10-K 1 cdlx_form10-kx2018q4.htm 10-K Document

 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from _________________ to _________________
Commission File Number: 001-38386
cardlytics_logoa11.jpg
CARDLYTICS, INC.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
Delaware
26-3039436
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Ste 6000, Atlanta, GA 30308
(888) 798-5802
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
 
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (Nasdaq Global 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  ☐    No  ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
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  ☒    No  ☐  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  ☒    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.     ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, 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
 
  
Accelerated filer
 
Non-accelerated filer
 
  
Smaller reporting company
 
 
 
 
 
Emerging growth company
 
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.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ☐    No  ☒
As of June 29, 2018, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $222 million based upon the closing sale price of our common stock on that date.
As of February 28, 2019, there were 22,502,113 shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.0001.
 



CARDLYTICS, INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
Page
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
Item 15.
Item 16.
 



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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K ("Annual Report"), contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended ("Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended ("Exchange Act"), that reflect our current expectations regarding future events, our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenues, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management. Forward-looking statements include any statement that does not directly relate to a current or historical fact. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “objective,” “ongoing,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “potential,” “should,” “will,” or “would,” or the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology intended to identify statements about the future. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and opinions contained in this Annual Report are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report and, while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. Forward-looking statements include statements about:
our ability to continue to add new financial institution ("FI") partners and marketers and maintain existing FI partners and marketers;
with respect to Cardlytics Direct, our ability to increase FI partner customer engagement from new and existing FI partners;
our expectations regarding the launch of the Cardlytics Direct program for Wells Fargo and the online banking program for Chase;
our ability to increase revenue from new and existing marketers in both new and existing industry verticals;
our expectations regarding our ability to offset development expenses with an FI partner through reductions in payments during 2019;
our expectations regarding an FI Share commitment shortfall in 2019;
the effects of increased competition as well as innovations by new and existing competitors in our market;
our ability to adapt to technological change and effectively enhance, innovate and scale our solutions;
our ability to effectively manage or sustain our growth and to sustain profitability;
potential acquisitions and integration of complementary business and technologies;
our ability to maintain, or strengthen awareness of, our brand;
perceived or actual integrity, reliability, quality or compatibility problems with our solutions, including related to unscheduled downtime or outages;
future revenue, hiring plans, expenses, capital expenditures, capital requirements and stock performance;
our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and key personnel and further expand our overall headcount;
our ability to grow our business;
our ability to stay abreast of new or modified laws and regulations that currently apply or become applicable to our business both in the United States and internationally;
our ability to maintain, protect and enhance our intellectual property;
costs associated with defending intellectual property infringement and other claims;
the future trading prices of our common stock and the impact of securities analysts’ reports on these prices; and
other risks detailed below in Item 1A. “Risk Factors.”
You should refer to Item 1A. “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report for a discussion of important factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. As a result of these factors, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this Annual Report will prove to be accurate. Furthermore, if our forward-looking statements prove to be inaccurate, the inaccuracy may be material. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not regard these statements as a representation or warranty by us or any other person that we will achieve our objectives and plans in any specified time frame or at all. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. You should, therefore, not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this Annual Report.
Except as otherwise indicated herein or as the context otherwise requires, references in this Annual Report to “Cardlytics,” the “company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and similar references refer to Cardlytics, Inc. and, unless the context otherwise requires, its consolidated subsidiaries.


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PART I.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Overview
Cardlytics makes marketing more relevant and measurable through our purchase intelligence platform. Our partnerships with financial institutions ("FIs") provide us with access to their anonymized purchase data and digital banking customers. By applying advanced analytics to this aggregation of purchase data, we make it actionable, helping marketers identify, reach and influence likely buyers at scale, and measure the true sales impact of their marketing spend.
We are a partner to FIs, including Bank of America, National Association ("Bank of America"), JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association (“Chase”), PNC Bank National Association ("PNC"), Branch Banking and Trust Company ("BB&T"), SunTrust Banks, Inc. ("SunTrust"), Lloyds Bank plc ("Lloyds"), Santander UK plc ("Santander"), and several of the largest bank processors and digital banking providers to reach customers of small and mid-sized FIs. Additionally, in the third quarter of 2018, we entered into an agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association (“Wells Fargo”), pursuant to which we have agreed to a national roll-out of Cardlytics Direct to Wells Fargo customers. We expect Wells Fargo to launch the Cardlytics Direct program in 2019. As the amount of revenue that we can generate from marketers with respect to Cardlytics Direct is primarily a function of the number of active users on our FI partners’ digital banking platforms, we believe that the number of monthly active users ("FI MAUs") contributed by any FI partner is indicative of our level of dependence on such FI partner.
Our platform helps solve fundamental problems for marketers. Marketers increasingly have access to data on the purchase behavior of their customers in their own stores and websites. However, they lack insight into their customers’ purchase behavior outside of their stores and websites, as well as the purchase behavior of individuals who are not yet customers. The reality is, no matter how robust their own customer data, marketers only see a small portion of their customers’ overall spend—both within and across categories. As a result, it is very difficult for businesses to focus their marketing investments on the most valuable customers. Marketers are often challenged to measure the performance of their marketing. This issue is particularly acute with respect to measuring the impact of marketing on in-store sales, where the vast majority of consumer spending occurs. We believe purchase intelligence is the next disruptive opportunity in marketing and can comprehensively address these challenges. Our purchase intelligence platform is designed to enable marketers to identify, reach and influence likely buyers at scale, and precisely measure how marketing drives sales by “closing the loop”—both digital and in-store. We have strong relationships with leading marketers across a variety of industries, including national and regional restaurant and retail chains as well as large providers of cable, satellite television and wireless services.
We have proven the power of purchase intelligence with our proprietary native advertising channel, Cardlytics Direct. We have created a powerful, highly captive native advertising channel that reaches customers when they are thinking about their finances. By consolidating the largely untapped, high growth mobile and online banking channels of FIs, Cardlytics Direct enables marketers to reach consumers across these FIs through their digital banking accounts, which includes online, mobile and email, and increasingly through email and various real-time notifications. Using our purchase intelligence presents customers with offers to save money in these categories at a time when they are thinking of their finances.
We have experienced growth in our revenue since inception. Revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct, which is net of Consumer Incentives, was $97.8 million, $122.4 million and $149.3 million for 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16%. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our average FI MAUs were approximately 43.9 million, 54.9 million and 65.0 million, respectively, and our average Cardlytics Direct revenue per user was $2.23, $2.23 and $2.30, respectively. FI MAU and ARPU are performance metrics defined under the heading "Non-GAAP Measures and Other Performance Metrics" within Item 7 of this Annual Report.
During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our net loss was $75.7 million, $19.6 million and $53.0 million, respectively. Our historical losses have been driven by our substantial investments in our purchase intelligence platform and infrastructure, which we believe will enable us to expand the use of our platform by both FIs and marketers. In 2016, our net loss includes a $25.9 million one-time non-cash charge related to the termination of our U.K. agreement with Aimia EMEA Limited, and a $10.9 million non-cash charge related to the issuance and change in fair value of convertible promissory notes. In 2017, our net loss includes a $5.0 million non-cash gain related to the change in fair value of convertible promissory notes. In 2018, our net loss includes $26.8 million of stock-based compensation expense, a $6.8 million non-cash expense related to the change in fair value of our warrant liabilities, a $0.9 million loss on extinguishment of debt and a $2.5 million non-cash expense related to the vesting of warrants issued to an FI partner that accelerated upon the closing of our initial public offering ("IPO").


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Our Purchase Intelligence Platform
Data Asset
Purchase data from FIs provides a secure view into where and when consumers are spending their money. Our technology aggregates and analyzes purchase data without any personally identifiable information ("PII") leaving the FI. Our platform analyzes online and in-store transactions across multiple accounts in the United States ("U.S."), including two in five debit and credit card swipes in the U.S. We believe that access to this purchase data can only be obtained at scale by partnering directly with FIs. This data allows us to serve relevant advertisements to our FIs’ customers through our Cardlytics Direct native bank advertising channel. We also leverage the power of purchase intelligence to provide marketers utilizing Cardlytics Direct with valuable insights into the preferences of their actual or potential customers outside the context of a marketing campaign.
Advanced Analytics Capabilities
The advanced analytics we apply to our unique purchase dataset are what transforms it into valuable purchase intelligence. We use sophisticated quantitative methods to quickly access our massive volumes of data and make sense of what has happened—and, importantly, what is likely to happen. Our analytics makes our data actionable, enabling us to develop insights that marketers and FIs rely on to make smarter business decisions and more meaningful customer connections.
We analyze the impact marketing campaigns have on in-store and online sales. Since we are able to measure sales impact, marketers can use our purchase intelligence to optimize future campaigns. Given our granular view into consumer spending across all categories, we can also help marketers identify share shift among key competitors, and learn more about where else their customers spend their money.
For FIs, we use our analytics to optimize the offers we display to FI customers within our Cardlytics Direct channel. By assigning relevancy scores to each offer based on what customers are most likely to buy, our platform can present the most relevant offers earlier in customers’ mobile and online banking sessions. This increases the likelihood that customers activate, redeem, and earn more cash back on the things they care about most. At the same time, marketers gain more opportunities to get valuable content in front of the right audience.
Distributed Architecture
A crucial aspect of our platform is our patented distributed architecture, which helps to facilitate both the effective delivery of our solutions and the protection of customer PII. Our Offer Placement System ("OPS"), and Offer Management System ("OMS") form the core of Cardlytics Direct and are the foundation for our other solutions.
The OPS is either hosted at the FI partner’s data center, behind the FI partner’s firewall, or hosted by us on behalf of the FI partner. The OPS tracks impressions, engagement, activation and redemptions and is responsible for targeting and presenting offers, which are developed and designed within the OMS. Each of our FI partners has its own instance of the OPS, regardless of where hosted, which consists primarily of a web application and database that interact with the FI’s web servers to deliver marketing into the FI’s online banking portal. The OPS interfaces with FI systems to receive anonymized purchase data, assigns a unique consumer ID to each FI customer, which we call a Cardlytics ID, and aggregates this purchase data. The Cardlytics ID is then used to assign offers as well as to anonymously link a consumer’s media presences, including mobile and online, to the consumer’s purchase data.
The OMS is hosted in our data centers behind our firewall and is responsible for facilitating the creation of marketing campaigns, evaluating the results of campaigns, and controlling and providing regular software updates to the deployed OPS.


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Our Solutions
Cardlytics Direct
Through Cardlytics Direct, marketers can deliver advertising content to FI customers in the form of an opportunity to earn rewards, which are funded with a portion of the fees we collect from marketers. Additionally, Cardlytics Direct benefits FI customers by enhancing their experiences by showing them relevant advertisements tailored to their specific needs based on their specific purchase history. We currently sell Cardlytics Direct in the U.S. and United Kingdom ("U.K.").
Cardlytics Direct helps marketers find high potential new customers that are active in their category, but not currently shopping with them, or to grow their business with existing customers. Our marketing is targeted and measured with each individual customer’s actual spending information. However, all reporting is aggregated across consumers in our FI network. Unlike many other measurement solutions on which the marketing industry has historically relied, our measurements are not probabilistic or based on models, but are based on actual purchases.
The breadth of our FI partner network means that we are able to offer marketers the ability to optimize their marketing efforts to reach a large number of consumers through a single point of contact. Cardlytics Direct also offers our FI partners a scalable solution for driving customer loyalty and engagement with little effort on their part, as we handle everything from contracting with marketers, building, running and reporting performance of the marketing campaigns to allocating incentives to our FIs’ customers.
Other Platform Solutions
Our Other Platform Solutions enabled marketers and marketing service providers to leverage the power of purchase intelligence outside the bank channel. We have shifted the majority of our efforts and resources to support the growth of Cardlytics Direct. As a result, we do not expect to generate substantial, if any, revenue from Other Platform Solutions for the foreseeable future, and we expect Other Platform Solutions revenue to decline in future periods compared to prior periods. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, Other Platform Solutions revenue was $15.0 million, $8.0 million and $1.4 million, respectively. Accordingly, our total revenue may decline in future periods if we are unable to generate sufficient offsetting revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct.
Competitive Strengths
We make marketing more relevant and measurable through our purchase intelligence platform. We believe that the following strengths provide us with competitive advantages:
Deeply Embedded with FIs. Our founders were bankers who understood the power of historical purchase data and the needs of marketers. Our platform was architected with our FI partners in mind and is designed to ensure that no PII ever leaves the FI. No FI partner with which we contract directly has unilaterally terminated its use of our platform. We are generally the exclusive provider of native bank channel advertising to our FI partners as mobile and online banking portals are not conducive to supporting marketing content from different vendors. Further, native bank channel advertising requires deep technological integrations, which we believe increases the cost of switching vendors and therefore increases FI partner loyalty to us.
Our Proprietary Consumer Touchpoints. With all of our FI partners, we enable marketers to reach consumers in a captive, largely untapped, and digitally engaging environment, when they are thinking about their finances. We have access to consumers both on the web and mobile, and are increasingly reaching them through various other channels, including emails and real-time notifications.
Massive Reach Informed by Purchase Intelligence. Our platform analyzed approximately $2.4 trillion in U.S. purchase data in 2018 across stores, retail categories, and geographies, both online and in-store, representing over 35 billion transactions across more than 175 million accounts in the U.S. We have access to purchase data on our platform is in the form of credit, debit, ACH and bill pay transactions. We provide marketers with the opportunity to leverage this unique data set to precisely reach millions of consumers.
Significant Scale with Marketers and Compelling ROAS. We work with companies across a variety of industries, including national and regional restaurant and retail chains as well as large providers of cable, satellite television and wireless services. By serving these marketers at scale, we have developed deep insight into consumer behavior, which has allowed us to optimize how we reach and influence likely buyers.
Powerful, Self-Reinforcing Network Effects. We see significant network effects within Cardlytics Direct. By adding new marketers and increasing the potential incentives provided to our FIs’ customers, we are able to increase engagement


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within our FIs’ digital banking channels. This, in turn, attracts more FIs to our platform, adding to our scale, and making our platform more valuable to marketers.
Ability to Improve Marketing. Consumers spend a vast majority of their purchase dollars in physical stores and online marketers have long sought efficient and effective ways to understand online-to-offline attribution. Likewise, although marketers may have access to data on the purchase behavior of their customers in their stores and on their websites, they lack visibility about these customers’ overall purchasing patterns and the purchasing behavior of other likely buyers.
Proprietary Technology Architecture and Advanced Analytics Capabilities. We have designed our purchase intelligence platform to protect highly sensitive first-party data. Our proprietary, distributed architecture helps facilitate both the effective delivery of our solution and the protection of our FI customers’ PII. No PII is shared by the FIs with Cardlytics. Our technologies leverages proprietary algorithms, to process raw purchase data into normalized purchase history useful for marketing and analytics. Our platform also supports integration of data from our FI partners and from third-party sources to enrich the intelligence that we are able to provide. Further, we apply advanced analytics to continuously increase our intelligence capabilities and identify actionable behavior patterns for our marketers. Our advanced analytics capabilities are what transforms our unique purchase dataset into valuable purchase intelligence. We use sophisticated quantitative methods to quickly access our massive volumes of data and make sense of what has happened—and, importantly, what is likely to happen. Our analytics makes our data actionable, enabling us to develop insights that marketers and FIs rely on to make smarter business decisions and more meaningful customer connections.
World-Class Management Team with Unique Combination of Backgrounds and Experiences. Our team’s extensive experience across banking, technology and marketing is invaluable in our ability to forge relationships with financial and marketing partners, and understand the technical complexities inherent in building a platform that is transforming and disrupting the marketing industry.
Our Growth Strategies
The principal components of our strategy include the following:
Grow Our Cardlytics Direct Business with Marketers. While we already work with many large marketers, our purchase intelligence currently captures only a small portion of their overall marketing spend. We intend to continue to expand our sales and marketing efforts to grow our Cardlytics Direct business with existing marketers and attract new brands, retailers and service providers both. We also intend to grow our Cardlytics Direct business with new marketers in new industry verticals such as e-commerce/direct-to-consumer, grocery, travel, and entertainment verticals.
Drive Growth through Existing FI Partners. We intend to drive revenue growth by continuing to increase customer adoption and improve the effectiveness of FIs’ digital channels. The revenue that we generate from the incentive programs of each of our FI partners varies. This variance is typically a result of how long the program has been active, the user interface for the program and the FI’s efforts to promote the program. We continually work with FIs to improve their customers’ user experience, increase customer awareness, and leverage additional customer outreach channels like email.
Expand our Network of FI Partners. We will continue to focus on growing our network of FI partners by integrating directly with large regional and national banks and by reselling our solution through financial processors and payment networks. Each new FI partner increases the size of our data asset, increasing the value of our platform to both marketers and FIs that are already part of our FI network.
Grow Our Platform Through Integrations with Partners. We believe that we can improve the value proposition for marketers through the use of purchase intelligence. We intend to continue to partner with other media platforms, marketing technology providers and agencies that can utilize our platform to serve a broad array of customers. To facilitate these partnerships, we intend to focus on continued technological integration of our platform with those of complementary market participants.
Continue to Innovate and Evolve Our Platform. As we continue to grow our data asset and enhance our platform, we are developing new solutions and increasingly sophisticated analytical capabilities. As we have in the past, we plan to continue to work in close collaboration with our FI partners to develop new purchase intelligence based analytic solutions for marketing and other industries that satisfy the demanding requirements of financial services.


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Our FI Partners
We partner with FIs to offer incentive programs through their digital banking channels. We define an FI partner as either a separate contracting entity from which we generate revenue directly or from which we generate revenue through a third-party intermediary, such as a bank processor, digital banking provider or payment network operator. We pay our FI partners an FI Share, which is a negotiated and fixed percentage of our billings to marketers less any Consumer Incentives that we pay to the FIs’ customers and certain third-party data costs.
Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018. As a result, during the fourth quarter of 2018, our average FI MAUs were 83.2 million of which Chase contributed 27%. Chase expanded the program to their email channel in January 2019 and we expect Chase to further expand the program to online banking during the first half of 2019.
During 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, our largest FI partner, Bank of America contributed 47%, 51%, 47% and 37% of our average FI MAUs, respectively. Lloyds, our largest FI partner in the U.K., contributed 10%, 9%, 8% and 6% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. As of December 31, 2018, we had direct contractual relationships with 21 of our FI partners, while our other FI partners became part of our network through bank processors and digital banking providers, such as Digital Insight Corporation, a subsidiary of NCR Corporation ("Digital Insight"). Digital Insight contributed 13%, 11%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. PNC contributed 10%, 8%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. Further, while FI partners that were part of our network through our relationships with Digital Insight contributed 10% of our average FI MAUs in 2018, these indirect FI partners represented substantially all of our total number of FI partners as of December 31, 2018.
From inception to date, no FI partner with which we contract directly has unilaterally terminated its use of our solution. FIs that become part of our network through bank processors and digital banking providers may terminate their relationships with these bank processors and digital banking providers and thereby indirectly terminate their relationships with us.
Our Agreements with Bank of America
Since November 2010, our relationship with Bank of America has been governed by a General Services Agreement ("GSA") pursuant to which we provide Bank of America with access to Cardlytics Direct and certain other related services, and a related Software License, Customization and Maintenance Agreement, which grants Bank of America the right to use the software underlying Cardlytics Direct. The GSA terminates on November 4, 2021 and may be extended by Bank of America for additional one-year periods.
Pursuant to the GSA with Bank of America, we provide Cardlytics Direct to Bank of America customers which includes forming relationships with participating marketers; obtaining and publishing marketer offers to customers after screening both the marketer and specific advertising content; and monitoring redemption rates with respect to Consumer Incentives offered in Cardlytics Direct campaigns. Although we are primarily responsible for securing marketers to advertise on Cardlytics Direct, Bank of America may likewise secure marketers and has the right to approve all marketer offers to be presented to Bank of America customers on Cardlytics Direct.
Under the GSA, we share the revenue that we generate from the sale of advertising within the Bank of America Cardlytics Direct channel with Bank of America, subject to certain exceptions. The amounts that we pay to Bank of America are reflected as FI Share. During 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, Bank of America accounted for 64%, 63%, 64% and 52% of our aggregate FI Share, respectively. The specific FI Share percentage that we pay is based on whether we or Bank of America have secured the relevant marketer account and other marketer- and transaction-specific factors, provided that we are entitled to retain a minimum percentage of the monthly revenue subject to the GSA.
In connection with entering into certain supplements to the GSA and the related license agreement, in March 2011 we granted to an affiliate of Bank of America a 10-year warrant to purchase up to (i) 78,101 shares of our common stock at an exercise prices of $2.52 per share and (ii) 312,402 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $6.52 per share.
Our Agreements with Chase
In May 2018, we entered into a Master Agreement and Schedule #1 to the Master Agreement (collectively, the “Master Agreement”) with Chase, pursuant to which we rolled out Cardlytics Direct to Chase customers. Under the Master Agreement, we provided Chase with access to Cardlytics Direct for an initial term beginning on the date Cardlytics Direct was made generally available to Chase's customers and ending seven years from that date. Chase may terminate the Master Agreement at any time upon 90 days’ written notice.


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Under the Master Agreement, we share billings that we generate from the sale of advertising within the Chase Cardlytics Direct channel with Chase, subject to certain exceptions. The amounts that we pay to Chase in excess of Consumer Incentives are reflected as FI Share. The specific billing share percentage that we pay is based on whether we or Chase have secured the relevant marketer account and other marketer- and transaction-specific factors, provided that we are entitled to retain a minimum percentage of the monthly revenue subject to the Master Agreement.
Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018 and accounted for 16% of our aggregate FI Share during the fourth quarter of 2018.
Our Marketers
We enable marketers and their agencies to efficiently and effectively market to our FIs’ customers through Cardlytics Direct. We work with companies across a variety of industries, including national and regional restaurants, retail, cable and satellite television providers and wireless carriers, e-commerce/direct-to-consumer, grocery, travel, and entertainment. Our top five marketers represented 23% of revenue during 2016, 2017 and 2018. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, no marketer individually represented 10% or more of our revenue.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales teams are focused on expanding our FI network as well as our marketer and agency customers. Our marketing team is centralized and focuses on increasing market awareness for Cardlytics through partnerships, public relations, industry events and publications. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our total sales and marketing expenses were $31.3 million, $31.9 million and $41.9 million, respectively, representing approximately 28%, 24% and 28% of revenue, respectively.
Marketers
We have dedicated sales teams responsible for establishing relationships with marketers and their agencies. Our go-to-market efforts are organized by industry vertical, which include restaurants, retail, cable and satellite television providers and wireless carriers, e-commerce/direct-to-consumer, grocery, travel, and entertainment. Each vertical team is led by an experienced sales manager and staffed with sales, sales support and service specialists who have deep domain knowledge and industry operating experience. We also have account managers that manage our customer relationships within each vertical.
Financial Institution Partners
Our go-to-market efforts for expanding our FI network are focused on nurturing our existing banking relationships and cultivating new relationships. From inception to date, no FI partner with which we contract directly has unilaterally terminated its use of our solution. Our FI partner sales team is focused on driving FIs to enhance their user interface for our white label program, otherwise drive increased consumer engagement and encourage adoption of our solution offerings.
Our Competition
The market for the utilization of purchase intelligence is nascent and we believe we are one of the only companies that can provide purchase intelligence with the scale and the level of granularity that is equivalent to ours. With respect to Cardlytics Direct, we believe that we are the only company that enables marketing through FI channels at scale. As we expand our solutions, we expect to compete with a number of established companies, as well as numerous emerging market entrants. In the future, we may face competition from online retailers, credit card companies, digital publishers and mobile pay providers with access to a substantial amount of consumer purchase data. While we may successfully partner with a wide range of companies that are to some extent currently competitive to us, these companies may become more competitive to us in the future. As we introduce new solutions, as our existing solutions evolve and as other companies introduce new products and services, we are likely to face additional competition.
We believe the principal competitive factors in our industry include the following:
ability to leverage purchase data to inform marketing;
depth and breadth of relationships with FIs, marketers and their agencies;
demonstrating the need for purchase intelligence to inform marketing spend;
depth and breadth of, and access to, purchase data;
effectiveness in increasing return on advertising spend for marketers;
effectiveness in increasing marketing campaign performance for marketers and their agencies;


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ability to maintain confidentiality and security of consumer data;
transparency into and measurement of marketing performance;
multi-channel capabilities;
pricing;
brand awareness and reputation;
ability to continue to innovate; and
ability to attract, retain and develop leading-edge analytical and technical talent.
We believe that we compete favorably with respect to these factors and that we are well positioned as a leading provider and innovator of purchase intelligence.
Intellectual Property
Our future success and competitive position depend in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technologies. To safeguard these rights, we rely on a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws and contractual protections in the U.S. and other jurisdictions.
As of December 31, 2018, we had four issued patents and are pursuing five additional patents relating to our software. Our issued patents relate to a distributed system for inserting offers into online banking and expire on October 24, 2028. We cannot assure you that any patents will issue from any patent applications, that patents that issue from such applications will give us the protection that we seek or that any such patents will not be challenged, invalidated, or circumvented. Any patents that may issue in the future from our pending or future patent applications may not provide sufficiently broad protection and may not be enforceable in actions against alleged infringers.
We have registered the “Cardlytics” name and logo in the U.S. and certain other countries. We have registrations and/or pending applications for additional marks in the U.S. and other countries; however, we cannot assure you that any future trademark registrations will be issued for pending or future applications or that any registered trademarks will be enforceable or provide adequate protection of our proprietary rights.
We also license software from third parties for integration into our offerings, including open source software and other software available on commercially reasonable terms. We cannot assure you that such third parties will maintain such software or continue to make it available.
We are the registered holder of a variety of domestic and international domain names that include cardlytics.com and similar variations on that name.
In order to protect our unpatented proprietary technologies and processes, we rely on trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, financial institution partners, marketers, vendors and others. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary technology and trade secrets, unauthorized parties may attempt to misappropriate, reverse engineer or otherwise obtain and use them. In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets, in which case we would not be able to assert trade secret rights, or develop similar technologies and processes. Further, the contractual provisions that we enter into may not prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary technology or intellectual property rights and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary technology or intellectual property rights. If we become more successful, we believe that competitors will be more likely to try to develop solutions and services that are similar to ours and that may infringe our proprietary rights. It may also be more likely that competitors or other third parties will claim that our platform infringes their proprietary rights.
Patent and other intellectual property disputes are common in our industry and we have been involved in such disputes from time to time in the ordinary course of our business. Some companies, including some of our competitors, own large numbers of patents, copyrights and trademarks, which they may use to assert claims against us. Third parties may in the future assert claims of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights against us. They may also assert such claims against our FI partners, which we typically indemnify against such claims. As the numbers of products and competitors in our market increase and overlaps occur, claims of infringement, misappropriation and other violations of intellectual property rights may increase. Any claim of infringement, misappropriation or other violation of intellectual property rights by a third party, even those without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs defending against the claim and could distract our management from our business.


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Privacy and Security
We have architected privacy and security into our systems and practices. A critical part of our strategy involves not collecting, maintaining or using sensitive information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, financial account information or medical records. We currently do not receive any PII from our FI partners. We only receive data in aggregate and target marketing against anonymized data. This approach to privacy is intended to protect consumers. Our privacy and security standards have also been designed and implemented to meet the requirements and safeguard the reputations of our FI partners and marketers, many of which are large, multinational corporations. These customers frequently audit our practices and engage in detailed assessments of our infrastructure.
Despite the fact that we do not receive any PII from FIs, privacy and security are among our highest priorities and we commit significant resources to protecting the data that we receive. We have implemented, assess on an ongoing basis, and, when necessary, upgrade our physical, procedural and technical controls. We also take steps to impose compliance with these controls on our service providers via contract.
We have implemented a number of security controls. Our security controls have been audited and certified by third parties using standards which include SOC 1, SOC 2 and OWASP. Sensitive data is subject to encryption, anonymization, or de-identification depending on the use case and risk profile. We enhance network security through measures such as network segmentation, firewalls and network and host based intrusion detection at critical network aggregation and ingress/egress points.
A cornerstone of our practices is transparency in data use and consumer choice. Our privacy policy outlines the types of data we collect and how we use it. Most of our FI partners maintain different types of "opt-out” features for any consumer wishing to opt out of Cardlytics Direct.
Outside of the U.S., our privacy and data handling practices are subject to regulation by data protection authorities and other regulators in the countries in which we do business, which may be more restrictive than the requirements that we are subject to in the U.S.
Seasonality
Our cash flows from operations vary from quarter to quarter, largely due to the seasonal nature of our marketers’ advertising spending. Many marketers tend to devote a significant portion of their marketing budgets to the fourth quarter of the calendar year to coincide with consumer holiday spending and to reduce spend in the first quarter of the calendar year.
Employees
As of December 31, 2018, we had 402 full-time employees, including 91 in delivery, 186 in sales and marketing, 77 in research and development and 48 in general and administrative. None of our U.S. employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe our employee relations are good and we have not experienced any work stoppages.
Corporate Information
Cardlytics, Inc. was initially incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in June 2008. Our principal executive offices are located at 675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Suite 6000, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. Our telephone number is (888) 798-5802. Our website address is www.cardlytics.com. We completed our IPO in February 2018 and our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “CDLX.” “Cardlytics,” the Cardlytics logo and other trademarks or service marks of Cardlytics, Inc. appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of Cardlytics, Inc. This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains additional trade names, trademarks and service marks of others, which are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this Annual Report may appear without the ® or TM symbols.


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Available Information
Our website address is www.cardlytics.com and our investor relations website is located at http://ir.cardlytics.com/. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are available free of charge on our investor relations website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Additionally, the SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information. The SEC’s website address is www.sec.gov.
The contents of our websites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this report, and in our other public filings in evaluating our business. Our business, financial condition, operating results, cash flow, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks or uncertainties. In that event, the market price of our common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Our Business and Industry
We may not be able to sustain our revenue growth rate in the future.
Our revenue increased by 16% from $112.8 million in 2016 to $130.4 million in 2017 and 16% from $130.4 million in 2017 to $150.7 million in 2018. We may not be able to sustain revenue growth consistent with our recent history or at all. You should not consider our revenue growth in recent periods as indicative of our future performance. As we grow our business, we expect our revenue growth rates to slow in future periods due to a number of factors, which may include slowing demand for our solutions, increasing competition, decreasing growth of our overall market, our inability to engage and retain a sufficient number of marketers or banks and credit unions, which we refer to as financial institutions ("FIs"), or our failure, for any reason, to capitalize on growth opportunities. If we are unable to maintain consistent revenue or revenue growth, our stock price could be volatile, and it may be difficult for us to achieve and maintain profitability.
We are dependent upon Cardlytics Direct.
We have historically derived substantially all of our revenue from Cardlytics Direct, our proprietary native bank advertising channel, and expect to continue to derive substantially all of our future revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct for the foreseeable future. Approximately 87%, 94% and 99% of our revenue in 2016, 2017 and the 2018, respectively, was derived from sales of Cardlytics Direct. Revenue from our Other Platform Solutions, where we use purchase intelligence outside of the native bank advertising channel, was approximately $15.0 million, $8.0 million and $1.4 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. Substantially all of our total Other Platform Solutions revenue in each of these periods was derived from sales of our Other Platform Solutions delivered as a managed service until it was discontinued on July 31, 2017. Given that we are now focusing the substantial majority of our efforts and resources to support the growth of Cardlytics Direct, we do not expect to generate any revenue from Other Platform Solutions for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, our total revenue may decline in future periods if we are unable to generate sufficient offsetting revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct. Our operating results could also suffer due to:
lack of continued participation by FI partners in our network or our failure to attract new FI partners;
failure by our FI partners to increase engagement with our solutions within their customer bases, improve their customers’ user experience, increase customer awareness, leverage additional customer outreach channels like email or otherwise promote our incentive programs on their websites and mobile applications, including by making the programs difficult to access or otherwise diminishing their prominence;
our failure to offer compelling incentives to our FIs’ customers;
any decline in demand for Cardlytics Direct by marketers or their agencies;
the introduction by competitors of products and technologies that serve as a replacement or substitute for, or represent an improvement over, Cardlytics Direct;
FIs developing their own technology to support purchase intelligence marketing or other incentive programs;


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technological innovations or new standards that Cardlytics Direct does not address; and
sensitivity to current or future prices offered by us or competing solutions.
In addition, we are required to pay Consumer Incentives with respect to a majority of our Cardlytics Direct marketing campaigns regardless of whether the amount of such Consumer Incentives exceeds the amount of billings that we are paid by the applicable marketer. Further, we are often required to pay such Consumer Incentives before we receive payment from the applicable marketer. Accordingly, to the extent that the amount of Consumer Incentives that we are required to pay materially exceeds the billings that we receive or we encounter any significant failure to ultimately collect payment, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.
If we are unable to grow our revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct, our business and operating results would be harmed.
We are substantially dependent on Chase, Bank of America and a limited number of other FI partners.
Our business is substantially dependent on Chase, Bank of America and a limited number of other FI partners. We require participation from our FI partners in Cardlytics Direct and access to their purchase data in order to offer our solutions to marketers and their agencies. We must have FI partners with a sufficient number of customers and levels of customer engagement to ensure that we have robust purchase data and marketing space to support a broad array of incentive programs for marketers. As the amount of revenue that we can generate from marketers with respect to Cardlytics Direct is primarily a function of the number of active users on our FI partners’ digital banking platforms, we believe that the number of average FI MAUs of any FI partner is indicative of our level of dependence on such FI partner.
Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018. As a result, during the fourth quarter of 2018, Chase contributed 27% of our average FI MAUs. Chase expanded the program to their email channel in January 2019 and we expect Chase to further expand the program to online banking during the first half of 2019.
During 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, our largest FI partner, Bank of America contributed 47%, 51%, 47% and 37% of our average FI MAUs, respectively. Lloyds Bank plc ("Lloyds"), our largest FI partner in the U.K., contributed 10%, 9%, 8% and 6% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. Digital Insight contributed 13%, 11%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. PNC contributed 10%, 8%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. We anticipate that Chase and Bank of America will contribute a significant portion of our average FI MAUs for the foreseeable future.
In addition, we pay our FI partners an FI Share, which is a negotiated and fixed percentage of our billings to marketers less any Consumer Incentives that we pay to the FIs’ customers and certain third-party data costs. During 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, Bank of America accounted for 64%, 63%, 64% and 52% of the total FI Share we paid to all FIs, respectively. Lloyds accounted for 10%, 12%, 9% and 6% of the total FI Share we paid to all FIs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. We anticipate that Bank of America, will continue to receive a significant portion of our FI Share for the foreseeable future. During the fourth quarter in 2018, Chase contributed approximately 16% of our aggregate FI Share.
Our agreements with a substantial majority of our FI partners, including Bank of America, Lloyds and Digital Insight have three to five year terms but are generally terminable by the FI partner on 90 days or less prior notice. If an FI partner terminates its agreement with us, we would lose that FI as a source of purchase data and online banking customers. Our FI partners may elect to withhold from us or limit the use of their purchase data for many reasons, including:
a change in the business strategy;
if there is a competitive reason to do so;
if new technical requirements arise;
consumer concern over use of purchase data;
if they choose to develop and use in-house solutions or use a competitive solution in lieu of our solutions; and
if legislation is passed restricting the dissemination, or our use, of the data that is currently provided to us or if judicial interpretations result in similar limitations.
To the extent that we breach or are alleged to have breached the terms of our agreement with any FI partner, or a disagreement arises with an FI partner regarding the interpretation of our contractual arrangements, which has occurred in the past with respect to Bank of America (although Bank of America granted us a waiver) and may occur again in the future, such FI partner may be more likely to cease providing us data or to terminate its agreement with us. The loss of Bank of America, Lloyds, Digital Insight or any other significant FI partner would significantly harm our business, results of operations and financial conditions.


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If we fail to attract new or maintain our relationships with current FI partners or maintain our relationships with bank processors and digital banking providers, we may not be able to sufficiently grow our revenue, which could significantly harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our ability to grow our revenue depends on our ability to attract new FI partners. A significant percentage of consumer credit and debit card spending is concentrated with the 15 largest FIs in the U.S., five of which are currently part of our network, while the balance of card spending is spread across thousands of smaller FIs. Accordingly, our ability to efficiently grow our revenue will specifically depend on our ability to establish relationships with the large FIs that are not currently part of our network and to maintain our relationships with the large FIs that are currently part of our network. In addition, we must continue to maintain our relationships with our existing bank processor and digital banking provider partners and attract new such partners because these partners aggregate smaller FIs into our network. We have in the past and may in the future be unsuccessful in attempts to establish and maintain relationships with large FIs, bank processors and digital banking providers. If we are unable to attract new FI partners, maintain our relationships with our existing bank processor and digital banking provider partners or attract new bank processor and digital provider partners, our business, results of operations and financial condition would be significantly harmed and we may fail to capture a material portion of the native bank advertising market opportunity.
Our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to expand into new industry verticals.
We have historically generated a substantial majority of our revenue from marketers in the restaurant, brick and mortar retail, telecommunications and cable industries, and have recently entered new verticals such as e-commerce/direct-to-consumer, grocery, travel, and entertainment verticals, and believe that our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to expand adoption of our solutions in new industry verticals. As we market to a wider group of potential marketers and their agencies, we will need to adapt our marketing strategies to meet the concerns and expectations of customers in these new industry verticals. Our success in expanding sales of our solutions to marketers in new industry verticals will depend on a variety of factors, including our ability to:
tailor our solutions so that they that are attractive to businesses in such industries;
hire personnel with relevant industry-vertical experience to lead sales and services teams; and
develop sufficient expertise in such industries so that we can provide effective and meaningful marketing programs and analytics.
If we are unable to successfully market our solutions to appeal to marketers and their agencies in new industries, we may not be able to achieve our growth or business objectives.
We derive a material portion of our revenue from a limited number of marketers, and the loss of one or more of these marketers could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial conditions.
Our marketer base is concentrated with our top five marketers representing 23% of revenue for each of the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018. We do not have long-term commitments from most of these marketers. If we were to lose one or more of our significant marketers, our revenue may significantly decline. In addition, revenue from significant marketers may vary from period-to-period depending on the timing or volume of marketing spend. The loss of one or more of our significant marketers could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial conditions.
Further, our top five marketers represented 21%, 24% and 23% of accounts receivable as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. Accordingly, our credit risk is concentrated among a limited number of marketers and the failure of any significant marketer to satisfy its obligations to us, on a timely basis or at all, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial conditions.


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If we do not effectively grow and train our sales team, we may be unable to add new marketers or increase sales to our existing marketers and our business will be adversely affected.
We continue to be substantially dependent on our sales team to obtain new marketers and to drive sales with respect to our existing marketers. We believe that the characteristics and skills of the best salespeople for our solutions are still being defined, as our market is relatively new. Further, we believe that there is, and will continue to be, significant competition for sales personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require. Our ability to achieve significant revenue growth will depend, in large part, on our success in recruiting, training, integrating and retaining sufficient numbers of sales personnel to support our growth. New hires require significant training and it may take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our recent hires and planned hires may not become productive as quickly as we expect, and we may be unable to hire or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals in the markets where we do business or plan to do business. In addition, as we continue to grow, a large percentage of our sales team will be new to our company and our solutions. If we are unable to hire and train sufficient numbers of effective sales personnel, or the sales personnel are not successful in obtaining new marketers or increasing sales to our existing marketers, our business will be adversely affected.
We do not have direct contractual relationships with a substantial majority of our FI partners.
As of December 31, 2018, we only had direct contractual relationships with 21of our FI partners. Our other FI partners became part of our network through bank processors and digital banking providers, such as Digital Insight and Fidelity Information Services LLC (“FIS”). While FI partners that were part of our network through our relationships with Digital Insight and FIS contributed approximately 10% of our total number of average FI MAUs for the year ended December 31, 2018, these indirect FI partners represented substantially all of our total FI partners as of 2018. These indirect FI partners may terminate their relationships with these bank processors or digital banking providers, thereby indirectly terminating their relationships with us, independent of the actual or perceived value of our solutions to them.
Delays in the full launch of Cardlytics Direct at Chase or Wells Fargo, or failure to launch at all, may result in our failure to meet expectations with respect to future operating results.
In May 2018, we signed a seven-year agreement for a national launch of Cardlytics Direct with Chase. In August 2018, we signed a four-year agreement with the initial term expiring on July 1, 2022, for a national launch of Cardlytics Direct with Wells Fargo. Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018 and expanded the program to their email channel in January 2019. We expect Chase to further expand the Cardlytics Direct program to online banking during the first half of 2019. We expect Wells Fargo to launch the Cardlytics Direct program in 2019. The implementation of the online banking channel at Chase and full deployment at Wells Fargo may require significant investment in our systems and infrastructure, and we may encounter unforeseen technological issues which could cause delays in the launch, limitations to the scope of the launch or an inability to launch at all. In addition, Chase may terminate the agreement at any time upon 90 days' written notice and Wells Fargo may terminate the agreement at any time upon 180 days' written notice. If the launch of Cardlytics Direct online at Chase or full deployment at Wells Fargo is delayed, limited or terminated, our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.
We have a significant amount of debt, which may affect our ability to operate our business and secure additional financing in the future.
As of December 31, 2018, our total indebtedness was approximately $46.7 million. On May 21, 2018, we entered into a loan facility with Pacific Western Bank (the "New Loan Facility") consisting of a $30.0 million asset-based revolving line of credit ("2018 Line of Credit") and a $20.0 million term loan ("2018 Term Loan") maturing on May 21, 2020. As of December 31, 2018, there was approximately $26.7 million and $20.0 million outstanding under the 2018 Line of Credit and 2018 Term Loan, respectively.
Our New Loan Facility is secured by substantially all of our assets and requires us, and any debt instruments we may enter into in the future may require us, to comply with various covenants that limit our ability to, among other things: 
dispose of assets;
complete mergers or acquisitions;
incur or guarantee indebtedness;
sell or encumber certain assets;
pay dividends or make other distributions to holders of our capital stock, including by way of certain stock buybacks;
make specified investments;


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engage in different lines of business;
change certain key management personnel; and
engage in certain transactions with our affiliates.
We are also required under the New Loan Facility to comply with specified financial covenants. Our ability to comply with those financial covenants can be affected by events beyond our control and we may not be able to comply with those covenants. These covenants may make it difficult to operate our business. A failure by us to comply with the covenants contained in our New Loan Facility could result in an event of default, which could adversely affect our ability to respond to changes in our business and manage our operations. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, including the occurrence of a material adverse change, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be due and payable and exercise other remedies as set forth in our New Loan Facility. If the indebtedness under our New Loan Facility were to be accelerated, our future financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We may incur additional indebtedness in the future. The instruments governing such indebtedness could contain provisions that are as, or more, restrictive than our existing debt instruments. If we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our indebtedness when payment is due, the lenders could proceed against any collateral granted to them to secure such indebtedness or force us into bankruptcy or liquidation.
A breach of the security of our systems could result in a third party’s entry into our FI partners’ systems, which would be detrimental to our business, financial condition and operating results.
We leverage our FI partners’ purchase data and infrastructures to deliver our solutions. We do not currently receive any personally identifiable information ("PII") from our FI partners, although we may obtain PII in the future as our business evolves. However, because of the interconnected nature of our infrastructure with that of our FI partners, there is a risk that third parties may attempt to gain access to our FI partners’ systems through our systems for the purpose of stealing data or disrupting our or their respective operations. In turn, we may be a more visible target for cyberattacks and/or physical breaches of our databases or data centers, and we may in the future suffer from such attacks or breaches.
Current or future criminal capabilities, discovery of existing or new vulnerabilities in our systems and attempts to exploit those vulnerabilities or other developments may compromise or breach the technology protecting our systems. In the event that our protection efforts are unsuccessful and our systems are compromised such that a third party gains entry to our or any of our FI partners’ systems, we could suffer substantial harm. A security breach could result in operation disruptions that impair our ability to meet our marketers’ requirements, which could result in decreased revenue. Also, our reputation could suffer irreparable harm, causing our current and prospective marketers and FI partners to decline to use our solutions in the future. Further, we could be forced to expend significant financial and operational resources in response to a security breach, including repairing system damage, increasing cybersecurity protection costs by deploying additional personnel and protection technologies and litigating and resolving legal claims, all of which could divert resources and the attention of our management and key personnel away from our business operations. In any event, a breach of the security of our systems or data could materially harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
If we fail to generate sufficient revenue to offset our contractual commitments to FIs, our business, results of operations and financial conditions could be harmed.
We have a minimum FI Share commitment with a certain FI partner totaling $10.0 million over a 12-month period following the completion of certain milestones, which were not met as of December 31, 2018. In 2017, we paid certain of our FI partners an aggregate of approximately $2.6 million related to 2016 FI Share commitments in excess of the amount of FI Share otherwise payable to such FI partners in the absence of such commitments, and it is possible that we may be required to fund similar shortfalls in future periods. In certain cases, we are also responsible for funding certain development costs for user interface enhancements and implementation costs on behalf of FIs. These agreements allow for reimbursements to us through future reductions to FI Share. During 2018, development payments to a certain FI partner totaled $9.3 million, which are expected to be offset by recoveries through FI Share payment reductions of $4.6 million in 2019.
To the extent that we are unable to generate revenue from marketers sufficient to offset these FI Share commitments and other obligations, our business, results of operations and financial conditions could be harmed.


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Bringing new FI partners into our network can require considerable time and expense and can be long and unpredictable.
Our FI partners and FI partner prospects engage in highly regulated businesses, are often slow to adopt technological innovation and have rigorous standards with respect to providing third parties, like us, with access to their data. Our operating results depend in part on expanding our FI network to maintain and enhance the scale of our solutions. The length of time that it takes to add an FI partner to our network, from initial evaluation to integration into our network, varies substantially from FI to FI and may take several years. Our sales and integration cycle with respect to our FI partners is long and unpredictable, requires considerable time and expense and may not ultimately be successful. It is difficult to predict exactly when, or even if, a new FI partner will join our network and we may not generate revenue from a new FI partner in the same period as we incurred the costs associated with acquiring such FI partner, or at all. Once an FI partner has agreed to work with us, it may take a lengthy period of time for the implementation of our solutions to be prioritized and integrated into the FI partner’s infrastructure. Because a substantial portion of our expenses are relatively fixed in the short term, our operating results will suffer if revenue falls below our expectations in a particular quarter, which could cause the price of our stock to decline. Ultimately, if additions to our FI network are not realized in the time period expected or not realized at all, or if an FI partner terminates its agreement with us, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our quarterly operating results may vary from period to period, which could result in our failure to meet expectations with respect to operating results and cause the trading price of our stock to decline.
Our operating results have historically fluctuated and our future operating results may vary significantly from quarter to quarter due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Period-to-period comparisons of our operating results should not be relied upon as an indication of our future performance. Given our relatively short operating history and the rapidly evolving purchase intelligence industry, our historical operating results may not be useful in predicting our future operating results. 
Factors that may impact our quarterly operating results include the factors set forth in this “Risk Factors” section, as well as the following:
our ability to attract and retain marketers, FI partners and bank processor and digital banking provider partners;
the amount and timing of revenue, operating costs and capital expenditures related to the operations and expansion of our business, particularly with respect to our efforts to attract new FI partners to our network;
the revenue mix between Cardlytics Direct and Other Platform Solutions, as well as between revenue generated from our operations in the U.S. and U.K.;
changes in the economic prospects of marketers, the industries or verticals that we primarily serve, or the economy generally, which could alter marketers’ spending priorities or budgets;
the termination or alteration of relationships with our FI partners in a manner that impacts ongoing or future marketing campaigns;
the amount and timing of expenses required to grow our business, including the timing of our payments of FI Share and FI Share commitments as compared to the timing of our receipt of payments from our marketers;
changes in demand for our solutions or similar solutions;
seasonal trends in the marketing industry, including concentration of marketer spend in the fourth quarter of the calendar year and declines in marketer spend in the first quarter of the calendar year;
competitive market position, including changes in the pricing policies of our competitors;
exposure related to our international operations and foreign currency exchange rates;
expenses associated with items such as litigation, regulatory changes, cyberattacks or security breaches;
the introduction of new technologies, products or solution offerings by competitors; and
costs related to acquisitions of other businesses or technologies.
Each factor above or discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or the cumulative effect of some of these factors may result in fluctuations in our operating results. This variability and unpredictability could result in our failure to meet expectations with respect to operating results, or those of securities analysts or investors, for a particular period. If we fail to meet or exceed expectations for our operating results for these or any other reasons, the market price of our stock could fall and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class action suits.


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We have a short operating history, which makes it difficult to evaluate our future prospects and may increase the risk that we will not be successful.
We have a relatively short operating history, which limits our ability to forecast our future operating results and subjects us to a number of uncertainties, including with respect to our ability to plan for and model future growth. We have encountered and will continue to encounter risks and uncertainties frequently experienced by growing companies in developing industries. If our assumptions regarding these uncertainties, which we use to manage our business, are incorrect or change in response to changes in our markets, or if we do not address these risks successfully, our operating and financial results could differ materially from our expectations, our business could suffer and our stock price could decline. Any success that we may experience in the future will depend in large part on our ability to, among other things:
maintain and expand our network of FI partners and bank processor and digital banking provider partners;
build and maintain long-term relationships with marketers and their agencies;
develop and offer competitive solutions that meet the evolving needs of marketers;
expand our relationships with FI partners to enable us to use their purchase data for new solutions;
improve the performance and capabilities of our solutions;
successfully expand our business;
successfully compete with other companies that are currently in, or may in the future enter, the markets for our solutions;
increase market awareness of our solutions and enhance our brand;
manage increased operating expenses as we continue to invest in our infrastructure to scale our business and operate as a public company; and
attract, hire, train, integrate and retain qualified and motivated employees.
Any failure of our FI partners to effectively deliver and promote the online incentive programs that comprise Cardlytics Direct could materially and adversely affect our business.
We have spent the last several years and significant resources building out technology integrations with our FI partners to facilitate the delivery of incentive programs to our FIs’ customers and measuring those customers subsequent in-store or digital spending. We are also reliant on our network of FI partners to promote their digital incentive programs, increase customer awareness and leverage additional customer outreach channels like email, all of which can increase customer engagement, as well as expand our network of FI partners. We believe that key factors in the success and effectiveness of our incentive program include the level of accessibility and prominence of the program on the FI partners’ website and mobile applications, as well as the user interface through which a customer is presented with marketing content. In certain cases, we have little control over the prominence of the incentive program and design of the user interface that our FI partners choose to use. To the extent that our FI partners deemphasize incentive programs, make incentive programs difficult to locate on their website and/or mobile applications and/or fail to provide a user interface that is appealing to FI customers, FI customers may be less likely to purchase the products or solutions that are featured in incentive programs, which could negatively impact the amount of fees that we are able to charge our marketer customers in connection with marketing campaigns, and, therefore, our revenue. In addition, a failure by FIs to properly deliver or sufficiently promote marketing campaigns would reduce the efficacy of our solutions and impair our ability to attract and retain marketers and their agencies. As a result, the revenue we generate from our Cardlytics Direct solution may be adversely affected, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.


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Our business could be adversely affected if marketers or their agencies are not satisfied with our solutions or our systems and infrastructure fail to meet their needs.
We derive nearly all of our revenue from marketers and their agencies. Accordingly, our business depends on our ability to satisfy marketers and their agencies with respect to their marketing needs. With respect to Cardlytics Direct, we rely on our Offer Management System ("OMS") to facilitate the creation of marketing campaigns and evaluate the results of campaigns, and our Offer Placement System ("OPS"), to track impressions, engagement, activation and redemptions and to target consumers and present offers. Any failure of, or delays in the performance of, our systems, including without limitation our OMS or OPS, could cause service interruptions or impaired system performance. Such failures in our systems could also cause us to over-run on campaigns, thus committing us to a higher redemptions, which would negatively affect the profitability of the affected campaigns. If sustained or repeated, these performance issues could reduce the attractiveness of our solutions to new and existing marketers and cause existing marketers to reduce or cease using our solutions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results. In addition, negative publicity resulting from issues related to our marketer relationships, regardless of accuracy, may damage our business by adversely affecting our ability to attract new marketers or marketing agencies and maintain and expand our relationships with existing marketers.
If the use of our solutions increases, or if marketers or FI partners demand more advanced features from our solutions, we will need to devote additional resources to improving our solutions, and we also may need to expand our technical infrastructure at a more rapid pace than we have in the past. This would involve purchasing or leasing data center capacity and equipment, upgrading our technology and infrastructure and introducing new or enhanced solutions. It may take a significant amount of time to plan, develop and test changes to our infrastructure, and we may not be able to accurately forecast demand or predict the results we will realize from such improvements. There are inherent risks associated with changing, upgrading, improving and expanding our technical infrastructure. Any failure of our solutions to operate effectively with future infrastructure and technologies could reduce the demand for our solutions, resulting in marketer or FI partner dissatisfaction and harm to our business. Also, any expansion of our infrastructure would likely require that we appropriately scale our internal business systems and services organization, including without limitation implementation and support services, to serve our growing marketer base. If we are unable to respond to these changes or fully and effectively implement them in a cost-effective and timely manner, our solutions may become ineffective, we may lose marketers and/or FI partners, and our business, financial condition and operating results may be negatively impacted.
We generally do not have long-term commitments from marketers, and if we are unable to retain and increase sales of our solutions to marketers and their agencies or attract new marketers and their agencies, our business, financial condition and operating results would be adversely affected.
Most marketers do business with us by placing insertion orders for particular marketing campaigns, either directly or through marketing agencies that act on their behalf. We often do not have any commitment from a marketer beyond the campaign governed by a particular insertion order, and we frequently must compete to win further business from a marketer. Our insertion orders may also be canceled by marketers or their marketing agencies prior to the completion of the campaign; provided that marketers or their agencies are required to pay us for services performed prior to cancellation. As a result, our success is dependent upon our ability to outperform our competitors and win repeat business from existing marketers, while continually expanding the number of marketers for which we provide services. To maintain and increase our revenue, we must encourage existing marketers and their agencies to increase their use of our solutions and add new marketers. Many marketers and marketing agencies, however, have only just begun using our solutions for a limited number of marketing campaigns, and our future revenue growth will depend heavily on these marketers and marketing agencies expanding their use of our solutions across campaigns and otherwise increasing their spending with us. Even if we are successful in convincing marketers and their agencies to use our solutions, it may take several months or years for them to meaningfully increase the amount that they spend with us. Further, larger marketers with multiple brands typically have individual marketing budgets and marketing decision makers for each of their brands, and we may not be able to leverage our success in securing a portion of the marketing budget of one or more of a marketer’s brands into additional business with other brands. Moreover, marketers may place internal limits on the allocation of their marketing budgets to digital marketing, to particular campaigns, to a particular provider or for other reasons. In addition, we are reliant on our FI network to have sufficient marketing inventory within Cardlytics Direct to place the full volume of advertisements contracted for by our marketers and their agencies. Any failure to meet these demands may hamper the growth of our business and the attractiveness of our solutions.


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Our ability to retain and increase sales of our solutions and attract new marketers and their agencies may be adversely affected by competitive offerings or marketing methods that are lower priced or perceived as more effective than our solutions. Larger marketers may themselves have a substantial amount of purchase data and they may also seek to augment their own purchase data with additional purchase, impression and/or demographic data acquired from third-party data providers, which may allow them to develop, individually or with partners, internal targeting and measurement capabilities.
Because many of our agreement are not long-term with our marketers or their agencies, we may not be able to accurately predict future revenue streams, and we cannot guarantee that our current marketers will continue to use our solutions, or that we will be able to replace departing marketers with new marketers that provide us with comparable revenue. If we are unable to retain and increase sales of our solutions to existing marketers and their agencies or attract new marketers and their agencies for any of the reasons above or for other reasons, our business, financial condition and operating results would be adversely affected.
We have a history of losses and may not achieve profitability in the future.
We have incurred net losses since inception and expect to incur net losses in the future. We incurred net losses of $75.7 million, $19.6 million and $53.0 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. As of December 31, 2018, we had an accumulated deficit of $321.5 million. We have never achieved profitability on an annual or quarterly basis and we do not know if we will be able to achieve or sustain profitability. Although our revenue has increased substantially in recent periods, we also do not expect to maintain this rate of revenue growth. We plan to continue to invest in our research and development and sales and marketing efforts, and we anticipate that our operating expenses will continue to increase as we scale our business and expand our operations. We also expect our general and administrative expense to increase as a result of our growth and operating as a public company. Our ability to achieve and sustain profitability is based on numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control. We may never be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve or sustain profitability.
We operate in an emerging industry and future demand and market acceptance for our solutions is uncertain.
We believe that our future success will depend in large part on the growth, if any, in the market for purchase intelligence. Utilization of consumer purchase data to inform marketing is an emerging industry and future demand and market acceptance for this type of marketing is uncertain. If the market for purchase intelligence does not continue to develop or develops more slowly than we expect, our business, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.
The market in which we participate is competitive and we may not be able to compete successfully with our current or future competitors.
The market for purchase intelligence is nascent and we believe that there is no one company with which we compete directly across our range of solutions. With respect to Cardlytics Direct, we believe that we are the only company that enables marketing through FI channels at scale. In the future, we may face competition from online retailers, credit card companies, established enterprise software companies, advertising and marketing agencies, digital publishers and mobile pay providers with access to a substantial amount of consumer purchase data. While we may successfully partner with a wide range of companies that are to some extent currently competitive to us, these companies may become more competitive to us in the future. As we introduce new solutions, as our existing solutions evolve and as other companies introduce new products and solutions, we are likely to face additional competition.
Some of our actual and potential competitors may have advantages over us, such as longer operating histories, significantly greater financial, technical, marketing or other resources, stronger brand and recognition, larger intellectual property portfolios and broader global distribution and presence. In addition, our industry is evolving rapidly and is becoming increasingly competitive. Larger and more established companies may focus on purchase intelligence marketing and could directly compete with us. Smaller companies could also launch new products and services that we do not offer and that could gain market acceptance quickly.
Our competitors may be able to respond more quickly and effectively than we can to new or changing opportunities, technologies, standards or customer requirements. Larger competitors are also often in a better position to withstand any significant reduction in capital spending, and will therefore not be as susceptible to economic downturns. In addition, current or potential competitors may be acquired by third parties with greater available resources. As a result of such relationships and acquisitions, our current or potential competitors might be able to adapt more quickly to new technologies and customer needs, devote greater resources to the promotion or sale of their products and services, initiate or withstand substantial price competition, take advantage of other opportunities more readily or develop and expand their product and service offerings more quickly than we do. For all of these reasons, we may not be able to compete successfully against our current or future competitors.


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If we fail to identify and respond effectively to rapidly changing technology and industry needs, our solutions may become less competitive or obsolete.
Our future success depends on our ability to adapt and innovate. To attract, retain and increase new marketers and FI partners, we will need to expand and enhance our solutions to meet changing needs, add functionality and address technological advancements. If we are unable to adapt our solutions to evolving trends in the marketing industry, if we are unable to properly identify and prioritize appropriate solution development projects or if we fail to develop and effectively market new solutions or enhance existing solutions to address the needs of existing and new marketers and FI partners, we may not be able to achieve or maintain adequate market acceptance and penetration of our solutions, and our solutions may become less competitive or obsolete.
In addition, new, more effective or less costly technologies may emerge that use data sources that we do not have access to, that use entirely different analytical methodologies than we do or that use other indicators of purchases by consumers. If existing and new marketers and their agencies perceive greater value in alternative technologies or data sources, our ability to compete for marketers and their agencies could be materially and adversely affected.
A number of factors could impair our ability to collect the significant amounts of data that we use to deliver our solutions.
Our ability to collect and use data may be restricted or prevented by a number of other factors, including:
the failure of our network or software systems, or the network or software systems of our FI partners;
decisions by our FI partners to restrict our ability to collect data from them (which decision they may make at their discretion) or to refuse to implement the mechanisms that we request to ensure compliance with our legal obligations or technical requirements;
decisions by our FI partners to limit our ability to use their purchase data outside of the applicable banking channel;
decisions by our FIs’ customers to opt out of the incentive program or to use technology, such as browser settings, that reduces our ability to deliver relevant advertisements;
interruptions, failures or defects in our or our FI partners’ data collection, mining, analysis and storage systems;
changes in regulations impacting the collection and use of data, including the use of cookies;
changes in browser or device functionality and settings, and other new technologies, which impact our FI partners’ ability to collect and/or share data about their customers; and
changes in international laws, rules, regulations and industry standards or increased enforcement of international laws, rules, regulations, and industry standards.
Any of the above-described limitations on our ability to successfully collect, utilize and leverage data could also materially impair the optimal performance of our solutions and severely limit our ability to target consumers, which would harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
The efficacy of some of our solutions depends upon third-party data providers.
We rely on several third parties to assist us in matching our anonymized identifiers, which we call Cardlytics IDs, with third-party identifiers. This matching process enables us to use purchase intelligence to measure in-store and online campaign sales impact or provide marketers with valuable visibility into the behaviors of current or prospective customers both within and outside the context of their marketing efforts. If any of these key data providers were to withdraw or withhold their identifiers from us, our ability to provide our solutions could be adversely affected. Replacements for these third-party identifiers may not be available in a timely manner or under economically beneficial terms, or at all.
Defects, errors or delays in our solutions could harm our reputation, which would harm our operating results.
The technology underlying our solutions may contain material defects or errors that can adversely affect our ability to operate our business and cause significant harm to our reputation. This risk is compounded by the complexity of the technology underlying our solutions and the large amounts of data that we leverage and process. In addition, with regard to Cardlytics Direct, if we are unable to attribute Consumer Incentives to our FIs’ customers in a timely manner, our FI partners may limit or discontinue their use of our solutions. Any such error, failure, malfunction, disruption or delay could result in damage to our reputation and could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.


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Significant system disruptions or loss of data center capacity could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our business is heavily dependent upon highly complex data processing capabilities. We contract with our primary third-party data center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, and our redundancy data center, located in Suwanee, Georgia, pursuant to agreements that expire on December 31, 2020, subject to earlier termination upon material breach and a failure to cure. If for any reason our arrangements with our third-party data centers are terminated, or if we are unable to renew our agreements on commercially reasonable terms, we may be required to transfer that portion of our operations to new data center facilities, and we may incur significant costs and possible service interruption in connection with doing so. Further, protection of our third-party data centers against damage or interruption from fire, flood, tornadoes, power loss, telecommunications or equipment failure or other disasters and events beyond our control is important to our continued success. Any damage to, or failure of, the systems of the data centers that we utilize, or of our own equipment located within such data centers, could result in interruptions to the availability or functionality of our solutions. In addition, the failure of the data centers that we utilize to meet our capacity requirements could result in interruptions in the availability or functionality of our solutions or impede our ability to scale our operations. Any damage to the data centers that we utilize, or to our own equipment located within such data centers, that causes loss of capacity or otherwise causes interruptions in our operations could materially adversely affect our ability to quickly and effectively respond to our marketers’ or FI partners’ requirements, which could result in loss of their confidence, adversely impact our ability to attract new marketers and/or FI partners and force us to expend significant resources. The occurrence of any such events could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Seasonal fluctuations in marketing activity could adversely affect our cash flows.
We expect our revenue, operating results, cash flows from operations and other key performance metrics to vary from quarter to quarter in part due to the seasonal nature of our marketers’ spending on digital marketing campaigns. For example, many marketers tend to devote a significant portion of their budgets to the fourth quarter of the calendar year to coincide with consumer holiday spending and to reduce spend in the first quarter of the calendar year. Seasonality could have a material impact on our revenue, operating results, cash flow from operations and other key performance metrics from period to period.
Our international sales and operations subject us to additional risks that can adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.
During 2016, 2017 and the 2018, we derived 11%, 13% and 13%, respectively, of our revenue outside the U.S. While substantially all of our operations are located in the U.S., we have an office in the U.K. and have opened a research and development office in Visakhapatnam, India and may continue to expand our international operations as part of our growth strategy. Our ability to convince marketers to expand their use of our solutions or renew their agreements with us is directly correlated to our direct engagement with such marketers or their agencies. To the extent that we are unable to engage with non-U.S. marketers and agencies effectively with our limited sales force capacity, we may be unable to grow sales to existing marketers to the same degree we have experienced in the U.S.
Our international operations subject us to a variety of risks and challenges, including:
localization of our solutions, including adaptation for local practices;
increased management, travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs associated with having international operations;
fluctuations in currency exchange rates and related effect on our operating results;
longer payment cycles and difficulties in collecting accounts receivable or satisfying revenue recognition criteria, especially in emerging markets;
increased financial accounting and reporting burdens and complexities;
general economic conditions in each country or region;
impact of Brexit; reduction in billings, FX rates, and trade with the EU;
economic uncertainty around the world;
compliance with foreign laws and regulations and the risks and costs of non-compliance with such laws and regulations;


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compliance with U.S. laws and regulations for foreign operations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, import and export control laws, tariffs, trade barriers, economic sanctions and other regulatory or contractual limitations on our ability to sell our software in certain foreign markets, and the risks and costs of non-compliance;
heightened risks of unfair or corrupt business practices in certain geographies and of improper or fraudulent sales arrangements that may impact financial results and result in restatements of financial statements and irregularities in financial statements;
difficulties in repatriating or transferring funds from or converting currencies in certain countries;
cultural differences inhibiting foreign employees from adopting our corporate culture;
reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties of enforcing rights abroad; and
compliance with the laws of foreign taxing jurisdictions and overlapping of different tax regimes.
Any of these risks could adversely affect our international operations, reduce our international revenues or increase our operating costs, adversely affecting our business, financial condition and operating results.
Exposure to United Kingdom political developments, including the outcome of the referendum on membership in the European Union, could be costly and difficult to comply with and could seriously harm our business.
Currently we have an office in the U.K., which contributed 11%, 13% and 13% of our revenue in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. In June 2016, a referendum was passed in the U.K. to leave the European Union ("EU"), commonly referred to as “Brexit.” This decision created an uncertain political and economic environment in the U.K. and other EU countries, even though the formal process for leaving the EU may take years to complete. This formal process began in March 2017, when the U.K. served notice to the European Council under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. The long-term nature of the U.K.’s relationship with the EU is unclear and there is considerable uncertainty when any relationship will be agreed and implemented. Without further agreement, the U.K. will formally leave the EU in March 2019. The political and economic instability created by Brexit has caused and may continue to cause significant volatility in global financial markets and uncertainty regarding the regulation of data protection in the U.K. In particular, although the U.K. enacted a Data Protection Act in May 2018 that is consistent with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, uncertainty remains regarding how data transfers to and from the U.K. will be regulated. Brexit could also have the effect of disrupting the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between the U.K., the EU and elsewhere. The full effect of Brexit is uncertain and depends on any agreements the U.K. may make to retain access to EU markets. Consequently, no assurance can be given about the impact of the outcome and our business, including operational and tax policies, may be seriously harmed or require reassessment if our U.K. operations or presence becomes a significant part of our business.
If we do not manage our growth effectively, the quality of our solutions may suffer, and our business, financial condition and operating results may be negatively affected.
The recent, growth in our business has placed, and is expected to continue to place, a significant strain on our managerial, administrative, operational and financial resources, as well as our infrastructure. We rely heavily on information technology ("IT") systems to manage critical functions such as data storage, data processing, matching and retrieval, revenue recognition, budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting. To manage our growth effectively, we must continue to improve and expand our infrastructure, including our IT, financial and administrative systems and controls. In particular, we may need to significantly expand our IT infrastructure as the amount of data we store and transmit increases over time, which will require that we both utilize existing IT products and adopt new technologies. If we are not able to scale our IT infrastructure in a cost-effective and secure manner, our ability to offer competitive solutions will be harmed and our business, financial condition and operating results may suffer.
We must also continue to manage our employees, operations, finances, research and development and capital investments efficiently. Our productivity and the quality of our solutions may be adversely affected if we do not integrate and train our new employees quickly and effectively or if we fail to appropriately coordinate across our executive, research and development, technology, service development, analytics, finance, human resources, marketing, sales, operations and customer support teams. If we continue our rapid growth, we will incur additional expenses, and our growth may continue to place a strain on our resources, infrastructure and ability to maintain the quality of our solutions. If we do not adapt to meet these evolving challenges, or if the current and future members of our management team do not effectively manage our growth, the quality of our solutions may suffer and our corporate culture may be harmed. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could cause our business to suffer, which, in turn, could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and operating results.


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Our corporate culture has contributed to our success, and if we cannot maintain it as we grow, we could lose the innovation, creativity and teamwork fostered by our culture, and our business may be harmed.
As of December 31, 2018, we had 402 employees. We intend to further expand our overall headcount and operations, with no assurance that we will be able to do so while effectively maintaining our corporate culture. We believe our corporate culture is one of our fundamental strengths as it enables us to attract and retain top talent and deliver superior results for our customers. As we grow and change, we may find it difficult to preserve our corporate culture, which could reduce our ability to innovate and operate effectively. In turn, the failure to preserve our culture could negatively affect our ability to attract, recruit, integrate and retain employees, continue to perform at current levels and effectively execute our business strategy.
We are dependent on the continued services and performance of our senior management and other key personnel, the loss of any of whom could adversely affect our business.
Our future success depends in large part on the continued contributions of our senior management and other key personnel, including our two founders, Scott Grimes, our Chief Executive Officer, and Lynne Laube, our Chief Operating Officer. In particular, the leadership of key management personnel is critical to the successful management of our company, the development of our solutions and our strategic direction. We do not maintain “key person” insurance for any member of our senior management team or any of our other key employees. Our senior management and key personnel are all employed on an at-will basis, which means that they could terminate their employment with us at any time, for any reason and without notice. The loss of any of our key management personnel could significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our development and strategic objectives and adversely affect our business.
If we are unable to attract, integrate and retain additional qualified personnel, including top technical talent, our business could be adversely affected.
Our future success depends in part on our ability to identify, attract, integrate and retain highly skilled technical, managerial, sales and other personnel, including top technical talent from the industry and top research institutions. We face intense competition for qualified individuals from numerous other companies, including other software and technology companies, many of whom have greater financial and other resources than we do. These companies also may provide more diverse opportunities and better chances for career advancement. Some of these characteristics may be more appealing to high-quality candidates than those we have to offer. In addition, new hires often require significant training and, in many cases, take significant time before they achieve full productivity. We may incur significant costs to attract and retain qualified personnel, including significant expenditures related to salaries and benefits and compensation expenses related to equity awards and we may lose new employees to our competitors or other companies before we realize the benefit of our investment in recruiting and training them. Moreover, new employees may not be or become as productive as we expect, as we may face challenges in adequately or appropriately integrating them into our workforce and culture. In addition, as we move into new geographies, we will need to attract and recruit skilled personnel in those areas. We have little experience with recruiting in geographies outside of the U.S., and may face additional challenges in attracting, integrating and retaining international employees. If we are unable to attract, integrate and retain suitably qualified individuals who are capable of meeting our growing technical, operational and managerial requirements, on a timely basis or at all, our business will be adversely affected.
If currency exchange rates fluctuate substantially in the future, the results of our operations could be adversely affected.
Due to our international operations, we may be exposed to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. We generate revenue and incur expenses for employee compensation and other operating expenses at our U.K. and Indian offices in the local currency. Fluctuations in the exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the British pound and Indian rupee could result in the dollar equivalent of such revenue and expenses being lower, which could have a negative net impact on our reported operating results. Although we may in the future decide to undertake foreign exchange hedging transactions to cover a portion of our foreign currency exchange exposure, we currently do not hedge our exposure to foreign currency exchange risks.


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Our business may be subject to additional obligations to collect and remit sales tax and other taxes, and we may be subject to tax liability for past sales. Any successful action by state, local or other authorities to collect additional or past sales tax could adversely harm our business.
We are subject to federal, state and local taxes in the U.S. and similar taxes in foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in evaluating our tax positions and our worldwide provision for taxes. During the ordinary course of business, there are many activities and transactions for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. We may be audited in various jurisdictions, and such jurisdictions may assess additional taxes against us. Although we believe that our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of any tax audits or litigation could be materially different from our historical tax provisions and accruals, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results or cash flows in the period or periods for which a determination is made.
We do not collect sales or other similar taxes in certain states and many of the states do not apply sales or similar taxes to certain of our solutions. State, local and foreign taxing jurisdictions have differing rules and regulations governing sales and use taxes, and these rules and regulations are subject to varying interpretations that may change over time. In particular, the applicability of sales taxes to our solutions in various jurisdictions is unclear. We review these rules and regulations periodically and, when we believe we are subject to sales and use taxes in a particular state, we may voluntarily engage state tax authorities to determine how to comply with their rules and regulations. A successful assertion by one or more states, including states for which we have not accrued tax liability, requiring us to collect sales or other taxes with respect to sales of our solutions could result in substantial tax liabilities for past transactions, including interest and penalties, discourage customers from purchasing our solutions or otherwise harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Determining our income tax rate is complex and subject to uncertainty.
The computation of provision for income tax is complex, as it is based on the laws of numerous taxing jurisdictions and requires significant judgment on the application of complicated rules governing accounting for tax provisions under generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. Provision for income tax for interim quarters is based on a forecast of our U.S. and non-U.S. effective tax rates for the year, which includes forward looking financial projections, including the expectations of profit and loss by jurisdiction, and contains numerous assumptions. Various items cannot be accurately forecasted and future events may be treated as discrete to the period in which they occur. Our provision for income tax can be materially impacted, for example, by the geographical mix of our profits and losses, changes in our business, such as internal restructuring and acquisitions, changes in tax laws and accounting guidance and other regulatory, legislative or judicial developments, tax audit determinations, changes in our uncertain tax positions, changes in our intent and capacity to permanently reinvest foreign earnings, changes to our transfer pricing practices, tax deductions attributed to equity compensation and changes in our need for a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets. For these reasons, our actual income taxes may be materially different than our provision for income tax.
Our use of our net operating loss carryforwards may be limited and such carryforwards may expire unutilized or underutilized.
We may be limited in the portion of our net operating loss carryforwards that we can use in the future to offset taxable income for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes. As of December 31, 2018, we had U.S. federal and state net operating loss carryforwards ("NOLs"), of $249.8 million and $90.5 million, respectively. Federal and state NOLs generated prior to 2018 will expire in various years beginning in 2028. If we do not earn sufficient taxable income in the future, our NOLs may expire unutilized or underutilized. In addition, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended ("IRC"), a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its existing NOLs to offset future taxable income. We may have experienced “ownership changes” under IRC Section 382 in the past, and subsequent changes in ownership of our stock, including by reason of future offerings, as well as other changes that may be outside of our control, could result in future ownership changes under IRC Section 382. If we are or become subject to limitations on our use of NOLs under IRC Section 382, our NOLs could expire unutilized or underutilized, even if we earn taxable income against which our NOLs could otherwise be offset. Our NOLs may also be impaired under similar provisions of state law. We have recorded a full valuation allowance related to our NOLs in our financial statements and other net deferred tax assets due to the uncertainty of the ultimate realization of the future benefits of those assets.


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Comprehensive tax reform bills could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
The U.S. government recently enacted comprehensive tax legislation that includes significant changes to the taxation of business entities. These changes include, among others, (i) a permanent reduction to the corporate income tax rate, (ii) a partial limitation on the deductibility of business interest expense, (iii) a shift of the U.S. taxation of multinational corporations from a tax on worldwide income to a territorial system (along with certain rules designed to prevent erosion of the U.S. income tax base) and (iv) a one-time tax on accumulated offshore earnings held in cash and illiquid assets, with the latter taxed at a lower rate. Notwithstanding the reduction in the corporate income tax rate, the overall impact of this tax reform is uncertain, and our business and financial condition could be adversely affected. This Annual Report on Form 10-K does not discuss any such tax legislation or the manner in which it might affect purchasers of our common stock. We urge our stockholders to consult with their legal and tax advisors with respect to any such legislation and the potential tax consequences of investing in our common stock.
Unfavorable conditions in the global economy or the vertical markets we serve could limit our ability to grow our business and negatively affect our operating results.
General worldwide economic conditions have experienced significant instability in recent years. These conditions make it extremely difficult for marketers and us to accurately forecast and plan future business activities, and could cause marketers to reduce or delay their marketing spending. Historically, economic downturns have resulted in overall reductions in marketing spending. If macroeconomic conditions deteriorate or are characterized by uncertainty or volatility, marketers may curtail or freeze spending on marketing in general and for services such as ours specifically.
In addition, our business may be materially and adversely affected by weak economic conditions in the specific vertical markets that we serve. We have historically generated a substantial majority of our revenue from marketers in the restaurant, brick and mortar retail, telecommunications and cable industries. We cannot predict the timing, strength or duration of any economic slowdown or recovery. In addition, even if the overall economy is robust, we cannot assure you that the market for services such as ours will experience growth or that we will experience growth.
Future acquisitions could disrupt our business and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We may choose to expand by making acquisitions that could be material to our business, financial condition or operating results. Our ability as an organization to successfully acquire and integrate technologies or businesses is unproven. Acquisitions involve many risks, including the following:
an acquisition may negatively affect our business, financial condition, operating results or cash flows because it may require us to incur charges or assume substantial debt or other liabilities, may cause adverse tax consequences or unfavorable accounting treatment, may expose us to claims and disputes by third parties, including intellectual property claims and disputes, or may not generate sufficient financial return to offset additional costs and expenses related to the acquisition;
we may encounter difficulties or unforeseen expenditures in integrating the business, technologies, products, personnel or operations of any company that we acquire, particularly if key personnel of the acquired company decide not to work for us;
an acquisition, whether or not consummated, may disrupt our ongoing business, divert resources, increase our expenses and distract our management;
an acquisition may result in a delay or reduction of purchases for both us and the company that we acquired due to uncertainty about continuity and effectiveness of solution from either company;
we may encounter difficulties in, or may be unable to, successfully sell any acquired products or solutions;
an acquisition may involve the entry into geographic or business markets in which we have little or no prior experience or where competitors have stronger market positions;
challenges inherent in effectively managing an increased number of employees in diverse locations;
the potential strain on our financial and managerial controls and reporting systems and procedures;
potential known and unknown liabilities associated with an acquired company;
our use of cash to pay for acquisitions would limit other potential uses for our cash;
if we incur debt to fund such acquisitions, such debt may subject us to material restrictions on our ability to conduct our business as well as financial maintenance covenants;
the risk of impairment charges related to potential write-downs of acquired assets or goodwill in future acquisitions; and


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to the extent that we issue a significant amount of equity or convertible debt securities in connection with future acquisitions, existing stockholders may be diluted and earnings (loss) per share may decrease (increase).
We may not succeed in addressing these or other risks or any other problems encountered in connection with the integration of any acquired business. The inability to integrate successfully the business, technologies, products, personnel or operations of any acquired business, or any significant delay in achieving integration, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Natural or man-made disasters and other similar events may significantly disrupt our business, and negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
A significant portion of our employee base, operating facilities and infrastructure are centralized in Atlanta, Georgia. Any of our facilities may be harmed or rendered inoperable by natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, nuclear disasters, acts of terrorism or other criminal activities, infectious disease outbreaks and power outages, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to operate our business for some period of time. Our facilities would likely be costly to repair or replace, and any such efforts would likely require substantial time. Any disruptions in our operations could negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results, and harm our reputation. In addition, we may not carry business insurance or may not carry sufficient business insurance to compensate for losses that may occur. Any such losses or damages could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results. In addition, the facilities of significant marketers, FI partners or third-party data providers may be harmed or rendered inoperable by such natural or man-made disasters, which may cause disruptions, difficulties or material adverse effects on our business.
We may require additional capital to support growth, and such capital might not be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all, which may in turn hamper our growth and adversely affect our business.
We intend to continue to make investments to support our business growth and may require additional funds to respond to business challenges, including the need to develop new solutions or enhance our solutions, improve our operating infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity, equity-linked or debt financings to secure additional funds. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or equity-linked securities, including convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities that we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. Any debt financing that we secure in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital-raising activities and other financial and operational matters, including the ability to pay dividends or repurchase shares of our capital stock. This may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital, to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions, or to return capital to our stockholders. We also may not be able to obtain additional financing on terms favorable to us, if at all. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to support our business growth, service our indebtedness and respond to business challenges could be significantly impaired, and our business may be adversely affected.
If we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, our business, financial condition and operating results may be adversely affected.
We believe that developing and maintaining awareness of the Cardlytics brand in a cost-effective manner is critical to achieving widespread acceptance of our existing solutions and future solutions and is an important element in attracting new marketers and FI partners. Furthermore, we believe that the importance of brand recognition will increase as competition in our market increases. Successful promotion of our brand will depend largely on the effectiveness of our marketing efforts and on our ability to deliver valuable solutions for our marketers, their agencies and our FI partners. In the past, our efforts to build our brand have involved significant expense. Brand promotion activities may not yield increased revenue, and even if they do, any increased revenue may not offset the expenses that we incurred in building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand, or incur substantial expenses in an unsuccessful attempt to promote and maintain our brand, we may fail to attract enough new marketers or FI partners or retain our existing marketers or FI partners and our business could suffer.


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Risks Related to Regulatory and Intellectual Property Matters
Regulatory, legislative or self-regulatory developments regarding internet privacy matters could adversely affect our ability to conduct our business.
We, our FI partners and our marketers are subject to a number of domestic and international laws and regulations that apply to online services and the internet generally. These laws, rules and regulations address a range of issues including data privacy and cybersecurity, and restrictions or technological requirements regarding the collection, use, storage, protection, retention or transfer of data.
In the U.S., the rules and regulations to which we, directly or contractually through our FI partners, or our marketers may be subject include those promulgated under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and state cybersecurity and breach notification laws, as well as regulator enforcement positions and expectations reflected in federal and state regulatory actions, settlements, consent decrees and guidance documents. Internationally, virtually every jurisdiction in which we operate has established its own data security and privacy legal frameworks with which we, directly or contractually through our FI partners, or our marketers may be required to comply, including the Data Protection Directive established in the European Union. Further, many federal, state and foreign government bodies and agencies have introduced, and are currently considering, additional laws and regulations. If passed, we will likely incur additional expenses and costs associated with complying with such laws. The costs of compliance with, and other burdens imposed by, the laws, rules, regulations and policies that are applicable to the businesses of our FI partners or marketers may limit the use and adoption of, and reduce the overall demand for, our solutions.
These existing and proposed laws, regulations and industry standards can be costly to comply with and can delay or impede the development of new solutions, result in negative publicity and reputational harm, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, increase our risk of non-compliance and subject us to claims or other remedies, including fines or demands that we modify or cease existing business practices.
Legislation and regulation of online businesses, including privacy and data protection regimes, is expansive, not clearly defined and rapidly evolving. Such regulation could create unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or restrict portions of our business or cause us to change our business model.
Government regulation and industry standards may increase the costs of doing business online. Federal, state, municipal and foreign governments and agencies have adopted and could in the future adopt, modify, apply or enforce laws, policies, regulations and standards covering user privacy, data security, technologies such as cookies that are used to collect, store and/or process data, online marketing, the use of data to inform marketing, the taxation of products and services, unfair and deceptive practices, and the collection (including the collection of information), use, processing, transfer, storage and/or disclosure of data associated with unique individual internet users.
Although we have not collected or retained data that is traditionally considered PII under U.S. law, such as names, email addresses, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, financial data or health data, we typically do collect and store IP addresses and other device identifiers, which are or may be considered personal data in some jurisdictions or otherwise may be the subject of legislation or regulation. Furthermore, we may elect to use PII in the future for our current solutions or solutions we may introduce. In addition, certain U.S. laws impose requirements on the collection and use of information from or about users or their devices. Other existing laws may in the future be revised, or new laws may be passed, to impose more stringent requirements on the use of identifiers to collect user information, including information of the type that we collect. Changes in regulations could affect the type of data that we may collect; restrict our ability to use identifiers to collect information, and, thus, affect our ability to actually collect that information; the costs of doing business online, and, therefore, the demand for our solutions; the ability to expand or operate our business; and harm our business. For instance, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which will become effective on January 1, 2020, has an expansive definition of “personal information” that may impact our business practices or those of our FI partners.


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In particular, there has been increasing public and regulatory concern and public scrutiny about the use of PII. Because the interpretation and application of privacy and data protection laws are still uncertain, it is possible that these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data management practices or our solutions or that the definition of “PII” is expanded in the future. If this is the case, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our solutions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operating results. Any inability to adequately address privacy concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable privacy or data protection laws, regulations, policies or standards could result in additional cost and liability to us; damage our reputation; affect our ability to attract new marketers and FI partners and maintain relationships with our existing marketers and FI partners; and adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results. Privacy and security concerns, whether valid or not, may inhibit market adoption of our solutions.
U.S. and non-U.S. regulators also may implement “Do-Not-Track” legislation, particularly if the industry does not implement a standard. Effective January 1, 2014, the California Governor signed into law an amendment to the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003. Such amendment requires operators of commercial websites and online service providers, under certain circumstances, to disclose in their privacy policies how such operators and providers respond to browser “do not track” signals.
Some of our activities may also be subject to the laws of foreign jurisdictions, whether or not we are established or based in such jurisdictions. Within the EU where we currently have an active presence in the U.K., Directive 2009/136/EC, commonly referred to as the “Cookie Directive,” directs EU member states to ensure that accessing information on an internet user’s computer, such as through a cookie, is allowed only if the internet user has given his or her consent. In response, some member states have implemented legislation requiring entities to obtain the user’s consent before placing cookies for targeted marketing purposes.
In the U.K., for example, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2011 ("PECR"), implement the requirements of Directive 2009/136/EC (which amended Directive 2002/58/EC), which is known as the ePrivacy Directive. The PECR regulates various types of electronic direct marketing that use cookies and similar technologies. The PECR also imposes sector-specific breach reporting requirements, but only as applicable to providers of particular public electronic communications services. Additional EU member state laws of this type may follow.
We may be required to, or otherwise may determine that it is advisable to, develop or obtain additional tools and technologies to compensate for a potential lack of cookie data. Even if we are able to do so, such additional tools may be subject to further regulation, time consuming to develop or costly to obtain, and less effective than our current use of cookies. In addition, certain information, such as IP addresses as collected and used by us may constitute “personal data” in certain non-U.S. jurisdictions, including in the U.K., and therefore certain of our activities could be subject to EU laws applicable to the processing and use of personal data.
More generally, the regulatory framework for online services and data privacy and security issues worldwide can vary substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Many federal, state and foreign government bodies and agencies have adopted or are considering adopting laws, rules, regulations and standards regarding the collection, use, storage and disclosure of information, web browsing and geolocation data collection and data analytics. Interpretation of these laws, rules and regulations and their application to our solutions in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions is ongoing and cannot be fully determined at this time.
In addition, the regulatory environment for the collection and use of consumer data by marketers is evolving in the U.S. and internationally and is currently a self-regulatory framework, which relies on market participants to ensure self-compliance. The voluntary nature of this self-regulatory framework may change.
The U.S. and foreign governments have enacted, considered or are considering legislation or regulations that could significantly restrict industry participants’ ability to collect, augment, analyze, use and share anonymous data, such as by regulating the level of consumer notice and consent required before a company can place cookies or other tracking technologies. A number of existing bills are pending in the U.S. Congress that contain provisions that would regulate how companies can use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect and utilize user information.


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In addition to government regulation, privacy advocates and industry groups may propose new and different self-regulatory standards that either legally or contractually apply to us. We may also be subject to claims of liability or responsibility for the actions of third parties with whom we interact or upon whom we rely in relation to various solutions, including but not limited to our marketers and their agencies and our FI partners. If this were to occur, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our solutions, which could have an adverse effect on our business. Any inability to adequately address privacy and security concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable privacy or data protection laws, regulations and policies, could result in additional cost and liability to us, damage our reputation, inhibit sales and adversely affect our business.
In addition, if we were to gain knowledge that we inadvertently received PII from our FI partners, our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or to protect personal data, could result in enforcement action against us, including fines, imprisonment of our officers and public censure, claims for damages by consumers and other affected individuals, damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could have a material adverse impact on our operations, financial performance and business. Even the perception of privacy or security concerns, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation and inhibit adoption of our solution by current and future marketers and marketing agencies.
If the use of matching technologies, such as cookies, pixels and device identifiers, is rejected by internet users, restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable terms, such as by non-governmental entities, our performance may decline and we may lose customers and revenue.
Our solutions may use matching technologies, such as cookies, pixels and device identifiers, to match the Cardlytics IDs we have assigned to our FIs’ customers with their digital presence outside of the FI partners’ websites and mobile applications. Our matching technologies may sometimes be “third-party cookies” because they are placed on individual browsers when internet users visit a website that is not part of the Cardlytics.com domain. These matching technologies are placed through an internet browser on an internet user’s computer and correspond with a data set that we retain on our servers. Our matching technologies only record anonymized information and the date that the matching technology was last refreshed. When our matching technologies are present and a user is exposed to marketing content targeted or deployed with our solutions, we are able to gain insight into that user’s interaction with the marketing content. If our access to matching technology data is reduced, our ability to conduct our business in the current manner may be affected and thus undermine the effectiveness of our solutions.
Internet users may easily block and/or delete cookies (e.g., through their browsers or “ad blocking” software). The most commonly used internet browsers allow internet users to modify their browser settings to prevent cookies from being accepted by their browsers, or are set to block third-party cookies by default. If more browser manufacturers and internet users adopt these settings or delete their cookies more frequently than they currently do, our business could be negatively affected. Some government regulators and privacy advocates have suggested creating a “Do Not Track” standard that would allow internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have website browsing recorded. If internet users adopt a “Do Not Track” browser setting and the standard either gets imposed by state or federal legislation or agreed upon by standard-setting groups, it may curtail or prohibit us from using non-personal data as we currently do. This could hinder growth of marketing on the internet generally, and cause us to change our business practices and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
In addition, browser manufacturers could replace cookies with their own product and require us to negotiate and pay them for use of such product to record information about internet users’ interactions with our marketers, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.
Failure to protect our proprietary technology and intellectual property rights could substantially harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our future success and competitive position depend in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technologies. To safeguard these rights, we rely on a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws and contractual protections in the U.S. and other jurisdictions, all of which provide only limited protection and may not now or in the future provide us with a competitive advantage.


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As of December 31, 2018, we had four issued patents and are pursuing five additional patents. We cannot assure you that any patents will issue from any patent applications, that patents that issue from such applications will give us the protection that we seek or that any such patents will not be challenged, invalidated, or circumvented. Any patents that may issue in the future from our pending or future patent applications may not provide sufficiently broad protection and may not be enforceable in actions against alleged infringers. We have registered the “Cardlytics” name and logo in the U.S. and certain other countries. We have registrations and/or pending applications for additional marks in the U.S. and other countries; however, we cannot assure you that any future trademark registrations will be issued for pending or future applications or that any registered trademarks will be enforceable or provide adequate protection of our proprietary rights. We also license software from third parties for integration into our products, including open source software and other software available on commercially reasonable terms. We cannot assure you that such third parties will maintain such software or continue to make it available.
In order to protect our unpatented proprietary technologies and processes, we rely on trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, vendors and others. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary technology and trade secrets, unauthorized parties may attempt to misappropriate, reverse engineer or otherwise obtain and use them. Bank of America also has a right to purchase the source code underlying Cardlytics Direct upon the occurrence of specified events, which could compromise the proprietary nature of our platform and/or allow Bank of America to discontinue the use of our solutions. Additionally, other FIs have a right to obtain the source code underlying Cardlytics OPS through the release of source code held in escrow upon the occurrence of specified events, which could compromise the proprietary nature of our platform and/or allow these FIs to discontinue the use of our solutions.
In addition, others may independently discover our trade secrets, in which case we would not be able to assert trade secret rights, or develop similar technologies and processes. Further, the contractual provisions that we enter into may not prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary technology or intellectual property rights and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized use or disclosure of our proprietary technology or intellectual property rights. Moreover, policing unauthorized use of our technologies, trade secrets and intellectual property is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, particularly in foreign countries where the laws may not be as protective of intellectual property rights as those in the U.S. and where mechanisms for enforcement of intellectual property rights may be weak. We may be unable to determine the extent of any unauthorized use or infringement of our solutions, technologies or intellectual property rights.
From time to time, legal action by us may be necessary to enforce our patents and other intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the intellectual property rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Such legal action could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could negatively affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Assertions by third parties of infringement or other violations by us of their intellectual property rights, whether or not correct, could result in significant costs and harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Patent and other intellectual property disputes are common in our industry. We have in the past and may in the future be subject to claims alleging that we have misappropriated, misused, or infringed other parties’ intellectual property rights. Some companies, including certain of our competitors, own larger numbers of patents, copyrights and trademarks than we do, which they may use to assert claims against us. Third parties may also assert claims of intellectual property rights infringement against our FI partners, whom we are typically required to indemnify. As the numbers of solutions and competitors in our market increases and overlap occurs, claims of infringement, misappropriation and other violations of intellectual property rights may increase. Any claim of infringement, misappropriation or other violation of intellectual property rights by a third party, even those without merit, could cause us to incur substantial costs defending against the claim and could distract our management from our business.
The patent portfolios of our most significant competitors are larger than ours. This disparity may increase the risk that they may sue us for patent infringement and may limit our ability to counterclaim for patent infringement or settle through patent cross-licenses. In addition, future assertions of patent rights by third parties, and any resulting litigation, may involve patent holding companies or other adverse patent owners who have no relevant product revenues and against whom our own patents may therefore provide little or no deterrence or protection. There can be no assurance that we will not be found to infringe or otherwise violate any third-party intellectual property rights or to have done so in the past.
An adverse outcome of a dispute may require us to:
pay substantial damages, including treble damages, if we are found to have willfully infringed a third party’s patents or copyrights;
cease developing or selling solutions that rely on technology that is alleged to infringe or misappropriate the intellectual property of others;


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expend additional development resources to attempt to redesign our solutions or otherwise develop non-infringing technology, which may not be successful;
enter into potentially unfavorable royalty or license agreements in order to obtain the right to use necessary technologies or intellectual property rights; and
indemnify our FI partners and other third parties.
In addition, royalty or licensing agreements, if required or desirable, may be unavailable on terms acceptable to us, or at all, and may require significant royalty payments and other expenditures. Some licenses may also be non-exclusive, and therefore our competitors may have access to the same technology licensed to us. Any of the foregoing events could seriously harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to sell our solutions and subject us to possible litigation.
We use open source software to deliver our solutions and expect to continue to use open source software in the future. Some of these open source licenses may require that source code subject to the license be made available to the public and that any modifications or derivative works to open source software continue to be licensed under open source licenses. This may require that we make certain proprietary code available under an open source license. We may face claims from others claiming ownership of, or seeking to enforce the license terms applicable to such open source software, including by demanding release of the open source software, derivative works or our proprietary source code that was developed using such software. Few of the licenses applicable to open source software have been interpreted by courts, and there is a risk that these licenses could be construed in a manner that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products. These claims could also result in litigation, require us to purchase costly licenses or require us to devote additional research and development resources to change the software underlying our solutions, any of which would have a negative effect on our business, financial condition and operating results and may not be possible in a timely manner. We and our customers may also be subject to suits by parties claiming infringement due to the reliance by our solutions on certain open source software, and such litigation could be costly for us to defend or subject us to an injunction. In addition, if the license terms for the open source code change, we may be forced to re-engineer our software or incur additional costs. Finally, we cannot assure you that we have not incorporated open source software into the software underlying our solutions in a manner that may subject our proprietary software to an open source license that requires disclosure, to customers or the public, of the source code to such proprietary software. In the event that portions of our proprietary technology are determined to be subject to an open source license, we could be required to publicly release portions of our source code, re-engineer all or a portion of our technologies, or otherwise be limited in the licensing of our technologies, each of which could reduce or eliminate the value of our solutions and technologies and materially and adversely affect our ability to sustain and grow our business. Many open source licenses also limit our ability to bring patent infringement lawsuits against open source software that we use without losing our right to use such open source software. Therefore, the use of open source software may limit our ability to bring patent infringement lawsuits, to the extent we ever have any patents that cover open source software that we use.


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We are subject to government regulation, including import, export, economic sanctions and anti-corruption laws and regulations that may expose us to liability and increase our costs.
Various of our products are subject to U.S. export controls, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations and economic and trade sanctions regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls. These regulations may limit the export of our products and provision of our solutions outside of the U.S., or may require export authorizations, including by license, a license exception or other appropriate government authorizations, including annual or semi-annual reporting and the filing of an encryption registration. Export control and economic sanctions laws may also include prohibitions on the sale or supply of certain of our products to embargoed or sanctioned countries, regions, governments, persons and entities. In addition, various countries regulate the importation of certain products, through import permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to distribute our products. The exportation, reexportation, and importation of our products and the provision of solutions, including by our partners, must comply with these laws or else we may be adversely affected, through reputational harm, government investigations, penalties and a denial or curtailment of our ability to export our products or provide solutions. Complying with export control and sanctions laws may be time consuming and may result in the delay or loss of sales opportunities. Although we take precautions to prevent our products from being provided in violation of such laws, our products may have previously been, and could in the future be, provided inadvertently in violation of such laws, despite the precautions we take. If we are found to be in violation of U.S. sanctions or export control laws, it could result in substantial fines and penalties for us and for the individuals working for us. Changes in export or import laws or corresponding sanctions, may delay the introduction and sale of our products in international markets, or, in some cases, prevent the export or import of our products to certain countries, regions, governments, persons or entities altogether, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are also subject to various domestic and international anti-corruption laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act, as well as other similar anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws and regulations. These laws and regulations generally prohibit companies and their employees and intermediaries from authorizing, offering or providing improper payments or benefits to officials and other recipients for improper purposes. We rely on certain third parties to support our sales and regulatory compliance efforts and can be held liable for their corrupt or other illegal activities, even if we do not explicitly authorize or have actual knowledge of such activities. Although we take precautions to prevent violations of these laws, our exposure for violating these laws increases as our international presence expands and as we increase sales and operations in foreign jurisdictions.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
An active trading market for our common stock may not develop or be sustained.
Prior to our initial public offering ("IPO") on February 8, 2018, there was no public market for our common stock. Although our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market, we cannot assure you that an active trading market for our shares will be sustained. If an active market for our common stock is not sustained, it may be difficult for investors in our common stock to sell shares without depressing the market price for the shares or to sell the shares at all.
The market price of our common stock has been and is likely to continue to be volatile.
The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially as a result of a variety of factors, some of which are related in complex ways. Since shares of our common stock were sold in our initial public offering in February 2018 at a price of $13.00 per share, our stock price has ranged from an intraday low of $9.80 to an intraday high of $28.29 through March 4, 2019. Factors that may affect the market price of our common stock include:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results;
variance in our financial performance from expectations of securities analysts or investors;
changes in the prices of our solutions;
changes in laws or regulations applicable to our solutions;
announcements by us or our competitors of significant business developments, acquisitions or new offerings;
our involvement in litigation;
our sale of our common stock or other securities in the future;
changes in senior management or key personnel;
trading volume of our common stock;


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changes in the anticipated future size and growth rate of our market; and
general economic, regulatory and market conditions.
The stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies. These fluctuations have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. Broad market and industry fluctuations, as well as general economic, political, regulatory and market conditions, may negatively impact the market price of our common stock. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their securities have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future, which could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future and, as a result, your ability to achieve a return on your investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our common stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock and do not intend to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. We anticipate that we will retain all of our future earnings for use in the development of our business and for general corporate purposes. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. Accordingly, investors must rely on sales of their common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on their investments.
Concentration of ownership among our current directors, executive officers and their affiliates may limit an investor’s ability to influence significant corporate decisions.
Our directors and executive officers, together with their affiliates, beneficially own a significant portion of our outstanding capital stock. As a result, these stockholders, acting together, will have substantial influence over the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our company or its assets. This concentration of ownership could delay, defer or prevent a change in control of the company, merger, consolidation, takeover or other business combination, which in turn could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Future sales of our common stock in the public market could cause our share price to decline.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. We are unable to predict the effect that sales, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers, and significant stockholders, may have on the prevailing market price of our common stock. The shares of common stock subject to outstanding options under our equity incentive plans and the shares reserved for future issuance under our equity incentive plans, as well as shares issuable upon vesting of restricted stock unit awards, will become eligible for sale in the public market in the future, subject to certain legal and contractual limitations. In addition, certain holders of our common stock have the right, subject to various conditions and limitations, to request we include their shares of our common stock in registration statements we may file relating to our securities.
We may issue common stock or other securities if we need to raise additional capital. The number of new shares of our common stock issued in connection with raising additional capital could constitute a material portion of our then-outstanding shares of our common stock.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or publish negative reports about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will depend, in part, on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. We do not have any control over these analysts. If our financial performance fails to meet analyst estimates or one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock or change their opinion of our business or market value, our share price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.


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Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S.
Generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported financial results, and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change.
In particular, in May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), which supersedes the revenue recognition requirements in Accounting Standards Codification Topic 605, Revenue Recognition, and permits the use of either the retrospective or modified retrospective transition method. The core principle of ASU 2014-09 is that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. As an “emerging growth company,” the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012 ("JOBS Act"), allows us to delay adoption of new or revised accounting pronouncements applicable to public companies until such pronouncements are made applicable to private companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period under the JOBS Act with respect to ASU 2014-09, which will result in ASU 2014-09 becoming applicable to us on January 1, 2019. During the first quarter of 2018, we began assessing the impacts, if any, that this ASU may have on our results of operations, current accounting policies, processes, controls, systems and financial statement disclosures. Based on our initial assessment, we expect to adopt this new standard using the modified retrospective transition method that will result in a cumulative adjustment as of the date of the adoption. We also expect to continue to report our revenue on our consolidated statements of operations net of Consumer Incentives and gross of FI Share. We are continuing to assess the impact of this standard on our financial position, results of operations and related disclosures and have not yet determined whether the effect will be material.
We are an “emerging growth company” and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("Section 404"), reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.
As an “emerging growth company,” the JOBS Act allows us to delay adoption of new or revised accounting pronouncements applicable to public companies until such pronouncements are made applicable to private companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period under the JOBS Act. As a result, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of issuers who are required to comply with the effective dates for new or revised accounting standards that are applicable to public companies, which may make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We have incurred and will continue to incur increased costs as a result of being a public company.
As a newly public company, and particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” we have incurred and we will continue to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Stock Market and other applicable securities rules and regulations impose various requirements on public companies. We expect that compliance with these requirements will continue to increase certain of our expenses and make some activities more time-consuming than they have been in the past when we were a private company. Such additional costs going forward could negatively affect our financial results.
As a result of becoming a public company, we will be obligated to develop and maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting and any failure to maintain the adequacy of these internal controls may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our common stock.
We are required, pursuant to Section 404, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting on an annual basis. Our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until our first annual report required to be


34


filed with the SEC following the date we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act. We will be required to disclose significant changes made in our internal control procedures on a quarterly basis.
We have commenced the costly and challenging process of compiling the system and processing documentation necessary to perform the evaluation needed to comply with Section 404, and we may not be able to complete our evaluation, testing and any required remediation in a timely fashion. Our compliance with Section 404 will require that we incur substantial accounting expense and expend significant management efforts. We currently do not have an internal audit group, and we may need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge and compile the system and process documentation necessary to perform the evaluation needed to comply with Section 404.
During the evaluation and testing process of our internal controls, if we identify one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. We cannot assure you that there will not be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition and operating results. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm determines we have a material weakness or significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and limit the market price of our common stock.
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws will include provisions that:
authorize our board of directors to issue preferred stock without further stockholder action and with voting liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to our common stock;
require that any action to be taken by our stockholders be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting and not by written consent, and limit the ability of our stockholders to call special meetings;
establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for director nominees;
establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with directors in each class serving three-year staggered terms;
require the approval of holders of two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote at an election of directors to adopt, amend or repeal our amended and restated bylaws or amend or repeal the provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation regarding the election and removal of directors and the ability of stockholders to take action by written consent or call a special meeting;
prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors; and
provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum.
These provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which generally prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any of a broad range of business combinations with any “interested” stockholder for a period of three years following the date on which the stockholder became an “interested” stockholder. Any of the foregoing provisions could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, and they could deter potential acquirers of our company, thereby reducing the likelihood that you would receive a premium for your shares of our common stock in an acquisition.


35


Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain litigation that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The forum selection clause in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our principal executive offices are located in Atlanta, Georgia where we occupy a facility of approximately 77,000 square feet. Our lease expires in April 2025. We have additional offices in New York, NY; London, U.K. and Visakhapatnam, India. We believe that our facilities are sufficient for our current needs and that, should it be needed, additional facilities will be available to accommodate the expansion of our business.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
From time to time we may become involved in legal proceedings or be subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business. We are not presently a party to any legal proceedings that, if determined adversely to us, would individually or taken together have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, financial condition or cash flows. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.


36


PART II.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “CDLX.”
Holders of Record
As of February 28, 2019, there were approximately 109 stockholders of record of our common stock. Because many of our shares are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these record holders.
Use of Proceeds from Initial Public Offering of Common Stock
On February 13, 2018, we closed our initial public offering ("IPO"), in which we issued and sold 5,400,000 shares of common stock at a public offering price of $13.00 per share. On February 14, 2018, pursuant to the underwriters’ partial exercise of their over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 810,000 shares from us, we issued and sold an additional 421,355 shares of our common stock at $13.00 per share. All of the shares issued and sold in our IPO were registered under the Securities Act pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-222531), which was declared effective by the SEC on February 8, 2018. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as joint book-running managers of our IPO. Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. also acted as book-runners for the IPO. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. acted as the co-managers for the IPO.
The net proceeds to us, after deducting underwriting discounts and commission of approximately $5.3 million and estimated offering expenses of approximately $4.3 million, were approximately $66.1 million. No offering expenses were paid directly or indirectly to any of our directors or officers (or their associates) or persons owning ten percent or more of any class of our equity securities or to any other affiliates. There has been no material change in the planned use of proceeds from our IPO from those disclosed in the final prospectus for our IPO dated February 8, 2018 and filed with the SEC pursuant to Rule 424(b)(4) of the Securities Act on February 9, 2018.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
None.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.


37


ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
We derived the selected consolidated statement of operations data and consolidated balance sheet data for the years ended and as of December 31, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report. The consolidated statement of operations data for the year ended December 31, 2015 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2015 and 2016 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements which are not included herein. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in the future. The selected financial data should be read together with Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements, related notes, and other financial information included elsewhere in this Annual Report. The following tables are stated in thousands, except share and per share data.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Consolidated statement of operations data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue
$
77,634

 
$
112,821

 
$
130,365

 
$
150,684

Costs and expenses:

 
 
 
 
 

FI Share and other third-party costs
47,691

 
66,285

 
73,247

 
85,371

Delivery costs(1)
4,803

 
6,127

 
7,012

 
10,632

Sales and marketing expense(1)
32,784

 
31,261

 
31,927

 
41,878

Research and development expense(1)
11,604

 
13,902

 
12,150

 
16,210

General and administrative expense(1)
18,197

 
21,355

 
20,100

 
34,228

Depreciation and amortization expense
2,194

 
4,219

 
3,028

 
3,282

Termination of U.K. agreement expense

 
25,904

 

 

Total costs and expenses
117,273

 
169,053

 
147,464

 
191,601

Operating loss
(39,639
)
 
(56,232
)
 
(17,099
)
 
(40,917
)
Other (expense) income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest expense, net
(1,484
)
 
(6,170
)
 
(8,239
)
 
(3,264
)
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities, net
914

 
(32
)
 
(581
)
 
(6,760
)
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes

 
(786
)
 
(1,244
)
 

Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes—related parties

 
(10,091
)
 
6,213

 

Other (expense) income, net
(432
)
 
(2,385
)
 
1,309

 
(2,101
)
Total other expense
(1,002
)
 
(19,464
)
 
(2,542
)
 
(12,125
)
Loss before income taxes
(40,641
)
 
(75,696
)
 
(19,641
)
 
(53,042
)
Income tax benefit
16

 

 

 

Net loss
(40,625
)
 
(75,696
)
 
(19,641
)
 
(53,042
)
Adjustments to the carrying value of redeemable convertible preferred stock
(1,001
)
 
(982
)
 
(5,743
)
 
(157
)
Net loss attributable to common stockholders
$
(41,626
)
 
$
(76,678
)
 
$
(25,384
)
 
$
(53,199
)
Net loss per share attributable to common stockholders, basic and diluted(2)
$
(19.91
)
 
$
(32.48
)
 
$
(7.86
)
 
$
(2.79
)
Weighted-average common shares outstanding, basic and diluted
2,091

 
2,361

 
3,230

 
19,060

(1)
Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Delivery costs
$
97

 
$
96

 
$
202

 
$
633

Sales and marketing expense
1,015

 
1,153

 
1,894

 
9,358

Research and development expense
386

 
574

 
951

 
4,087

General and administrative expense
955

 
1,624

 
2,100

 
12,712

Total stock-based compensation expense
$
2,453

 
$
3,447

 
$
5,147

 
$
26,790



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(2)
Refer to Note 14—Earnings Per Share to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the calculation of basic and diluted net loss per share attributable to common stockholders.
 
December 31,
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Consolidated balance sheet data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
27,323

 
$
22,838

 
$
21,262

 
$
39,623

Restricted cash
286

 
130

 

 
20,247

Accounts receivable, net
37,410

 
42,042

 
48,348

 
58,125

Working capital(1)
817

 
28,720

 
32,490

 
72,446

Total assets
82,290

 
86,859

 
100,758

 
153,763

Total debt
32,262

 
111,899

 
57,012

 
46,714

Total liabilities
84,390

 
157,672

 
113,007

 
101,788

Total redeemable convertible preferred stock
160,061

 
146,022

 
196,437

 

Warrant liability
2,942

 
2,197

 
10,230

 

Additional paid-in capital
10,364

 
29,867

 
58,693

 
371,463

Accumulated deficit
(173,108
)
 
(248,804
)
 
(268,445
)
 
(321,487
)
Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity
$
(162,161
)
 
$
(216,835
)
 
$
(208,686
)
 
$
51,975

(1)
We define working capital as current assets less current liabilities. See our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report for further details regarding our current assets and current liabilities.
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this Annual Report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review Item 1A. “Risk Factors” and “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in this Annual Report for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.
Overview
Cardlytics makes marketing more relevant and measurable through our purchase intelligence platform. Our partnerships with financial institutions ("FIs") provide us with access to their anonymized purchase data and digital banking customers. By applying advanced analytics to this aggregation of purchase data, we make it actionable, helping marketers identify, reach and influence likely buyers at scale, and measure the true sales impact of their marketing spend. We are a partner to FIs, including Bank of America, National Association ("Bank of America"); JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association (“Chase”); PNC Bank National Association ("PNC"); Branch Banking and Trust Company, ("BB&T"); SunTrust Banks, Inc., ("SunTrust"); Lloyds Bank plc ("Lloyds"); Santander UK plc, ("Santander"); and several of the largest bank processors and digital banking providers to reach customers of small and mid-sized FIs. Additionally, in the third quarter of 2018, we entered into an agreement with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association (“Wells Fargo”), pursuant to which we have agreed to a national roll-out of Cardlytics Direct to Wells Fargo customers. We expect Wells Fargo to launch the Cardlytics Direct program in 2019.
We were founded in 2008 with the vision to transform commerce with purchase intelligence. Cardlytics Direct, our proprietary native bank advertising channel, enables marketers to reach consumers through their trusted and frequently visited mobile and online banking channels. We have historically derived substantially all of our revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our Cardlytics Direct revenue was $97.8 million, $122.4 million and $149.3 million, respectively.


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We have experienced growth in our revenue since inception. Revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct, which excludes Consumer Incentives, was $97.8 million, $122.4 million and $149.3 million for 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16%. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our average FI MAUs were approximately 43.9 million, 54.9 million and 65.0 million, respectively, and our average Cardlytics Direct revenue per user was $2.23, $2.23 and $2.30, respectively. FI MAU and ARPU are performance metrics defined under the heading "Non-GAAP Measures and Other Performance Metrics" below.
During 2016, 2017 and 2018, our net loss was $75.7 million, $19.6 million and $53.0 million, respectively. Our historical losses have been driven by our substantial investments in our purchase intelligence platform and infrastructure, which we believe will enable us to expand the use of our platform by both FIs and marketers. In 2016, our net loss includes a $25.9 million one-time non-cash charge related to the termination of our U.K. agreement with Aimia EMEA Limited, and a $10.9 million non-cash charge related to the issuance and change in fair value of convertible promissory notes. In 2017, our net loss includes a $5.0 million non-cash gain related to the change in fair value of convertible promissory notes. In 2018, our net loss includes $26.8 million of stock-based compensation expense, a $6.8 million non-cash expense related to the change in fair value of our warrant liabilities, a $0.9 million loss on extinguishment of debt and a $2.5 million non-cash expense related to the vesting of warrants issued to an FI partner that accelerated upon our IPO.
FI Partners
We pay our FI partners an FI Share, which is a negotiated and fixed percentage of our billings to marketers less any Consumer Incentives that we pay to the FIs’ customers and certain third-party data costs. As the amount of revenue that we can generate from marketers with respect to Cardlytics Direct is primarily a function of the number of active users on our FI partners’ digital banking platforms, we believe that the number of monthly active users ("FI MAUs") contributed by any FI partner is indicative of our level of dependence on such FI partner.
Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018. As a result, during the fourth quarter of 2018, our average FI MAUs were 83.2 million of which Chase contributed 27%. Chase expanded the program to their email channel in January 2019 and we expect Chase to further expand the program to online banking during the first half of 2019.
During 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018 our largest FI partner, Bank of America, contributed approximately 47%, 51%, 47% and 37% of our average FI MAUs, respectively. Lloyds, our largest FI partner in the United Kingdom ("U.K."), contributed approximately 10%, 9%, 8% and 6% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively. Digital Insight Corporation, a subsidiary of NCR Corporation ("Digital Insight") contributed 13%, 11%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs and PNC contributed 10%, 8%, 10% and 8% of our average FI MAUs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2018, respectively.
Recent Developments
On May 3, 2018 and May 7, 2018, respectively, we entered into a Master Agreement and Schedule #1 to the Master Agreement (collectively, the “Chase Agreement”) with Chase, pursuant to which we have agreed to a national roll-out of Cardlytics Direct to Chase customers. Under the Agreement, we will provide Chase with access to Cardlytics Direct for an initial term beginning on the date Cardlytics Direct is made generally available to Chase’s customers and ending seven years from that date. Chase may terminate the Agreement at any time upon 90 days’ written notice. We will share billings that we generate from the sale of advertising within the Chase digital channels with Chase.
On August 7, 2018, we entered into Hosted Technology Services Schedule Two (the “Wells Fargo Agreement”) with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association (“Wells Fargo”), pursuant to which we have agreed to a national roll-out of Cardlytics Direct to Wells Fargo customers. The initial term of the Agreement ends on July 1, 2022. Wells Fargo may terminate the Agreement at any time upon 180 days’ written notice. We will share revenue that we generate from the sale of advertising within the Wells Fargo digital channels with Wells Fargo.
On September 28, 2018, we renewed our Spending Rewards Agreement (the “Lloyds Agreement”) with Lloyds, pursuant to which we agreed to continue to provide Cardlytics Direct to Lloyds customers through December 31, 2020. Lloyds may terminate the Agreement at any time upon 9 months’ written notice. We will share revenue that we generate from the sale of advertising within the Lloyds digital channels with Lloyds. Included in the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds are certain amendments that are retroactively applied as of January 1, 2018, which resulted in a $0.8 million gain recorded during the third quarter of 2018 in FI Share and other third-party costs on our consolidated statement of operations.


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FI Partner Commitments
Agreements with certain FI partners require us to fund the development of specific enhancements, pay for certain implementation fees, or make milestone payments upon the deployment of our solution. Certain of these agreements provide for future reductions in FI Share due to the FI partner. During 2018, scheduled development payments to a certain FI partner totaled $9.3 million, which is expected to be offset by recoveries through FI Share payment reductions of $4.6 million in 2019.
We have a minimum FI Share commitment with a certain FI partner totaling $10.0 million over a 12-month period following the completion of certain milestones, which were not met as of December 31, 2018. We currently expect the milestones to be achieved in the first half of 2019 and expect a FI Share commitment shortfall of between $5.0 million and $6.0 million. Any expected shortfall will be accrued during the 12-month period following the completion of the milestones.
Common Stock Warrants Issued in Connection with the Series G Stock Financing
In connection with the issuance of our Series G redeemable convertible preferred stock, we issued warrants to purchase an aggregate number of shares of our common stock, which was determined based on the volume weighted average closing price of our common stock for the 30 trading days up to and including August 7, 2018. Based on this calculation, in August 2018, we issued warrants to purchase 792,434 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $0.0004 per share to the cash investors of our Series G financing, pursuant to our Series G stock purchase agreement. The warrants had a valuation of $15.3 million upon issuance and were subsequently exercised, resulting in the issuance of 792,434 shares of our common stock.
Reverse Stock Split
On January 26, 2018, our board of directors approved an amended and restated certificate of incorporation to (1) effect a reverse split on outstanding shares of our common stock and redeemable convertible preferred stock on a one-for-four basis (the “Reverse Stock Split”), (2) modify the threshold for automatic conversion of our preferred stock into shares of our common stock in connection with an initial public offering to eliminate the requirement of gross proceeds to the Company of not less than $70.0 million and (3) authorize us to issue up to 100,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.0001 par value per share and 25,000,000 shares of redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.0001 par value per share (collectively, the “Charter Amendment”). The authorized shares and par values of our common stock and redeemable convertible preferred stock were not adjusted as a result of the Reverse Stock Split. The Charter Amendment was approved by the Company’s stockholders on January 26, 2018 and became effective upon the filing of the Charter Amendment with the State of Delaware on January 26, 2018. All issued and outstanding common stock and preferred stock and related share and per share amounts contained in these financial statements have been retroactively adjusted to reflect the Reverse Stock Split for all periods presented.
Our Business Model
Cardlytics Direct
Cardlytics Direct is our proprietary native bank advertising channel that enables marketers to reach consumers through their trusted and frequently visited digital banking channels. Working with a marketer, we design a campaign that targets customers based on their purchase history. The consumer is offered an incentive to make a purchase from the marketer within a specified period. We use a portion of the fees that we collect from marketers to provide these consumer incentives to our FIs’ customers after they make qualifying purchases ("Consumer Incentives"). Leveraging our powerful predictive analytics, we are able to create compelling Consumer Incentives that have the potential to increase return on advertising spend for marketers. We have generated substantially all of our revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct since inception.
We price Cardlytics Direct marketing in two primary ways: (1) Cost per Served Sale ("CPS") and (2) Cost per Redemption ("CPR"). We developed our pricing models with the needs of marketers in mind. Given our ability to measure the actual performance of Cardlytics Direct in driving sales, we are able to offer marketers performance-based pricing models where they only pay us based on actual sales influenced by marketing through our native bank channel. We price Cardlytics Direct utilizing other pricing models, which may change over time as we acquire new customers and expand the sale of Cardlytics Direct into new industry verticals. These pricing models are designed to ensure that marketers realize an actual return on their advertising spend with us.


41


CPS.  Our primary and fastest growing pricing model is CPS, which we created to meet the media buying preferences of marketers. We generate revenue by charging a percentage (the "CPS Rate"), of all purchases from the marketer by consumers (1) who are served marketing and (2) subsequently make a purchase from the marketer during the campaign period, regardless of whether consumers select the marketing and thereby become eligible to earn the applicable Consumer Incentive. We set CPS Rates for marketers based on our expectation of the marketer’s return on spend for the relevant campaign. Additionally, we set the amount of the Consumer Incentives payable for each campaign based on our estimation of our ability to drive incremental sales for the marketer. We seek to optimize the level of Consumer Incentives to retain a greater portion of billings. However, if the amount of Consumer Incentives exceeds the amount of billings that we are paid by the applicable marketer we are still responsible for paying the total Consumer Incentive. This has occurred infrequently and has been immaterial in amount for each of the periods presented.
CPR.  Our initial pricing model is CPR, where marketers specify and fund the Consumer Incentive and pay us a separate negotiated, fixed marketing fee (the "CPR Fee"), for each purchase that we generate. We generate revenue if the consumer (1) is served marketing, (2) selects the marketing and thereby becomes eligible to earn the applicable Consumer Incentive and (3) makes a qualifying purchase from the marketer during the campaign period. We set the CPR Fee for marketers based on our estimation of the marketers’ return on spend for the relevant campaign. The CPR Fee is either a percentage of qualifying purchases or a flat amount.
We pay our FI partners an FI Share, which is a negotiated and fixed percentage of our billings to marketers less any Consumer Incentives that we pay to the FIs’ customers and certain third-party data costs.
Other Platform Solutions
Our Other Platform Solutions enabled marketers and marketing service providers to leverage the power of purchase intelligence outside the bank channel. We have shifted the majority of our efforts and resources to support the growth of Cardlytics Direct. As a result, we do not expect to generate substantial, if any, revenue from Other Platform Solutions for the foreseeable future, and we expect Other Platform Solutions revenue to decline in future periods compared to prior periods. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, Other Platform Solutions revenue was $15.0 million, $8.0 million and $1.4 million, respectively. Accordingly, our total revenue may decline in future periods if we are unable to generate sufficient offsetting revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct.
Key Factors Affecting Our Performance
Our historical financial performance has been, and we expect our financial performance in the future will be, primarily driven by the following factors:
Ability to Increase Spend from Existing Marketers and Acquire New Marketers in New and Existing Verticals.  Our performance depends on our ability to continue to increase adoption of our solutions within our existing marketer base and attract new marketers in new and existing verticals that invest meaningfully in marketing through our solutions. Our ability to increase adoption among existing marketers is particularly important in light of our land-and-expand business model. We believe that we have the opportunity to expand our marketer base with a focus on attracting new brands, retailers, service providers and new categories of marketers that will invest significantly in the use of purchase intelligence. We believe that we also have the opportunity to increase adoption of our solutions across our existing marketers. In order to expand and further penetrate our marketer base, we have made, and plan to continue to make, investments in expanding our direct sales teams and indirect sales channels, and increasing our brand awareness. However, our ability to continue to grow our marketer base is dependent upon our ability to compete within the evolving markets in which we participate.
Ability to Drive Additional Revenue from Cardlytics Direct.  The revenue that we generate through our proprietary native bank advertising channels from each of our FI partners varies. This variance is typically a result of how long the program has been active, the user interface for the program and the FI’s efforts to promote the program. We continually work with FIs to improve their customers’ user experience, increase customer awareness, and leverage additional customer outreach channels like email. However, in certain cases, we may have little control over the design of the user interface that our FI partners choose to use or the extent to which they promote our solution to their customers. To the extent that our FI partners fail to increase engagement with our solutions within their customer bases, we may be unable to attract and retain marketers or their agencies and our revenue would suffer.


42


Ability to Expand our FI Partner Network.  Our ability to maintain and grow our revenue is contingent upon maintaining and expanding our relationships with our FI partners. Each new FI partner increases the size of our data asset, increasing the value of our solutions to both marketers and FIs that are already part of our network. Accordingly, we are focused on the continued expansion of our FI network to ensure that we have robust purchase data to support a broad array of incentive programs with respect to Cardlytics Direct and to enrich our Other Platform Solutions. However, our sales and integration cycle with respect to our FI partners can be costly and long, and it is difficult to predict if or when we will be successful in generating revenue from a new FI relationship.
Ability to Innovate and Evolve Our Platform.  As we continue to grow our data asset and enhance our platform, we are developing new solutions and increasingly sophisticated analytical capabilities. Our future performance is significantly dependent on the investments that we make in our research and development efforts and in our ability to continue to innovate, improve functionality, and introduce new features and solutions that are compelling to our marketers and FIs. We intend to continue to invest in our platform, including by hiring top technical talent and focusing on innovation within our core technology.
Non-GAAP Measures and Other Performance Metrics
We regularly monitor a number of financial and operating metrics in order to measure our current performance and estimate our future performance. Our metrics may be calculated in a manner different than similar metrics used by other companies.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
 
(Amounts in thousands, except ARPU)
FI monthly active users ("FI MAUs")
43,927

 
54,943

 
65,012

Average revenue per user ("ARPU")
$
2.23

 
$
2.23

 
$
2.30

Adjusted contribution(1)(2)
$
48,226

 
$
58,744

 
$
69,450

Adjusted EBITDA(1)(2)
$
(17,046
)
 
$
(7,178
)
 
$
(6,595
)
(1)
Adjusted contribution and Adjusted EBITDA includes the impact of an accrued expense totaling $2.6 million during 2016 related to shortfall in meeting a minimum FI Share commitment. There was no corresponding accrued expense during 2017 and 2018.
(2)
Adjusted contribution and Adjusted EBITDA includes the impact of a $0.8 million gain during 2018 related to the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds, which contains certain amendments that are retroactively applied as of January 1, 2018.
Monthly Active Users
We define FI monthly active users ("FI MAUs") as targetable customers or accounts of our FI partners that logged in and visited the online or mobile banking applications of, or opened an email from, our FI partners during a monthly period. We then calculate a monthly average of these FI MAUs for the periods presented. We believe that FI MAUs is an indicator of our and our FI partners’ ability to drive engagement with Cardlytics Direct and is reflective of the marketing base that we offer to marketers through Cardlytics Direct.
Chase launched the Cardlytics Direct program for mobile banking in November 2018. As a result, during the fourth quarter of 2018, our average FI MAUs were 83.2 million. Chase expanded the program to their email channel in January 2019 and we expect Chase to further expand the program to online banking during the first half of 2019. We also expect Wells Fargo to launch the Cardlytics Direct program in 2019. We anticipate FI MAUs to increase as Chase and Wells Fargo launch the Cardlytics Direct program.
Average Revenue per User
We define average revenue per user ("ARPU") as the total Cardlytics Direct revenue generated in the applicable period calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States ("GAAP"), divided by the average number of FI MAUs in the applicable period. We believe that ARPU is an indicator of the value of our relationships with our FI partners with respect to Cardlytics Direct.
We expect a decline in ARPU as Chase and Wells Fargo launch the Cardlytics Direct program due to the growth of FI MAUs exceeding the corresponding growth in Cardlytics Direct revenue.


43


Adjusted Contribution
Adjusted contribution represents our revenue less our FI Share and other third-party costs as well as less a non-cash equity expense included in FI Share and amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs. During the first quarter of 2018, we refined our definition of adjusted contribution to exclude the impact of a non-cash charge related to the issuance of equity to an FI partner and the impact of amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs. We believe this change is warranted and appropriate since the investment is expected to yield meaningful long-term relationships with our FI partners and provide incentive for our FI partners to invest in the user interfaces that complement our platform. We have recast all historical disclosures of adjusted contribution for the periods presented.
We review adjusted contribution for internal management purposes and believe that the elimination of our primary cost of revenue, FI Share and other third-party costs, exclusive of a non-cash equity expense included in FI Share and amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs, can provide a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of our core business. More specifically, we report our revenue gross of FI Share and other third-party costs, but net of any Consumer Incentives that we pay to our FIs’ customers. Adjusted contribution is not a measure calculated in accordance with GAAP.
We believe that adjusted contribution provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our results of operations in the same manner as our management and board of directors. Nevertheless, our use of adjusted contribution has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our financial results as reported under GAAP. Other companies, including companies in our industry that have similar business arrangements, may address the impact of FI Share and other third-party costs differently. Refer to Note 10—Fair Value Measurement to our consolidated financial statements for additional information. You should consider adjusted contribution alongside our other GAAP financial results.
The following table presents a reconciliation of adjusted contribution to revenue, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, for each of the periods indicated (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Revenue
$
112,821

 
$
130,365

 
$
150,684

Minus:
 
 
 
 
 
FI Share and other third-party costs(1)
64,595

 
71,621

 
81,234

Adjusted contribution(2)(3)
$
48,226

 
$
58,744

 
$
69,450

(1)
FI Share and other third-party costs presented above excludes a non-cash equity expense included in FI Share and amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs, which are detailed below in our reconciliation of GAAP net loss to non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA.
(2)
Adjusted contribution includes the impact of an accrued expense totaling $2.6 million during 2016 related to shortfall in meeting a minimum FI Share commitment. There was no corresponding accrued expense during 2017 and 2018.
(3)
Adjusted contribution includes the impact of a $0.8 million gain during 2018 related to the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds, which contains certain amendments that are retroactively applied as of January 1, 2018.
Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA represents our net loss before income tax benefit; interest expense, net; depreciation and amortization expense; stock-based compensation expense; foreign currency (gain) loss; amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs; costs associated with financing events; loss on extinguishment of debt; restructuring costs; change in fair value of warrant liabilities; change in fair value of convertible promissory notes; non-cash equity expense recognized in FI Share; and termination of U.K. agreement expense. We do not consider these excluded items to be indicative of our core operating performance. The items that are non-cash include change in fair value of warrant liabilities, change in fair value of convertible promissory notes, foreign currency (gain) loss, amortization and impairment of FI implementation costs, depreciation and amortization expense, stock-based compensation expense and a non-cash equity expense included in FI Share. Notably, any impacts related to minimum FI Share commitments in connection with agreements with certain FI partners are not added back to net loss in order to calculate adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA is a key measure used by management to understand and evaluate our core operating performance and trends and to generate future operating plans, make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital and invest in initiatives that are focused on cultivating new markets for our solution. In particular, the exclusion of certain expenses in calculating adjusted EBITDA facilitates comparisons of our operating performance on a period-to-period basis. Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure calculated in accordance with GAAP.


44


We believe that adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results in the same manner as our management and board of directors. Nevertheless, use of adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our financial results as reported under GAAP. Some of these limitations are: (1) adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs; (2) adjusted EBITDA does not reflect the potentially dilutive impact of stock-based compensation and equity instruments issued to our FI partners; (3) adjusted EBITDA does not reflect tax payments or receipts that may represent a reduction or increase in cash available to us and (4) other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate adjusted EBITDA or similarly titled measures differently, which reduces the usefulness of the metric as a comparative measure. Because of these and other limitations, you should consider adjusted EBITDA alongside our net loss and other GAAP financial results.
The following table presents a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, for each of the periods indicated (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Net loss
$
(75,696
)
 
$
(19,641
)
 
$
(53,042
)
Plus:

 

 

Interest expense, net
6,170

 
8,239

 
3,264

Depreciation and amortization expense
4,219

 
3,028

 
3,282

Stock-based compensation expense
3,447

 
5,147

 
26,790

Foreign currency loss (gain)
1,926

 
(1,318
)
 
1,172

Amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs(1)
1,690

 
1,626

 
1,618

Costs associated with financing events
2,632

 
129

 
118

Loss on extinguishment of debt
462

 

 
924

Restructuring costs
1,291

 

 

Change in fair value of warrant liabilities
32

 
581

 
6,760

Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes
10,877

 
(4,969
)
 

Non-cash equity expense included in FI Share(1)

 

 
2,519

Termination of U.K. agreement expense
25,904

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA(2)(3)
$
(17,046
)
 
$
(7,178
)
 
$
(6,595
)
(1)
Non-cash equity expense included in FI Share and amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs are excluded from FI Share and other third party costs, which is shown above in our reconciliation of GAAP revenue to non-GAAP adjusted contribution.
(2)
Adjusted EBITDA includes the impact of an accrued expense totaling $2.6 million during 2016 related to shortfall in meeting a minimum FI Share commitment. There was no corresponding accrued expense during 2017 and 2018.
(3)
Adjusted EBITDA includes the impact of a $0.8 million gain during 2018 related to the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds, which contains certain amendments that are retroactively applied as of January 1, 2018.
Components of Results of Operations
Revenue
We generate revenue from the sale of our Cardlytics Direct solution and our Other Platform Solutions. In early 2018, we began a strategic shift to focus the majority of our efforts and resources to support the growth of Cardlytics Direct. As a result, we do not expect to generate substantial, if any, revenue from Other Platform Solutions for the foreseeable future, and we expect our overall Other Platforms Solutions revenue to decline in future periods compared to prior periods. We sell our solutions by entering into agreements directly with marketers or their marketing agencies. These agreements state the terms of the arrangement, the agreed-upon fee and, with respect to Cardlytics Direct, the fixed period of time the offers will be available to FI customers. We generally bill for our solutions on a monthly basis following delivery of our solutions. We report revenue net of Consumer Incentives.
Cost and Expense
We classify our expenses into the following categories: FI Share and other third-party costs; delivery costs; sales and marketing expense; research and development expense; general and administrative expense; and depreciation and amortization expense.


45


FI Share and Other Third-Party Costs
FI Share and other third-party costs consist primarily of the FI Share that we pay our FI partners, media and data costs and, through June 30, 2016, allocation of revenue in the U.K. to Aimia. In June 2016, we acquired full control of, and the right to retain all revenue with respect to, our business in the U.K. from Aimia. FI Share and other third-party costs also include the amortization or impairment of deferred implementation costs incurred pursuant to our agreements with certain FI partners and any incremental costs due to FIs as part of revenue commitment arrangements, as well as a $2.5 million non-cash expense in 2018 related to the vesting of warrants issued to an FI partner that accelerated upon the consummation of our IPO.
Delivery Costs
Delivery costs consist primarily of personnel costs of our campaign, data operations and production support teams, including salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation and payroll taxes. Delivery costs also include hosting facility costs, internally developed and purchased or licensed software costs, outsourcing costs and professional services costs. As we add data center capacity and support personnel in advance of anticipated growth, our delivery costs will increase in absolute dollars and if such anticipated revenue growth does not occur, our delivery costs as a percentage of revenue will be adversely affected.
Sales and Marketing Expense
Sales and marketing expense consists primarily of personnel costs of our sales, account management, marketing and analytics teams, including salaries, benefits, bonuses, commissions, stock-based compensation and payroll taxes. Sales and marketing expense also includes professional fees, marketing programs such as trade shows, marketing materials, public relations, sponsorships and other brand building expenses, as well as outsourcing costs, travel and entertainment expenses and company funded consumer testing expenses for certain marketers that are not current customers. We expect that our sales and marketing expense will increase in absolute dollars as a result of hiring new sales representatives and as we invest to enhance our brand. Over time, we expect sales and marketing expenses will decline as a percentage of revenue.
Research and Development Expense
Research and development expense consists primarily of personnel costs of our information technology ("IT") engineering, IT architecture and product development teams, including salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation and payroll taxes. Research and development expense also includes outsourcing costs, software licensing costs, professional fees and travel expenses. We focus our research and development efforts on improving our solutions and developing new ones. We expect research and development expense to increase in absolute dollars as we continue to create new solutions and improve the functionality of our existing solutions.
General and Administrative Expense
General and administrative expense consists of personnel costs of our executive, finance, legal, compliance, IT support and human resources teams, including salaries, benefits, bonuses, stock-based compensation and payroll taxes. General and administrative expense also includes professional fees for external legal, accounting and consulting services, financing transaction costs, facilities costs such as rent and utilities, royalties, bad debt expense, travel expense, property taxes and franchise taxes. We expect that general and administrative expenses will increase on an absolute dollar basis but decrease as a percentage of revenue as we focus on processes, systems and controls to enable the our internal support functions to scale with the growth of our business.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense
Depreciation and amortization expense includes depreciation of property and equipment over the estimated useful life of the applicable asset as well as amortization of deferred patent costs and capitalized internal-use software development costs.
Interest Expense, Net
Interest expense, net consists of interest incurred on our debt facilities, as well as related discount amortization and financing costs, partially offset by interest income on our cash balances.
Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liabilities
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities represents adjustments to the fair value of certain warrants to purchase either preferred or common stock based upon changes in the fair value of the underlying stock.


46


Change in Fair Value of Convertible Promissory Notes Including Related Parties
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes represents adjustments to the fair value of our convertible promissory notes as a result of our election of the fair value option. In May 2017, these convertible promissory notes converted into shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock.
Other Income (Expense), Net
Other income (expense), net consists primarily of gains and losses on foreign currency transactions and expenses recorded in connection with the extinguishment of debt.
Income Taxes
We have generated losses before income taxes in the U.S., United Kingdom ("U.K.") and most U.S. state income tax jurisdictions. We have generated historical net losses and recorded a full valuation allowance against our deferred tax assets. We expect to maintain a full valuation allowance in the near term. Due to our history of losses and our expectation of maintaining a full valuation allowance, we have not recorded an income tax provision or benefit during the periods presented. Realization of any of our deferred tax assets depends upon future earnings, the timing and amount of which are uncertain.
Results of Operations
The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of operations (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Revenue
$
112,821

 
$
130,365

 
$
150,684

Costs and expenses:

 

 

FI Share and other third-party costs
66,285

 
73,247

 
85,371

Delivery costs(1)
6,127

 
7,012

 
10,632

Sales and marketing expense(1)
31,261

 
31,927

 
41,878

Research and development expense(1)
13,902

 
12,150

 
16,210

General and administrative expense(1)
21,355

 
20,100

 
34,228

Depreciation and amortization expense
4,219

 
3,028

 
3,282

Termination of U.K. agreement expense
25,904

 

 

Total costs and expenses
169,053

 
147,464

 
191,601

Operating loss
(56,232
)
 
(17,099
)
 
(40,917
)
Other (expense) income:


 


 


Interest expense, net
(6,170
)
 
(8,239
)
 
(3,264
)
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities, net
(32
)
 
(581
)
 
(6,760
)
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes
(786
)
 
(1,244
)
 

Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes—related parties
(10,091
)
 
6,213

 

Other (expense) income, net
(2,385
)
 
1,309

 
(2,101
)
Total other expense
(19,464
)
 
(2,542
)
 
(12,125
)
Loss before income taxes
(75,696
)
 
(19,641
)
 
(53,042
)
Income tax benefit

 

 

Net loss
$
(75,696
)
 
$
(19,641
)
 
$
(53,042
)


47


(1)
Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Delivery costs
$
96

 
$
202

 
$
633

Sales and marketing expense
1,153

 
1,894

 
9,358

Research and development expense
574

 
951

 
4,087

General and administrative expense
1,624

 
2,100

 
12,712

Total stock-based compensation expense
$
3,447

 
$
5,147

 
$
26,790

The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of operations expressed as a percentage of revenue (percentages may not sum due to rounding):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
Revenue
100
 %
 
100
 %
 
100
 %
Costs and expenses:

 

 

FI Share and other third-party costs
59

 
56

 
57

Delivery costs
5

 
5

 
7

Sales and marketing expense
28

 
24

 
28

Research and development expense
12

 
9

 
11

General and administration expense
19

 
15

 
23

Depreciation and amortization expense
4

 
2

 
2

Total costs and expenses
150

 
113

 
127

Operating loss
(50
)
 
(13
)
 
(27
)
Other (expense) income:

 

 

Interest expense, net
(5
)
 
(6
)
 
(2
)
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities, net

 

 
(4
)
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes
(1
)
 
(1
)
 

Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes—related parties
(9
)
 
5

 

Other (expense) income, net
(2
)
 
1

 
(1
)
Total other expense
(17
)
 
(2
)
 
(8
)
Loss before income taxes
(67
)
 
(15
)
 
(35
)
Income tax benefit

 

 

Net loss
(67
)%
 
(15
)%
 
(35
)%


48


Comparison of Year Ended December 31, 2017 and 2018
Revenue
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$  
 
%   
 
(dollars in thousands)
Revenue by solution:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardlytics Direct
$
122,391

 
$
149,323

 
$
26,932

 
22
 %
Other Platform Solutions
7,974

 
1,361

 
(6,613
)
 
(83
)
Total revenue
$
130,365

 
$
150,684

 
$
20,319

 
16
 %
Revenue increased by $20.3 million in 2018 compared to 2017, primarily due to a $26.9 million increase in revenue generated from sales of Cardlytics Direct. Of this increase, $7.1 million related to sales of Cardlytics Direct to new marketers, while $19.8 million related to increased sales of Cardlytics Direct to existing marketers. Revenue from Other Platform Solutions during 2017 consisted substantially of revenue from sales of our Other Platform Solutions delivered as a managed service, which was discontinued as in July 2017.
Costs and Expenses
FI Share and Other Third-Party Costs
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
FI Share and other third-party costs by solution:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardlytics Direct
$
67,207

 
$
80,720

 
$
13,513

 
20
 %
Renewal of Lloyds agreement

 
(761
)
 
(761
)
 
n/a

Total Cardlytics Direct
67,207

 
79,959

 
12,752

 
19

Other Platform Solutions
4,414

 
1,275

 
(3,139
)
 
(71
)
Other components of FI Share and other third-party costs:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Non-cash equity expense included in FI Share

 
2,519

 
2,519

 
n/a

Amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs
1,626

 
1,618

 
(8
)
 

Total FI Share and other third-party costs
$
73,247

 
$
85,371

 
$
12,124

 
17
 %
% of revenue
56
%
 
57
%
 
 
 
 
Cardlytics Direct FI Share and other third-party costs, excluding the impact of the gain related to the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds, increased by $13.5 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to increased revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct.
Included in the renewal of our agreement with Lloyds are certain amendments that are retroactively applied as of January 1, 2018, which resulted in a $0.8 million gain during 2018, which reduced FI Share and other third-party costs on our consolidated statement of operations.
Other Platform Solutions FI Share and other third-party costs decreased during 2018 as we discontinued delivering Other Platform Solutions as a managed service as of July 31, 2017.
Warrants to purchase shares of common stock vested upon the completion of our IPO in February 2018, resulting in a non-cash expense of $2.5 million based on the vesting-date fair value of our common stock underlying these warrants. Since the performance conditions were directly related to revenue-producing activities, we recognized this non-cash expense in FI Share and other third-party costs on our consolidated statement of operations. Refer to Note 10—Fair Value Measurement to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the valuation of the warrants that vested upon the consummation of our IPO.


49


Delivery Costs
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Delivery costs
$
7,012

 
$
10,632

 
$
3,620

 
52
%
% of revenue
5
%
 
7
%
 
 
 
 
Delivery costs increased by $3.6 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a $2.5 million increase in personnel costs associated with additional headcount to host Cardlytics Direct for certain new FI partners, a $0.6 million increase in hosting-related IT costs, a $0.4 million increase in stock-based compensation expense and a $0.1 million increase in professional fees.
Sales and Marketing Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Sales and marketing expense
$
31,927

 
$
41,878

 
$
9,951

 
31
%
% of revenue
24
%
 
28
%
 
 
 
 
Sales and marketing expense increased by $10.0 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a $7.5 million increase in stock-based compensation expense, a $2.0 million increase in personnel costs associated with additional headcount, a $0.1 million increase in recruiting fees, a $0.1 million increase in travel costs and $0.1 million increase in software costs.
Research and Development Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Research and development expense
$
12,150

 
$
16,210

 
$
4,060

 
33
%
% of revenue
9
%
 
11
%
 
 
 
 
Research and development expense increased by $4.1 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a $3.1 million increase in stock-based compensation expense, a $1.0 million increase in personnel costs associated with higher research and development headcount, a $0.3 million increase in recruiting fees and a $0.1 million increase in IT costs, partially offset by a $0.5 million decrease in outsourcing costs.
General and Administrative Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
General and administration expense
$
20,100

 
$
34,228

 
$
14,128

 
70
%
% of revenue
15
%
 
23
%
 
 
 
 
General and administrative expense increased by $14.1 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a $10.6 million increase in stock-based compensation expense, a $0.9 million increase in personnel costs associated with higher general and administrative headcount, a $0.8 million increase in software license fees, a $0.9 million increase in professional fees, a $0.6 million in increase in insurance premiums, a $0.1 million increase in travel costs and $0.1 million increase in other costs such as facility costs and non-income based taxes.


50


Depreciation and Amortization Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Depreciation and amortization expense
$
3,028

 
$
3,282

 
$
254

 
8
%
% of revenue
2
%
 
2
%
 
 
 
 
Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $0.3 million during 2018 compared to 2017 due to an increase in hosting related computer equipment and our suspension of efforts to obtain certain patents, resulting in the write off of deferred patent costs in 2018.
Interest Expense, Net
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Interest expense
$
(6,489
)
 
$
(3,521
)
 
$
2,968

 
(46
)%
Interest income
62

 
526

 
464

 
748
 %
Interest expense, net
$
(8,239
)
 
$
(3,264
)
 
$
4,975

 
(60
)%
% of revenue
(6
)%
 
(2
)%
 
 
 
 
Interest expense, net decreased by $5.0 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to the conversion of our convertible promissory notes into shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock in May 2017 and lower interest rates under our new loan facility. Interest income increased $0.5 million during 2018 compared to 2017, respectively, due to increased cash deposits subsequent to our IPO.
Change in Fair Value of Warrant Liabilities
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities
$
(581
)
 
$
(6,760
)
 
$
(6,179
)
 
1,064
%
% of revenue
 %
 
(4
)%
 
 
 
 
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities reflect the changes in the value of our redeemable convertible preferred stock and common stock. Refer to Note 10—Fair Value Measurement to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the valuation of our warrant liabilities.
Change in Fair Value of Convertible Promissory Notes
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes
$
(1,244
)
 
$

 
$
1,244

 
(100
)%
% of revenue
(1
)%
 
%
 
 
 
 
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes reflects the change in the value of our convertible promissory notes, which was driven by periodic valuations. In May 2017, these convertible promissory notes converted into shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock. Refer to Note 10—Fair Value Measurement to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the valuation of our convertible promissory notes.


51


Change in Fair Value of Convertible Promissory Notes—Related Parties
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes—related parties
$
6,213

 
$

 
$
(6,213
)
 
(100
)%
% of revenue
5
%
 
%
 
 
 
 
Change in fair value of convertible promissory notes reflects the change in the value of our convertible promissory notes, which was driven by periodic valuations. In May 2017, these convertible promissory notes converted into shares of our redeemable convertible preferred stock. Refer to Note 10—Fair Value Measurement to our consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding the valuation of our convertible promissory notes.
Other Income (Expense), Net
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2018
 
$      
 
%      
 
(dollars in thousands)
Foreign currency gain (loss)
$
1,318

 
$
(1,172
)
 
$
(2,490
)
 
(189
)%
Loss on extinguishment of debt

 
(924
)
 
(924
)
 
n/a

Other expense
$
9

 
$
5

 
$
(4
)
 
(44
)%
Other income (expense), net
$
1,309

 
$
(2,101
)
 
$
(3,410
)
 
(261
)%
% of revenue
1
%
 
(1
)%
 
 
 
 
Other income (expense), net decreased $3.4 million during 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a decrease in the value of the British pound relative to the U.S. dollar. During 2018, we also recognized a $0.9 million loss on extinguishment of debt related to the unamortized discount and unamortized debt issuance costs associated with the 2016 Line of Credit and 2016 Term Loan.
Comparison of Year Ended December 31, 2016 and 2017
Revenue
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Revenue by solution:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardlytics Direct
$
97,789

 
$
122,391

 
$
24,602

 
25
 %
Other Platform Solutions
15,032

 
7,974

 
(7,058
)
 
(47
)
Total revenue
$
112,821

 
$
130,365

 
$
17,544

 
16
 %
Revenue increased by $17.5 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to a $24.6 million increase in revenue generated from sales of Cardlytics Direct. Of this increase, $12.5 million related to sales of Cardlytics Direct to new marketers, while $12.1 million related to increased sales of Cardlytics Direct to existing marketers. Consumer Incentives remained relatively consistent at $57.0 million in 2016 compared to $61.2 million in 2017, which reflects our efforts to optimize the level of Consumer Incentives needed to drive incremental sales for marketers, and resulted in an increase in our revenue. Revenue from Other Platform Solutions decreased by $7.1 million in 2017 compared to 2016, with such decrease primarily driven by the discontinuation of our Other Platform Solutions delivered as a managed service. We do not expect to generate substantial revenue from Other Platform Solutions delivered as a managed service in future periods as we discontinued sales of Other Platform Solutions delivered as a managed service as of July 31, 2017.


52


Costs and Expenses
FI Share and Other Third-Party Costs
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
FI Share and other third-party costs by solution:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardlytics Direct
$
56,415

 
$
67,207

 
$
10,792

 
19
 %
Other Platform Solutions
8,180

 
4,414

 
(3,766
)
 
(46
)%
Other component of FI Share and other third-party costs:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amortization and impairment of deferred FI implementation costs
$
1,690

 
$
1,626

 
$
(64
)
 
(4
)%
Total FI Share and other third-party costs
$
66,285

 
$
73,247

 
$
6,962

 
11
 %
% of revenue
59
%
 
56
%
 
 
 
 
FI Share and other third-party costs increased by $7.0 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primary due to an increase in revenue from sales of Cardlytics Direct, partially offset by a $2.6 million decrease in FI share revenue commitments in excess of the FI Share otherwise earned by the applicable FI partners and a $1.2 million decrease as a result of us no longer allocating revenue and FI Share and other third-party costs to Aimia following termination of our cooperation agreement in June 2016. Other Platform Solutions FI Share and other third-party costs decreased $3.8 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to a decline in media and data costs as we discontinued delivering Other Platform Solutions as a managed service as of July 31, 2017.
Delivery Costs
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Delivery costs
$
6,127

 
$
7,012

 
$
885

 
14
%
% of revenue
5
%
 
5
%
 
 
 
 
Delivery costs increased by $0.9 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily to support enhancements for existing FI partners and implementation for new FI partners. These costs include a $0.7 million increase in personnel-related costs for our campaign, data operations and production support teams and a $0.1 million increase in stock-based compensation expense.
Sales and Marketing Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Sales and marketing expense
$
31,261

 
$
31,927

 
$
666

 
2
%
% of revenue
28
%
 
24
%
 
 
 
 
Sales and marketing expense increased by $0.7 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to a $0.3 million increase in personnel costs associated with our additional sales and marketing headcount and a $0.8 million increase in incentive compensation as a result of incremental sales and a $0.7 million increase in stock-based compensation expense offset by a $0.5 million decrease in travel and entertainment related expense, a $0.3 million decrease in professional fees and a $0.2 million decrease in marketing related expenses related to reductions in advertising and public relations expenses, reduced sponsorships and consumer testing expenses.


53


Research and Development Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Research and development expense
$
13,902

 
$
12,150

 
$
(1,752
)
 
(13
)%
% of revenue
12
%
 
9
%
 
 
 
 
Research and development expense decreased by $1.8 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to a $1.6 million decrease in personnel costs associated with our research and development headcount, a $0.4 million decrease in professional services and a $0.4 million decrease in outsourcing costs, offset by a $0.4 million increase in stock-based compensation and a $0.2 million increase in technology related expenses.
General and Administrative Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
General and administrative expense
$
21,355

 
$
20,100

 
$
(1,255
)
 
(6
)%
% of revenue
19
%
 
15
%
 
 
 
 
General and administrative expense decreased by $1.3 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to a $2.5 million decrease in financing-related costs and a $1.0 million decrease in bad debt expense, offset by a $1.4 million increase in personnel costs related to our increased headcount, a $0.5 million increase in stock-based compensation and a $0.3 million increase in facility costs.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Depreciation and amortization expense
$
4,219

 
$
3,028

 
$
(1,191
)
 
(28
)%
% of revenue
4
%
 
2
%
 
 
 
 
Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $1.2 million in 2017 compared to 2016, primarily due to $1.2 million of accelerated amortization of internal-use software development costs we incurred in 2016.
Termination of U.K. Agreement Expense
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2017
 
$
 
%
 
(dollars in thousands)
Termination of U.K. agreement expense
$
25,904

 
$

 
$
(25,904