Gain on settlement of acquisition costs payable
(602,410
)
 
(84,938
)
Increase (decrease) in value of acquisition costs payable
6,222

 
(615,845
)
Legal expense accrual

 
500,000

Interest expense
233,654

 
269,473

Depreciation and amortization
1,750,629

 
1,298,359

Impairment on intangible assets
418,099

 

Other non-cash items
18,786

 
156

Adjusted EBITDA
$
(4,688,824
)
 
$
(3,633,715
)
 
 
 
 
Revenue
$
18,955,672

 
$
20,099,695

Adjusted EBITDA as a % of Revenue
(25
)%
 
(18
)%

30


Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
 We had cash and cash equivalents of $5,884,629 as of December 31, 2019 as compared to $1,968,403 as of December 31, 2018, an increase of $3,916,226 primarily due to net proceeds received from our public securities offering in May 2019. We have incurred significant net losses and negative cash flow from operations for most periods since our inception, which has resulted in a total accumulated deficit of $60,384,769 as of December 31, 2019. To date, we have financed our operations through internally generated revenue from operations, the sale of our equity securities and borrowings under our secured credit facility.
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
Net cash (used for)/provided by:
 
 
 
Operating activities
$
(2,905,485
)
 
$
(5,582,480
)
Investing activities
(687,979
)
 
(908,609
)
Financing activities
7,509,690

 
4,552,695

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
$
3,916,226

 
$
(1,938,394
)
Cash used for operating activities was $2,905,485 during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and is the result of our net loss not being fully offset by the net conversion of working capital into cash. Net cash used for investing activities was $687,979 during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 primarily due to the payment of $590,549 related to the development of our proprietary software and purchases of $88,801 for updated computer equipment. Net cash provided by financing activities during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 was $7,509,690 which consisted primarily of net proceeds of approximately $9.2 million received from our public securities offering in May 2019, offset by net repayments on our secured credit facility of approximately $1.5 million.
    
Secured Credit Facility
We have a secured credit facility agreement with Western Alliance Bank, the parent company of Bridge Bank, National Association. Pursuant to this agreement, we may submit requests for funding up to 80% of our eligible accounts receivable up to a maximum credit limit of $5 million. Effective August 30, 2018, as a result of IZEA’s merger with TapInfluence, we entered into a Business Financing Modification Agreement and Consent with Western Alliance Bank to add TapInfluence as an additional borrower on the credit facility. As of December 31, 2019, we had no amounts outstanding under this agreement. Assuming that all of our accounts receivable balance was eligible for funding, we had remaining available credit of $4.5 million under the agreement as of December 31, 2019.

Public Offering
On May 10, 2019, we closed on our underwritten registered public offering of 14,285,714 shares of common stock at a public offering price of $0.70 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $10.0 million. The net proceeds to the Company were approximately $9.2 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses.
In July 2018, and September 2018, we completed two separate underwritten public offerings for the sale of 3,556,000 and 1,407,333 shares of our common stock at a public offering price of $1.00 and $1.50 per share, respectively. The net proceeds for all shares sold by us in the public offerings were approximately $4.9 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses.

Acquisition Obligations
ZenContent, Inc.    
On July 31, 2016, we entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement (the “ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement”) with ZenContent, Inc. (“ZenContent”), pursuant to which we purchased all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of ZenContent.
On July 31, 2019, we made the third and final annual installment payment under the ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement, of 447,489 shares of our common stock valued at $222,223 or $0.4966 per share, using a thirty (30) trading day volume-weighted average closing price (the “30-day VWAP”) as recorded by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. We recognized a gain of $41,258 on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing market price of the common stock of $0.4044 on the settlement date and the 30-day VWAP.


31


In July 2018, pursuant to an amendment to the ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement, the parties agreed to fix the amount payable for any further contingent performance payments at $90,000, of which $45,000 was paid in cash on November 1, 2018, and $45,000 was paid in cash on November 1, 2019.
TapInfluence    
On July 26, 2018, we completed our merger with TapInfluence. Pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger (the Merger Agreement”), we were required to pay the former TapInfluence stockholders an additional $4,500,000, less any final working capital adjustments, in the form of cash, common stock or a combination thereof, at our option, in two installments.
On January 26, 2019, we paid the first installment of $884,583 ($1,000,000 less the final working capital adjustment of $115,416) using 660,136 shares of our common stock valued at $1.34 per share, using the 30-day VWAP as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. We recorded a $191,437 loss on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing market price of the common stock of $1.63 on the settlement date and the 30-day VWAP of $1.34 required by the Merger Agreement.
On July 26, 2019, we paid the second and final installment through the issuance to the former shareholders of TapInfluence of 6,908,251 shares of our common stock valued at $3,500,000, or $0.50664 per share, using the 30-day VWAP as required by the Merger Agreement. The Company recognized a gain of $752,589 on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing market price of the common stock of $0.3977 on the settlement date and the 30-day VWAP.

Financial Condition

With the cash on hand after our May 2019 public offering and the settlement of all the remaining obligations on our acquisitions, along with our available credit line with Western Alliance Bank, we expect to have sufficient cash reserves and financing sources available to cover expenses at least one year from the issuance of this Annual Report. However, we have begun to see some impact on our operations due to changes in advertising decisions, timing and spending priorities from our customers as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which will result in a negative impact to our expected future sales. While the disruption is currently expected to be temporary, there is uncertainty around the duration and the total economic impact. Therefore, while we expect this matter to negatively impact our business, results of operations, and financial position, the full financial impact cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
 
As of December 31, 2019, we did not engage in any activities involving variable interest entities or off-balance sheet arrangements.

Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates
 
We prepare our financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”). Certain of our accounting policies require that we apply significant judgment in defining the appropriate assumptions for calculating financial estimates. By their nature, these judgments will be subject to an inherent degree of uncertainty. Our judgments are based upon the historical experience of the Company, terms of existing contracts, observance of trends in the industry, information provided by our customers and information available from other outside sources, as appropriate. For a summary of our significant accounting policies, please refer to Note 1 — Company and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies included in Item 8 of this Annual Report. We consider accounting estimates to be critical accounting policies when:

The estimates involve matters that are highly uncertain at the time the accounting estimate is made; and
different estimates or changes to estimates could have a material impact on the reported financial position, changes in financial position, or results of operations.

When more than one accounting principle, or method of its application, is generally accepted, we select the principle or method that we consider to be the most appropriate when given the specific circumstances. Application of these accounting principles requires us to make estimates about the future resolution of existing uncertainties. Due to the inherent uncertainty involving estimates, actual results reported in the future may differ from our estimates. The following critical accounting policies are significantly affected by judgments, assumptions and estimates used in the preparation of the financial statements.




32


Accounts Receivable and Concentration of Credit Risk

Accounts receivable are customer obligations due under normal trade terms. We consider an account to be delinquent when the customer has not paid its balance due by the associated due date. Uncollectibility of accounts receivable is not significant since most customers are bound by contract and are required to fund us for all the costs of an “opportunity,” defined as an order created by a marketer for a creator to develop or share content on behalf of a marketer. If a portion of the account balance is deemed uncollectible, we will either write-off the amount owed or provide a reserve based on our best estimate of the uncollectible portion of the account. Management estimates the collectibility of accounts by regularly evaluating individual customer receivables and considering a customer’s financial condition, credit history and current economic conditions. We have a reserve of $145,000 for doubtful accounts as of December 31, 2019. We believe that this estimate is reasonable, but there can be no assurance that the estimate will not change as a result of a change in economic conditions or business conditions within the industry, the individual customers or our Company. Any adjustments to this account are reflected in the consolidated statements of operations as a general and administrative expense. Bad debt expense was less than 1% of revenue for each of the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

Concentrations of credit risk with respect to accounts receivable were typically limited, because a large number of geographically diverse customers make up our customer base, thus spreading the trade credit risk. However, with our acquisition of TapInfluence, we have increased credit exposure on certain customers who carry significant credit balances related to their Marketplace Spend. We control credit risk through credit approvals, credit limits and monitoring procedures. We perform credit evaluations of our customers, but generally do not require collateral to support accounts receivable. We had no customer that accounted for more than 10% of total accounts receivable at December 31, 2019 and two customers that accounted for an aggregate of 36% of total accounts receivable at December 31, 2018.

Software Development Costs and Acquired Intangible Software

In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 350-40, Internal Use Software, we capitalize certain internal use software development costs associated with creating and enhancing internally developed software related to our platforms. Software development activities generally consist of three stages (i) the research and planning stage, (ii) the application and development stage, and (iii) the post-implementation stage. Costs incurred in the research and planning stage and in the post-implementation stage of software development, or other maintenance and development expenses that do not meet the qualification for capitalization, are expensed as incurred. Costs incurred in the application and infrastructure development stage, including significant enhancements and upgrades, are capitalized. These costs include personnel and related employee benefits expenses for employees or consultants who are directly associated with and who devote time to software projects, and external direct costs of materials obtained in developing the software. We have capitalized software development costs of $2,673,017 in the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019. We also have additional proprietary software platforms valued at $820,000 from our acquisitions of Ebyline, ZenContent and TapInfluence. These costs are reflected as intangible assets in the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2019. We do not transfer ownership of our software to third parties. These software development and acquired technology costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of five years upon initial release of the software or additional features.

Goodwill and Business Combinations

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase consideration of an acquired business over the fair value of the underlying net tangible and intangible assets. We have goodwill in connection with our acquisitions of Ebyline, ZenContent, and TapInfluence. Goodwill is not amortized, but instead it is tested for impairment at least annually. In the event that management determines that the value of goodwill has become impaired, we will record a charge for the amount of impairment during the fiscal quarter in which the determination is made.

We perform our annual impairment tests of goodwill as of October 1 of each year, or more frequently, if certain indicators are present. Goodwill is required to be tested for impairment at the reporting unit level. A reporting unit is an operating segment or one level below the operating segment level, which is referred to as a component. Management identifies its reporting units by assessing whether components (i) have discrete financial information available; (ii) engage in business activities; and (iii) whether a segment manager regularly reviews the component's operating results. Net assets and goodwill of acquired businesses are allocated to the reporting unit associated with the acquired business based on the anticipated organizational structure of the combined entities. If two or more components are deemed economically similar, those components are aggregated into one reporting unit when performing the annual goodwill impairment review. We have determined that we have one reporting unit.

33



Revenue Recognition

We generate revenue from five primary sources: (1) revenue from our managed services when a marketer (typically a brand, agency or partner) pays us to provide custom content, influencer marketing, amplification or other campaign management services (“Managed Services”); (2) revenue from fees charged to software customers on their marketplace spend within our IZEAx and TapInfluence platforms (“Marketplace Spend Fees”); (3) revenue from fees charged to access the IZEAx, Ebyline, and TapInfluence platforms (“License Fees”); (4) revenue from transactions generated by the self-service use of our Ebyline platform for professional custom content workflow (“Legacy Workflow Fees”); and (5) revenue derived from other fees such as inactivity fees, early cash-out fees, and plan fees charged to users of our platforms (“Other”).
    
On January 1, 2018, we adopted Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606) using the modified retrospective method, under which comparative periods were not restated and the cumulative effect of applying the standard was recognized at the date of initial adoption on January 1, 2018. Under the modified retrospective method, we only applied the new standard to contracts that were not completed as of January 1, 2018. Under ASC 606, revenue is recognized based on a five-step model and, in doing so, more judgment and estimates may be required within the revenue recognition process than were required under the former rules. We have reviewed our sources of revenue in accordance with each of the five steps in the model, which are as follows: (i) identify the contract with the customer; (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (iii) determine the transaction price; (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) performance obligations are satisfied. The core principle of ASC 606 is that revenue is recognized when the transfer of promised goods or services to customers is made in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. We apply the five-step model to contracts when it is probable that it will collect the consideration it is entitled to in exchange for the goods or services it transfers to the customer. At contract inception, once the contract is determined to be within the scope of ASC 606, we assess the goods or services promised within each contract and determines those that are distinct performance obligations. We also determine whether we act as an agent or a principal for each identified performance obligation. The determination of whether we act as the principal or the agent is highly subjective and requires us to evaluate a number of indicators individually and as a whole in order to make its determination. For transactions in which we act as a principal, revenue is reported on a gross basis as the amount paid by the marketer for the purchase of content or sponsorship, promotion and other related services and we record the amounts we pay to third-party creators as cost of revenue. For transactions in which we act as an agent, revenue is reported on a net basis as the amount we charged to the self-service marketer using our platforms, less the amounts paid to the third-party creators providing the service.

We maintain separate arrangements with each marketer and content creator either in the form of a master agreement or terms of service, which specify the terms of the relationship and access to its platforms, or by statement of work, which specifies the price and the services to be performed, along with other terms. The transaction price is determined based on the fixed fee stated in the statement of work and does not contain variable consideration. Marketers who contract with us to manage their advertising campaigns or custom content requests may prepay for services or request credit terms. Payment terms are typically 30 days from the invoice date. The agreement typically provides for a cancellation fee if the agreement is canceled by the customer prior to completion of services. Billings in advance of completed services are recorded as a contract liability until earned. We assess collectibility based on a number of factors, including the creditworthiness of the customer and payment and transaction history. The allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract is based on a cost-plus methodology.

For Managed Services Revenue, we enter into an agreement to provide services that may include multiple distinct performance obligations in the form of: (i) an integrated marketing campaign to provide influencer marketing services, which may include the provision of blogs, tweets, photos or videos shared through social network offerings and content promotion, such as click-through advertisements appearing in websites and social media channels; and (ii) custom content items, such as a research or news article, informational material or videos. Marketers typically purchase influencer marketing services for the purpose of providing public awareness or advertising buzz regarding the marketer's brand and they purchase custom content for internal and external use. We may provide one type or a combination of all types of these performance obligations on a statement of work for a lump sum fee. We allocate revenue to each performance obligation in the contract at inception based on its relative standalone selling price. These performance obligations are to be provided over a stated period that may range from one day to one year. Revenue is accounted for when the performance obligation has been satisfied depending on the type of service provided. We view our obligation to deliver influencer marketing services, including management services, as a single performance obligation that is satisfied over time as the customer receives the benefits from the services. Revenue is recognized using an input method of costs incurred compared to total expected costs to measure the progress towards satisfying the overall performance obligation of the marketing campaign. The delivery of custom content represents a distinct performance obligation that is satisfied over time as we have no alternative for the custom content and we have an enforceable

34


right to payment for performance completed to date under the contracts. We consider custom content to be a series of distinct services that are substantially the same and that have the same pattern of transfer to the customer, and revenue is recognized over time using an output method based on when each individual piece of content is delivered to the customer. Based on our evaluations, revenue from Managed Services is reported on a gross basis, because we have the primary obligation to fulfill the performance obligations and we create, review and control the services. We take on the risk of payment to any third-party creators and we establish the contract price directly with our customers based on the services requested in the statement of work.

For Marketplace Spend and Legacy Workflow Fee Revenue, the self-service customer instructs creators found through our platforms to provide and/or distribute custom content for an agreed upon transaction price. Our platforms control the contracting, description of services, acceptance of and payment for the requested content. This service is used primarily by news agencies or marketers to control the outsourcing of their content and advertising needs. We charge the self-service customer the transaction price plus a fee based on the contract. Revenue is recognized when the transaction is completed by the creator and accepted by the marketer. Based on our evaluations, Marketplace Spend and Legacy Workflow Fee revenue is reported on a net basis since we are acting as an agent solely arranging for the third-party creator or influencer to provide the services directly to the self-service customer through the platform, and is typically recognized upon publishing or purchase of the marketplace spend by the creator and verification of the publishing by the marketer.

License Fee revenue is generated through the granting of limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable licenses to customers for the use of the IZEAx and TapInfluence technology platforms for an agreed-upon subscription period. Customers license the platforms to manage their own influencer marketing campaigns. Fees for subscription or licensing services are recognized straight-line over the term of the service.

Other Fee revenue is generated when fees are charged to customers primarily related to monthly plan fees, inactivity fees, and early cash-out fees. Plan fees are recognized within the month they relate to, and inactivity and early cash-out fees are recognized at a point in time when the account is deemed inactive or a cash-out below certain minimum thresholds is requested.

Changes in how we control and manage our platforms, our contractual terms, our business practices, or other changes in accounting standards or interpretations, may change the reporting of our revenue. Effective January 1, 2018, we became subject to new guidelines for disclosing and accounting for our revenue from contracts with customers. See “Note 1. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” under Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report for information on ASC 606 as it relates to our revenue recognition policies.
    
Stock-Based Compensation

Stock-based compensation is measured at the grant date, based on the fair value of the award, and is recognized as an expense over the employee’s requisite service period.  We estimate the fair value of each stock option as of the date of grant using the Black-Scholes pricing model.  Options typically vest ratably over four years with one-fourth of options vesting one year from the date of grant and the remaining options vesting monthly, in equal increments over the remaining three-year period and generally have five or ten-year contract lives.  We use the closing stock price of our common stock on the date of the grant as the associated fair value of our common stock.  We estimate the volatility of our common stock at the date of grant based on the volatility of comparable peer companies that are publicly traded and have had a longer trading history than us. We determine the expected life based on historical experience with similar awards, giving consideration to the contractual terms, vesting schedules and post-vesting forfeitures. We use the risk-free interest rate on the implied yield currently available on U.S. Treasury issues with an equivalent remaining term approximately equal to the expected life of the award. We have never paid any cash dividends on our common stock and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We estimate forfeitures when recognizing compensation expense and this estimate of forfeitures is adjusted over the requisite service period based on the extent to which actual forfeitures differ, or are expected to differ, from such estimates. Changes in estimated forfeitures are recognized through a cumulative catch-up adjustment, which is recognized in the period of change, and a revised amount of unamortized compensation expense to be recognized in future periods.
The following table shows the number of stock options granted under our 2011 Equity Incentive Plans and the assumptions used to determine the fair value of those options during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:

35


Twelve Months Ended
 
Total Options Granted
 
Weighted Average Exercise Price
 
Weighted Average Expected Term
 
Weighted Average Volatility
 
Weighted Average Risk-Free Interest Rate
 
Weighted Average
Grant Date
Fair Value
December 31, 2018
 
156,084

 
$1.60
 
6.0 years
 
64.49%
 
2.81%
 
$0.96
December 31, 2019
 
586,552

 
$0.67
 
6.0 years
 
64.38%
 
1.92%
 
$0.40
 
There were outstanding options to purchase 1,357,837 shares with a weighted average exercise price of $3.24 per share, of which options to purchase 757,058 shares were exercisable with a weighted average exercise price of $4.88 per share as of December 31, 2019.   The intrinsic value on outstanding options as of December 31, 2019 was $0. The intrinsic value on exercisable options as of December 31, 2019 was $0.

As of December 31, 2019, we had unvested restricted stock units representing 366,812 shares of common stock with an intrinsic value of $86,788 and unvested shares of issued restricted stock with an intrinsic value of $7,401.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

     See “Note 1. Company and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” under Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report for information on additional recent pronouncements.


ITEM 7A – QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
 
Not applicable to smaller reporting companies.



36


ITEM 8 - FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Board of Directors and Stockholders
IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Winter Park, Florida

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of IZEA Worldwide, Inc. (the “Company”) and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company and subsidiaries at December 31, 2019 and 2018 and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2019, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Change in Accounting Principle
As discussed in Notes 1 and 7 to the consolidated financial statements, effective January 1, 2019, the Company has changed its method of accounting for leases due to the adoption of Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842, Leases.
Emphasis of Matter

As discussed in Note 12 to the financial statements, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic leading to broader global economic uncertainties. 
Basis for Opinion
These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.
The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2015.

Orlando, Florida
March 30, 2020


37


IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets

 
December 31,
2019
 
December 31,
2018
Assets
 
 
 
Current assets:
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
5,884,629

 
$
1,968,403

Accounts receivable, net
5,596,719

 
7,071,815

Prepaid expenses
400,181

 
527,968

Other current assets
153,031

 
39,203

Total current assets
12,034,560

 
9,607,389

 
 
 
 
Property and equipment, net
309,780

 
272,239

Goodwill
8,316,722

 
8,316,722

Intangible assets, net
1,611,516

 
3,149,949

Software development costs, net
1,519,980

 
1,428,604

Security deposits
151,803

 
143,174

Total assets
$
23,944,361

 
$
22,918,077

 
 
 
 
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity
 
 
 
Current liabilities:
 
 
 
Accounts payable
$
2,252,536

 
$
2,618,103

Accrued expenses
1,377,556

 
1,968,589

Contract liabilities
6,466,766

 
4,957,869

Line of credit

 
1,526,288

Right-of-use liability
83,807

 

Deferred rent

 
17,420

Acquisition costs payable

 
4,611,493

Total current liabilities
10,180,665

 
15,699,762

 
 
 
 
Finance obligation, less current portion
45,673

 

Total liabilities
10,226,338

 
15,699,762

 
 
 
 
Commitments and Contingencies (Note 7)

 

 
 
 
 
Stockholders’ equity:
 

 
 

Preferred stock; $.0001 par value; 10,000,000 shares authorized; no shares issued and outstanding

 

Common stock; $.0001 par value; 200,000,000 shares authorized; 34,634,172 and 12,075,708, respectively, issued and outstanding
3,464

 
1,208

Additional paid-in capital
74,099,328

 
60,311,756

Accumulated deficit
(60,384,769
)
 
(53,094,649
)
Total stockholders’ equity
13,718,023

 
7,218,315

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
$
23,944,361

 
$
22,918,077






See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

38


IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Operations
 
 
 
Twelve Months Ended
December 31,
 
 
2019
 
2018
Revenue
 
$
18,955,672

 
$
20,099,695

 
 
 
 
 
Costs and expenses:
 
 

 
 

Cost of revenue (exclusive of amortization)
 
8,521,353

 
9,042,155

Sales and marketing
 
6,240,263

 
6,484,320

General and administrative
 
9,611,131

 
8,683,911

Depreciation and amortization
 
1,750,629

 
1,298,359

Total costs and expenses
 
26,123,376

 
25,508,745

 
 
 
 
 
Loss from operations
 
(7,167,704
)
 
(5,409,050
)
 
 
 
 
 
Other income (expense):
 
 

 
 

Interest expense
 
(233,654
)
 
(269,473
)
Change in fair value of derivatives, net
 

 
(11,794
)
Other income (expense), net
 
111,238

 
(28,090
)
Total other expense, net
 
(122,416
)
 
(309,357
)
 
 
 
 
 
Net loss
 
$
(7,290,120
)
 
$
(5,718,407
)
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average common shares outstanding – basic and diluted
 
25,516,573

 
8,541,725

Basic and diluted loss per common share
 
$
(0.29
)
 
$
(0.67
)
 
























See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

39


IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity
 
 
Common Stock
 
Additional
Paid-In
 
Accumulated
 
Total
Stockholders’
 
 
Shares
 
Amount
 
Capital
 
Deficit
 
Equity
Balance, December 31, 2017
 
5,733,981

 
$
573

 
$
52,570,432

 
$
(47,277,420
)
 
$
5,293,585

Cumulative effect of change in accounting policy to ASC 606
 

 

 

 
(98,822
)
 
(98,822
)
Sale of securities
 
4,963,333

 
497

 
5,666,503

 
 
 
5,667,000

Stock issued for payment of acquisition liability
 
1,248,765

 
125

 
1,896,658

 

 
1,896,783

Stock purchase plan issuances
 
21,366

 
2

 
17,251

 

 
17,253

Stock issued for payment of services
 
30,265

 
3

 
124,997

 

 
125,000

Stock issuance costs
 

 

 
(712,345
)
 

 
(712,345
)
Stock-based compensation
 
77,998

 
8

 
748,260

 

 
748,268

Net loss
 

 

 

 
(5,718,407
)
 
(5,718,407
)
Balance, December 31, 2018
 
12,075,708

 
$
1,208

 
$
60,311,756

 
$
(53,094,649
)
 
$
7,218,315

Sale of securities
 
14,285,714

 
1,429

 
9,998,571

 

 
10,000,000

Stock issued for payment of acquisition liability
 
8,015,876

 
801

 
4,003,596

 

 
4,004,397

Stock purchase plan issuances
 
26,411

 
3

 
6,976

 

 
6,979

Stock issued for payment of services
 
83,826

 
8

 
141,657

 

 
141,665

Stock issuance costs
 

 

 
(788,752
)
 

 
(788,752
)
Stock-based compensation
 
146,637

 
15

 
425,524

 

 
425,539

Net loss
 

 

 

 
(7,290,120
)
 
(7,290,120
)
Balance, December 31, 2019
 
34,634,172

 
$
3,464

 
$
74,099,328

 
$
(60,384,769
)
 
$
13,718,023





























See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.


40


IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31,
 
2019
 
2018
Cash flows from operating activities:
 
 
 
Net loss
$
(7,290,120
)
 
$
(5,718,407
)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used for operating activities:
 

 
 

Depreciation and amortization
131,121

 
222,912

Amortization of software development costs and other intangible assets
1,619,508

 
1,075,447

Impairment of intangible assets
418,099

 

Loss on disposal of equipment
18,786

 
156

Provision for losses on accounts receivable
5,510

 
93,378

Stock-based compensation, net
634,651

 
580,693

Fair value of stock issued for payment of services
141,665

 
125,000

Decrease in fair value of contingent acquisition costs payable

 
(485,747
)
Gain on settlement of acquisition costs payable
(602,410
)
 
(84,938
)
Change in fair value of derivatives, net

 
11,794

Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of effects of business acquired:
 

 
 

Accounts receivable
1,469,586

 
(280,420
)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
(87,323
)
 
14,784

Accounts payable
(365,567
)
 
710,446

Accrued expenses
(466,444
)
 
(1,784,084
)
Contract liabilities
1,508,897

 
(18,368
)
Right-of-use asset
(24,024
)
 

Deferred rent
(17,420
)
 
(45,126
)
Net cash used for operating activities
(2,905,485
)
 
(5,582,480
)
Cash flows from investing activities:
 
 
 
Purchase of equipment
(88,801
)
 
(170,175
)
Software development costs
(590,549
)
 
(755,164
)
Purchase of intangible assets

 
11,266

Security deposits
(8,629
)
 
5,464

Net cash used for investing activities
(687,979
)
 
(908,609
)
Cash flows from financing activities:
 

 
 

Payments on acquisition liabilities
(156,111
)
 
(120,930
)
Proceeds from sale of securities
10,000,000

 
5,667,000

Proceeds from line of credit, net of repayments
(1,526,288
)
 
(298,283
)
Payments on finance obligation
(26,138
)
 

Proceeds from stock purchase plan issuances
6,979

 
17,253

Stock issuance costs
(788,752
)
 
(712,345
)
Net cash provided by financing activities
7,509,690

 
4,552,695

 
 
 
 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
3,916,226

 
(1,938,394
)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year
1,968,403

 
3,906,797

 


 


Cash and cash equivalents, end of period
$
5,884,629

 
$
1,968,403

 
 
 
 
Supplemental cash flow information:
 

 
 

Interest paid
$
393,584

 
$
150,900

 
 
 
 
Non-cash financing and investing activities:
 

 
 

Equipment acquired with financing arrangement
$
98,648

 
$

Common stock issued for payment of acquisition liability
$
4,004,397

 
$
1,896,783

Acquisition costs payable for assets acquired
$

 
$
4,384,584

Fair value of common stock issued for future services, net
$
192,550

 
$
449,925

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

41

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements



NOTE 1.    COMPANY AND SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
 
Nature of Business
IZEA Worldwide, Inc. (together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries, “we,” “us,” “our,” “IZEA” or the “Company”) is a public company incorporated in the state of Nevada. In January 2015, IZEA purchased all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of Ebyline, Inc. (“Ebyline”). In July 2016, IZEA purchased all the outstanding shares of capital stock of ZenContent, Inc. (“ZenContent”). The legal entity of ZenContent was dissolved in December 2017 and the legal entity of Ebyline was dissolved in December 2019 after all assets and transactions were transferred to IZEA. In March 2016, the Company formed IZEA Canada, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, incorporated in Ontario, Canada, to operate as a sales and support office for IZEA’s Canadian customers. On July 26, 2018, the Company merged with TapInfluence, Inc. (“TapInfluence”) pursuant to the terms of an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated as of July 11, 2018, as amended.
The Company creates and operates online marketplaces that connect marketers with content creators. The creators are compensated by the Company for producing unique content such as long and short form text, videos, photos, status updates, and illustrations for marketers or distributing such content on behalf of marketers through their personal websites, blogs, and social media channels. Marketers receive influential consumer content and engaging, shareable stories that drive awareness.
The Company’s primary technology platform, The IZEA Exchange (“IZEAx”), enables transactions to be completed at scale through the management of custom content workflow, creator search and targeting, bidding, analytics, and payment processing. IZEAx is designed to provide a unified ecosystem that enables the creation and publication of multiple types of custom content through a creator’s personal websites, blogs, or social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, among others. Until December 2019 when it was merged into IZEAx, the Company operated the Ebyline technology platform, which was originally designed as a self-service content marketplace to replace editorial newsrooms in the news agencies with a “virtual newsroom” to handle their content workflow. In July 2016, the Company acquired the ZenContent technology platform to use as an in-house workflow tool that enables the Company to produce highly scalable, multi-part production of content for both e-commerce entities, as well as brand customers. The TapInfluence technology platform, acquired in 2018, performed in a similar manner to IZEAx and was being utilized by the majority of the TapInfluence customers as a self-service platform via a licensing arrangement, allowing access to the platform and its creators for self-managed marketing campaigns. By the end of 2019, nearly all of the Ebyline and TapInfluence customers and creators were migrated off of those platforms and onto the IZEAx platform.

Liquidity and Going Concern
The Company’s consolidated financial statements are prepared using GAAP applicable to a going concern, which contemplates the realization of assets and liquidation of liabilities in the normal course of business. The Company has incurred significant net losses and negative cash flow from operations for most periods since its inception, which has resulted in a total accumulated deficit of $60,384,769 as of December 31, 2019.  For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company had a net loss of $7,290,120. The Company's cash balance as of December 31, 2019 was $5,884,629 and the Company's operating activities used cash of $2,905,485 for the year ended December 31, 2019.
 
With the cash on hand and the Company’s planned operations in 2020 along with its available credit line with Western Alliance Bank, the Company expects to have sufficient cash reserves and financing sources available to cover expenses at least one year from the issuance of this Annual Report. However, the Company has begun to see impacts on its operations due to changes in advertising decisions, timing and spending priorities from customers as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which will result in a negative impact to Company sales. While the disruption is currently expected to be temporary, there is uncertainty around the duration and the total economic impact. Therefore, while the Company expects this matter to negatively impact its business, results of operations, and financial position, the full related financial impact cannot be reasonably estimated at this time.

Principles of Consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of IZEA Worldwide, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, subsequent to the subsidiaries’ individual acquisition, merger or formation dates, as applicable. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
The consolidated financial statements were prepared using the acquisition method of accounting with IZEA considered the accounting acquirer of Ebyline, ZenContent and TapInfluence. Under the acquisition method of accounting, the purchase price is allocated to the underlying tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their respective fair market values with any excess purchase price allocated to goodwill.



42

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


Change from Prior Periods

Subsequent to the July 2018 acquisition of TapInfluence, the Company maintained two operating segments based on its major revenue streams (Managed Services and SaaS Services), which was the result of TapInfluence having a significant amount of SaaS revenue, through June 30, 2019. Following the TapInfluence acquisition, the Company has been integrating TapInfluence to the IZEAx platform, and merged personnel and resources between the entities. Accordingly, the individual results of Managed Services and SaaS Services are not being reviewed for profitability on an individual basis. Due to these factors, the Company recognized a change in reporting units in the third quarter of 2019 and determined that only one reportable operating segment exists. The Company completed an assessment of any potential impairment for all reporting units immediately prior to and after the reporting unit change and determined that no impairment existed.

Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less from the date of purchase to be cash equivalents.
 
Accounts Receivable and Concentration of Credit Risk

The Company’s accounts receivable balance consists of net trade receivables and unbilled receivables. Trade receivables are customer obligations due under normal trade terms. Unbilled receivables represents amounts owed for work that has been performed, but not yet billed. The Company had trade receivables of $5,106,314 and unbilled receivables of $490,405 at December 31, 2019. The Company had trade receivables of $6,809,562 and unbilled receivables of $262,253 at December 31, 2018. Management considers an account to be delinquent when the customer has not paid an amount due by its associated due date. Uncollectibility of accounts receivable is not significant since most customers are bound by contract and are required to fund the Company for all the costs of an “opportunity,” defined as an order created by a marketer for a creator to develop or share content on behalf of a marketer. If a portion of the account balance is deemed uncollectible, the Company will either write-off the amount owed or provide a reserve based on its best estimate of the uncollectible portion of the account. Management determines the collectibility of accounts by regularly evaluating individual customer receivables and considering a customer’s financial condition, credit history and current economic conditions. The Company had a reserve of $145,000 and $278,190, for doubtful accounts as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Management believes that this estimate is reasonable, but there can be no assurance that the estimate will not change as a result of a change in economic conditions or business conditions within the industry, the individual customers or the Company. Any adjustments to this account are reflected in the consolidated statements of operations as a general and administrative expense. Bad debt expense was less than 1% of revenue for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
 
Concentrations of credit risk with respect to accounts receivable were typically limited because a large number of geographically diverse customers make up the Company’s customer base, thus spreading the trade credit risk. However, with the Company’s acquisition of TapInfluence, it has increased credit exposure on certain customers who carry significant credit balances related to their marketplace spend. The Company controls credit risk through credit approvals, credit limits and monitoring procedures. The Company performs credit evaluations of its customers, but generally does not require collateral to support accounts receivable. The Company had no customer that accounted for more than 10% of total accounts receivable at December 31, 2019 and two customers that accounted for an aggregate of 36% of total accounts receivable at December 31, 2018. The Company had no customer that accounted for more than 10% of its revenue during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 or 2018.

Property and Equipment

Property and equipment are recorded at cost, or if acquired in a business combination, at the acquisition date fair value. Depreciation and amortization is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets as follows:
Computer Equipment
3 years
Office Equipment
3 - 10 years
Furniture and Fixtures
5 - 10 years

Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the term of the lease or the estimated useful lives of the improvements. Expenditures for repairs and maintenance are charged to expense as incurred. Expenditures for betterments and major improvements are capitalized and depreciated over the remaining useful lives of the assets. The carrying amounts of assets sold or retired and the related accumulated depreciation are eliminated in the year of disposal, with resulting gains or losses included

43

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


in general and administrative expense in the consolidated statements of operations. There were no material impairment charges associated with the Company’s long-lived tangible assets during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

Goodwill and Business Combinations
Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase consideration of an acquired business over the fair value of the underlying net tangible and intangible assets. The Company has goodwill in connection with its acquisitions of Ebyline, ZenContent and TapInfluence. Goodwill is not amortized but instead it is tested for impairment at least annually. In the event that management determines that the value of goodwill has become impaired, the Company will record a charge for the amount of impairment during the fiscal quarter in which the determination is made.
The Company performs its annual impairment tests of goodwill as of October 1 of each year, or more frequently, if certain indicators are present. Goodwill is required to be tested for impairment at the reporting unit level. A reporting unit is an operating segment or one level below the operating segment level, which is referred to as a component. Management identifies its reporting units by assessing whether components (i) have discrete financial information available; (ii) engage in business activities; and (iii) whether a segment manager regularly reviews the component’s operating results. Net assets and goodwill of acquired businesses are allocated to the reporting unit associated with the acquired business based on the anticipated organizational structure of the combined entities. If two or more components are deemed economically similar, those components are aggregated into one reporting unit when performing the annual goodwill impairment review. The Company has determined that it has one reporting unit as of December 31, 2019.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment (“ASU 2017-04”). To address concerns over the cost and complexity of the two-step goodwill impairment test, the new standard removes the requirement for the second step of the goodwill impairment test for certain entities. An entity may apply a one-step quantitative test and record the amount of goodwill impairment as the excess of a reporting unit's carrying amount over its fair value, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit. The Company adopted this method in the third quarter of 2019 and there were no changes to its financial statements as a result of the adoption. On September 30, 2019, the Company identified a triggering event due to the reduction of the Company’s market capitalization below the Company’s carrying value. The Company completed an assessment of any potential impairment by using the income approach of the discounted cash flow method and the market approach of the guideline transaction method, and determined that no impairment existed as of September 30, 2019. The Company also performed its annual impairment test on October 1, 2019 by reviewing qualitative factors and determined that no impairment existed as of the annual test date. As such, no impairment charges were recognized for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

Intangible Assets

The Company acquired the majority of its intangible assets through its acquisitions of Ebyline, ZenContent and TapInfluence. The Company is amortizing the identifiable intangible assets over periods of 12 to 60 months. See Note 4 for further details.

Management reviews long-lived assets, including property and equipment, software development costs and other intangible assets, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying amounts may not be recoverable. If an evaluation is required, the estimated future undiscounted cash flows associated with the asset are compared with the asset's carrying amount to determine if there has been an impairment, which is calculated as the difference between the fair value of an asset and its carrying value. Estimates of future undiscounted cash flows are based on expected growth rates for the business, anticipated future economic conditions and estimates of residual values. Fair values take into consideration management estimates of risk-adjusted discount rates, which are believed to be consistent with assumptions that marketplace participants would use in their estimates of fair value. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, the Company recorded impairment charges of $418,099 associated with the Company's reduction in use of certain developed technology upon implementation of IZEAx 3.0 and the migration of TapInfluence customers and creators into the IZEAx platform. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, there were no impairment charges associated with the Company's long-lived assets.

Software Development Costs
In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 350-40, Internal Use Software, the Company capitalizes certain internal use software development costs associated with creating and enhancing internally developed software related to its platforms. Software development activities generally consist of three stages (i) the research and planning stage, (ii) the application and development stage, and (iii) the post-implementation stage. Costs incurred in the research and planning stage and in the post-implementation stage of software development, or other maintenance and development expenses that do not meet the qualification for capitalization, are expensed as incurred. Costs incurred in the application and infrastructure development stage,

44

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


including significant enhancements and upgrades, are capitalized. These costs include personnel and related employee benefits expenses for employees or consultants who are directly associated with and who devote time to software projects, and external direct costs of materials obtained in developing the software. These software development and acquired technology costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of five years upon initial release of the software or additional features. See Note 5 for further details.

Leases
Effective January 1, 2019, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). As permitted under the standard, the Company elected the package of practical expedients which permit the Company to carryforward its prior conclusions about lease identification, lease classification and initial direct costs. Additionally, the Company adopted the practical expedient that allows comparative periods to be reported under the lease accounting guidance in effect at the time prior period financial statements were previously issued. Effectively, the Company elected to apply the guidance as of the adoption date whereas financial information for prior periods has not been updated, and the disclosures required under the new standard herein have not been provided for dates and periods before January 1, 2019.
This ASU establishes a right-of-use model that requires a lessee to record a right-of-use asset and a right-of-use liability on the balance sheet for all leases with terms longer than 12 months. Leases will be classified as either finance or operating, with classification affecting the pattern of expense recognition in the income statement. The Company has not recorded leases on the balance sheet that at the commencement date have a lease term of 12 months or less.
Upon the January 1, 2019 adoption of this standard, the Company had one material lease greater than 12 months in duration which is associated with its Corporate headquarters in Winter Park, Florida. The adoption of this standard resulted in the Company recording a right-of-use asset of $410,852 and an associated right-of-use liability of $399,892. The right-of-use asset is being amortized to rent expense over the remaining term of the lease. The right-of-use liability was determined by discounting the Company’s remaining obligations under the lease using its average incremental borrowing rate and will be increased through the recording of rent expense and reduced by payments made under the lease.

Revenue Recognition

The Company generates revenue from five primary sources: (1) revenue from its managed services when a marketer (typically a brand, agency or partner) pays the Company to provide custom content, influencer marketing, amplification or other campaign management services (“Managed Services”); (2) revenue from fees charged to software customers on their marketplace spend within the Company's IZEAx and TapInfluence platforms (“Marketplace Spend Fees”); (3) revenue from fees charged to access the IZEAx, Ebyline, and TapInfluence platforms (“License Fees”) (4) revenue from transactions generated by the self-service use of the Company's Ebyline platform for professional custom content workflow (“Legacy Workflow Fees”); and (5) revenue derived from other fees such as inactivity fees, early cash-out fees, and plan fees charged to users of the Company's platforms (“Other”). After the migration of the last customers from the Ebyline platform to IZEAx in December 2019, there will no longer be any revenue generated from the Legacy Workflow Fees and all future revenue will be reported as Marketplace Spend Fees.

The Company recognizes revenue in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“ASC 606”). Under ASC 606, revenue is recognized based on a five-step model which are as follows: (i) identify the contract with the customer; (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (iii) determine the transaction price; (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) performance obligations are satisfied. The core principle of ASC 606 is that revenue is recognized when the transfer of promised goods or services to customers is made in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. The Company applies the five-step model to contracts when it is probable that it will collect the consideration it is entitled to in exchange for the goods or services it transfers to the customer. At contract inception, once the contract is determined to be within the scope of ASC 606, the Company assesses the goods or services promised within each contract and determines those that are distinct performance obligations. The Company also determines whether it acts as an agent or a principal for each identified performance obligation. The determination of whether the Company acts as the principal or the agent is highly subjective and requires the Company to evaluate a number of indicators individually and as a whole in order to make its determination. For transactions in which the Company acts as a principal, revenue is reported on a gross basis as the amount paid by the marketer for the purchase of content or sponsorship, promotion and other related services and the Company records the amounts it pays to third-party creators as cost of revenue. For transactions in which the Company acts as an agent, revenue is reported on a net basis as the amount the Company charged to the self-service marketer using the Company’s platforms, less the amounts paid to the third-party creators providing the service.


45

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


The Company maintains separate arrangements with each marketer and content creator either in the form of a master agreement or terms of service, which specify the terms of the relationship and access to its platforms, or by statement of work, which specifies the price and the services to be performed, along with other terms. The transaction price is determined based on the fixed fee stated in the statement of work and does not contain variable consideration. Marketers who contract with the Company to manage their advertising campaigns or custom content requests may prepay for services or request credit terms. Payment terms are typically 30 days from the invoice date. The agreement typically provides for either a non-refundable deposit, or a cancellation fee if the agreement is canceled by the customer prior to completion of services. Billings in advance of completed services are recorded as a contract liability until earned. The Company assesses collectibility based on a number of factors, including the creditworthiness of the customer and payment and transaction history. The allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract is based on a cost-plus methodology.
Managed Services Revenue
For Managed Services Revenue, the Company enters into an agreement to provide services that may include multiple distinct performance obligations in the form of: (i) an integrated marketing campaign to provide influencer marketing services, which may include the provision of blogs, tweets, photos or videos shared through social network offerings and content promotion, such as click-through advertisements appearing in websites and social media channels; and (ii) custom content items, such as a research or news article, informational material or videos. Marketers typically purchase influencer marketing services for the purpose of providing public awareness or advertising buzz regarding the marketer’s brand and they purchase custom content for internal and external use. The Company may provide one type or a combination of all types of these performance obligations on a statement of work for a lump sum fee. The Company allocates revenue to each performance obligation in the contract at inception based on its relative standalone selling price. These performance obligations are to be provided over a stated period that generally ranges from one day to one year. Revenue is accounted for when the performance obligation has been satisfied depending on the type of service provided. The Company views its obligation to deliver influencer marketing services, including management services, as a single performance obligation that is satisfied over time as the customer receives the benefits from the services. Revenue is recognized using an input method of costs incurred compared to total expected costs to measure the progress towards satisfying the overall performance obligation of the marketing campaign. The delivery of custom content represents a distinct performance obligation that is satisfied over time as the Company has no alternative for the custom content and the Company has an enforceable right to payment for performance completed to date under the contracts. The Company considers custom content to be a series of distinct services that are substantially the same and that have the same pattern of transfer to the customer, and revenue is recognized over time using an output method based on when each individual piece of content is delivered to the customer. Based on the Company’s evaluations, revenue from Managed Services is reported on a gross basis because the Company has the primary obligation to fulfill the performance obligations and it creates, reviews and controls the services. The Company takes on the risk of payment to any third-party creators and it establishes the contract price directly with its customers based on the services requested in the statement of work.
Marketplace Spend Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees Revenue
For Marketplace Spend Fees and Legacy Workflow Fees Revenue, the self-service customer instructs creators found through the Company’s platforms to provide and/or distribute custom content for an agreed upon transaction price. The Company’s platforms control the contracting, description of services, acceptance of and payment for the requested content. This service is used primarily by news agencies or marketers to control the outsourcing of their content and advertising needs. The Company charges the self-service customer the transaction price plus a fee based on the contract. Revenue is recognized when the transaction is completed by the creator and accepted by the marketer or verified as posted by the system. Based on the Company’s evaluations, this revenue is reported on a net basis since the Company is acting as an agent solely arranging for the third-party creator or influencer to provide the services directly to the self-service customer through the platform or by posting the requested content.
License Fees Revenue
License Fees Revenue is generated through the granting of limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable licenses to customers for the use of the IZEAx and TapInfluence technology platforms for an agreed-upon subscription period. Customers license the platforms to manage their own influencer marketing campaigns. Fees for subscription or licensing services are recognized straight-line over the term of the service.
Other Revenue
Other Revenue is generated when fees are charged to customers primarily related to monthly plan fees, inactivity fees, and early cash-out fees. Plan fees are recognized within the month they relate to, inactivity fees are recognized at a point in time when the account is deemed inactive, and early cash-out fees are recognized when a cash-out either below certain minimum thresholds or with accelerated timing is requested.

46

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


The Company does not typically engage in contracts that are longer than one year. Therefore, the Company does not capitalize costs to obtain its customer contracts as these amounts generally would be recognized over a period of less than one year and are not material.

Advertising Costs

Advertising costs are charged to expense as they are incurred, including payments to content creators to promote the Company. Advertising costs charged to operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 were approximately $749,000 and $470,000, respectively. Advertising costs are included in sales and marketing expense in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

Income Taxes

The Company has not recorded federal income tax expense due to the generation of net operating losses. Deferred income taxes are accounted for using the balance sheet approach, which requires recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future consequences of temporary differences between the financial reporting basis and the tax basis of assets and liabilities. A valuation allowance is provided when it is more likely than not that a deferred tax asset will not be realized. The Company incurs minimal state franchise tax in four states, which is included in general and administrative expense in the consolidated statements of operations.
 
The Company identifies and evaluates uncertain tax positions, if any, and recognizes the impact of uncertain tax positions for which there is a less than more-likely-than-not probability of the position being upheld when reviewed by the relevant taxing authority. Such positions are deemed to be unrecognized tax benefits and a corresponding liability is established on the balance sheet. The Company has not recognized a liability for uncertain tax positions. If there were an unrecognized tax benefit, the Company would recognize interest accrued related to unrecognized tax benefits in interest expense and penalties in operating expenses. The Company’s tax years subject to examination by the Internal Revenue Service are 2016 through 2019.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

The Company’s financial instruments are recorded at fair value. Fair value is defined as the exchange price that would be received for an asset or paid to transfer a liability (an exit price) in the principal or most advantageous market for the asset or liability in an orderly transaction between market participants on the measurement date. The valuation techniques are based on observable and unobservable inputs. Observable inputs reflect readily obtainable data from independent sources, while unobservable inputs reflect certain market assumptions. There are three levels of inputs that may be used to measure fair value:
 
Level 1 Valuation based on quoted market prices in active markets for identical assets and liabilities.
Level 2 Valuation based on quoted market prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets.
Level 3 Valuation based on unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity, therefore requiring management’s best estimate of what market participants would use as fair value.
Fair value estimates discussed herein are based upon certain market assumptions and pertinent information available to management. The Company does not have any Level 1 or 2 financial assets or liabilities. The Company’s Level 3 financial liabilities measured at fair value included its acquisition cost liability (see Note 2) as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and its right-of-use liability as of December 31, 2019. The respective carrying values of certain on-balance-sheet financial instruments approximated their fair values due to the short-term nature of these instruments. These financial instruments include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, contract liabilities, and accrued expenses. Unless otherwise disclosed, the fair values of the Company’s long-term debt obligations approximate their carrying value based upon current rates available to the Company.

Stock-Based Compensation

Stock-based compensation cost related to stock options granted under the 2011 Equity Incentive Plan and the 2011 B Equity Incentive Plan (together, the “2011 Equity Incentive Plans”) (see Note 8) is measured at the grant date, based on the fair value of the award, and is recognized as expense over the employee’s requisite service period on a straight-line basis. The Company estimates the fair value of each option award on the date of grant using a Black-Scholes option-pricing model that uses the assumptions noted in the table below. The Company uses the closing stock price of its common stock on the date of the grant as the associated fair value of its common stock.  The Company estimates the volatility of its common stock at the date of grant based

47

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


on the volatility of comparable peer companies that are publicly traded and have had a longer trading history than itself. The Company determines the expected life based on historical experience with similar awards, giving consideration to the contractual terms, vesting schedules and post-vesting forfeitures. The Company uses the risk-free interest rate on the implied yield currently available on U.S. Treasury issues with an equivalent remaining term approximately equal to the expected life of the award. The Company has never paid any cash dividends on its common stock and does not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

The Company used the following assumptions for stock options granted under the 2011 Equity Incentive Plans during the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
 
 
Twelve Months Ended
2011 Equity Incentive Plans Assumptions
 
December 31,
2019
 
December 31,
2018
Expected term
 
6 years
 
6 years
Weighted average volatility
 
64.38%
 
64.49%
Weighted average risk free interest rate
 
1.92%
 
2.81%
Expected dividends
 
 
Weighted average expected forfeiture rate
 
9.26%
 
9.58%
The Company estimates forfeitures when recognizing compensation expense and this estimate of forfeitures is adjusted over the requisite service period based on the extent to which actual forfeitures differ, or are expected to differ, from such estimates. Changes in estimated forfeitures are recognized through a cumulative catch-up adjustment, which is recognized in the period of change, and a revised amount of unamortized compensation expense to be recognized in future periods.
The Company may issue shares of restricted stock or restricted stock units which vest over future periods. The value of shares is recorded as the fair value of the stock or units upon the issuance date and is expensed on a straight-line basis over the vesting period. See Note 8 for additional information related to these shares.

The Company adopted ASU No. 2018­-07, Compensation—Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Nonemployee Share­Based Payment Accounting (“ASU 2018-07”) on January 1, 2019 whereby consistent with the accounting requirement for employee share-based payment awards, nonemployee share-based payment awards within the scope of Topic 718 will be measured at the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments that the Company is obligated to issue when the good has been delivered or the service has been rendered. Adoption of ASU 2018-07, did not have any immediate impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements, but after December 31, 2018, the Company values any nonemployee issuances at the grant-date fair value.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
 
Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

Accounting Standards Not Yet Adopted
Fair Value Measurements: In August 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued ASU No. 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework—Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement (“ASU 2018-13”). The new guidance amends the disclosure requirements for recurring and nonrecurring fair value measurements by removing, modifying, and adding certain disclosures on fair value measurements in ASC 820. The amendments on changes to the range and weighted average of significant unobservable inputs used to develop Level 3 fair value measurements and the narrative description of measurement uncertainty should be applied prospectively for only the most recent interim or annual period presented in the initial fiscal year of adoption. All other amendments should be applied retrospectively to all periods presented upon their effective date. The Company currently fair values its right-of-use liability as a Level 3. The new guidance will be effective for the Company beginning January 1, 2020, with early adoption permitted. The Company does not plan to early adopt this ASU, and it is currently evaluating the expected impact of adopting ASU 2018-13 on its consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

48

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


Collaborative Arrangements: In November 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-18, Collaborative Arrangements (Topic 808): Clarifying the interaction between Topic 808 and Topic 606 (“ASU 2018-18”). The guidance makes targeted improvements to GAAP for collaborative arrangements including: (i) clarifying that certain transactions between collaborative arrangement participants should be accounted for as revenue under ASC 606 when the collaborative arrangement participant is a customer in the context of a unit of account, (ii) adding unit-of-account guidance in ASC 808 to align with the guidance in ASC 606 (that is, a distinct good or service) when an entity is assessing whether the collaborative arrangement or a part of the arrangement is within the scope of ASC 606, and (iii) requiring that in a transaction with a collaborative arrangement participant that is not directly related to sales to third parties, presenting the transaction together with revenue recognized under ASC 606 is precluded if the collaborative arrangement participant is not a customer. The amendments in this update are effective for public entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted. The amendments should be applied retrospectively to the date of initial application of ASC 606. An entity may elect to apply the amendments in this ASU retrospectively either to all contracts or only to contracts that are not completed at the date of initial application of ASC 606. An entity should disclose its election. An entity may elect to apply the practical expedient for contract modifications that is permitted for entities using the modified retrospective transition method in ASC 606. The Company does not expect the adoption of ASU 2018-18 to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

Credit Losses: In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments (“ASU 2016-13”). ASU 2016-13 replaced the incurred loss impairment methodology under current GAAP with a methodology that reflects expected credit losses and requires a consideration of a broader range of reasonable and supportable information to inform credit loss estimates. ASU 2016-13 requires use of a forward-looking expected credit loss model for accounts receivables, loans, and other financial instruments. In May 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-05, which provides transition relief for entities adopting ASU 2016-13. For entities that have adopted ASU 2016-13, the amendments in ASU 2019-05 are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods therein. An entity may early adopt the ASU in any interim period after its issuance if the entity has adopted ASU 2016-13. For all other entities, the effective date will be the same as the effective date of ASU 2016-13. ASU 2016-13 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company is currently evaluating the expected impact of adopting ASU 2016-13 on its consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

Income Taxes: In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-12, “Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes” (“ASU 2019-12”), which is intended to simplify various aspects related to accounting for income taxes. ASU 2019-12 removes certain exceptions to the general principles in Topic 740 and also clarifies and amends existing guidance to improve consistent application. This guidance is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after December 15, 2020, with early adoption permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact on its consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.

NOTE 2.     BUSINESS COMBINATIONS

TAPINFLUENCE, INC.
On July 26, 2018, IZEA completed its merger with TapInfluence, Inc., pursuant to the terms of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of July 11, 2018, by and among IZEA, IZEA Merger Sub, Inc., TapInfluence, certain stockholders of TapInfluence and the stockholders’ representative, as amended by Amendment No. 1 thereto, dated as of July 20, 2018 (the “Merger Agreement”). The merger was consummated, in part, to further consolidate the influencer marketing industry for IZEA, and for IZEA to obtain benefits from the acquisition of the TapInfluence technology platform and existing customer base, particularly from TapInfluence’s self-service customers.


49

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


The following table summarizes the purchase price and acquisition costs payable associated with this acquisition:
 
Estimated Gross Purchase Consideration
 
Estimated Initial Present and Fair Value
 
Estimated Present
and Fair Value of
Acquisition Costs
Payable
 
Estimated Remaining
Fair Value of
Acquisition Costs
Payable
 
July 26, 2018
 
July 26, 2018
 
December 31, 2018
 
December 31, 2019
Cash paid at closing (a)
$
1,500,000

 
$
1,500,000

 
$

 
$

Stock paid at closing (a)
1,759,500

 
1,759,500

 

 

Purchase price adjustment (b)
(439,610
)
 
(555,026
)
 
(115,416
)
 

First deferred purchase price installment (c)
1,000,000

 
970,576

 
995,097

 

Second deferred purchase price installment (c)
3,500,000

 
3,271,028

 
3,366,433

 

Total
$
7,319,890

 
$
6,946,078

 
$
4,246,114

 
$

(a)  
The aggregate consideration paid at closing for the acquisition of TapInfluence consisted of a cash payment of $1,500,000 and the issuance of 1,150,000 shares of IZEA common stock valued at $1,759,500, or $1.53 per share.
(b)  
Per the terms of the Merger Agreement, the initial cash payment due at closing of $1,500,000 was to be adjusted as follows: reduced for seller transaction expenses and closing date indebtedness, increased by closing date cash and cash equivalents of TapInfluence, and reduced or increased by an estimated working capital amount. These adjustments resulted in a net reduction in the purchase price of $439,610, which included a negative estimated working capital adjustment of $181,633.
(c)  
Aggregate post-acquisition date consideration consists of additional payments totaling $4,500,000, less any remaining adjustment related to the final working capital adjustment calculation. The payments were to be made in the form of cash, common stock or a combination thereof, at IZEA’s option. The first of these installments was paid in January 2019, and the second of the two installments was paid in July 2019. Following the closing, IZEA calculated the final working capital as of the closing date as a negative $297,049, which was $115,416 lower than the original estimate of negative $181,633. Therefore, the purchase price was reduced by an additional $115,416, which was deducted from the six-month installment payment paid in January 2019. On January 26, 2019, the Company issued 660,136 shares of its common stock valued at $884,583, or $1.34 per share, using a thirty (30) trading day volume-weighted average closing price (the “30-day VWAP”) as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. The Company recorded a $191,439 loss on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing market price of the common stock of $1.63 on the settlement date and the 30-day average price of the common stock of $1.34 required by the Merger Agreement.
On July 26, 2019, pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement, the Company issued to the former shareholders of TapInfluence 6,908,251 shares of its common stock valued at $3,500,000, or $0.50664 per share, using the 30-day VWAP as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. The Company recognized a gain of $752,589 on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing market price of the common stock of $0.3977 on the settlement date and the 30-day VWAP.
The Company’s consolidated revenue associated with TapInfluence operations for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, was $2,052,985 and $1,991,548, respectively. The Company is unable to determine net loss specifically related to TapInfluence operations as the majority of operational resources have been fully integrated within IZEA, and the Company has nearly completed the migration of the TapInfluence customers and creators into the IZEAx platform.
The following unaudited pro forma summary presents consolidated information of the Company as if the business combination with TapInfluence had occurred on January 1, 2017:

50

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


 
 
Pro Forma
 
 
Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2018
Pro forma revenue
 
$
22,645,356

Pro forma cost of revenue
 
9,418,297

Pro forma gross profit
 
$
13,227,059

 
 
 
Pro forma net loss prior to adjustments
 
$
(7,070,224
)
Pro forma adjustment to net loss:
 
 
Difference in amortization of acquired identifiable intangible assets
 
(569,139
)
Difference in amortization of acquired property and equipment
 
8,835

Acquisition-related expenses
 
158,795

Pro forma net loss combined
 
$
(7,471,733
)
The business combination was accounted for under the acquisition method of accounting in accordance with ASC Topic 805, Business Combinations.

ZENCONTENT, INC.
On July 31, 2016, the Company purchased all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of ZenContent pursuant to the terms of a Stock Purchase Agreement, by and among IZEA, ZenContent and the stockholders of ZenContent (the “ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement”) for a maximum purchase price to be paid over three years of $4,500,000. Upon closing, the Company paid a cash payment of $400,000 and issued 86,207 shares of the Company’s common stock valued at $600,000. The ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement also required (i) three equal annual installment payments totaling $1,000,000, subject to a working capital adjustment, commencing 12 months following the closing and (ii) contingent performance payments of up to an aggregate of $2,500,000 over the three consecutive 12-month periods following the closing, based upon ZenContent achieving certain minimum revenue thresholds. Of these payments, 33% of each such annual installment or contingent performance payment were to be in the form of cash and the remainder of such payment was to be in the form of either cash or additional shares of the Company’s common stock (determined at the Company’s option). In July 2018, pursuant to an amendment to the ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement, the parties agreed to fix the amount payable for any further contingent performance payments at $90,000, of which $45,000 was paid in cash on November 1, 2018, and $45,000 was paid in cash on November 1, 2019.


The following table summarizes the purchase price and acquisition costs payable associated with this acquisition:
 
Estimated Gross Purchase Consideration
 
Estimated Initial Present and Fair Value
 
Estimated Present
and Fair Value of
Acquisition Costs
Payable
 
Estimated Remaining
Fair Value of
Acquisition Costs
Payable
 
July 31, 2016
 
July 31, 2016
 
December 31, 2018
 
December 31, 2019
Cash paid at closing (a)
$
400,000

 
$
400,000

 
$

 
$

Stock paid at closing (a)
600,000

 
600,000

 

 

Guaranteed purchase price (b)
933,565

 
566,547

 
321,740

 

Contingent performance payments (c)
2,500,000

 
230,000

 
43,639

 

Total
$
4,433,565

 
$
1,796,547

 
$
365,379

 
$


(a)  
The aggregate consideration paid at closing for the acquisition of ZenContent consisted of a cash payment of $400,000 and the issuance of 86,207 shares of IZEA common stock valued at $600,000.

(b)  
Aggregate post-acquisition date consideration consists of (i) three equal annual installment payments totaling $1,000,000, commencing 12 months following the closing, less a reduction of $66,435 due to a customary closing date working capital adjustment (“guaranteed purchase price”), and (ii) contingent performance payments up to an aggregate of $2,500,000 over the three consecutive 12-month periods following the closing. These payments were also subject to a downward adjustment up to 30% if ZenContent’s co-founder was terminated by IZEA for cause or if she terminated her employment without good reason. As a result, the Company initially reduced its acquisition cost liability by $300,000 to be accrued as compensation expense over the three-year term rather than allocated to the initial purchase price in accordance with ASC 805-10-55-25.

51

IZEA Worldwide, Inc.
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements


The initial guaranteed purchase price consideration was discounted to present value using the Company’s borrowing rate of prime plus 2% (5.5% on July 31, 2016). On July 31, 2017, the Company paid $266,898 in cash for the first annual installment of $333,333 less $66,435 in working capital adjustments. On July 31, 2018, the Company paid the second annual installment, comprised of $111,112 in cash and $222,221 in stock using 98,765 shares of its common stock valued at $2.25 per share, using the 30-day VWAP as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. On July 31, 2019, the Company made the third and final annual installment payment under the ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement, comprised of $111,111 in cash and 447,489 shares of its common stock valued at $222,223 or $0.4966 per share, using the 30-day VWAP as reported by the Nasdaq Capital Market prior to the issuance date. The Company recognized a gain of $41,258 on the settlement of this acquisition cost payable as a result of the difference between the actual closing price of the common stock of $0.4044 on the settlement date and the 30-day VWAP.
(c) 
The contingent performance payments were subject to ZenContent achieving certain minimum revenue thresholds over 36 months. On July 31, 2016, the Company initially determined the fair value of the $2,500,000 contingent payments to be $230,000. The fair value of the contingent performance payments was required to be revalued each quarter and was calculated using a Monte-Carlo simulation to simulate revenue over the future periods. Since the contingent consideration has an option like structure, a risk-neutral framework was considered appropriate for the valuation. The Company started with a risk-adjusted measure of forecasted revenue (using a risk-adjusted discount rate of 17%) and assumed it would follow geometric Brownian motion to simulate the revenue at future dates. Once the initial revenue was estimated based off of projections, payout was calculated for each year and present valued to incorporate the credit risk associated with these payments. The Company’s fair value conclusion was based on the average payment from 250,000 simulation trials. The volatility used for the simulation was 45%. The interest rate used for the simulation was the Company’s current borrowing rate of prime plus 2% at the time of valuation. The Company revised its estimate of the contingent performance payments based on the fixed payments agreed upon in the July 2018 amendment to the ZenContent Stock Purchase Agreement.

NOTE 3.     PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT

Property and equipment consists of the following:
 
December 31, 2019
 
December 31, 2018
Furniture and fixtures
$
298,205

 
$
293,777

Office equipment
86,884

 
77,194

Computer equipment
455,008

 
561,812

Leasehold improvements
338,018

 
338,018

Total
1,178,115

 
1,270,801

Less accumulated depreciation and amortization
(868,335
)
 
(998,562
)
Property and equipment, net
$
309,780

 
$
272,239

Depreciation and amortization expense on property and equipment recorded in depreciation and amortization expense in the consolidated statements of operations was $131,121 and $222,912 for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

NOTE 4.     INTANGIBLE ASSETS

The identifiable intangible assets, other than Goodwill, consists of the following assets:    
 
December 31, 2019
 
December 31, 2018
 
Useful Life (in years)
 
Balance
 
Accumulated Amortization
 
Balance
 
Accumulated Amortization
 
Content provider networks
$
160,000

 
$
160,000

 
$
160,000

 
$
160,000

 
2
Trade names
87,000

 
87,000

 
87,000

 
66,583

 
1
Developed technology
820,000

 
622,167

 
1,130,000

 
396,167

 
5
Self-service content customers
2,810,000

 
1,437,778

 
2,810,000

 
571,111

 
3
Managed content customers
2,140,000

 
2,140,000

 
2,140,000

 
2,071,945

 
3
Domains
166,469

 
133,175

 
166,469

 
99,881

 
5
Embedded non-compete provision