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LZ LegalZoom.com

Filed: 4 Jun 21, 4:20pm
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 4, 2021.

Registration No. 333-                

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

LegalZoom.com, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware 7370 95-4752856

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

 

 

 

101 North Brand Boulevard, 11th Floor

Glendale, California 91203

(323) 962-8600

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Dan Wernikoff

Chief Executive Officer

LegalZoom.com, Inc.

101 North Brand Boulevard, 11th Floor

Glendale, California 91203

(323) 962-8600

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

C. Thomas Hopkins

Jodie Bourdet

Jonie Kondracki

Cooley LLP

1333 2nd Street, Suite 400

Santa Monica, California 90401

(310) 883-6400

 

Noel Watson

Chief Financial Officer

Nicole Miller

General Counsel

LegalZoom.com, Inc.

101 North Brand Boulevard, 11th Floor

Glendale, California 91203

(323) 962-8600

 

Richard A. Kline

Adam J. Gelardi

Latham & Watkins LLP

140 Scott Drive

Menlo Park, California 94025

(650) 328-4600

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this Registration Statement.

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  ☐

If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer   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 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of each class of

securities to be registered

 

Proposed

maximum

aggregate

offering price(1)

 Amount of
registration fee(2)

Common stock, $0.001 par value per share

 $100,000,000 $10,910

 

 

(1)

Estimated solely for the purpose of computing the amount of registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Includes the offering price of additional shares of common stock that the underwriters have the option to purchase.

(2)

Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(o) based on an estimate of the proposed maximum aggregate offering price.

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and we are not soliciting offers to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to completion, dated                , 2021

Preliminary prospectus

                    Shares

 

 

LOGO

Common stock

This is the initial public offering of shares of our common stock. We are offering                 shares of our common stock.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. We currently expect the initial public offering price to be between $             and $             per share of common stock.

We have applied for listing of our common stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “LZ”.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined under the U.S. federal securities laws and, as such, may elect to comply with certain reduced public company reporting requirements for this and future filings.

 

   
      Per share     Total 

Initial public offering price

    $                 $             

Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)

    $                  $              

Proceeds to us before expenses

    $                  $              

 

(1) We refer you to the section titled “Underwriting” for additional information regarding underwriter compensation.

We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase up to an additional                  shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. See the section titled “Risk Factors” beginning on page 20.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of common stock to purchasers on                    , 2021.

 

J.P. Morgan  Morgan Stanley  Barclays
BofA Securities  Citigroup  Credit Suisse  Jefferies
        JMP Securities Raymond James William Blair        

                    , 2021


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LOGO

LEGAL ZOOM LET’S MAKE IT OFFICIAL OUR MISSION IS TO DEMOCRATIZE LAW


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LOGO

Once a small business is formed, we offer subscription services to protect the business, its ideas, and the families that create them. Business Formation Intellectual Property Estate Planning


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LOGO

“I would recommend LegalZoom because they will change your life overnight.”    Dr. Toya and Dr. Tonya Harris Owners,    The BluePrint “Having LegalZoom there to help us build this company was essential to the success of our company.” Mike Roberts Owner,    The Horses Axe “Time and speed of execution. A trusted advisor for us.” Mark Co-Founders, and Victoria GenFree Thompson LLC


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LOGO

STRONG FINANCIAL PROFILE Revenue $471M 2020 Accelerated 27% Q1 2021 YoY Growth Revenue Growth Attractive ~50% Subscription Subscription Revenue Mix 2020 Model    Margins Strong ~19% Margin Adj. EBITDA 2020 Efficient Unit <90 Day Marketing Economics Payback


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LOGO

Z LEGAL ZOOM “We believe every business deserves the full protection of the legal system as well as a simple way to start, operate and run their business daily”    Dan Wernikoff     CEO, LegalZoom


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

   Page 

Prospectus Summary

   1 

Risk Factors

   20 

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

   58 

Market, Industry and Other Data

   59 

Use of Proceeds

   60 

Dividend Policy

   61 

Capitalization

   62 

Dilution

   65 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

   68 

Business

   112 

Management

   134 

Executive and Director Compensation

   143 

Certain Relationships and Related Person Transactions

   155 

Principal Stockholders

   160 

Description of Capital Stock

   163 

Shares Eligible for Future Sale

   169 

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences to Non-U.S. Holders

   173 

Underwriting

   177 

Legal Matters

   185 

Experts

   185 

Where You Can Find More Information

   185 

Index to Consolidated Financial Statements and Unaudited Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements

   F-1 

 

 

The information in this prospectus is not complete and is subject to change. No person should rely on the information contained in this document for any purpose other than participating in our proposed initial public offering, and only the prospectus dated                , 2021, is authorized by us to be used in connection with our proposed initial public offering. The prospectus will only be distributed by us and the underwriters named herein and no other person has been authorized by us to use this document to offer or sell any of our securities.

We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone to provide you any information or to make any representations other than those contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectus prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we have referred you. Neither we nor the underwriters take responsibility for, or provide any assurance as to the reliability of, any other information others may give you. This prospectus is an offer to sell only the shares offered hereby, and only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where it is lawful to do so. We are not, and the underwriters are not, making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. The information contained in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of the shares of our common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.

Through and including                , 2021 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers that buy, sell, or trade shares of our common stock, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This delivery requirement is in addition to the obligation of dealers to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters and with respect to their unsold allotments or subscriptions.

For investors outside the United States: Neither we nor any of the underwriters have done anything that would permit our initial public offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of our common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside of the United States.

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This summary highlights selected information contained in greater detail elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary is not complete and does not contain all of the information that you should consider in making your investment decision. You should read this entire prospectus carefully before making an investment in our common stock. You should consider, among other things, the sections titled “Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “LegalZoom.com,” “LegalZoom,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and similar references refer to LegalZoom.com, Inc. and, where appropriate, its subsidiaries. With the exception of disclosures that refer to our consolidated financial information (including our financial summaries), as well as disclosures that refer to average order value, average revenue per subscription unit, numbers of subscription units, total transaction orders, and numbers of businesses formed per year (which disclosures are all made by reference to our consolidated global operations), all disclosures relating to our business and which are presented in this prospectus are made by reference solely to our U.S. operations.

Our Mission

Our mission is to democratize law. We believe every business deserves the full protection of the legal system and a simple way to stay compliant with it. Our platform helps new businesses form. Once a small business is formed, we offer subscription services to protect the business, its ideas, and the families that create them. LegalZoom empowers small business owners to apply their energy and passion to their businesses instead of the legal and regulatory complexity required to operate them.

Our Business

LegalZoom is a leading online platform for legal and compliance solutions in the United States. In 2020, 10% of new limited liability companies, or LLCs, and 5% of new corporations in the United States were formed via LegalZoom. Our unique position at business inception allows us to become a trusted business advisor, supporting the evolving needs of a new business across its lifecycle. Along with formation, LegalZoom offerings include ongoing compliance and tax advice and filings, trademark filings, and estate plans. Additionally, we have unique insights into our customers and leverage our product as a channel to introduce small businesses to leading brands in our partner ecosystem, solving even more of their business needs. We operate across all 50 states and over 3,000 counties in the United States, and have more than 20 years of experience navigating complex regulation and simplifying the legal and compliance process for our customers.

The U.S. legal and regulatory landscape is broad and varied, complex, opaque, and constantly evolving, in particular with respect to the following:

 

  

Multiple third-party interactions. The simple act of forming an LLC or incorporating a corporation may require specific federal, state, county and city interactions, each with their own idiosyncrasies.

 

  

Compliance requirements are complex. At formation, basic compliance requirements are not anticipated or understood. More advanced requirements are dictated by industry, geography, and employer type.

 

  

Regulations change constantly. The myriad of regulatory bodies and potential compliance requirements are daunting on their own, and this dynamic is amplified by the fact that they are constantly changing and evolving.

Many small businesses operate without forming a legal entity, unintentionally introducing financial risk to the owners’ personal assets. The businesses that recognize that risk upfront often struggle to address it. Once they understand the need to be protected, they often do not know what to do, where to turn or how much it will cost to



 

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get help. Even when formed properly, small businesses often fail to comply with ongoing compliance requirements, thereby reintroducing personal liability or facing significant financial and operational risk. Furthermore, these difficulties are becoming more acute as the number of U.S. business formations increase, driven by various macroeconomic factors such as the rise of the gig economy and remote work, accentuating the need for a trusted, cost-effective, digital-first and simple legal and compliance solution.

LegalZoom commenced operations in 2000 so more people could access legal help. Initially, we focused on business formation, intellectual property, and estate planning. Over the years, we have expanded our offerings to cover a broader set of legal, compliance, tax and business services for small businesses. In 2020, we helped form 10% of all new LLCs and helped incorporate 5% of all new corporations in the United States. In addition, 25,000 trademark applications, or 6% of all trademark registration applications in the United States in 2020, were made through LegalZoom. At December 31, 2020, we had over 1.0 million subscription units outstanding and were one of the largest registered agent providers for small businesses in the United States. As a result of this success, we have become the leading brand in online legal services, with 70% aided brand awareness as of December 2020 according to a 2020 study hosted by Dynata.

Our platform combines the power of technology and people to demystify and simplify complicated processes, creating user-friendly experiences for our customers. Our proprietary technology enables us to automate many complex legal and compliance processes, allowing us to offer solutions at transparent, flat-fee prices that are at a significant discount to traditional offline alternatives. While the majority of our customers complete these transactions without human assistance, many prefer to have some guidance through the process. The combination of technology and people is at the heart of our unique customer experience. For our customers looking for general help, our customer care and sales organization of over 500 people is available for real-time guidance on how to use our services. For customers preferring credentialed assistance, we embed the option for them to retain attorneys and certified public accountants, or CPAs, from the beginning of the customer journey at affordable and transparent pricing. In addition, our unique and trusted position at business formation gives us unparalleled knowledge of our customers’ needs prior to the business being operational or discoverable by other service providers. We leverage this valuable knowledge and our position as a small business’ first advisor to introduce our customers to the most relevant business solutions within our partner ecosystem to help them run other aspects of their business.

We believe we earn small businesses’ trust and drive significant organic traffic through our free proprietary educational content, which is often our first interaction with a potential customer. From there, our small business customers’ initial purchase is typically a formation product that streamlines the process of starting a business. Alongside and after this initial transaction, our customers generally purchase annual subscription services to solve additional legal, compliance and tax needs, deepening our relationship with our customers. The power of our platform yields highly efficient unit economics: over the past several years for customers in the United States, we have generated a lifetime customer value in excess of customer acquisition costs generally within the first 90 days of establishing a customer relationship. With recurring revenue through subscription services and repurchases from existing customers, we continue to benefit from an increasing customer lifetime value.

As a result of our traction with our customers, we have achieved economies of scale that we expect to continue to leverage as we accelerate the growth of our business. We generated revenue of $408.4 million in 2019 and $470.6 million in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 15.2%, and $105.8 million and $134.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, representing a period-over-period increase of 27.3%. We had net income (loss) of $7.4 million, $9.9 million, $(4.9) million and $(9.8) million in 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. The increase in net income between 2019 and 2020 was driven by higher revenue, which was partially offset by our investments in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. The increase in net loss between March 31, 2020 and 2021 largely resulted from increased investment in marketing spend, which nearly



 

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offset the increase in revenue. Adjusted EBITDA decreased from $97.2 million in 2019 to $88.0 million in 2020 and from $13.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $3.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021, as we invested further in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. Cash flows from operating activities increased from $52.7 million in 2019 to $93.0 million in 2020 and increased from $21.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $31.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021. The increases in cash flows from operating activities between 2019 and 2020 and March 31, 2020 and 2021 were the result of increases in deferred revenue and other changes in operating assets and liabilities. Free cash flow increased from $34.3 million in 2019 to $82.5 million in 2020, primarily as a result of growth in deferred revenue, driven by an increase in subscription units, an increase in accounts payable due to the timing of our payments and lower capital expenditures for the purchase of property and equipment, including capitalization of internal-use software. Free cash flow increased from $19.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $28.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021, primarily as a result of growth in deferred revenue driven by an increase in the number of transactions and subscription units. For 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, our free cash flow included cash payments for interest of $37.3 million, $27.9 million, $8.3 million and $6.1 million, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are not financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. For further information about Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow, see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Industry Trends

Millions of people start small businesses every year, an accelerating trend driven by digital enablement and the gig economy.

Small businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy, representing 65% of net new job creation since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These businesses are often family affairs—according to a 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, during 2016, 64% were started with family or personal savings, and 31% were family owned. These entrepreneurs also come from diverse backgrounds: according to a 2018 Annual Business Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, out of all employer firms in 2017, 20% were women-owned, 18% were minority-owned, 17% were immigrant-owned, and 6% were veteran-owned. Two major factors are driving an acceleration in small business creation: digital enablement and the gig economy. Today, an idea can become a digital business within a few days with the help of small business enablement tools. Further, with the rise of the gig economy and lead-generating platforms, a person can become a business in hours by engaging in independent work such as renting their home, driving their car, or selling their crafts or services on an established marketplace. According to a report published by MBO Partners, there were 38 million independent workers in the United States in 2020.

People start small businesses when economic times are both good and bad. Based on information available from secretaries of state, the number of business formations in the United States have grown for 26 out of the past 30 years on a year over year basis.

Small business owners often do not know that they may face personal liability and tax consequences depending on their business formation decision.

The first step to form a business entity is choosing a business structure at formation. A person is automatically a sole proprietor if they do not register as any other kind of business. As a sole proprietor, a small business owner has unlimited personal liability for their business activities, impacting their families and well-being. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 31.7 million small businesses in the United States in 2017 all of whom could benefit from protection. In spite of the risk and the complexity of the U.S. legal system, 35% of new business owners received no professional guidance in selecting a business formation structure, according to a survey conducted by Magid, a consumer-centered business strategy company, in 2021.



 

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Many small business owners try to figure out legal requirements on their own, and often face regulatory problems for noncompliance. It can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive to navigate multiple layers of legal and compliance requirements.

The U.S. legal and compliance system is often opaque and complex, so it is challenging for people to access legal advice and protection and to stay compliant with regulations and taxes. According to a 2017 National Small Business Association, or NSBA, Small Business Regulations Survey, 44% of small firms in the United States reported spending 40 hours or more each year dealing with new and existing federal regulations, and 30% spend 40 hours or more each year navigating state and local regulations. Overlapping, potentially contradicting, and changing guidelines increase the complexity small businesses face while navigating legal and compliance requirements on their own.

The difficulty in staying current with compliance requirements can also result in high expenses for a small business. According to a 2017 NSBA Small Business Regulations Survey, 10% of small businesses in the United States are fined for regulatory non-compliance, with an average total cost of citations of nearly $31,000 for regulatory non-compliance over a five-year period.

There are structural impediments that make traditional offline attorneys unable to adapt to consumer behaviors and technology advancements.

Traditional offline attorneys face significant challenges in creating a scaled technology platform. Attorneys cannot practice nationally without being licensed and regulated in each individual state, or limiting their practice exclusively to federal law. They also face numerous restrictions on the services they offer, how they advertise, their ability to work or partner with people who are not attorneys, and even receiving credit card payments. In addition, due to regulatory restrictions concerning law firm business models, offline attorneys are prohibited from offering equity to investors that are not law firms or attorneys and cannot offer equity to employees that are not attorneys. This results in a lack of available technical talent for significant investment in technology and innovation.

Online adoption of legal services lags behind other comparable industries.

While service industries like accounting, tax, marketing and payments have rapidly transitioned online, legal offerings largely remain offline. According to IBISWorld, approximately 8% of legal services in the United States were conducted online in 2020, compared to approximately 70% of financial services and, according to Ernst & Young, 30% to 45% of healthcare services. According to the American Bar Association, more than 40% of solo attorneys do not have a website.

Online penetration has lagged in the legal industry due to the incredible complexity of the U.S. legal and regulatory landscape, which makes it difficult for an online platform to gain scale with use cases that are applicable and tailored to each local jurisdiction.

The gap between a small business owner’s legal and compliance needs and available offline solutions is widening.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred new business formation and also highlighted the impact of policy and enforcement differences across local, regional and state levels. At the same time, the challenges associated with traditional offline “do it yourself” or “find an expert” options are becoming relatively worse as service level expectations increase as a result of small business enablement in other industries.

Technological advances are transforming consumer expectations for professional services. According to McKinsey, digital channels will help companies both meet changing customer needs and expectations and prepare for future industry disruption. The standard for digital convenience and efficiency, already high before the pandemic, has only increased.



 

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Our Market Opportunity

We view our opportunity in terms of a $48.7 billion serviceable addressable market, or SAM, which we believe we address today, and a larger total addressable market, or TAM, which we believe we can address over the long term as we grow small business consumption of legal and compliance solutions. We primarily serve small businesses with up to 50 or fewer employees. In 2017, there were 31.7 million such businesses according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The small business market is dynamic, and we estimate that there are 4.4 million new business formations annually, based on our analysis of secretary of state filings.

Our SAM includes $18.3 billion in services that small businesses use at the time of business formation, $21.5 billion in services that small businesses use later in their lifetime, and $8.8 billion of consumer estate planning services. We categorize our business formation and attach opportunity as total small business spending on business formation, registered agent and government filings, tax planning and bookkeeping/records, and intellectual property protection. We categorize our post-business formation opportunity as contracts, legal forms, and other legal matters and tax preparation. In spite of the benefits of third-party legal and compliance services, there is very little usage today by small businesses of external providers of these services.

We believe that our TAM could grow to be multiples of our SAM over the long term with increased usage of legal and compliance solutions by small businesses. By increasing access, we believe we will grow our market opportunity. Many small businesses are not aware of the various legal and compliance solutions that exist, or are daunted by the complexity and uncertainty of traditional solutions. We believe that we can address the needs of every small business with our simple, transparent, and affordable solution. Beyond our core legal and compliance solutions, our trusted relationship with small businesses gives us further opportunities to increase our TAM by adding adjacent services through third-party partnerships, in categories such as business insurance and financial planning.

Our Customer Journey

Our first interaction with potential customers is often through our free proprietary educational content, through which we earn trust and drive significant organic traffic.

Typically, our small business customers’ initial purchase is a business formation product that streamlines the process of starting a business. We use our technology platform to create a simple, user-friendly workflow that enables our customers to confidently form a business with just a few clicks. For many customers, getting real-time general information about the overall business entity formation process and our related products is an important benefit, so we provide care and sales support real time. As a result, our business formation products have a net promoter score, or NPS, of 51, which is over double that of traditional offline attorneys, who have an NPS of 25, and our NPS for our independent attorney network is 77, which is three times that of traditional offline attorneys, helping us form a trusted relationship with small business owners. Based on this trusted relationship, during 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over 60% of our small business customers purchased one year of one of our subscription services at the time of their initial formation purchase, and over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution at time of business formation.

Our compliance solutions are our largest group of subscription services. Compliance regulation and process are often cumbersome to follow and difficult to understand. For example, in most states, small businesses are required to have a registered agent, which generally must be an adult or authorized business that can receive mail or hand-delivered court documents at a physical address during normal business hours. With our registered agent subscription, we serve as our customer’s registered agent: accepting their documents through the mail, digitizing critical business documents, and alerting them of critical business documents or notices. This serves to help them adhere to critical tax and annual report deadlines, among other benefits. In this fashion, our compliance solutions simplify cumbersome processes and free up our customers’ time to focus on their businesses.



 

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Customers can freely access live help from our world class customer care and sales organization, while subscribers to our legal and tax advisory plans may consult with a vetted network of independent attorneys licensed in their jurisdiction to provide legal advice, or an accountant for tax advice. With these assisted subscription services, our customers get the benefit of a credentialed professional that can provide advice at an affordable cost. For example, with our business advisory plan, our customers get fast and ongoing legal support from our independent network of attorneys for less than $40 a month. A significant number of our customers purchase attorney advice subscriptions when starting their business, and we have seen strong traction with our tax advice subscriptions, which include advice from a CPA or enrolled agent, since its launch in late 2020.

The majority of our customers have not begun operations when they begin their relationship with LegalZoom, giving us a unique position in the business lifecycle. To help our customers operate, we partner with a variety of third-party solutions, such as business license services, bookkeeping services, banking services, productivity tools and business insurance, among others. We provide our customers with seamless introductions to trusted partners, giving them access to the critical services they need to operate and grow their business. In 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution.

We continue to engage our customers after their initial purchase of transaction products and subscription services. For example, after forming their business entity, our customers can opt to register their company name and/or logo as a trademark or protect their intellectual property with a patent or copyright. Additionally, as forming a company is an important life event, some of our small business customers opt to purchase an estate plan offering when they form their company. Our ongoing customer engagement results in additional purchases. For each year since 2017, an average of 28% of our U.S. customers who purchased a transaction in such year had also purchased a transaction product in a prior year.

Our Value Proposition

Our offerings align with our mission of democratizing law and empowering small business owners to apply their energy and passion to their businesses instead of the legal and regulatory complexity required to operate them. We achieve this mission because our platform has:

Simplicity: Streamlined approach to legal and compliance. LegalZoom simplifies complicated legal and compliance processes, creating user-friendly experiences for customers. We offer extensive legal, compliance and tax information that anyone can freely access. Once customers decide to purchase a product, our platform removes the friction associated with filing documents with local, state, and federal regulators through an intuitive user-friendly questionnaire that guides customers through the process. Additionally, our products are reflective of our customers’ evolving behaviors: almost half of our traffic is through mobile devices, and we have built a simple mobile responsive experience.

Affordability: Accessible with fixed pricing. We believe our platform is significantly more efficient when compared to traditional offline legal services, allowing us to offer solutions at transparent, flat-fee prices. Our business formation product starts at a flat fee of $79, excluding state-imposed filing fees. We achieve this significant cost saving by automating aspects of the legal document production process and by utilizing customer care and fulfillment specialists to provide generalized help and only involve our independent attorney network and CPAs at the customer’s request and where legally required.

Trust: Confidence in quality. Through over 20 years of delivering high-quality solutions, LegalZoom has built a brand associated with ease of use, transparency, and trusted quality. When small businesses come to LegalZoom to form their business and stay protected, they know they are receiving consistently high-quality, comprehensive services that will meet their needs. This trust is reflected in our NPS for our business formation products, which is over double the score of traditional offline attorneys, and our NPS for our independent attorney network, which is three times that of traditional offline attorneys. These product features are supplemented by our customer care and sales organization, with over 500 team members that are able to answer customers’ general process questions in real time.



 

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Expertise: Credentialed professional-assisted solutions. In instances where customers choose to engage a credentialed professional, our platform connects customers with independent attorneys in our network or in-house accountants. Our network of over 1,300 independent attorneys and 75 in-house tax advisors provides our users with access to legal and compliance support when they need it. Since 2011, our independent network of attorneys has provided over 611,000 individual consultations to small businesses and families.

Breadth: Comprehensive product and partner ecosystem. We have built a comprehensive product ecosystem that protects businesses, ideas and the families that create them. Our educational content and business formation products arm entrepreneurs at the start of their journeys, and our IP, compliance, attorney, and tax advisory subscriptions help small business owners as they run their businesses by protecting their ideas and ensuring they stay compliant. We supplement our products and services with a curated network of partnerships that customers can access through our platform, enabling our customers to discover additional services to run their businesses. We also offer a range of services for families including estate planning services, divorce, name change, residential leases, deed transfers and attorney subscription services.

Our Competitive Strengths

Leading legal platform. We provide a leading online legal platform that helps small businesses form, protect their ideas, stay compliant and run their businesses. We helped form 378,000 businesses in 2020 and helped create 250,000 estate plan documents in 2020. In 2020, approximately 10% of new LLCs and 5% of new corporations were formed through LegalZoom. In addition, 25,000 trademark applications, or 6% of all trademark registration applications in the United States in 2020, were made through LegalZoom. At December 31, 2020, we had over 1.0 million subscription units outstanding and were one of the largest registered agent providers for small businesses in the United States. We have invested significantly to create a highly recognizable legal brand, online and offline, with aided brand awareness of 70% and unaided brand awareness of 25% as of December 2020, more than eight times our nearest online competitor.

Proven ability to operate in a highly regulated market. We have spent more than 20 years building a systematic understanding of many aspects of the U.S. legal system, across 50 states and over 3,000 counties. There is a wide variety of individual statutes and requirements across the United States, making it difficult for small businesses and consumers to fulfill their legal obligations. We have filed millions of documents on behalf of our customers with various county and state agencies in the United States. Since we are a large filer of business formation and other documents with these agencies, our fulfillment teams have direct relationships with many of them and interact with many of these agencies every business day. Our compliance platform allows our customers to stay focused on running their businesses, while we help them manage the ever changing regulations and filing deadlines. Our compliance database tracks rules and deadlines across multiple jurisdictions and our platform provides notifications of rule changes and deadlines to our customers. In 2020, we sent approximately seven million notifications to our customers.

Attorney integration. Most people prefer the comfort of knowing an attorney is available to help them with their legal needs, even if on an as-needed basis. However, most other online providers are either positioned purely as self-help with no access to attorney advice, or for those who do provide access, it is often a service connecting customers to attorneys with limited integration of the network to ensure consistent service quality. Offering attorney advice nationally through a legal plan, as we do, requires significant initial and ongoing investment, including: sourcing law firms and attorneys licensed in each state; ensuring such plans are acceptable to state regulatory agencies with varying rules; and keeping up with the administration of the plan. It took LegalZoom seven years from service inception to offer 50-state coverage through our network of independent attorneys.

 



 

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Unique position within small business lifecycle. Given our unique position at business inception, we are typically the first business advisor a small business interacts with. In 2020, approximately two-thirds of the small businesses that formed through LegalZoom had not even begun operations when they first engaged with us. Before a small business has employees, an address or a website, they have LegalZoom. By delivering quality business formation solutions, we are able to establish trust with small businesses, who then frequently trust us with other critical needs as well. We have leveraged this trust to extend our legal and compliance product portfolio over time, through both first-party solutions such as tax, given that, based on customer surveys, we estimate that approximately 70% of small business owners that sought a tax accountant did not have one at the time of their entity formation, as well as our partner ecosystem, where we recommend third-party partners to our customers.

Authority in educational legal and compliance content for small businesses. Our content library serves as a funnel for new customers. Our customers often interact with our educational content before making a purchase. We have grown our content library to thousands of educational articles across our services and established ourselves as a trusted source of expertise before a potential customer even begins seeking access to legal and compliance care.

Our technology platform. We have invested significantly since our inception in building proprietary technology that drives quality and efficiency on our platform. We use software to simplify the many archaic and last mile processes that are involved in processing formations at the state level. We deploy machine learning and natural language processing to power our registered agent offering. We consistently improve our technology platform, resulting in improved document generation, increased automation, and increased use of the cloud to enable digital collaboration. In addition, we have developed a highly accurate database of millions of business entities we have helped form. Over time, we have collected over 1.5 billion answers as part of the user-friendly questionnaires our customers complete as part of their experience with our products. We are able to leverage this data, in accordance with relevant privacy laws and our data stewardship principles, to understand new products that may be relevant to our customers and optimize our operations. We also use APIs to seamlessly integrate our formation products within third-party applications, further extending our platform reach.

Attractive business model. Our financial performance is a result of attracting new customers and delivering more value over time for customers as they stay on our platform. Our unique position at business formation allows us to grow our relationships with our small business customers as their businesses evolve. We have expanded our solutions to meet more of these needs, and have seen consistent lifetime value improvement over time. Given our efficient customer acquisition dynamics, we are able to profitably acquire new customers as we pursue our massive market opportunity. We have built a profitable and cash flow generative business, given this customer acquisition efficiency, economies of scale and favorable working capital dynamics.

Our Growth Strategy

We are in the early days of penetrating and growing the online market for small business legal and compliance services. We expect to continue to grow our customer base, retain and expand our customer relationships, and increase our market opportunity with the following strategies.



 

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Grow our customer base. We continue to grow the top of our funnel and improve our customer experience in order to grow our customer base. To accelerate growth, we intend to:

��

  

Increase LegalZoom brand awareness. We intend to continue to invest in our brand to increase awareness of the protection that legal and compliance services offer small businesses, and the ease and affordability of our platform.

 

  

Improve conversion. We have millions of visitors to our website each month and a large opportunity to increase conversion of prospects into customers. We have invested in improving ease of use and optimizing the checkout flow to drive better conversion upon the first interaction with potential customers.

 

  

Attract new customers through partner integration. We partner with leading players that can help our small business customers and improve our ecosystem. Through our APIs, our partners can offer our solutions within their experience, providing us with a highly efficient customer acquisition channel. We will continue to seek partner integrations to increase awareness of our brand and to grow our customer base.

Retain and expand our customer relationships following formation. As we innovate for small businesses, we aim to become their trusted partner for life. In order to do this, we intend to:

 

  

Launch adjacent services. Our strategy is to meaningfully expand our product line in the medium term to offer a solution for the majority of small business legal and compliance needs. We have collected a vast amount of data in the past 20+ years to both improve our own solutions as well as identify additional areas where we can launch new products for our customers throughout their lifetime. For example, in 2020, we introduced a tax advisory product. We plan on continuing to invest in a broader array of services to capture this opportunity.

 

  

Partner to offer our customers broader ecosystem solutions. We plan to offer additional access to third-party solutions to further support small business needs in areas such as banking, payments, payroll, accounting, and website hosting. In 2020, two-thirds of our new customers had not yet started their businesses when they first engaged with us. We believe that by working with our partners, we can increase our customer engagement and retention.

 

  

Increase customer lifetime value. We plan to continue to improve the lifetime value of our customers, particularly by increasing retention of our small business subscribers. We plan to maintain engagement post-purchase with additional investments in existing solutions, add new solutions to serve additional needs, and improve lifecycle marketing to increase retention rates. Through these initiatives, we plan to better monetize our existing customers by allowing them to realize continued value on our platform over time.

Increase our market opportunity by introducing a new tier of higher-priced, higher-value products. We have a large opportunity to serve customer demand by offering assistance with their legal and compliance needs.

 

  

Broaden customer top of funnel. We aim to reduce peoples’ uncertainty and doubt about forming a business on their own, as well as to expand our opportunity to serve people who would not consider a “do it yourself” solution. We expect to continue to broaden the top of the funnel consideration for LegalZoom by highlighting our attorney integration. We believe the “assisted” market is multiples larger than the “do it yourself” market that we have historically served, because expertise increases customer confidence.

 

  

Increase adoption of assisted offerings. We plan to provide more value to our customers from existing product lines by adding a tier of Attorney Assist solutions. In June 2020, our “Attorney Assist” product for trademarks became widely available, and we have seen higher average order value, or AOV, and more orders, over time, as customers value the ability to work directly with attorneys. Solutions that incorporate an attorney have higher completion rates. We plan to continue to expand our credentialed professional-assisted offerings to complement our technology-enabled solutions.



 

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Summary of Risk Factors

Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, as discussed more fully in the section titled “Risk Factors” immediately following the prospectus summary. You should carefully consider these risks before making an investment in our common stock. Some of these risks include:

 

  

Our recent growth may not be indicative of our future growth and, if we continue to grow, we may not be able to manage our growth effectively.

 

  

If we are unable to sustain our revenue growth rate, we may not maintain profitability in the future.

 

  

Our future quarterly results of operations may fluctuate significantly due to a wide range of factors, which makes our future results difficult to predict.

 

  

We have a history of net losses, we anticipate increasing expenses in the future, and we may not be able to maintain profitability.

 

  

If we fail to provide high-quality services, customer care and customer experience and add new services that meet our customers’ expectations, we may not be able to attract and retain customers.

 

  

If we do not continue to innovate and provide a platform that is useful to our customers, we may not remain competitive, and our results of operations could suffer.

 

  

Our business depends on business formations.

 

  

Our subscription services are highly dependent upon our transaction products.

 

  

Our business depends substantially on our subscribers renewing their subscriptions with us and expanding their use of our platform.

 

  

Our business depends on our ability to drive additional purchases and cross-sell to paying customers.

 

  

The legal solutions market is highly competitive.

 

  

We depend on top talent, including our senior management team, to grow and operate our business, and if we are unable to hire, retain and motivate our employees, we may not be able to grow effectively, which may adversely affect our business and future prospects.

 

  

Our business and success depend in part on our strategic relationships with third parties, including our partner ecosystem, and our business would be harmed if we fail to maintain or expand these relationships.

 

  

Our business and services subject us to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding the unauthorized practice of law, legal document processing, legal plans, and other related matters.

 

  

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and, if we fail to remediate these material weaknesses, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence and the price of our common stock.

Corporate Information

We were initially formed as a California corporation in July 1999, we commenced operations in 2000 and we converted to a Delaware corporation in February 2007. Our principal executive offices are located at 101 North Brand Boulevard, 11th Floor, Glendale, California 91203, and our telephone number at this address is (323) 962-8600. Our corporate website is www.legalzoom.com. Information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our websites shall not be deemed incorporated into and is not a part of this prospectus or the registration statement of which it forms a part. We have included our website in this prospectus solely as an inactive textual reference.



 

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LegalZoom, the LegalZoom.com logo and other LegalZoom-formative marks are trademarks of LegalZoom.com, Inc. in the United States or other countries. This prospectus also includes other trademarks of LegalZoom.com, Inc. and trademarks of other persons, which are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, trademarks and trade names referred to in this prospectus may appear without the ® or symbols, but that does not mean that we will not assert, to the full extent permitted by law, our rights to any such trademarks owned by us.

Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. We may take advantage of certain exemptions from various public company reporting requirements, including not being required to have our internal control over financial reporting audited by our independent registered public accounting firm under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a non-binding advisory vote on executive compensation and any golden parachute payments. We may take advantage of these exemptions for up to five years or until we are no longer an emerging growth company, whichever is earlier. We will cease to be an emerging growth company prior to the end of such five-year period if certain earlier events occur, including if we become a “large accelerated filer” as defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, our annual gross revenues exceed $1.07 billion or we issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt in any three-year period. In particular, in this prospectus, we have provided only two years of audited financial statements and have not included all of the executive compensation related information that would be required if we were not an emerging growth company. Accordingly, the information contained herein may be different than the information you receive from other public companies in which you hold stock. In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an “emerging growth company” can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to use the extended transition period under the JOBS Act. Accordingly, our financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of public companies that comply with such new or revised accounting standards.



 

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The Offering

 

Common stock offered by us

                shares

 

Option to purchase additional shares of common stock

We have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an aggregate of                shares from us.

 

Total common stock to be outstanding after this initial public offering

                shares (                 shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares from us in full).

 

Use of proceeds

We estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $                 million (or approximately $                 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase up to                 additional shares of common stock from us), based on an assumed initial public offering price of $                 per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

 

 The principal purposes of this offering are to increase our capitalization and financial flexibility, create a public market for our common stock and facilitate our future access to the public capital markets. We currently intend to use the net proceeds to us from this offering primarily (1) to repay $                 million of the outstanding indebtedness under our 2018 Credit Agreement, and (2) for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds for the acquisition of, or investment in, technologies, businesses, products, services or other assets that complement our business or operations, although we have no present commitments or agreements to enter into any acquisitions or investments. See the section titled “Use of Proceeds” for more information.

 

Risk factors

You should read the section titled “Risk Factors” and the other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of factors you should carefully consider before deciding to invest in our common stock.

 

Proposed Nasdaq trading symbol

“LZ”

The total number of shares of common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on                      shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, and excludes:

 

  

14,952,784 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of outstanding options as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan, or 2016 Plan, at a weighted-average exercise price of $8.93 per share;

 

  

                 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of restricted stock units, or RSUs, outstanding as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan, that would not have satisfied the



 

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market vesting conditions or service-based vesting conditions as of March 31, 2021, which excludes 55,358 shares of common stock issuable pursuant to RSUs that would have satisfied the service-based vesting condition as of March 31, 2021;

 

  

504,487 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs granted subsequent to March 31, 2021, and              shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs and options to purchase              shares of our common stock to be granted to certain of our executive officers immediately prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, all granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan;

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan, or 2021 Plan, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our 2021 Plan; and

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, or ESPP, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our ESPP.

Unless otherwise stated, information in this prospectus (except for the historical financial statements) assumes:

 

  

the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation immediately after the completion of this offering and the adoption of our amended and restated bylaws immediately prior to the completion of this offering;

 

  

the automatic conversion of all 23,081,080 shares of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 46,162,160 shares of our common stock upon the completion of this offering;

 

  

no exercise or cancellation of outstanding options and no settlement or cancellation of RSUs subsequent to March 31, 2021, other than (1) the vesting of 55,358 RSUs, for which the service-based condition was satisfied as of March 31, 2021 and for which the performance-based vesting condition will be satisfied upon the effective date of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, net of                shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed    % tax withholding rate) and (2) the vesting of                RSUs, for which the performance-based vesting condition will be satisfied upon the effective date of the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, net of                shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed    % tax withholding rate); and

 

  

no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to an additional                shares of common stock from us.



 

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SUMMARY CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA

The following tables summarize our historical consolidated financial and other data. You should read this summary consolidated financial and other data in conjunction with the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 have been derived from our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary consolidated statements of operations data for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2021 have been derived from our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the same basis as the annual consolidated financial statements, and in the opinion of management, reflect all adjustments, which include only normal recurring adjustments, necessary to fairly state our financial position and results of operations. The summary consolidated financial and other data in this section are not intended to replace our annual and interim consolidated financial statements and the related notes and are qualified in their entirety by our annual and interim consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected in the future.

 

   Year
Ended December 31,
  Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
   2019  2020  2020  2021 
   (in thousands, except per share data) 

Revenue(1)

  $408,380  $470,636  $105,795  $134,632 

Cost of revenue(2)(3)

   136,915   154,563   35,112   43,960 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Gross profit

   271,465   316,073   70,683   90,672 

Operating expenses:

   

Sales and marketing(2)(3)

   115,913   171,390   43,481   71,361 

Technology and development(2)(3)

   37,204   41,863   10,543   10,499 

General and administrative(2)(3)

   57,762   51,017   12,661   13,165 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

   14,321   1,105   555   —   

Loss on sale of business

   —     1,764   —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

   225,200   267,139   67,240   95,025 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations

   46,265   48,934   3,443   (4,353

Interest expense, net

   (38,559  (35,504  (9,270  (8,654

Other income (expense), net

   2,577   3,713   (1,106  248 

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

   —     (4,818  —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes and income from equity method investment

   10,283   12,325   (6,933  (12,759

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

   3,161   2,429   (2,055  (2,936
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income from equity method investment

   7,122   9,896   (4,878  (9,823)  

Income from equity method investment

   321   —     —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

  $7,443  $9,896  $(4,878 $(9,823
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to common stockholders—basic

  $5,422  $7,223  $(4,878 $(9,823)  

Net income (loss) attributable to common stockholders—diluted

  $5,476  $7,262  $(4,878 $(9,823
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders—basic

  $0.04  $0.06  $(0.04 $(0.08

Net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders—diluted

  $0.04  $0.06  $(0.04 $(0.08
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares used to compute net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders—basic(4):

   123,826   124,709   124,411   125,065 

Weighted-average shares used to compute net income (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders—diluted:

   128,546   127,259   124,411   125,065 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 


 

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   Year Ended December 31,  Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
           2019                  2020                  2020                  2021         
   (in thousands, except per share data) 

Pro forma net income per share (unaudited)(5)

     

Basic

     $  
     

 

 

 

Diluted

     $  
     

 

 

 

Pro forma weighted-average shares used to compute pro forma net income per share (unaudited)(5):

     

Basic

     
     

 

 

 

Diluted

     
     

 

 

 

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows Data:

     

Net cash provided by operating activities

  $52,695  $93,049  $21,889  $31,415 

Net cash used in investing activities

   (20,717  (12,727  (1,988  (2,911

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities

   (12,852  (15,089  36,589   (1,834

 

(1)

Comprises transaction, subscription and partner revenue as follows:

 

   Year Ended December 31,   Three Months Ended March 31, 
           2019                   2020               2020                   2021         
   (in thousands) 

Transaction

  $168,305   $212,114   $45,586   $61,388 

Subscription

   206,447    229,840    54,235    65,493 

Partner

   33,628    28,682    5,974    7,751 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenue

  $408,380   $470,636   $105,795   $134,632 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Components of our Results of Operations” for a description of our sources of revenue.

 

(2)

Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:

 

   Year Ended December 31,   Three Months Ended March 31, 
           2019                   2020                   2020                   2021         
   (in thousands) 

Cost of revenue

  $205   $177   $37   $59 

Sales and marketing

   1,020    1,122    643    207 

Technology and development

   1,314    2,703    950    526 

General and administrative

   4,170    9,719    2,697    3,150 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total stock-based compensation expense

  $6,709   $13,721   $4,327   $3,942 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(3)

Includes depreciation and amortization expense for our property and equipment, including capitalized internal-use software, and intangible assets as follows:

 

   Year Ended December 31,   Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
           2019                   2020                   2021           2021         
   (in thousands) 

Cost of revenue

  $6,773   $8,324   $1,958   $1,678 

Sales and marketing

   6,469    6,913    1,849    1,475 

Technology and development

   1,055    2,800    650    587 

General and administrative

   2,093    2,060    463    426 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total depreciation and amortization expense

  $16,390   $20,097   $4,920   $4,166 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 


 

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(4)

See Note 2 and Note 3 to our annual consolidated financial statements and Note 9 to our interim condensed consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for an explanation of the methods used to compute basic and diluted net income per share attributable to common stockholders and the weighted-average number of shares used in the computation of the per share amounts.

(5)

The pro forma net income per share (unaudited) and the pro forma weighted-average shares used to compute pro forma net income per share (unaudited) give effect to (1) the automatic conversion of all 23,081,080 outstanding shares of redeemable convertible preferred stock into an aggregate 46,162,160 shares of common stock as if the conversion occurred on January 1, 2020, (2) the sale of such number of shares of common stock at the assumed initial public offering price of $                per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us, as would be necessary for the repayment of $                million of outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Term Loan after the completion of this offering, (3) the reversal of interest expense of $                relating to such debt repaid as if the repayment occurred on January 1, 2020, net of the estimated income tax effect using a blended statutory income tax rate of    %, (4) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $                million, net of estimated income tax effect using a blended statutory income tax rate of    %, associated with certain options and RSUs for which the performance condition is satisfied upon the completion of this offering, assuming the offering occurred on January 1, 2020, and (5) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $                , net of estimated income tax effect using a blended statutory income tax rate of     %, associated with options for executive officers and employees for retention purposes that we intend to modify prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, assuming the offering occurred on January 1, 2020 and the modification of the options had occurred on January 1, 2020 or the date of grant, if later, based on the fair value of the awards as of the modification date. The pro forma weighted-average shares used to compute pro forma net income per share (unaudited) also gives effect to the weighted-average shares related to certain RSUs containing service, performance and market vesting conditions, as if such conditions were satisfied and the settlement had occurred as of January 1, 2020, or the date of issuance, if later, net of                shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed    % tax withholding rate).



 

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Unaudited Pro Forma Net Income Per Share

The following table sets forth the computation of our unaudited pro forma basic and diluted net income per share of common stock:

 

  Year Ended
December 31,
2020
  Three Months
Ended

March 31, 2021
 
  

(in thousands, except per
share data)

 

Numerator:

  

Net income (loss)

 $9,896  $(9,823

Add: Pro forma adjustment to reverse interest expense, net of taxes of $            

  

Less: Pro forma adjustment to record stock-based compensation expense for awards for which the performance condition is satisfied upon this offering, net of taxes of $            

  

Less: Pro forma adjustments to record stock-based compensation expense for options we intend to modify prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, net of taxes of $            

  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Pro forma net income (loss)—basic and diluted

 $   $  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Denominator:

  

Weighted-average common stock outstanding—basic

  124,709   125,065 

Add: Pro forma adjustment to reflect assumed conversion of redeemable convertible preferred stock

  46,162   46,162 

Add: Pro forma adjustment for the number of shares necessary for the repayment of $             of our 2018 Term Loan

  

Add: Pro forma adjustment to reflect the settlement of RSUs upon this offering, net of                  shares surrendered for withholding taxes

  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares used in computing basic pro forma net income (loss) per share

  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Effect of potentially dilutive securities

  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares used in computing diluted pro forma net income (loss) per share

  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Pro forma net income (loss) per share:

  

Basic

 $   $  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Diluted

 $   $  
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

   As of March 31, 2021 
   Actual  Pro Forma(2)   Pro Forma as
Adjusted(3)(4)
 
   (in thousands) 

Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

     

Cash and cash equivalents

  $141,175  $                $              

Working (deficit) capital(1)

   (76,510   

Restricted cash equivalent

   25,000    

Property and equipment, net

   50,361    

Total assets

   284,809    

Long-term debt, net of current portion

   511,594    

Total liabilities

   767,523    

Redeemable convertible preferred stock

   70,906    

Total stockholders’ (deficit) equity

   (553,620   

 

(1)

Working (deficit) capital is defined as current assets less current liabilities. See our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes included elsewhere in this prospectus for further details regarding our current assets and current liabilities.

(2)

The pro forma consolidated balance sheet data gives effect to (1) the automatic conversion of all 23,081,080 outstanding shares of redeemable convertible preferred stock into an aggregate 46,162,160 shares of common stock and the related reclassification of the carrying value of the redeemable convertible preferred stock to stockholders’ deficit upon the completion of this offering, (2) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $                 million associated with certain options and RSUs for which the performance condition is satisfied upon the completion of this offering, assuming the offering occurred on March 31, 2021, recorded as an increase to additional paid-in capital and accumulated deficit, (3) the vesting and settlement of                  RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021, net of                  shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed    % tax withholding rate), that will vest upon the completion of this offering, (4) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $                 associated with



 

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 options for executive officers and employees that for retention purposes we intend to modify prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, assuming the offering and the modification of the options occurred on March 31, 2021, based on the fair value of the awards as of the modification date, and (5) the lapse of the restriction on $25.0 million of our restricted cash equivalent in June 2021 upon the release of collateral related to a personal loan by a former executive prior to the completion of this offering. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Persons Transactions—John Suh Line of Credit.”
(3)

The pro forma as adjusted consolidated balance sheet data gives effect to (1) the pro forma adjustments described in footnote (2) above, (2) the sale of shares of common stock in this offering by us at an assumed initial public offering price of $                per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and (3) the repayment of $                million of outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Term Loan after the completion of this offering.

(4)

Pro forma as adjusted consolidated balance sheet data is illustrative only and will change based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing. Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $                per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, working (deficit) capital, total assets and total stockholders’ deficit by $                million, assuming the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. Similarly, each increase (decrease) of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares of common stock offered by us would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, working (deficit) capital, total assets and total stockholders’ deficit by approximately $                million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $                per share remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.

Key Business Metrics

We regularly monitor a number of financial and operating metrics, including the following key business metrics, in order to evaluate the growth of our business, measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, identify trends, formulate financial forecasts and make strategic decisions. For a further description of how we use these financial and operating metrics, see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Business Metrics.”

 

   Year Ended December 31,  Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
   2019  2020  2020  2021 
   (dollars in thousands, except average values) 

Revenue

  $408,380  $470,636  $105,795  $134,632 

Number of business formations(1)

   292   378   81   122 

Number of transactions(2)

   691   892   210   276 

Average order value(3)

  $230  $236  $210  $223 

Number of subscription units at period end(4)

   921   1,085   936   1,146 

Average revenue per subscription(5)

  $221  $223  $226  $226 

Net income (loss)

  $7,443  $9,896  $(4,878 $(9,823

Net income (loss) margin(6)

   1.8  2.1  (4.6)%   (7.3)% 

Adjusted EBITDA(7)(9)

  $97,157  $87,975  $13,354  $3,599 

Adjusted EBITDA margin(7)(9)

   23.8  18.7  12.6  2.7

Net cash provided by operating activities

  $52,695  $93,049  $21,889  $31,415 

Free cash flow(8)(9)

  $34,346  $82,462  $19,901  $28,504 

 

(1)

We define the number of business formations in a given period as the number of global LLC, incorporation, not-for-profit and other formation orders placed on our platform in such period.

(2)

We define the number of transactions in a given period as gross transaction order volume, prior to refunds, on our platform during such period, excluding transactions from our subsidiary, Beaumont ABS Limited, which was divested in April 2020. Refunds, or partial refunds, may be issued under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of our customer satisfaction guarantee.

(3)

We define average order value for a given period as total transaction revenue divided by total number of transactions in such period, excluding revenue and related transactions from our subsidiary, Beaumont ABS Limited, which was divested in April 2020.

(4)

We define the number of subscription units in a given period as the paid subscriptions that remain active at the end of such period, including those that are not yet 60 days past their subscription order dates, excluding subscriptions from our employer group legal plan and small business concierge subscription service, which we ceased acquiring new subscribers in October 2020. Refunds, or partial refunds, may be issued under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of our customer satisfaction guarantee.



 

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(5)

We define average revenue per subscription unit, or ARPU, as of a given date as subscription revenue for the 12-month period ended on such date, or LTM, divided by the average number of subscription units at the beginning and end of the LTM period, excluding revenue and subscription units from our employer group legal plan and small business concierge subscription services, which we ceased acquiring new subscribers in October 2020.

(6)

We define net income (loss) margin as net income (loss) as a percentage of revenue.

(7)

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income adjusted to exclude interest expense, net, provision for income taxes, depreciation and amortization, other income, net, stock-based compensation, losses from impairments of goodwill, long-lived and other assets, impairments of available-for-sale debt securities, acquisition related expenses, restructuring expenses, legal reserves and settlements, and certain other non-recurring expenses. We define Adjusted EBITDA margin as Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue.

(8)

We define free cash flow as cash generated by operations after purchases of property and equipment including capitalized internal-use software. For 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, we also made interest payments of $37.3 million, $27.9 million, $8.3 million and $6.1 million on our 2018 Term Loan, respectively.

(9)

Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin and free cash flow are not financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for explanations of how we calculate these measures, the issues inherent in their use, why we consider them important for analyzing our business and for reconciliations to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information in this prospectus, including the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus, before deciding whether to invest in our common stock. If any of the following risks occur, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be harmed. In that event, the price of our common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

Our recent growth may not be indicative of our future growth and, if we continue to grow, we may not be able to manage our growth effectively.

We have experienced, and continue to experience, growth in operations and headcount, which has placed, and will continue to place, significant demands on our management team and our administrative, operational and financial infrastructure. In particular, the number of transactions processed grew from 691,000 transactions in 2019 to 892,000 in 2020, and from 210,000 to 276,000 in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our number of subscription units increased from 921,000 at December 31, 2019 to 1,085,000 at December 31, 2020, and from 936,000 at March 31, 2020 to 1,146,000 at March 31, 2021. We have also significantly increased the size of our customer base over the last several years. We anticipate that we will continue to expand our operations and headcount in the near term. Our success will depend in part on our ability to manage this growth effectively. To manage the expected growth of our operations and personnel, we will need to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls and our reporting systems and procedures. As we continue to grow, we must effectively integrate, develop and motivate a large number of new employees, and maintain the beneficial aspects of our corporate culture. To attract top talent, we have had to offer, and believe we will need to continue to offer, highly competitive compensation packages before we can validate the productivity of those employees. Failure to effectively manage our growth could result in difficulty or delays in providing services to customers, declines in service quality or customer satisfaction, increases in costs, difficulties in introducing new features or other operational difficulties. Any of these difficulties could adversely impact our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition or future prospects.

Our growth also makes it difficult to evaluate future prospects. Our ability to forecast our future operating results is subject to a number of uncertainties, including our ability to plan for and model future growth. If our assumptions regarding these uncertainties, which we use to plan our business, are incorrect or change in reaction to changes in our markets, or if we do not address these uncertainties successfully, our results of operations and financial condition could differ materially from our expectations, our business could suffer and the trading price of our stock may decline.

If we are unable to sustain our revenue growth rate, we may not maintain profitability in the future.

From 2019 to 2020, our revenue grew from $408.4 million to $470.6 million, which represents an annual growth rate of 15.2%, and from $105.8 million to $134.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, which represents a growth rate of 27.3%. Although our revenue growth rate has increased in certain recent periods, even if our revenue increases in the future to higher levels on an absolute basis, our revenue growth rate may decline. As we grow our business, our revenue growth rate may slow in future periods due to a number of reasons. 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 customer base;

 

  

increase revenue from existing customers through increased or broader use of our services;

 

  

provide high-quality services to customers;

 

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improve the performance and capabilities of our services through research and development;

 

  

develop new services;

 

  

maintain the rate at which customers purchase our subscriptions;

 

  

identify and acquire or invest in new businesses, products or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our platform;

 

  

continue to successfully expand our business; and

 

  

successfully compete with other companies.

If we are unable to maintain consistent revenue or revenue growth, our stock price could be volatile, and it may be difficult to maintain profitability. You should not rely on our revenue for any prior quarterly or annual periods as any indication of our future revenue or revenue growth.

Our future quarterly results of operations may fluctuate significantly due to a wide range of factors, which makes our future results difficult to predict.

Our revenue and results of operations have historically varied from period to period, and we expect that they will continue to do so as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including:

 

  

the number of business formations;

 

  

the level of demand for our services;

 

  

the rate of renewal of subscriptions with, and extent of sales of additional subscriptions to, existing customers;

 

  

customers failing to renew their subscriptions;

 

  

the size, timing and terms of our subscription agreements with existing and new customers;

 

  

the timing and growth of our business, in particular through our hiring of new employees;

 

  

changes in stock-based compensation expenses;

 

  

the timing of our adoption of new or revised accounting pronouncements and the impact on our results of operations;

 

  

the introduction of new products and product enhancements by existing competitors or new entrants into our market, and changes in pricing for solutions offered by us or our competitors;

 

  

network outages, security breaches, technical difficulties or interruptions with our platform;

 

  

changes in the growth rate of the markets in which we compete;

 

  

the mix of subscriptions and services sold during a period;

 

  

customers delaying purchasing decisions in anticipation of new developments or enhancements by us or our competitors or otherwise;

 

  

changes in customers’ budgets;

 

  

seasonal variations related to sales and marketing and other activities;

 

  

our ability to attract new customers or retain existing customers;

 

  

our ability to increase, retain and incentivize the strategic partners that market and sell our platform;

 

  

our ability to control costs, including our operating expenses;

 

  

our ability to hire, train and maintain our customer care specialists and direct sales force;

 

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unforeseen litigation, regulatory actions, and intellectual property infringement claims;

 

  

the rate of failure for small businesses;

 

  

changes in governmental or other regulations affecting our business;

 

  

variations in our provision for income taxes, which may be affected by the mix of income we earn in the United States and in jurisdictions with comparatively lower tax rates, the effects of stock-based compensation, the effects of changes in our business, and the impact of changes in tax laws or judicial or regulatory interpretations of tax laws;

 

  

adverse economic and market conditions, such as those related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, currency fluctuations, and adverse global events; and

 

  

general economic and political conditions, both domestically and internationally, as well as economic conditions specifically affecting industries in which our customers operate.

Fluctuations in our quarterly operating results and the price of our common stock may be particularly pronounced in the current economic environment due to the uncertainty caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic and its potential future impact on consumer spending patterns, the success of small businesses and the formation of new small businesses, as well as the impacts of the reopening of the offline economy and lessening of restrictions on movement and travel. For example, starting in the second quarter of 2020, we saw tailwinds driven by the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals and small businesses turned to online services given the relative inaccessibility of offline alternatives. Fluctuations in our quarterly operating results may cause those results to fall below our financial guidance or other projections, or the expectations of analysts or investors, which could cause the price of our common stock to decline. Fluctuations in our results could also cause a number of other problems. For example, analysts or investors may change their models for valuing our common stock, particularly post-pandemic, we could experience short-term liquidity issues, our ability to retain or attract key personnel may diminish, and other unanticipated issues may arise.

We believe that our quarterly operating results may vary in the future and that period-to-period comparisons of our operating results may not be meaningful. For example, our overall historical growth rate and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may have overshadowed the effect of seasonal variations on our historical operating results. Any seasonal effects may change or become more pronounced over time, which could also cause our operating results to fluctuate. You should not rely on the results of any given quarter as an indication of future performance.

We have a history of net losses, we anticipate increasing expenses in the future, and we may not be able to maintain profitability.

Since inception, we have incurred an accumulated deficit and may incur net losses in the foreseeable future. We generated net income of $7.4 million and $9.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, respectively, and net losses of $4.9 million and $9.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. At March 31, 2021, we had an accumulated deficit of $649.2 million.

We will need to generate and sustain increased revenue levels in future periods in order to maintain or increase our level of profitability. We expect our operating expenses to increase in the future as we expand our operations. Furthermore, as a public company, we will incur additional legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. If our revenue and gross profit do not continue to grow at a greater rate than our operating expenses, we will not be able to maintain or increase profitability. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including without limitation the other risks and uncertainties described herein. Additionally, we may encounter unforeseen operating or legal expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other factors that may result in losses in future periods. If our expenses exceed our revenue, we may not maintain profitability and our business may be harmed.

 

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If we fail to provide high-quality services, customer care and customer experience and add new services that meet our customers’ expectations, we may not be able to attract and retain customers.

In order to increase revenue and maintain profitability, we must attract new customers and retain existing customers. The rate at which new and existing customers purchase and renew subscriptions to our services depends on a number of factors, including those outside of our control. The quality and value of our services, customer care and customer experience, as well as the quality and accuracy of the services provided by our accountants and the independent attorneys who participate in our and our partner’s networks, are critical to our ability to attract and retain customers.

We have made substantial investments in developing our websites, mobile platform, legal documents, educational content, customer relationship management, automated supply chain and fulfillment, integrated digital workflow management and other dynamic online processes that comprise our online legal platform to improve the quality of our services, customer care and customer experience. We also intend to add new services and enhance our existing product and services. For example, in October 2020, we introduced LZ Tax, a LegalZoom fulfilled tax advisory service. We may fail to attract new customers or lose existing customers if these or future development efforts or services fail to meet changing customer preferences on a timely basis or if the independent attorneys who participate in our legal services plan, or legal plan, or the tax experts who complete the tax preparation services in our network fail to provide accurate, high-quality services, customer care and customer experience. In addition, larger enterprises may demand more support services and features, which puts additional pressure on us to satisfy the increased support required for these customers. If we are unable to attract new customers or lose existing customers, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects would be adversely affected.

Additionally, we offer many forms of documents on our platform, such as business formations and wills, that must comply with the latest local jurisdiction requirements. While we have never experienced defects that have resulted in material liability, if there is a defect in any of our forms, or if we fail to update our forms to comply with new or modified jurisdiction requirements, this could result in negative consequences to our customers, legal liability, harm our brand and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

The independent attorneys who participate in our legal plans and attorneys who fulfill our attorney assisted legal offerings, as well as accountants who fulfill our tax offering, are critical to the success of our business. The failure or perceived failure of these independent attorneys and accountants to satisfy customer expectations could impede our ability to attract and retain customers. Further, the independent attorneys who participate in our legal plans and attorneys who fulfill our attorney assisted legal offerings have duties both to the courts and their clients. These duties, including the associated responsibilities, such as confidentiality and the rules relating to the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges, are paramount. Although we have not experienced this problem to date, there could be circumstances in which the attorneys who participate in our network and fulfill the attorney assisted offerings believe that in order to comply with these duties they may have to act against the interests of our stockholders and the short-term profitability of our business.

In addition, because our platform is available over the internet or on mobile networks, we need to continually modify and enhance our platform to keep pace with changes in internet-related hardware, software, communications and database technologies and standards. If we are unable to respond in a timely and cost-effective manner to these rapid technological developments and changes in standards, our platform may become less marketable, less competitive, or obsolete, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects will be harmed. If new technologies emerge that are able to deliver competitive services at lower prices, more efficiently, more conveniently or more securely, such technologies could adversely impact our ability to compete. Our platform must also integrate with a variety of network, hardware, mobile, and software platforms and technologies, and we need to continually modify and enhance its services to adapt to changes and innovation in these technologies. Any failure of our platform to operate effectively with future infrastructure

 

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platforms and technologies could reduce the demand for our platform. If we are unable to respond to these changes in a cost-effective manner, our platform may become less marketable, less competitive or obsolete, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects may be adversely affected.

If we do not continue to innovate and provide a platform that is useful to our customers, we may not remain competitive, and our results of operations could suffer.

Our success depends on continued innovation to provide features that make our platform useful for our customers. We must continue to invest resources in technology and development in order to continually improve the simplicity and effectiveness of our platform. We may introduce significant changes to our platform or develop and introduce new and unproven services, including using technologies with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. We have in the past invested resources and introduced new services that have failed to produce the customer interest that we expected, and we have since removed these services from our platform. If we are unable to continue offering innovative solutions or if new or enhanced solutions fail to engage our customers, we may be unable to attract additional customers or retain our current customers, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition or future prospects.

Our business depends on business formations.

Our success significantly depends on business formations. The majority of our transaction revenue is generated by providing formation services to guide our customers through the transition from being aspiring business owners to actually launching their entities. In each of 2019 and 2020 as well as the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, business formations represented the largest share of our total transaction orders. The number of business formations on our platform could decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including an overall decline in the number of U.S. business formations, an economic downturn, increased competition, regulatory obstacles, changes in law (including changes in tax laws and regulations) and dissatisfaction with our services. Any decline in the overall number of business formations or the number of business formations on our platform may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition or future prospects.

Our subscription services are highly dependent upon our transaction products.

For the past few years, a significant amount of our revenue has been derived from our subscription services. In 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, approximately 50% of our revenue came from subscriptions. Subscriptions have primarily originated from transactional customers who opted to become subscribers. However, we may not be able to predict whether sufficient numbers of our existing or new customers will continue to subscribe to our registered agent services, legal plans or other subscription services, or if they will continue to subscribe at the same rate. If we are unable to continue to convert our transactional customers to subscribers, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects would be adversely affected.

Our business depends substantially on our subscribers renewing their subscriptions with us and expanding their use of our platform.

A large portion of our revenue stream comes from our subscriptions for small businesses and individuals. For us to maintain or improve our operating results, it is important that we retain our existing customers and that our subscribers renew their subscriptions with us when the existing subscription term expires. Our subscribers have no obligation to renew their subscriptions upon expiration, and we cannot assure you that subscribers will renew subscriptions at the same or higher level of service, if at all.

We cannot accurately predict renewal rates. Our retention rate may decline or fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, including subscribers’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction with our platform, the effectiveness of our

 

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customer support services, the quality and perceived quality of the services provided by our tax professionals and the independent attorneys who participate in our legal plan network, the attorneys who fulfill our attorney assisted offering, our pricing, the prices of competing products or services, the effects of global economic conditions, regulatory changes or reductions in subscribers’ spending levels. If we are unable to attract new subscribers to grow our subscription services, if subscribers cancel their subscriptions at a higher rate than anticipated or do not renew their subscriptions or renew on less favorable terms, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects would be adversely affected. If our renewal rates fall below the expectations of the public market, securities analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could also be harmed.

Our business depends on our ability to drive additional purchases and cross-sell to paying customers.

Our future success depends on our ability to expand our relationships with our customers by selling additional solutions to serve their needs, by offering more subscription products that increase engagement. This may require more sophisticated and costly sales efforts. Similarly, the rate at which our customers purchase additional services from us depends on a number of factors, including general economic conditions and customer reaction to pricing of these services. If our efforts to sell additional services to our customers are not successful, our business, results of operations, financial condition or future prospects may be harmed.

The legal solutions market is highly competitive.

We operate in a very competitive industry. We face intense competition from law firms and solo attorneys, online legal document services, legal plans, secretaries of state, tax preparation companies and other service providers. The online legal solutions market is evolving rapidly and is becoming increasingly competitive. Other companies that focus on the online legal document services market or business formations, such as BizFilings, LegalShield, MyCorporation, and RocketLawyer, and law firms that may elect to pursue the online legal document services market, can and do directly compete with us. Law firms and solo attorneys, who provide in-person consultations and are able to provide direct legal advice that we cannot offer due to laws and regulations regarding the unauthorized practice of law, or UPL, compete with us offline and have or may develop competing online legal services. We compete in the registered agent services business with several companies that target small businesses, including Wolters Kluwer, and these competitors have extensive experience in this market. In addition, if U.S. state agencies increase their offerings of free and easy-to-use business formation services, such as limited liability company formations and other document filings, or filing portals to the public, it could have a significant adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. For example, states such as Nevada and Louisiana offer online portals where consumers may file their articles of organization for free other than filing fees. We also compete in tax advisory service business with several companies, including H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt.

Our business depends on our brand and reputation.

We believe our brand has contributed to the success of our business and we have made substantial investments to build and strengthen our brand and reputation. Maintaining and enhancing the LegalZoom brand and our reputation is critical to growing and retaining our customer base. Regulatory proceedings, consumer claims, litigation, customer complaints or negative publicity through word-of-mouth, social media outlets, blogs, the Better Business Bureau and other sources related to our business practices, as well as customer care, data privacy and security issues, or reputation of our endorsers, irrespective of their validity, could diminish confidence in our services and adversely affect our brand and reputation and our ability to attract and retain customers.

Our services, as well as those of our competitors, are regularly reviewed and commented upon by online and social media sources. Negative reviews, or reviews in which our competitors’ services are rated more highly than ours, irrespective of their accuracy, could negatively affect our brand and reputation. We have in the past

 

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received negative reviews wherein our customers expressed dissatisfaction with our services, including dissatisfaction with our customer support, our billing policies and the way our subscriptions operate, and we may receive similar reviews in the future. If we do not handle customer complaints effectively, our brand and reputation may suffer. We may lose our customers’ confidence, they may choose not to renew their subscriptions or additional services from us, and we may fail to attract new customers. In addition, maintaining and enhancing our brand and reputation may require us to incur significant expenses and make substantial investments, which may not be successful. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand and reputation, or if we incur excessive expenses in doing so, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects may be adversely affected.

Furthermore, our brand and reputation are in part reliant on third parties, including the independent attorneys and accountants who participate in our and our partner’s networks. The failure or perceived failure of these attorneys and accountants to satisfy customer expectations could negatively impact our brand and reputation.

If our marketing efforts are unsuccessful, our ability to attract new customers or retain existing customers may be adversely affected, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Our ability to attract new customers and retain existing customers depends in large part on the success of our marketing channels. Our primary marketing channels that generate traffic for our websites include search engine marketing, television, radio, and our inside sales team.

We rely on both algorithmic and paid listing internet search results to drive customer traffic to our websites. Algorithmic listings are determined and displayed solely by a set of formulas designed by internet search engine companies, such as Google and Bing. Paid listings can be purchased and then are displayed if particular words or terms are included in a customer’s internet search. We bid on words or terms we expect customers will use to search for our services in the search engine’s auction system for preferred placement on its results page. Placement in paid listings is generally not determined solely on the bid price, but also considers the search engines’ assessment of the quality of the website featured in the paid listing and other factors. Our ability to maintain or increase customer traffic to our websites from internet search engines is not entirely within our control. For example, internet search engines sometimes revise their algorithms to optimize their search result listings or maintain their internal standards and strategies. Changes in search algorithms could cause our websites to receive less favorable placement and reduce traffic to our websites. In addition, we bid for paid listings against our competitors and third parties that may outbid us for preferred placement, which could adversely impact advertising efficiency and customer acquisition efforts. If competition for paid listings increases, we may be required to increase our marketing expenses or reduce the number or prominence of these paid listings. If we reduce our internet search engine advertising, the number of customers who visit our websites could decline significantly. Additionally, changes in regulations could limit the ability of search engines and social media platforms, including but not limited to Google and Facebook, to collect data from users and engage in targeted advertising, making them less effective in disseminating our advertisements to our target customers.

A reduction or loss of any of our advertising channels may adversely affect our ability to attract new customers, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

We depend on top talent, including our senior management team, to grow and operate our business, and if we are unable to hire, retain and motivate our employees, we may not be able to grow effectively, which may adversely affect our business and future prospects.

Our future success will depend upon our continued ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain top talent. Competition for such talent is intense. We have from time to time experienced, and we expect to continue

 

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to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications which may, among other things, impede our ability to execute our growth strategies. If we are not able to effectively attract and retain quality employees, our ability to achieve our strategic objectives will be adversely impacted, our brand or reputation could suffer, and our business will be adversely affected. Our ability to execute efficiently depends upon contributions from all of our employees and our senior management team. In addition, from time to time, there may be changes in our senior management team that may be disruptive to our business. If our senior management team, including any new hires that we may make, fails to work together effectively and execute our plans and strategies on a timely basis, our business and future prospects may be adversely affected.

If we cannot attract additional, qualified independent attorneys to participate in our legal plan network to service the needs of our legal plan subscribers, if we cannot attract additional, qualified certified public accountants, enrolled agents, and tax professionals to service the needs of our subscribers, or if these attorneys, accountants and tax professionals encounter regulatory issues that prevent them from being able to service the needs of our customers, we may not be able grow and maintain our legal plan subscription business effectively and our business, revenue, results of operations and future prospects may be adversely affected.

Our business and success depend in part on our strategic relationships with third parties, including our partner ecosystem, and our business would be harmed if we fail to maintain or expand these relationships.

We depend on, and anticipate we will continue to depend on, various third-party relationships to sustain and grow our business. For example, we partner with a variety of third parties to provide business license services, bookkeeping services, credit card and banking services, productivity tools and business insurance, among others. Our sales and our customers’ user experience are dependent on our ability to connect and integrate easily to such third-party solutions. We may fail to retain and expand relationships for many reasons, including due to third parties’ failure to maintain, support, or secure their technology platforms in general, restrictions imposed by regulatory compliance, and our integrations in particular. Any such failure could harm our relationship with our customers, our reputation and brand, and our business and results of operations.

As we seek to add different types of partners to our partner ecosystem, it is uncertain whether these third parties will be successful in building integrations, co-marketing our solutions to provide a significant volume and quality of lead referrals and orders, or continuing to work with us as their own products evolve. Identifying and negotiating new and expanded partner relationships requires significant resources. In addition, integrating third-party technology can be complex, costly, and time-consuming. Third parties may be unwilling to build integrations, and we may be required to devote additional resources to develop integrations for business applications on our own. The contracts applicable to third parties’ development tools may be unfavorable and add costs or risks to our business or may require us to push additional contract terms to our customers that affect our relationship with our customers. Providers of business applications with which we have integrations may decide to compete with us or enter into arrangements with our competitors, resulting in such providers withdrawing support for our integrations. In addition, any failure of our solutions to operate effectively with business applications could reduce the demand for our solutions and harm to our business. If we are unable to respond to these changes or failures in a cost-effective manner, our solutions may become less marketable, less competitive, or obsolete, and our results of operations may be negatively impacted.

If we are unable to effectively manage and minimize errors, failures, interruptions or delays caused by third parties, or if our third-party service providers cease to do business with us, our ability to deliver services to our customers, business, brand and reputation and results of operations may be adversely affected.

We rely on third parties to fulfill portions of the services we offer and to support our operations. For example, we rely on government agencies, including secretary of state offices and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to process business formation documents and intellectual property applications. If these agencies are unable or refuse to process submissions in a timely manner, including as a result of any government shutdowns or slowdowns, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our brand and reputation may be adversely

 

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affected, or customers may seek other avenues for their business formation or intellectual property needs. We also utilize other third parties in connection with the fulfillment and distribution of our services, including the independent attorneys in our legal plan network, as well as accountants and tax professionals through our subscription plans, and a third party to support our registered agent subscription services. Our platform also interoperates with certain third-party sites. As a result, our results may be affected by the performance of those parties and the interoperability of our platform with other sites. If certain third parties limit certain integration functionality, change their treatment of our services at any time, or experience quality issues, such as bugs and defects, our revenue, results of operations and future prospects may be adversely affected.

In addition, we may be unable to renew or replace our agreements with these third parties on comparable terms, or at all. Moreover, we cannot guarantee that the parties with which we have relationships can and will continue to devote the resources necessary to operate and expand our platform. Further, some of these third parties offer, or could offer, competing services or also work with our competitors. As a result of these factors, many of these third parties may choose to develop alternative services in addition to, or in lieu of, our platform, either on their own or in collaboration with others, including our competitors. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our relationships with third parties, our ability to compete or our revenue, results of operations and future prospects may be adversely affected. Even if we are successful in establishing and maintaining these relationships with third parties, we cannot ensure that these relationships will result in increased usage of our platform or increased revenue. We may also be held responsible for obligations that arise from the actions or omissions of these third parties.

We also utilize various types of data, technology, intellectual property and services licensed or otherwise obtained from unaffiliated third parties in order to provide certain elements of our solutions. We exercise limited control over these third parties, which increases our vulnerability to problems with the services they provide for us and to security incidents or breaches affecting the data and information they hold or process on our behalf. Any errors or defects in any third-party data or other technology could result in errors in our solutions that could harm our business, damage our reputation and result in losses in revenue, and we could be required to undertake substantial additional research and expend significant development resources to fix any problems that arise. In addition, such licensed data, technology, intellectual property and services may not continue to be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Any loss of the right to use any of these on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, could result in delays in producing or delivering our solutions until equivalent data, technology, intellectual property or services are identified and integrated, which delays could harm our business. In this situation we would be required to either redesign our solutions to function with such equivalent data, technology, intellectual property or services available from other parties or to develop these components or services ourselves, which would result in increased costs and potential delays in service. Furthermore, we might be forced to limit the features available in our current or future solutions. If we fail to maintain or renegotiate any of these data, technology or intellectual property licenses or services, we could face significant delays and diversion of resources in attempting to develop similar or replacement technology, or to license and integrate a functional equivalent of the relevant data, technology, intellectual property or service. The occurrence of any of these events may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects.

The estimates of market opportunity and forecasts of market growth included in this prospectus may prove to be inaccurate, and even if the market in which we compete achieves the forecasted growth, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all.

Market opportunity estimates and growth forecasts included in this prospectus are based on data published by third parties and on internally generated data and assumptions, which are subject to significant uncertainty and are based on assumptions and estimates that may not prove to be accurate. We have not independently verified any third-party information and cannot assure you of its accuracy or completeness. While we believe our market size estimates are reasonable, such information is inherently imprecise. Even if the market in which we compete meets the size estimates and growth forecasted in this prospectus, our business could fail to grow for a variety of reasons, which would adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future

 

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prospects. For more information regarding the estimates of market opportunity and the forecasts of market growth included in this prospectus, see the section titled “Market, Industry and Other Data.”

We may also face potential competition from large internet providers, such as Amazon or Alphabet, who may choose to enter into the online legal solutions business. These businesses have disrupted multiple industries and routinely enter new verticals. While they have no particular expertise in providing legal solutions online, their extensive resources and brand recognition would make them formidable competitors and could adversely affect our business.

Our direct and indirect competitors, whether they are online legal document providers, legal plan providers, law firms, accounting firms, solo attorneys or large internet providers, may also be developing innovative and cost-effective services, including automated corporate formation document processing, that target our existing and potential customers. We expect to face increasing competition from offline and online legal services providers in our market, and our failure to effectively compete with these providers could result in revenue reductions, reduced margins, and loss of market share, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Our failure to successfully address the evolving market for transactions on mobile devices and to build mobile products could harm our business.

A significant and growing portion of our customers access our platform through mobile devices. Almost half of our traffic is through mobile devices. The number of people who access the internet and purchase services through mobile devices, including smartphones and handheld tablets or computers, has increased significantly in the past few years and is expected to continue to increase. If we are not able to provide customers with the experience and solutions they want on mobile devices, we may not be able to attract or retain customers or convert our website traffic into customers and our business may be harmed.

While we have created mobile applications and versions of some of our web content, if these mobile applications and versions are not well received by customers, or if they don’t offer the information, services and functionality required by customers that widely use mobile devices, our business may suffer and we may experience difficulty in attracting and retaining customers. In addition, we face different fraud risks and regulatory risks from transactions sent from mobile devices than we do from personal computers. If we are unable to effectively anticipate and manage these risks, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects may be harmed.

We may acquire or invest in companies, which may divert our management’s attention and result in additional dilution to our stockholders.

We have in the past acquired or invested in businesses, products or technologies that we believed could complement or expand our current platform, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities. As part of our business strategy, we may in the future continue to seek to acquire or invest in businesses, products or technologies that we believe could complement or expand our services, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities. The risks we face in connection with acquisitions, whether or not they are consummated, include:

 

  

an acquisition may negatively affect our results of operations because it may require us to incur charges or assume substantial debt or other liabilities, may cause adverse tax consequences, may expose us to claims and disputes by stockholders and 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;

 

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we may not be able to realize anticipated synergies;

 

  

an acquisition may disrupt our ongoing business, divert resources, increase our expenses and distract our management;

 

  

an acquisition may result in a delay or reduction of customer purchases for both us and the company acquired due to customer uncertainty about continuity and effectiveness of service from either company;

 

  

we may encounter challenges integrating the employees of the acquired company into our company culture;

 

  

we may find it difficult to, or may be unable to, successfully sell any acquired services or products;

 

  

our use of cash to pay for acquisitions would limit other potential uses for our cash;

 

  

if we incur debt to fund any acquisitions, such debt may subject us to material restrictions on our ability to conduct our business financial maintenance covenants; and

 

  

if we issue a significant amount of equity securities in connection with future acquisitions, existing stockholders may be diluted and earnings per share may decrease.

We have in the past faced these difficulties successfully integrating some of our acquisitions and we may face similar problems in the future. We may also decide to restructure, divest or sell businesses, products or technologies that we have acquired or invested in. The occurrence of any of these risks could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects and could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Our focus on the long-term best interests of our company and our consideration of all of our stakeholders, including our stockholders, customers, employees, and other stakeholders that we may identify from time to time, may conflict with short- or medium-term financial interests and business performance, which may negatively impact the value of our common stock.

We believe that focusing on the long-term best interests of our company and our consideration of all of our stakeholders, including our stockholders, customers, partners, the communities in which we operate, and other stakeholders we may identify from time to time, is essential to the long-term success of our company and to long-term stockholder value. Therefore, we have made decisions, and may in the future make decisions, that we believe are in the long-term best interests of our company and our stockholders, even if such decisions may negatively impact the short- or medium-term performance of our business, results of operations, and financial condition or the short- or medium-term performance of our common stock. Our commitment to pursuing long-term value for the company and its stockholders, potentially at the expense of short- or medium-term performance, may materially adversely affect the trading price of our common stock, including by making owning our common stock less appealing to investors who are focused on returns over a shorter time horizon. Our decisions and actions in pursuit of long-term success and long-term stockholder value, which may include changes to our platform to enhance the experience of our customers, partners and the communities in which we operate, including by improving the trust and safety of our platform, enable equitable access to legal and compliance services, investing in our relationships with our customers, partners, and employees, investing in and introducing new services, or changes in our approach to working with local or national jurisdictions on laws and regulations governing our business, may not result in the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our business, results of operations, and financial condition, as well as the trading price of our common stock, could be materially adversely affected.

 

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We may not effectively ensure that online services and physical locations are protected from significant outages, denial or degradation of service attacks, natural disasters, including adverse weather conditions, and other disruptions, any of which could adversely affect our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

A key element of our continued growth is the ability of our customers to access our websites and mobile applications and our ability to fulfill orders placed through such platforms. Our systems may not be adequately designed with the necessary reliability to avoid performance delays, disruptions or outages that could be harmful to our business. In addition, any steps we take to increase the reliability and redundancy of our systems may be expensive and may not be successful in preventing system failures. At times we have experienced, or may in the future experience, website disruptions, outages, and other performance problems due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure maintenance, human or software errors, ransomware attacks, capacity constraints, denial of service, fraud or security attacks. In some instances, we may not be able to identify the cause or causes of these website or mobile application performance problems within an acceptable period of time. It may become increasingly difficult to maintain and improve our website or mobile application performance, especially during peak usage times, if the number of online services we offer increases, our services become more complex, or our customer traffic grows. If our websites or mobile applications are unavailable when customers attempt to access them, our customers may seek other solutions to address their needs and may not return to our websites or mobile applications in the future. To the extent that we do not effectively address future capacity constraints, upgrade and protect our systems, and continually develop our online legal platform to accommodate actual and anticipated technology changes, our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be adversely affected.

In particular, our online services may be vulnerable to denial or degradation of service attacks or ransomware attacks, which are designed to adversely impact our operations by reducing the capacity or availability of our IT systems, the speed of operations of online services or disrupt the public’s ability to access websites or applications. Although we have taken steps to prevent these attacks and mitigate their potential impact on our systems and operations, such steps may be ineffective to prevent service disruptions or outages. We have experienced denial-of-service attacks in the past, and we may be subject to additional attacks or threats of attacks in the future. Any similar events or failure to maintain performance, reliability, security and availability of our legal document services and online technology platform to the satisfaction of our customers may harm our brand and reputation, as well as our ability to retain existing customers and attract new customers, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects. Further, if our customers are unable to access the information they store on our platform for even limited periods of time, data protection laws may require us to notify regulators and affected individuals, which may increase the likelihood of regulatory investigations into our data protection practices, loss of customers, litigation and other liabilities.

Our operations and online services also rely on the continued functioning and accessibility of certain physical locations, including our product fulfillment locations and data centers, which are vulnerable to damage or interruption from natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, power losses, telecommunication failures, terrorist attacks, human errors, break-ins and similar events. The occurrence of a natural disaster or other unanticipated problems at our facilities could result in lengthy interruptions in our services. We may not be able to efficiently relocate our fulfillment and delivery operations due to disruptions in service if one of these events occurs and our insurance coverage may be insufficient to compensate us for such losses. Because the Los Angeles area, where our corporate and executive headquarters is located, is in an earthquake fault zone and because both the Los Angeles area and Austin, Texas, where our operational headquarters is located, are subject to the increased risk of wildfires, tornadoes, and power outages, we are particularly sensitive to the risk of damage to, or total destruction of, our primary offices and two of our key fulfillment and delivery centers. Although we are insured up to certain limits against any certain losses or expenses that may result from a disruption to our business due to earthquakes or wildfires, either of these events, if incurred, could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

 

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We have been or are involved in, and may in the future become involved in, litigation matters that are expensive and time consuming, and, if resolved adversely, could harm our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition or future prospects.

We have been or are involved in lawsuits and other actions brought by customers, purported competitors, regulators, and other parties alleging that we engage in the unauthorized practice of law, unfairly compete or otherwise violate the law. The plaintiffs in these actions generally seek monetary damages, penalties, and/or injunctive relief. While we have denied and continue to deny all of the allegations and claims asserted in these proceedings, and we believe our services do not constitute the practice of law, unfairly compete, or otherwise violate the law, we cannot predict the outcome of such proceedings or the amount of time and expense that will be required to resolve these and other proceedings. If such litigation were to be determined adversely to our interests, or if we were forced to settle such matters for a significant amount, such resolutions or settlements could have a negative effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects. We anticipate that we will continue to be a target for such lawsuits in the future. Any litigation to which we are a party may result in an onerous or unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal, or we may decide to settle lawsuits on unfavorable terms. In addition, defending these claims is costly and can impose a significant burden on management and employees, and we may receive unfavorable preliminary or interim rulings in the course of litigation. Any such negative outcome could result in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines, injunctive relief, adverse effects on the market price of our common stock or changes to our products or business practices, and accordingly our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition, or future prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We also may encounter future claims. For example, our U.K. subsidiary operates as an alternative business structure, or ABS, which allows corporate entities to become licensed providers of reserved legal activities in that jurisdiction. As a result, our U.K. subsidiary may be susceptible to potential claims from clients, such as breach of contract, product liability, negligence, or other claims. Any such claims could result in reputational damage or an adverse effect on our results of operations. In addition, while we believe this structure is legally permissible, it is generally untested in U.S. courts and we cannot assure you that it will insulate us from claims of CPL or UPL. Even though our U.K. subsidiary holds professional liability insurance, limiting its liability in accordance with its engagement letters with clients, such insurance and limitations in liability may not insure or protect against all potential claims or sufficiently indemnify us or our U.K. subsidiary for all liability that may be incurred. Any such liability, inclusive of the costs and expenses that may be incurred in defending any such claims, that exceeds the insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, or future prospects.

Furthermore, our employees may, from time to time, bring lawsuits against us regarding injuries, a hostile workplace, discrimination, wage and hour disputes, sexual harassment, or other employment issues. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of discrimination and harassment claims against employers generally. Coupled with the expansion of social media platforms, employer review websites and similar devices that allow individuals access to a broad audience, these claims have had a significant negative impact on some businesses. Certain companies that have faced employment- or harassment-related claims have had to terminate management or other key personnel and have suffered reputational harm that has negatively impacted their business, including their ability to attract and hire top talent. If we were to face any employment- or harassment-related claims, our business could be negatively affected in similar or other ways.

As we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, including in connection with our initial public offering, third parties may make intellectual property rights claims, file lawsuits or initiate regulatory actions or other proceedings against us. In addition, we may introduce new services, including in areas where we currently do not compete, which could increase our exposure to lawsuits, regulatory actions, or intellectual property claims. Defending against lawsuits, regulatory actions, and other intellectual property claims is costly and can place a significant burden on management and employees. If such claims are made against us, there can be no assurances that favorable final outcomes will be obtained and, if resolved adversely, may result in

 

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changes to or discontinuance of some of our services, potential liabilities or additional costs, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

We are subject to risks related to accepting credit and debit card payments that may harm our business or expose us to additional costs and liabilities.

We accept payments from our customers primarily through credit and debit card transactions. Our customers generally pay for transactions in advance by credit or debit card except for certain services provided under installment plans where we allow customers to pay for their order in two or three equal payments. For credit and debit card payments, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs and lower profitability. We rely on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of our credit and debit card transactions, and to provide payment collection services, and it could interrupt our business if these third parties become unwilling or unable to provide these services to us, or if we are otherwise unable to collect payments. For example, if our processing vendors have problems with our billing software, or the billing software malfunctions, we could lose customers who subscribe to our legal plans, registered agent services and other subscription services, which could decrease our revenue. In addition, if our billing software fails to work properly and, as a result, we do not automatically charge our subscribers’ credit cards on a timely basis or at all, our revenue could be adversely affected.

We are also subject to payment card industry rules, certification requirements and rules governing electronic funds transfer, any of which could change or be reinterpreted to make it more difficult for us to comply. Our failure to comply fully with these rules or requirements may subject us to fines, higher transaction fees, penalties, damages, and civil liability and may result in the loss of our ability to accept credit and debit card payments, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Risks Relating to Our Financial Condition, Indebtedness and Capital Requirements

Our business is subject to seasonal fluctuations that may cause our results of operations to vary from period to period.

Many of the factors that contribute to seasonal fluctuations in our results of operations are out of our control. We have experienced, and expect that we will continue to experience, seasonality in the number of orders placed and when we enter into subscription agreements with customers. Customers tend to place a higher number of orders and enter into new or renewed subscriptions in the first quarter of the year, which is when we believe the demand for forming businesses is the highest. Further seasonality is reflected in the timing of our revenue recognition in the second quarter, when we typically recognize a high amount of revenue from orders placed in the first quarter but fulfilled in the second quarter. Also, we generally see demand for our services decline around the beginning of the third quarter as a result of summer vacations and in the last two months of the fourth quarter as a result of the winter holidays. Seasonality in our business may cause period-to-period fluctuations in certain of our operating results and financial metrics and thus limit our ability to predict our future results.

Our results of operations may not immediately reflect downturns or upturns in sales because we recognize revenue from our customers over the term of their paid subscriptions with us.

We recognize revenue from paid subscriptions to our services over the respective term of the subscription period. After a short introductory trial period, if any, most paying subscribers make a one-year subscription commitment, with the upcoming annual subscription fee paid upon subscribing. As a result, much of our revenue is generated from the recognition of deferred revenue relating to subscriptions entered into during previous quarters. Consequently, a shortfall in demand for our services or a decline in new or renewed subscriptions in any one quarter may have a small impact on the revenue that we recognize for that quarter but could negatively affect

 

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our revenue in future quarters. Accordingly, the effect of significant downturns in sales and potential changes in our pricing policies or rate of customer expansion or retention may not be fully reflected in our results of operations until future periods. In addition, a significant majority of our costs are expensed as incurred, while revenue is recognized over the life of the subscription agreement. As a result, growth in the number of customers could continue to result in our recognition of higher costs and lower revenue in the earlier periods of our subscription agreements. Finally, our subscription-based revenue model also makes it difficult for us to rapidly increase our revenue through additional sales in any period, as revenue from new customers and significant increases in the size of subscriptions with existing customers must be recognized over the applicable subscription term.

We track certain financial and operating metrics with internal systems and tools and do not independently verify such metrics. Certain of our financial and operating metrics are subject to inherent challenges in measurement, and real or perceived inaccuracies in such metrics may harm our reputation and negatively affect our business.

We track certain financial and operating metrics, including key business metrics such as number of transactions, number of subscription units and average revenue per customer, with internal company data, systems and tools that are not independently verified by any third party. Our internal systems and tools have a number of limitations, and our methodologies for tracking these metrics may change over time, which could result in unexpected changes to our metrics, including the metrics we publicly disclose. If the internal systems and tools we use to track these metrics undercount or overcount performance or contain algorithmic or other technical errors, the data we report may not be accurate. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our metrics for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring how our services are used across large populations globally. For example, there are customers who have multiple subscriptions, which we treat as multiple subscription units for purposes of calculating our subscription units.

In addition, limitations or errors with respect to how we measure data or with respect to the data that we measure may affect our understanding of certain details of our business, which could affect our long-term strategies. If our financial and operating metrics are not accurate representations of our business, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our metrics, our reputation may be harmed, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be adversely affected.

We are in the process of implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, software system and challenges with the implementation of the system may impact our business and operations.

We are in the process of implementing a company-wide ERP software program and the related infrastructure to support future growth and to integrate our processes. Our ERP software program has involved, and will continue to involve, substantial expenditures on system hardware and software, as well as design, development and implementation activities. The implementation of the ERP software program may prove to be more difficult, costly, or time consuming than expected, and it is possible that the system will not yield the benefits anticipated. Any disruptions, delays or deficiencies in the design and implementation of our new ERP software program could materially impact our operations and adversely affect our ability to process orders, fulfill contractual obligations or otherwise operate our business. Additionally, future cost estimates related to our new ERP software system are based on assumptions that are subject to wide variability.

We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and, if we fail to remediate these material weaknesses, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence and the price of our common stock.

We have identified three material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that

 

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there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

The material weaknesses we identified are listed below:

 

  

We did not maintain an effective control environment. Specifically, we did not maintain sufficient accounting resources commensurate with our structure and financial reporting requirements. This material weakness contributed to the additional material weaknesses below.

 

  

We did not design and maintain effective controls to address the initial application of complex accounting standards and accounting of non-routine, unusual or complex events and transactions.

 

  

We did not design and maintain effective controls over our financial statement close process. Specifically, we did not design and maintain effective controls over certain account analyses and account reconciliations.

These material weaknesses resulted in adjustments to our current and prior year financial statements primarily related to debt extinguishment costs, goodwill, revenue, accounts receivable, foreign exchange expense and deferred revenue, and could result in a misstatement of any account balances or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement to the annual or interim consolidated financial statements that would not be prevented or detected.

We are in the early stages of designing and implementing a plan to remediate the material weaknesses identified. Our plan includes:

 

  

hiring additional experienced accounting, financial reporting and internal control personnel and changing roles and responsibilities of our personnel as we transition to being a public company and are required to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. We have recently hired additional resources and we are engaging with a third-party consulting firm to assist us with our formal internal control plan and provide staff augmentation of our internal audit function;

 

  

implementing controls to enhance our review of significant accounting transactions and other new technical accounting and financial reporting issues and preparing and reviewing accounting memoranda addressing these issues; and

 

  

implementing controls to enable an effective and timely review of account analyses and account reconciliations.

We cannot assure you that these measures will significantly improve or remediate the material weaknesses described above. The implementation of these remediation measures is in the early stages and will require validation and testing of the design and operating effectiveness of internal controls over a sustained period of financial reporting cycles and as a result the timing of when we will be able to fully remediate the material weaknesses is uncertain and we may not fully remediate these material weaknesses during 2021. If the steps we take do not remediate the material weaknesses in a timely manner, there could continue to be a reasonable possibility that these control deficiencies or others would result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements that would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. This, in turn, could jeopardize our ability to comply with our reporting obligations, limit our ability to access the capital markets and adversely impact our stock price.

We and our independent registered public accounting firm were not required to perform an evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we have identified all, or that we will not in the future have additional, material weaknesses. Material weaknesses may still exist when we report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as required by reporting requirements under Section 404 after the completion of this offering. If we are unable to successfully remediate the existing material

 

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weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting, and our stock price, may be adversely affected and we may be unable to maintain compliance with the applicable stock exchange listing requirements.

Implementing any appropriate changes to our internal controls may distract our officers and employees, entail substantial costs to modify our existing processes and take significant time to complete. These changes may not, however, be effective in maintaining the adequacy of our internal controls, and any failure to maintain that adequacy, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase our operating costs and harm our business. In addition, investors’ perceptions that our internal controls are inadequate or that we are unable to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis may harm our stock price and make it more difficult for us to effectively market and sell our services to new and existing customers.

If we are unable to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock may decline.

As a public company, we will be required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal control. In addition, beginning with our 2022 annual report on Form 10-K to be filed in 2023, we will be required to furnish a report by management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404. This assessment will need to include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting beginning with our first annual report on Form 10-K following the date on which we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”

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 will 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 additional 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 or results of operations. 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 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 be negatively affected, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities, which could also require additional financial and management resources. 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.

We have substantial indebtedness, which reduces our capability to withstand adverse developments or business conditions.

We have incurred substantial indebtedness. In November 2018, we entered into an amended first lien credit and guarantee agreement, or the 2018 Credit Agreement, with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., an affiliate of one of

 

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the underwriters in this offering, as administrative agent, and the other lenders party thereto, which provided for $575.0 million of loans, consisting a $535.0 million term loan, or the 2018 Term Loan, and $40.0 million of availability under a revolving credit facility, or the 2018 Revolving Facility. We refer to the 2018 Term Loan and 2018 Revolving Facility collectively as the 2018 Credit Facility. Pursuant to the 2018 Credit Agreement, debt under the 2018 Credit Facility is guaranteed by certain of our material wholly owned domestic restricted subsidiaries and is secured by substantially all of our and such subsidiaries’ assets and property, including our and such subsidiary’s intellectual property.

We expect to enter into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement that will contain the New Credit Facility (as defined below) concurrently with the consummation of this offering. Loans under the New Credit Facility may be borrowed, at our option, at a rate equal to either (i) LIBOR or Euro LIBOR (or a comparable successor rate approved by the administrative agent and us), in each case, subject to a 0.00% floor, plus a margin of 2.00% per annum or (ii) the Base Rate, defined as the greatest of the administrative agent’s prime rate, the federal funds rate plus one-half of 1%, and the sum of one-month LIBOR plus 1.00% per annum, subject to a floor of 1.00%, plus a margin of 1.00% per annum. Each such margin may decrease depending on our total net first lien leverage ratio. The New Credit Facility has a commitment fee of 0.35% per annum, which steps down to 0.25% per annum upon achieving a certain total net first lien leverage ratio level. The New Credit Facility is due in full on maturity on                 .

At March 31, 2021, our total aggregate indebtedness under the 2018 Credit Agreement was $523.0. million of principal outstanding under the 2018 Term Loan and we had $40.0 million available for additional borrowings under 2018 Revolving Facility. We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to repay $             million of the outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Credit Facility, and we expect to have $             million outstanding under the 2018 Term Loan immediately after such repayment. Our payments on our outstanding indebtedness are significant in relation to our revenue and cash flow, which exposes us to significant risk in the event of downturns in our businesses (whether through competitive pressures or otherwise), our industry or the economy generally, since our cash flows would decrease but our required payments under our indebtedness would not.

Economic downturns may impact our ability to comply with the covenants and restrictions in the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement and may impact our ability to pay or refinance our indebtedness as they come due, which may (i) allow the lenders under the New Credit Facility to accelerate the debt under the New Credit Facility and/or seize our assets, including our intellectual property, (ii) allow third parties to terminate certain contracts to which we are a party or (iii) otherwise adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Despite our current indebtedness level, we and our restricted subsidiaries may be able to incur substantially more indebtedness, which could further exacerbate the risks associated with our substantial indebtedness.

Although the terms of the agreements governing our outstanding indebtedness contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, such restrictions are subject to a number of important exceptions and indebtedness incurred in compliance with such restrictions could be substantial. If we and our restricted subsidiaries incur significant additional indebtedness, the related risks that we face could increase. If new debt is added to our or our subsidiaries’ current debt levels, the related risks that we now face would increase, and we may not be able to meet all our debt obligations. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowings.”

 

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The agreements governing our indebtedness require us to meet certain operating and financial covenants and place restrictions on our operating and financial flexibility. If we raise additional capital through debt financing, the terms of any new debt could further restrict our ability to operate our business.

The Amended and Restated Credit Agreement that we expect to enter into concurrently with the consummation of this offering will contain affirmative and negative covenants, indemnification provisions and events of default. The affirmative covenants include, among others, administrative, reporting and legal covenants, in each case subject to certain exceptions. The negative covenants include, among others, limitations on our and certain of our subsidiaries’ abilities to, in each case subject to certain exceptions:

 

  

incur additional indebtedness and guarantee indebtedness;

 

  

create or incur liens;

 

  

pay dividends and distributions or repurchase capital stock;

 

  

merge, liquidate and make asset sales;

 

  

change lines of business;

 

  

change our fiscal year;

 

  

incur restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions and create liens;

 

  

modify our organizational documents;

 

  

make investments, loans and advances; and

 

  

enter into certain transactions with affiliates.

The Amended and Restated Credit Agreement will also contain a financial covenant that requires us to maintain a total net first lien leverage ratio of 4.50:1.00 on the last day of any fiscal quarter during which our New Credit Facility usage exceeds 35% of the New Credit Facility capacity. As a result of the restrictions described above, we will be limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders or amend the covenants.

Our ability to comply with the covenants and restrictions contained in the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement may be affected by economic, financial and industry conditions beyond our control. The restrictions in the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement may prevent us from taking actions that we believe would be in the best interests of our business and may make it difficult for us to execute our business strategy successfully or effectively compete with companies that are not similarly restricted. Even if the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement is terminated, any additional debt that we incur in the future could subject us to similar or additional covenants.

The Amended and Restated Credit Agreement will include customary events of default, including: failure to pay principal, interest or certain other amounts when due; material inaccuracy of representations and warranties; violation of covenants; specified cross-default and cross-acceleration to other material indebtedness; certain bankruptcy and insolvency events; certain events relating to ERISA; certain undischarged judgments; material invalidity of guarantees or grant of security interest; and change of control, in certain cases subject to certain thresholds and grace periods.

Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above that we expect to enter into concurrently with the consummation of this offering as well as other terms of our indebtedness could result in an

 

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event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in the lenders declaring all obligations, together with accrued and unpaid interest, immediately due and payable and take control of the collateral, potentially requiring us to renegotiate the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement on terms less favorable to us. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or are unable to refinance these borrowings, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be adversely affected. In addition, such a default or acceleration may result in the acceleration of any future indebtedness or result in the termination of certain other contracts with third parties, in each case to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. If we are unable to repay our indebtedness, lenders having secured obligations, such as the lenders under the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, could proceed against the collateral securing the indebtedness. In any such case, we may be unable to borrow under our New Credit Facility and may not be able to repay the amounts due under our New Credit Facility. This could have serious consequences to our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects and could cause us to become bankrupt or insolvent.

When LIBOR is discontinued, borrowing costs under the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement or agreements governing any of our future indebtedness will be calculated using another reference rate, which may cause substantial uncertainty as to the effect of such replacement on our borrowing costs

On November 30, 2020, the Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA intends to cease the publication of one-week and two-month LIBOR by the end of 2021 and all other LIBOR tenors (overnight, one-month, three-month, six-month and 12-month) on June 30, 2023. In addition, the U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee consisting of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities. Although there have been a few transactions utilizing SOFR and similar rates, it is unknown whether these alternative reference rates will attain market acceptance as replacements for LIBOR. LIBOR is used as a benchmark reference throughout the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement. While the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement provides fallback language in the event LIBOR ceases to be published, including the possibility of designation of a replacement rate by the administrative agent under the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, there is substantial uncertainty as to the effect of such replacement on our borrowing costs. In addition, in such event, we may need to renegotiate the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement in order to determine the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established. There is currently no definitive information regarding the future utilization of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate. As such, the potential effect of any such event on our borrowing costs or the effectiveness of certain related transactions such as hedges cannot yet be determined.

We are subject to fluctuations in interest rates.

Borrowings under the New Credit Facility that we expect to enter into concurrently with the consummation of this offering are subject to variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. In April 2019, we entered into interest rate swap agreements for an aggregate notional amount of $131.9 million to swap our variable interest rate on our 2018 Term Loan for a fixed interest rate of 2.2745%. The interest rate swaps were to expire in March 2022. In March 2020, in response to a drop in LIBOR, we modified our interest rate swap agreements to extend the terms to March 2024 and also lower the fixed interest rate from 2.2745% to a revised average rate of 1.6786%. Our obligations under these interest rate swaps (and any other derivative transaction entered into with the administrative agent, an arranger, a lender or any affiliate thereof under the 2018 Credit Facility) are secured by substantially all of our and our subsidiaries’ assets and property, including our and our subsidiaries’ intellectual property on a pari passu basis with the 2018 Credit Facility and the New Credit Facility.

We may decide to terminate or modify the above derivative financial instruments or enter into additional derivative financial instruments in the future. If we do, we may not maintain interest rate swaps, caps or other applicable financial instruments with respect to all of our indebtedness and any financial instrument we enter into may not fully mitigate our interest rate risk, may prove disadvantageous or may create additional risks.

 

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Certain of our indebtedness may be denominated in foreign currencies, which subjects us to foreign exchange risk, which could cause our debt service obligations to increase significantly.

The New Credit Facility also permits borrowings denominated in Euros, GBP and other alternative currencies that may be approved by the administrative agent and revolving lenders. See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowings.” Such non-U.S. dollar-denominated debt may not necessarily correspond to the cash flow we generate in such currencies. Sharp changes in the exchange rates between the currencies in which we borrow and the currencies in which we generate cash flow could adversely affect us. In the future, we may enter into contractual arrangements designed to hedge a portion of the foreign currency exchange risk associated with any non-U.S. dollar-denominated debt. If these hedging arrangements are unsuccessful, we may experience an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Changes in tax laws or tax rulings could affect our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

The tax regimes we are subject to or operate under, including income and non-income taxes, are unsettled and may be subject to significant change. Changes in tax laws, regulations, or rulings, or changes in interpretations of existing laws and regulations, could affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For example, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or the Tax Act, made broad and complex changes to the U.S. tax code, including changes to U.S. federal tax rates, additional limitations on the deductibility of interest, both positive and negative changes to the utilization of future net operating loss, or NOL, carryforwards, allowing for the expensing of certain capital expenditures, and putting into effect the migration from a “worldwide” system of taxation to a largely territorial system. The issuance of additional regulatory or accounting guidance related to the Tax Act could affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate in the period issued. In addition, many countries in Europe, as well as a number of other countries and organizations, have recently proposed or recommended changes to existing tax laws or have enacted new laws that could significantly increase our tax obligations in the countries where we do business or require us to change the manner in which we operate our business.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been working on a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, and issued a report in 2015, an interim report in 2018, and is expected to continue to issue guidelines and proposals that may change various aspects of the existing framework under which our tax obligations are determined in many of the countries in which we do business. Similarly, the European Commission and several countries have issued proposals that would change various aspects of the current tax framework under which we are taxed. These proposals include changes to the existing framework to calculate income tax, as well as proposals to change or impose new types of non-income taxes, including taxes based on a percentage of revenue. For example, several countries have proposed or enacted taxes applicable to digital services, which could apply to our business.

Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards may be limited.

We have incurred substantial losses during our history and may not be able to maintain profitability. Unused U.S. federal NOLs for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, may be carried forward to offset future taxable income, if any, until such unused NOLs expire. Under legislation enacted in 2017, informally titled the Tax Act, as modified by legislation enacted on March 27, 2020, entitled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, U.S. federal NOLs incurred in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, can be carried forward indefinitely, but the deductibility of such U.S. federal NOLs in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020 is limited to 80% of taxable income. It is uncertain if and to what extent various states will change their tax laws to conform to the Tax Act or the CARES Act.

At December 31, 2020, we had U.S. federal and state NOL carryforwards of $11.7 million and $49.8 million, respectively. Of the $11.7 million U.S. federal NOL carryforwards, $7.4 million may be carried forward indefinitely with utilization limited to 80% of taxable income. The remaining $4.3 million will begin to expire in 2031. The state NOL carryforwards begin to expire in 2022.

 

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In addition, under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, and corresponding provisions of state law, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” which is generally defined as a greater than 50 percentage point change (by value) in its equity ownership over a three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOL carryforwards to offset its post- change income or taxes may be limited. We have completed a Section 382 study and have determined that none of our net operating losses will expire solely due to Section 382 limitations. However, we may experience ownership changes as a result of our initial public offering or in the future as a result of subsequent shifts in our stock ownership, some of which may be outside of our control. This could limit the amount of NOLs that we can utilize annually to offset future taxable income or tax liabilities. Subsequent ownership changes and changes to the U.S. tax rules in respect of the utilization of NOLs may further affect the limitation in future years. In addition, at the state level, there may be periods during which the use of NOLs is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or permanently increase state taxes owed.

Changes in our effective tax rate or tax liability may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

We are subject to income taxes in the United States and various foreign jurisdictions. The determination of our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment by management, and there are many transactions where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. We believe that our provision for income taxes is reasonable, but the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded in our consolidated financial statements and may affect our financial results in the period or periods in which such outcome is determined.

Our effective tax rate could increase due to several factors, including:

 

  

changes in the relative amounts of income before taxes in the various jurisdictions in which we operate that have differing statutory tax rates;

 

  

changes in tax laws, tax treaties, and regulations or the interpretation of them, including the Tax Act and the CARES Act;

 

  

changes to our assessment about our ability to realize our deferred tax assets that are based on estimates of our future results, the prudence and feasibility of possible tax planning strategies, and the economic and political environments in which we do business;

 

  

the outcome of current and future tax audits, examinations, or administrative appeals; and

 

  

the effects of acquisitions.

Any of these developments could adversely affect our results of operations.

Changes in tax laws or regulations that are applied adversely to us or our customers may have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, financial condition or results of operations.

New income, sales, use, or other tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances could be enacted at any time, which could adversely affect our business operations and financial performance. Further, existing tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances could be interpreted, changed, modified, or applied adversely to us. For example, the Tax Act enacted many significant changes to the U.S. tax laws. Future guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities with respect to the Tax Act may affect us, and certain aspects of the Tax Act could be repealed or modified in future legislation. For example, the CARES Act modified certain provisions of the Tax Act. In addition, it is uncertain if and to what extent various states will conform to the Tax Act, the CARES Act, or any newly enacted federal tax legislation. Changes in corporate tax rates, the realization of net deferred tax assets relating to our operations, the taxation of foreign earnings, and the deductibility of expenses under the Tax Act or future reform legislation could have a material impact on the value of our deferred tax assets, could result in significant one-time charges, and could increase our future U.S. tax expense.

 

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Risks Relating to Legal, Compliance and Regulatory Matters

Our business and services subject us to complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations regarding the unauthorized practice of law, legal document processing, legal plans, and other related matters.

Our business involves providing services that meet the legal and accounting needs of our customers and, as a result, is subject to a variety of complex and evolving U.S. and foreign laws and regulations, including the following:

 

  

Our business model includes the provision of services that represent an alternative to traditional legal services, which subjects us to allegations of UPL. UPL generally refers to an entity or person giving legal advice who is not licensed to practice law or advertising their services as the practice of law. However, laws and regulations defining UPL, and the governing bodies that enforce UPL rules, differ among the various jurisdictions in which we operate and are often vague.

 

  

In the United States, we are unable to hire attorneys as employees to provide legal advice directly to our customers, because we do not meet certain regulatory requirements such as being exclusively owned by licensed attorneys. In addition, we are currently unable to acquire a license to practice law in the United States. Laws, regulations, and professional responsibility rules impose limitations on business transactions between attorneys and persons who are not licensed attorneys, including those related to the ethics of attorney fee-splitting and CPL. This position can be contrasted with that in the United Kingdom, where we operate an ABS, which allows certain corporate entities to become licensed providers of reserved legal activities in that jurisdiction, pursuant to the U.K. Legal Services Act 2007, or the LSA. As the regulatory environment in the United States continues to evolve, we may consider implementing alternative structures to conduct our business in the United States. For example, the Arizona Supreme Court recently approved regulatory reform that will permit nonlawyers to co-own law firms and other legal service operations. While the structure would be legally permissible in Arizona, we cannot assure you that it will insulate us from claims of CPL or UPL in other jurisdictions.

 

  

Regulation of legal document processing services and registered agent services varies among the jurisdictions in which we conduct business.

 

  

Regulation of our legal plans varies considerably among the insurance departments, bar associations and attorneys general of each U.S. state. In addition, some U.S. states and federal agencies may seek to regulate our legal plans or other subscription plans, such as Business Advantage Plus, as insurance, legal expense insurance, specialized legal service products or financial planning.

Our business operations also subject us to laws and regulations relating to general business practices, and the manner in which we offer our services to customers subjects us to various consumer laws and regulations, including false advertising, payment laws, telephone sales, email marketing, automatic contract or subscription renewal, and deceptive trade practices.

The scope of these laws and regulations are often vague and broad, and their applications and interpretations are often uncertain and conflicting. Compliance with these disparate laws and regulations requires us to structure our business and services differently in certain jurisdictions. Additionally, these laws and regulations are evolving, and changes in such laws could require us to significantly change the ways in we structure our business and services. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to convert our transactional customers to subscribers or attract new subscribers to grow our subscription services. We dedicate significant management time and expense to dealing with these issues and expect that these issues will continue to be a significant focus as we expand into other services and jurisdictions.

In addition, any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with applicable laws and regulations may subject us to regulatory inquiries, claims, suits and prosecutions. For example, in February 2020, a complaint was filed in California against us alleging violations of the Florida Security of Communications Act for violations of privacy based on a claim of wiretapping. In May 2021, the plaintiffs of this class action complaint filed a notice

 

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of dismissal without prejudice. However, these plaintiffs could refile in court or arbitration and may be the subject of similar complaints in the future. We have also incurred in the past, and expect to incur in the future, costs associated with responding to, defending, resolving, and/or settling proceedings, particularly those related to UPL, competitor claims and the provision of our services more generally. We can give no assurance that we will prevail in such regulatory inquiries, claims, suits and prosecutions on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Responding to, defending and/or settling regulatory inquiries, claims, suits and prosecutions may be time-consuming and divert management and financial resources or have other adverse effects on our business. A negative outcome in any of these proceedings may result in claims, changes to or discontinuance of some of our services, potential liabilities or additional costs that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, future prospects and brand.

Our U.K. subsidiary, being a “licensed body” law firm, is subject to restrictions under the LSA.

Under the LSA, there are restrictions on the holding of “restricted interests” in “licensed body” law firms. A restricted interest for the purpose of these restrictions is an interest of 10% or more in the issued share capital of the licensed body or the parent company of such licensed body. As our wholly owned U.K. subsidiary is a licensed body for the purposes of the LSA, the restrictions referred to above will apply to any holder(s) of 10% or more of our common stock following the completion of this offering.

The consent of the U.K. Solicitors Regulatory Authority, or the SRA, is required should any person who is a “non-deemed approved lawyer” seek to acquire a restricted interest. It is a criminal offense in the United Kingdom for any “non-deemed approved lawyer” to acquire a restricted interest without having given prior notification to the SRA or, having given prior notification to the SRA, to acquire a restricted interest without having obtaining the SRA’s consent. The SRA may attach conditions to any consent that it may give in respect of the holding of a restricted interest. However, should any stockholder wish to consider owning a stake in our common stock in excess of this threshold, it is possible for the SRA to be approached and grant pre-approval in advance of any such acquisition.

The SRA can force any person who acquires a restricted interest in contravention of the applicable rules to divest its share ownership in the licensed body (or its parent company). The SRA also has the ability to suspend or revoke the relevant entity’s licensed body status in respect of any such contravention. Any suspension or revocation of our U.K. subsidiary’s licensed body status would have a serious detrimental impact on our business, and, in such circumstances, we would seek to collaborate with the SRA to minimize any resultant business disruption.

If the independent professionals who participate in our or our partner’s networks are characterized as employees, we would be subject to employment and withholding liabilities and regulatory risks.

We structure our relationships with the independent attorneys and independent accountants who participate in our and our partner’s networks in a manner that we believe results in an independent contractor relationship, not an employee relationship. On the other hand, our LZ Tax offering is fulfilled by our own employee accountants and tax professionals. An independent contractor is generally distinguished from an employee by his or her degree of autonomy and independence in providing services. A high degree of autonomy and independence is generally indicative of a contractor relationship, while a high degree of control is generally indicative of an employment relationship. Although we believe that the independent attorneys and independent accountants who participate in our and our partner’s networks are properly characterized as independent contractors, tax or other regulatory authorities may in the future challenge our characterization of these relationships. If such regulatory authorities or state, federal or foreign courts were to determine that these attorneys or accountants are employees, and not independent contractors, we would be required to withhold income taxes, to withhold and pay social security, Medicare and similar taxes, to pay unemployment and other related payroll taxes and could face allegations of UPL or CPL. We would also be liable for unpaid past taxes and subject to penalties. As a result, any determination that these independent attorneys or independent accountants are our employees could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

 

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We are subject to stringent and changing laws, regulations and standards, and contractual obligations related to data privacy and security. The actual or perceived failure to comply with applicable data protection, privacy, and security laws, regulations, standards, and other requirements could adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial conditions.

We are subject to numerous foreign and domestic laws, regulations, and standards regarding privacy and data security governing the personal information and other data that we may collect, store, use, or process. Privacy has become a significant issue in the United States. The regulatory framework for privacy issues is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. Many government bodies and agencies have adopted or are considering adopting laws and regulations regarding the collection, use, storage, destruction, and disclosure of personal information and breach notification procedures. We are also required to comply with laws, rules and regulations relating to data security. Interpretation of these laws, rules and regulations in applicable jurisdictions is ongoing and cannot be fully determined at this time.

In June 2018, California adopted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, or CCPA, which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA gives California residents expanded rights to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain personal information sharing, and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA also provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches that is expected to increase litigation involving misuse of personal information of California residents. The CCPA may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. In addition, California voters recently approved the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, or CPRA, which goes into effect on January 1, 2023. It is expected that the CPRA would, among other things, give California residents the ability to limit the use of their personal information, further restrict the use of cross-contextual advertising, establish restrictions on the retention of personal information, expand the types of data breaches subject to the CCPA’s private right of action, provide for increased penalties for CPRA violations concerning California residents under the age of 16, and establish a new California Privacy Protection Agency to implement and enforce the new law. Some observers have noted that the CCPA and CPRA could mark the beginning of a trend of states adopting more stringent privacy legislation in the United States, which could further increase our compliance costs, potential liability and adversely affect our business.

The global data protection landscape is also rapidly evolving, and we expect that there will continue to be new and proposed laws, regulations, and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection, and information security, and we cannot yet determine the impact that such future laws, regulations and standards may have on our business. For example, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, went into effect in the EU. The GDPR imposes stringent data protection requirements and to date, has increased compliance burdens on us, including by mandating burdensome documentation requirements and granting certain rights to individuals to control how we collect, use, disclose, retain and process information about them. The GDPR also provides for more robust regulatory enforcement and greater penalties for noncompliance than previous data protection laws, including fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual revenue of any noncompliant company for the preceding financial year, whichever is greater.

European data protection laws including the GDPR also generally prohibit the transfer of personal information from Europe to the United States and most other countries unless the parties to the transfer have implemented specific safeguards to protect the transferred personal information. The Court of Justice of the European Union, or CJEU, recently raised questions about whether the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses, one of the primary mechanisms used by U.S. companies to import personal information from Europe, complies with the GDPR. While the CJEU upheld the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses, the CJEU ruled that the underlying data transfers must be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the data controller to determine whether the personal information will be adequately protected. Further, the European Commission recently proposed updates to the Standard Contractual Clauses. At present, there are few if any viable alternatives to the Standard Contractual Clauses and, therefore, there is uncertainty regarding how to ensure that transfers of personal information from Europe to the United States comply with the GDPR. As such, any transfers by us, or

 

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our third-party service providers, of personal information from Europe may not comply with European data protection laws; may increase our exposure to the GDPR’s heightened sanctions for violations of its cross-border data transfer restrictions; and may reduce demand for our services from companies subject to European data protection laws. Loss of our ability to transfer personal information from Europe may also require us to increase our data processing capabilities in those jurisdictions at significant expense.

Further, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, often referred to as Brexit, has created uncertainty with regard to the regulation of data protection in the United Kingdom, including with respect to whether laws or regulations will apply to us consistent with the GDPR in the future and how data transfers to and from the United Kingdom will be regulated. Following December 31, 2020, and the expiry of transitional arrangements between the United Kingdom and European Union, the data protection obligations of the GDPR continue to apply to U.K.-related processing of personal data in substantially unvaried form under the so-called U.K. GDPR (i.e., the GDPR as it continues to form part of U.K. law by virtue of section 3 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended). However, going forward, there is increasing risk for divergence in application, interpretation and enforcement of the data protection laws as between the United Kingdom and European Economic Area, or EEA. Furthermore, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the EEA in relation to certain aspects of data protection law remains uncertain. For example, it is unclear whether transfers of personal data from the EEA to the United Kingdom will be permitted to take place on the basis of a future adequacy decision of the European Commission, or whether a transfer mechanism such as the SCCs will be required. Under the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom and European Union have agreed that transfers of personal data to the U.K. from EEA member states will not be treated as ‘restricted transfers’ to a non-EEA country for a period of up to four months from January 1, 2021, plus a potential further two months extension, or the “Extended Adequacy Assessment Period.” Although the current maximum duration of the Extended Adequacy Assessment Period is six months, it may end sooner, for example, in the event that the European Commission adopts an adequacy decision in respect of the United Kingdom, or the United Kingdom amends the U.K. GDPR and/or makes certain changes regarding data transfers under the U.K. GDPR/Data Protection Act 2018 without the consent of the European Union (unless those amendments or decisions are made simply to keep relevant U.K. laws aligned with the European Union’s data protection regime). If the European Commission does not adopt an adequacy decision in respect of the United Kingdom prior to the expiry of the Extended Adequacy Assessment Period, from that point onwards the United Kingdom will be an inadequate third country under the GDPR and transfers of personal data from the EEA to the United Kingdom will require a ‘transfer mechanism’ such as the Standard Contractual Clauses.

The type of challenges we face in Europe will likely also arise in other jurisdictions that adopt laws similar in construction to the GDPR or regulatory frameworks of equivalent complexity. For example, Brazil enacted the General Data Protection Law, New Zealand enacted the New Zealand Privacy Act, China released its draft Personal Information Protection Law, and Canada introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act.

Compliance with these and any other applicable privacy and data security laws, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Code Section 7216, and regulations is a rigorous and time-intensive process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms to ensure compliance with the new data protection rules. Any failure or perceived failure by us or third parties working on our behalf to comply with applicable laws and regulations, any privacy and data security obligations pursuant to contract, our stated privacy or security policies, or obligations to customers or other third parties may result in governmental enforcement actions (including fines, penalties, judgments, settlements, imprisonment of company officials and public censure), civil claims, litigation, damage to our brand and reputation and loss of goodwill (both in relation to existing customers and prospective customers), any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and financial performance.

Additionally, some providers of consumer devices and web browsers have implemented, or announced plans to implement, means to make it easier for Internet users to prevent the placement of cookies or to block other tracking technologies, which could, if widely adopted, result in the use of third-party cookies and other methods

 

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of online tracking becoming significantly less effective. The regulation of the use of these cookies and other current online tracking and advertising practices or a loss in our ability to make effective use of services that employ such practices could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Breaches and other types of security incidents of our networks or systems, or those of our third-party service providers, could negatively impact our ability to conduct our business, our brand and reputation, our ability to retain existing customers and attract new customers, and may cause us to incur significant liabilities and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and future prospects.

We collect, use, store, transmit and process data and information about our customers, employees and others, some of which may be sensitive, personal, or confidential. Any actual or perceived breach of our security measures or those of our third-party service providers could adversely affect our business, operations and future prospects. A third party that is able to circumvent our security measures or those of our third-party service providers may access, misappropriate, delete, alter, publish or modify this information, which could cause interruptions in our business and operations, fraud or loss to third parties, regulatory enforcement actions, litigation, indemnity obligations and other possible liabilities, as well as negative publicity. Widespread negative publicity may also result from real, threatened or perceived security compromises affecting our industry, competitors, and customers. Concerns regarding data privacy and security could cause some of our customers to stop using our services and fail to renew their subscriptions. This discontinuance in use and failure to renew could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition, and future prospects.

Our internal computer systems, cloud-based computing services, and those of our current and any future third-party service providers are vulnerable to interruption. Cyberattacks and other malicious internet-based activity, such as computer malware, hacking, and phishing attempts, continue to increase. In addition to traditional computer “hackers,” malicious code (such as viruses, worms and ransomware), social engineering, cyber extortion and personnel theft or misuse, sophisticated nation-state and nation-state supported actors now engage in similar attacks (including advanced persistent threat intrusions). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees are temporarily working remotely, which may pose additional data security risks. We may also be the subject of denial of service attacks, server malfunction, software or hardware failures, loss of data or other computer assets, adware or other similar issues. While we have security measures in place designed to protect customer information and prevent data loss and other security breaches, we cannot guarantee that our, or our third-party service providers’ security measures will be sufficient to protect against unauthorized access to, or other compromise of, personal information confidential or proprietary information. The techniques used to sabotage or to obtain unauthorized access to our platform, systems, networks and/or physical facilities in which data is stored or through which data is transmitted change frequently, and we have not always been able in the past and may be unable in the future to anticipate such techniques or implement adequate preventative measures or stop security breaches that may arise from such techniques. As a result, our safeguards and preventive measures may not be adequate to prevent current or future cyberattacks and security incidents, including security breaches that may remain undetected for extended periods of time, which can substantially increase the potential for a material adverse impact resulting from the breach.

We are required to comply with laws, rules and regulations that require us to maintain the security of personal information. We may have contractual and other legal obligations to notify relevant stakeholders of security breaches. We operate in an industry that is prone to cyberattacks. Failure to prevent or mitigate cyberattacks could result in the unauthorized access to such data, including personal information. Most jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals, regulatory authorities, and others of security breaches involving certain types of data. In addition, our agreements with certain customers and partners may require us to notify them in the event of a security breach. We have experienced and may in the future experience personal information security breaches as to which we are legally required to notify individuals, customers, regulators, the media and others. Such disclosures are costly, could lead to negative publicity, may cause our customers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures and not use our services, and require us to expend significant capital and other resources to respond to and/or alleviate problems caused by the

 

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actual or perceived security breach. In addition, the costs to respond to a cybersecurity event or to mitigate any security vulnerabilities that may be identified could be significant, including costs for remediating the effects of such an event, paying a ransom, restoring data from backups, and conducting data analysis to determine what data may have been affected by the breach. In addition, our efforts to contain or remediate a security breach or any vulnerability exploited to cause a breach may be unsuccessful, and efforts and any related failures to contain or remediate them could result in interruptions, delays, loss in customer trust, harm to our reputation, and increases to our insurance coverage.

We may not have adequate insurance coverage for security incidents or breaches, including fines, judgments, settlements, penalties, costs, attorney fees and other impacts that arise out of incidents or breaches. Although we maintain cyber liability insurance, we cannot assure you that such insurance coverage will be adequate to cover liabilities actually incurred or that insurance will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceeds our available insurance coverage, or results in changes to our insurance policies (including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements), could have an adverse effect on our business. Our risks are likely to increase as we continue to expand, grow our customer base, and process, store, and transmit increasingly large amounts of confidential, proprietary and sensitive data.

We are subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, and similar laws, and non-compliance with such laws can subject us to criminal and/or civil liability and harm our business.

We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, and other anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in the countries in which we conduct activities. Anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws have been enforced aggressively in recent years and are interpreted broadly to generally prohibit companies and their employees and third-party intermediaries from authorizing, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or benefits to recipients in the public or private sector. In addition, we or our third-party intermediaries may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities. We can be held liable for the corrupt or other illegal activities of these third-party intermediaries, our employees, representatives, contractors, partners, and agents, even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities.

While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with such anti-corruption laws, we cannot assure you that all of our employees and agents will not take actions in violation of our policies and applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible.

Detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations of anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws can require a significant diversion of time, resources, and attention from senior management. In addition, noncompliance with anti-corruption, anti-bribery, or anti-money-laundering laws could subject us to whistleblower complaints, investigations, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, suspension and/or debarment from contracting with certain persons, the loss of export privileges, reputational harm, adverse media coverage, and other collateral consequences. If any subpoenas or investigations are launched, or governmental or other sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be materially harmed. In addition, responding to any action will likely result in a materially significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could further harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

 

 

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Risks Relating to Intellectual Property

Our use of open source software could negatively affect our proprietary technologies and our ability to offer and sell subscriptions to our products and could subject us to possible litigation.

Certain of the technologies we currently use incorporate open source software, or OSS, and we expect to continue to utilize OSS in the future. OSS is licensed by its authors under a variety of license types. Some of these licenses (often called “hereditary” or “viral” licenses) contain requirements that could cause us to make available the source code of the modifications or derivative works that we create based upon the licensed OSS, and that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of a particular open source license granting third parties certain rights of further use. By the terms of such open source licenses, we also could be required to release the source code of our proprietary (closed-source) software, and to make our proprietary software available under open source licenses, if we combine and/or distribute our proprietary software with such open source software in a manner that triggers the obligation of the license. Although we monitor our use of open source software in a manner designed to avoid such risks, we cannot be sure that all OSS and their associated licenses are reviewed prior to use in our proprietary software, that our programmers have not incorporated open source software into our proprietary software in a manner triggering such adverse licensing obligations, or that they will not do so in the future. Additionally, the terms of many open source licenses have not been interpreted by U.S. or other courts, and these licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products. We may face claims from others claiming ownership of open source software or patents reading on that software, rights to our intellectual property or breach of open source license terms, including a demand for release of material portions of our source code or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These claims could result in litigation, which could be costly to defend, require us to purchase a costly license (such as a commercial version of an open source license), require us to establish additional specific open source compliance procedures, or require us to devote additional research and development resources to remove open source elements from or otherwise change our solutions, any of which would have a negative effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects. Any of the foregoing could disrupt and harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property to prevent unauthorized use or appropriation, the value of our brand and other intangible assets, as well as our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects may be adversely affected.

We rely and expect to continue to rely on confidentiality and license agreements with our employees, consultants and third parties, and on trademark, copyright, trade secret, and domain name protection laws, to protect our proprietary rights. We have no issued patents, and have 17 U.S. trademark registrations and 17 pending U.S. trademark applications, and additional trademark registrations outside of the United States. Third parties may knowingly or unknowingly infringe on or challenge our proprietary rights, and pending and future trademark or other intellectual property applications may not be approved. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which we operate or intend to operate our business. In these cases, we may expend significant time and expense to prevent infringement and enforce our rights. We cannot assure you that others will not offer services or concepts that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business. If the protection of our proprietary rights is inadequate to prevent unauthorized use or appropriation, the value of our brand and other intangible assets may be diminished and competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our services, business practices or operations, which may have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

Confidentiality agreements with employees and others may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and proprietary information.

We have devoted substantial resources to the development of our intellectual property and proprietary rights. In order to protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights, we rely in part on confidentiality agreements with our employees, licensees, independent contractors and other advisors. These agreements may

 

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not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. In addition, others may independently discover trade secrets and proprietary information, and in such cases we could not assert any trade secret rights against such parties. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain trade secret protection could adversely affect our competitive business position.

Risks Relating to Ownership of Our Common Stock and this Offering

The market price of our common stock may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance, and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above the initial public offering price, if at all.

The initial public offering price for our common stock will be determined through negotiations between the underwriters and us and may vary from the market price of our common stock following our initial public offering. If you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you may not be able to resell those shares at or above the initial public offering price, if at all. We cannot assure you that the initial public offering price of our common stock, or the market price following this offering, will equal or exceed prices in privately negotiated transactions of our shares that have occurred from time to time prior to this offering. The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

  

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our revenue and results of operations;

 

  

the operating and financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections or our failure to meet these projections;

 

  

variance in our financial performance from expectations of securities analysts;

 

  

increase or loss of customers;

 

  

fluctuations in product sales mix;

 

  

changes in our pricing strategy or those of our competitors;

 

  

developments in new legislation and pending lawsuits or regulatory actions, including interim or final rulings by judicial or regulatory bodies;

 

  

our involvement in any litigation;

 

  

actual or anticipated changes in our growth rate relative to those of our competitors;

 

  

announcements of technological innovations or new services offered by us or our competitors;

 

  

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital-raising activities or commitments;

 

  

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

  

actions of securities analysts who initiate or maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or investor expectations;

 

  

fluctuations in the valuation of companies perceived by investors to be comparable to us;

 

  

additional shares of our common stock or other securities being sold into the market by us or our existing stockholders or the anticipation of such sales, including if existing stockholders sell shares into the market when applicable “lock-up” periods end;

 

 

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price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;

 

  

other events or factors, including those resulting from war or incidents of terrorism, or responses to these events; and

 

  

general economic, political, regulatory and market conditions.

Broad market and industry fluctuations, as well as general economic, political, regulatory and market conditions such as recessions, interest rate changes or international currency fluctuations, may negatively impact the market price of our common stock. If the market price of our common stock after this offering does not exceed the initial public offering price, you may not realize any return on your investment in us and may lose some or all of your investment. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

A significant portion of our total outstanding shares are restricted from immediate resale but may be sold into the market in the near future, which could cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is performing well.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market after our initial public offering, 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 such sales may have on the prevailing market price of our common stock. After this offering, we will have                  outstanding shares of common stock, based on the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, assuming no exercise by the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares in this offering. This number includes                shares that we are selling in this offering, which may be resold in the public market immediately without restriction, unless purchased by our affiliates. The remaining                  shares of our common stock outstanding after this offering, based on                  shares outstanding as of March 31, 2021, are currently restricted as a result of securities laws, lock-up agreements or other contractual restrictions that restrict transfers for at least 180 days after the date of this prospectus, subject to certain exceptions, but will generally be able to be sold after the offering as described in the sections titled “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” and “Underwriting.”

After this offering, the holders of                shares of common stock, or    % of our total outstanding common stock, based on                shares outstanding as of March 31, 2021 and giving effect to the sale of shares by us, will be entitled to rights pursuant to an investors’ rights agreement and related agreements, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other stockholders. If these holders of our common stock sell a large number of shares by exercising their registration rights, they could adversely affect the market price for our common stock. If we file a registration statement for the purposes of selling additional shares to raise capital and are required to include shares held by these holders pursuant to the exercise of their registration rights, our ability to raise capital may be impaired. We intend to register all shares of common stock that we may issue under our equity compensation plans. Once we register these shares, they can be freely sold in the public market upon issuance, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates and the lock-up agreements described in the section titled “Underwriting.”

 

 

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No public market for our common stock currently exists, and an active public trading market may not develop or be sustained following this offering.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our common stock. Although we have applied to list our common stock on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, an active trading market may not develop following the completion of this offering or, if developed, may not be sustained. The lack of an active market may impair your ability to sell your shares at the time you wish to sell them or at a price that you consider reasonable. The lack of an active market may also reduce the fair value of your shares. An inactive market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.

If you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you will experience substantial and immediate dilution.

The initial public offering price of our common stock will be substantially higher than the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock as of March 31, 2021, immediately after this offering. Therefore, if you purchase shares of our common stock in this offering, you will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share immediately after this offering. Based on an assumed initial public offering price of $                 per share, which is the midpoint of the estimated price range on the cover page of this prospectus, you will experience immediate dilution of $                 per share, or $                 per share if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in this offering in full, representing the difference between our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering and the initial public offering price per share. If outstanding options or RSUs are exercised or settled in the future, you will experience additional dilution. See the section titled “Dilution” for additional information.

We have broad discretion in the use of our cash and cash equivalents, including the net proceeds from this offering, and may use them ineffectively, in ways with which you do not agree or in ways that do not increase the value of your investment.

We intend to use the net proceeds to us from this offering primarily for general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures, and to repay $                 of the outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Term Loan. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds for the acquisition of, or investment in, technologies, solutions, businesses or assets that complement our business or operations, although we have no present commitments or agreements to enter into any such acquisitions or investments after this offering. However, we will have broad discretion over the uses of the net proceeds, as well as our cash and cash equivalents, and we may spend or invest them in ways that our stockholders disagree with, that cause the price of our common stock to decline or that could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future, which could reduce the attractiveness of our stock to some investors.

Although we have paid cash dividends to our stockholders in the past, we currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not expect to declare or pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors. In addition, the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement contains restrictions on our ability to pay dividends. As a result, you must rely on sales of your common stock after price appreciation, which may never occur, as the only way to realize any future gains on your investments for the foreseeable future.

 

 

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Concentration of ownership of our common stock among our existing executive officers, directors and principal stockholders may prevent new investors from influencing significant corporate decisions.

Based upon our shares of our common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, upon the completion of this offering, our executive officers, directors and stockholders who owned more than 5% of our outstanding common stock before this offering will, in the aggregate, beneficially own shares representing approximately    % of our outstanding common stock. If our executive officers, directors and stockholders who owned more than 5% of our outstanding common stock acted together, they may be able to significantly influence all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election and removal of directors and approval of any merger, consolidation or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. The concentration of voting power and transfer restrictions could delay or prevent an acquisition of our company on terms that other stockholders may desire or result in the management of our company in ways with which other stockholders disagree.

In addition, pursuant to a director nomination agreement entered into between us and each of (i) LucasZoom, LLC (collectively with its affiliated investment entities, “Permira”) and (ii) FPLZ I, L.P. and FPLZ II, L.P. (together with FPLZ I, L.P. and their affiliated investment entities, “FP”, and together with Permira, the “Lead Sponsors”), we will have the obligation to support the nomination of, and to cause our board of directors to include in the slate of nominees recommended to our stockholders for election, a number of designees equal to at least: (i) two individuals for so long as each Lead Sponsor continuously from the time of the completion of this offering beneficially owns shares of common stock representing at least 50% of the shares of common stock owned by such Lead Sponsor immediately following the completion of this offering and (ii) one individual for so long as each Lead Sponsor continuously from the time of the completion of this offering beneficially owns shares of common stock representing at least 25% but less than 50% of the shares of common stock owned by such Lead Sponsor immediately following the completion of this offering. For more information regarding the director nomination agreement, see the section titled “Management—Board Composition.” Each of Permira and FP, and their respective affiliates, may therefore have influence over management and control over matters requiring stockholder approval, including the annual election of directors and significant corporate transactions following the completion of this offering.

Provisions in our corporate charter documents and provisions under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us, which may be beneficial to our stockholders, more difficult and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Provisions in our corporate charter and our bylaws that will become effective upon the completion of this offering may discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition or other change in control of us that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which you might otherwise receive a premium for your shares. These provisions also could limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock, thereby depressing the market price of our common stock. In addition, because our board of directors is responsible for appointing the members of our management team, 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. Among other things, these provisions:

 

  

establish a classified board of directors such that not all members of the board are elected at one time;

 

  

allow the authorized number of our directors to be changed only by resolution of our board of directors;

 

  

limit the manner in which stockholders can remove directors from the board;

 

  

establish advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals that can be acted on at stockholder meetings and nominations to our board of directors;

 

  

require that stockholder actions must be effected at a duly called stockholder meeting and prohibit actions by our stockholders by written consent;

 

  

limit who may call stockholder meetings;

 

 

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authorize our board of directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could be used to institute a stockholder rights plan, or so-called “poison pill,” that would work to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer, effectively preventing acquisitions that have not been approved by our board of directors; and

 

  

require the approval of the holders of at least 66 2/3% of the votes that all our stockholders would be entitled to cast to amend or repeal certain provisions of our charter or bylaws.

Moreover, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prohibits a person who owns 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock from merging or combining with us for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person acquired 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, unless the merger or combination is approved in a prescribed manner. These provisions could discourage potential acquisition proposals and could delay or prevent a change in control transaction. They could also have the effect of discouraging others from making tender offers for our common stock, including transactions that may be in your best interests. These provisions may also prevent changes in our management or limit the price that investors are willing to pay for our stock.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forums for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, as will be in effect upon the completion of this offering, will provide that unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware lacks subject matter jurisdiction, any state court located within the State of Delaware or, if and only if all such state courts lack subject matter jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware) and any appellate court thereof shall be the exclusive forum for the following types of actions or proceedings under Delaware statutory or common law:

 

  

any derivative claim or cause of action brought on our behalf;

 

  

any claim or cause of action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders;

 

  

any claim or cause of action against us or any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees arising under the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws;

 

  

any claim or cause of action arising under or seeking to interpret our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; and

 

  

any claim or cause of action against us or any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine or otherwise related to our internal affairs.

The provisions would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act. Furthermore, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all such Securities Act actions. Accordingly, both state and federal courts have jurisdiction to entertain such claims. To prevent having to litigate claims in multiple jurisdictions and the threat of inconsistent or contrary rulings by different courts, among other considerations, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will further provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause or causes of action arising under the Securities Act, including all causes of action asserted against any defendant to such complaint. For the avoidance of doubt, this provision is intended to benefit and may be enforced by us, our officers and directors, the underwriters to any offering giving rise to such complaint, and any other professional entity whose profession gives authority to a statement made by that person or entity and who has prepared or certified any part of the documents underlying the offering.

 

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While the Delaware courts have determined that such choice of forum provisions are facially valid, a stockholder may nevertheless seek to bring a claim in a venue other than those designated in the exclusive forum provisions. In such instance, we would expect to vigorously assert the validity and enforceability of the exclusive forum provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. This may require significant additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions and there can be no assurance that the provisions will be enforced by a court in those other jurisdictions.

These exclusive forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, and other employees. If a court were to find either exclusive-forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur further significant additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, all of which could seriously harm our business.

General Risk Factors

As a public company, we will be subject to more stringent federal and state law requirements.

As a public company, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Dodd-Frank Act, the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Despite reforms made possible by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the JOBS Act), compliance with these rules and regulations will nonetheless increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results.

As a result of disclosure of information in this prospectus and in filings required of a public company, our business and financial condition will become more visible, which we believe may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects could be harmed, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our brand and reputation, business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

We may also be subject to more stringent state law requirements. For example, on September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senator Bill 826, or SB 826, which generally requires public companies with principal executive offices in California to have a minimum number of females on the company’s board of directors. By December 31, 2019, each public company with principal executive offices in California was required to have at least one female on its board of directors. By December 31, 2021, each public company is required to have at least two females on its board of directors if the company has at least five directors, and at least three females on its board of directors if the company has at least six directors. The new law does not provide a transition period for newly listed companies. Additionally, on September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 979, or AB 979, which generally requires public companies with principal executive offices in California to include specified numbers of directors from “underrepresented communities.” A director from an “underrepresented community” means a director who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. By December 31, 2021, each public company with principal executive offices in California is required to have at least one director from an underrepresented community. By December 31, 2022, a public company with more than four but fewer than nine directors will be required to have a minimum of two directors from underrepresented communities, and a public company with nine or more directors will need to have a minimum of three directors from underrepresented communities.

 

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Similar to SB 826, AB 979 does not provide a transition period for newly listed companies. If we fail to comply with either SB 826 or AB 979, we could be fined by the California Secretary of State, with a $100,000 fine for the first violation and a $300,000 fine for each subsequent violation of either law, and our reputation may be adversely affected.

We also expect that being a public company and these new rules and regulations will make it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or publish negative reports about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.

Our stock price and trading volume will be heavily influenced by the way analysts and investors interpret our financial information and other disclosures. If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, delay publishing reports about our business or publish negative reports about our business, regardless of accuracy, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will, to some extent, depend 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 one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our shares or change their opinion of our shares, 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. Even if our common stock is actively covered by analysts, we do not have any control over the analysts or the measures that analysts or investors may rely upon to forecast our future results. Over-reliance by analysts or investors on any particular metric to forecast our future results may result in forecasts that differ significantly from our own.

Regardless of accuracy, unfavorable interpretations of our financial information and other public disclosures could have a negative impact on our stock price. If our financial performance fails to meet analyst estimates, for any of the reasons discussed above or otherwise, or one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our common stock or change their opinion of our common stock, our stock price would likely decline.

The COVID-19 pandemic could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have implemented significant measures, including closures, quarantines, travel restrictions and other social distancing directives, intended to control the spread of the virus. Companies have also taken precautions, such as requiring employees to work remotely, imposing travel restrictions and temporarily closing businesses. To the extent that these restrictions remain in place, additional prevention and mitigation measures are implemented in the future, or there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of these or any other measures to contain or treat COVID-19, there has been and continues to be an adverse impact on global economic conditions and consumer confidence and spending, which could adversely affect our business as well as the demand for our products. The fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties regarding the related economic impact are likely to result in sustained market turmoil, which could also have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic may impact customer demand. Our customers may be impacted if governments continue to implement regional business closures, quarantines, travel restrictions and other social distancing directives to slow the spread of the virus. To the extent our customers’ operations are negatively impacted, our customers may reduce demand for or spending on our products, or customers may delay payments

 

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to us or request payment or other concessions. There may also be significant reductions or volatility in demand for our services, as well as the temporary inability of customers to purchase our products due to illness, quarantine or financial hardship, shifts in demand away from one or more of our products, decreased consumer confidence and spending or pantry-loading activity, any of which may negatively impact our results, including as a result of an increased difficulty in planning for operations. While, in 2020, we saw tailwinds in our business driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals and small businesses turned to online services given the relative inaccessibility of offline alternatives, and we believe these shifts represent an acceleration of existing trends toward greater adoption of online services, these tailwinds and trends could moderate or reverse over time.

The extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration and intensity of the pandemic, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict considering the rapidly evolving landscape. As a result, it is not currently possible to ascertain the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. However, if the pandemic continues to persist as a severe worldwide health crisis, the disease could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section.

We are an “emerging growth company,” and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting 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. For as long as we continue to be an “emerging growth company,” 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, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or 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 because we may 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. We may take advantage of some or all of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We will remain an “emerging growth company” until the earlier of (i) the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering, (ii) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion, (iii) the last day of the first fiscal year in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means in part that the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates equals or exceeds $700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (iv) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period.

As an “emerging growth company,” the JOBS Act allows us to delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to avail ourselves of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will not be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies.”

Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or 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 February 2016, the FASB issued Accounting

 

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Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases, also known as ASC 842, which will require lessees to recognize a right-of-use assets and lease liabilities for operating leases, initially measured at the present value of the lease payments, on its balance sheet for operating leases. The standard also requires a lessee to recognize a single lease cost, calculated so that the cost of the lease is allocated over the lease term, on a generally straight-line basis.

We are planning to adopt ASC 842 effective January 1, 2022. We are in the process of evaluating the impact ASC 842 will have on our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures. Our prior historical financial information for the year ended December 31, 2020 and three months ended March 31, 2021 and prior periods will continue to be reported in accordance with historical accounting standards. These or other changes to existing rules may harm our operating results and affect the comparability of our results from period to period.

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus, including the sections titled “Prospectus Summary,” “Risk Factors,” “Use of Proceeds,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business,” contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this prospectus, including statements regarding our strategy, future financial condition, future operations, projected costs, prospects, plans, objectives of management and expected market growth, are forward-looking statements. These statements may relate to, but are not limited to, expectations of future operating results or financial performance, capital expenditures, use of proceeds from this offering, introduction of new services and enhancements to our current platform, regulatory compliance, target ratio of lifetime value to customer acquisition costs, plans for growth and future operations, the size of our addressable market and market trends, as well as assumptions relating to the foregoing. In some cases you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “aim,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would,” or the negative or plural of these words or similar expressions. Actual events or results may differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, and these differences may be material and adverse.

We have based the forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, prospects, business strategy and financial needs. The outcome of the events described in these forward-looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus. These risks are not exhaustive. Other sections of this prospectus include additional factors that could adversely affect our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus. We cannot assure you that the results, events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, and actual results, events or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.

In addition, statements that “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this prospectus, 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. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements.

You should read this prospectus and the documents that we reference in this prospectus and have filed with the SEC as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and events and circumstances may be materially different from what we expect.

The forward-looking statements made in this prospectus relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this prospectus to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

 

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MARKET, INDUSTRY AND OTHER DATA

This prospectus contains estimates and information concerning our industry, including market size and growth of the markets in which we participate, that are based on industry publications and reports. In some cases, we do not expressly refer to the sources from which these estimates and information are derived. This information involves a number of assumptions and limitations, and you are cautioned not to give undue weight to these estimates. We have not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of the data contained in these industry publications and reports. The industry in which we operate is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors, including those described in the section titled “Risk Factors.” These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in these publications and reports.

The sources of certain statistical data, estimates, and forecasts contained in this prospectus are the following independent industry sources:

 

  

Center for American Progress, Making Justice Equal, December 2016.

 

  

Ernst & Young Global Limited, How COVID-19 has triggered a spring toward smarter health care, March 2021.

 

  

IBISWorld, Online Legal Services, Cyber security: Persistent expansion in the total number of US businesses will likely increase the industry’s client base, November 2020.

 

  

MBO Partners, The State of Independence in America 2020, December 2020.

 

  

McKinsey & Company, Elevating Customer Experience Excellence in the Next Normal, May 2020.

 

  

NSBA—National Small Business Association, or NSBA, 2017 NSBA Small Business Regulations Survey, January 2017.

 

  

Themis Solutions Inc., Legal Trends Report Powered by Clio, 2018.

 

  

Themis Solutions Inc., Legal Trends Report by Clio, 2019.

In addition, statements in this prospectus referring to Dynata refer to the collection and analysis of aided and unaided brand awareness data that is shared with us on a quarterly basis by Dynata LLC, a global online market research firm, based on surveys hosted by Dynata from the period of 2015-2020. “Aided brand awareness” means the percentage of survey respondents who expressed knowledge of a specific brand when asked about that brand by name and “unaided brand awareness” means the percentage of survey respondents who expressed knowledge of a specific brand without mentioning the name of that brand when asked about awareness of online legal services.

Statements in this prospectus referring to the Kantar study refer to an addressable market sizing study of small businesses under 50 employees and consumers aged 25-65 in the United States conducted with data provided by Kantar Consulting, a marketing and sales consultancy, in February 2019, which we commissioned.

Statements in this prospectus referring to the Magid study refer to a small and mid-sized business opportunities study based on panel data of business owners and LegalZoom customers conducted by Magid Consulting Inc. in March 2021, which we commissioned.

We monitor our estimated share of total business formations in the United States every year, which we estimate to be 4.4 million. There are many widely-cited sources of data on small business formation. The U.S. Census reports business formation statistics for new businesses with employees. This data relates to employer firms, and is based on new employer identification number, or EIN, applications with the IRS and statistical estimates of the number of EIN applications that will result in a new employee. In 2020, there were 4.4 million EIN applications, with 1.5 million categorized as high propensity to turn into a business with payroll. The U.S. Census also reports the total number of sole proprietorships operating in the United States based on IRS filings. A small business is considered a sole proprietorship by default if it does not officially form. However, sole proprietorships that have formed as an LLC may file with the IRS as a sole proprietorship. There is no reliable data for the number of LLCs in operation or the number of new sole proprietorships formed. We analyze employer firm data and secretary of state filings to derive our estimate of small businesses formed each year.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We estimate that the net proceeds to us from the sale of the shares of our common stock offered by us will be approximately $        million, based on an assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us. If the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares from us in this offering is exercised in full, we estimate that our net proceeds will be approximately $        million, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $        million, assuming the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. Similarly, each increase (decrease) of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares of common stock offered by us would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $        million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.

The principal purposes of this offering are to increase our capitalization and financial flexibility, create a public market for our common stock and facilitate our future access to the public capital markets. We currently intend to use the net proceeds to us from this offering primarily (1) to repay $        of the outstanding indebtedness under our 2018 Credit Agreement, which matures on November 21, 2024, and which may carry, at our option, an interest rate equal to either (a) LIBOR (or a comparable successor rate approved by the administrative agent and us), plus a margin of 4.50% per annum, or (b) the base rate plus a margin of 3.50% per annum, which margin may decrease depending on our total net first lien leverage ratio, and with the base rate being the highest of (i) the federal funds rate plus 1/2 of 1%, (ii) the prime rate as publicly announced by JPMorgan Chase, (c) LIBOR plus 1.00%, and (d) 2%, which indebtedness is as further described in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowings,” and (2) for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses and capital expenditures. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds for the acquisition of, or investment in, technologies, businesses, products, services or other assets that complement our business or operations, although we have no present commitments or agreements to enter into any acquisitions or investments.

The expected use of net proceeds from this offering represents our intentions based upon our current plans and business conditions, which could change in the future as our plans and business conditions evolve. We cannot predict with certainty all of the particular uses for the proceeds of this offering or the amounts that we will actually spend on the uses set forth above. Our management will have broad discretion in applying the net proceeds of this offering. Pending their use, we intend to invest the net proceeds of this offering in a variety of capital-preservation investments, including short- and intermediate-term investments, interest-bearing investments, investment-grade securities and government securities and money market funds.

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

Although we have paid cash dividends on our capital stock in the past, we currently intend to retain any future earnings for use in the operation of our business and do not intend to declare or pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any further determination to pay dividends on our capital stock will be at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to applicable laws, and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, general business conditions, and other factors that our board of directors considers relevant. In addition, the Amended and Restated Credit Agreement contains restrictions on our ability to pay dividends.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table shows our cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash equivalent and our capitalization as of March 31, 2021 on:

 

  

an actual basis;

 

  

a pro forma basis, giving effect to: (1) the automatic conversion of all 23,081,080 shares of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 46,162,160 shares of our common stock upon the completion of this offering and the related reclassification of the carrying value of the redeemable convertible preferred stock to stockholders’ deficit upon the completion of this offering; (2) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $        million associated with certain options and RSUs for which the performance condition is satisfied upon the completion of this offering, assuming the offering occurred on March 31, 2021, recorded as an increase to additional paid-in capital and accumulated deficit; (3) the vesting and settlement of            RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021, net of                shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed        % tax withholding rate), that will vest upon the completion of this offering; (4) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $             associated with options for executive officers and employees that for retention purposes we intend to modify prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, assuming the offering and the modification of the options occurred on March 31, 2021, recorded as an increase to additional paid-in capital and accumulated deficit; (5) the lapse of the restriction on $25.0 million of our restricted cash equivalent in June 2021 upon the release of collateral related to a personal loan by a former executive; and (6) the filing and effectiveness of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation immediately after the completion of this offering; and

 

  

a pro forma as adjusted basis, giving effect to the pro forma adjustments discussed above, and giving further effect to: (1) the sale of shares of common stock in this offering by us at an assumed initial public offering price of $         per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and (2) the repayment of $         million of outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Term Loan after the completion of this offering.

 

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You should read this table together with the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

   As of March 31, 2021 
   (Unaudited) 
   Actual  Pro Forma   Pro Forma, As
Adjusted(1)
 
   (in thousands, except share and par value data) 

Cash and cash equivalents

  $141,175  $                    $                   
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Restricted cash equivalent

  $25,000  $    $  
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Principal amount of 2018 Term Loan(2)

  $522,963  $    $  
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Redeemable convertible preferred stock, $0.001 par value: 30,512,000 shares authorized, 23,081,080 shares issued and outstanding, actual; no shares authorized, issued or outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

   70,906    

Stockholders’ deficit:

     

Preferred stock, $0.001 par value: no shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; 100,000,000 shares authorized and no shares issued and outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted

   —      

Common stock, $0.001 par value: 264,720,000 shares authorized, 125,299,386 shares issued outstanding, actual; and 1,000,000,000 shares authorized, and                shares issued and outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted, respectively

   126    

Additional paid-in capital

   106,288    

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

   (10,863   

Accumulated deficit

   (649,171   
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ deficit

   (553,620   
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total capitalization

  $40,249  $    $  
  

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ deficit and total capitalization by approximately $        million, assuming the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. Similarly, each increase (decrease) of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares of common stock offered by us would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ deficit and total capitalization by approximately $        million, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share remains the same, and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.

(2)

Excludes debt issuance costs of $8.9 million.

If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of common stock from us in full, pro forma as adjusted cash and cash equivalents, additional paid-in capital, total stockholders’ deficit, total capitalization, and shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021 would be $        , $        , $        , $        , and         , respectively. The pro forma as adjusted information set forth above is illustrative only and will change based on the actual initial public offering price and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.

The total number of shares of our common stock issued and outstanding, pro forma and pro forma as adjusted, in the table above is based on                  shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, which gives effect to the pro forma transactions described above and excludes:

 

  

14,952,784 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of outstanding options as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan, or 2016 Plan, at a weighted-average exercise price of $8.93 per share;

 

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                 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan that would not have satisfied the market vesting conditions or service-based vesting condition as of March 31, 2021, which excludes 55,358 shares of common stock issuable pursuant to RSUs that would have satisfied the service-based vesting condition as of March 31, 2021;

 

  

504,487 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs granted subsequent to March 31, 2021, and                  shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs and options to purchase                  shares of our common stock to be granted to certain of our executive officers immediately prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, all granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan;

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan, or 2021 Plan, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our 2021 Plan; and

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan, or ESPP, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our ESPP.

 

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DILUTION

If you invest in our common stock, your ownership interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share of our common stock and the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock immediately after this offering. The historical net tangible book value as of March 31, 2021 was $        million, or $    per share. Historical net tangible book value per share is our historical net tangible book value divided by the number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021.

Our pro forma net tangible book value as of March 31, 2021 was $        million, or $        per share of our common stock, based on the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding as of that date. Pro forma net tangible book value per share represents our total tangible assets less our total liabilities, divided by the number of outstanding shares of common stock, after giving effect to: (1) the automatic conversion of all 23,081,080 shares of our outstanding redeemable convertible preferred stock as of March 31, 2021 into an aggregate of 46,162,160 shares of our common stock upon the completion of this offering and the related reclassification of the carrying value of the redeemable convertible preferred stock to stockholders’ deficit upon the completion of this offering; (2) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $        million associated with certain options and RSUs for which the performance condition is satisfied upon the completion of this offering, assuming the offering occurred on March 31, 2021, recorded as an increase to additional paid-in capital and accumulated deficit; (3) the vesting and settlement of        RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021, net of                shares surrendered for withholding taxes (based on an assumed        % tax withholding rate), that will vest upon the completion of this offering; (4) additional stock-based compensation expense of approximately $         associated with options for executive officers and employees that for retention purposes we intend to modify prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, assuming the offering and the modification of the options occurred on March 31, 2021, recorded as an increase to additional paid-in capital and accumulated deficit; and (5) the lapse of the restriction on $25.0 million of our restricted cash equivalent in June 2021 upon the release of collateral related to a personal loan by a former executive.

After giving effect to (1) the sale of                shares of common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and (2) the repayment of $        million of our outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Term Loan after the completion of this offering, our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value as of March 31, 2021would have been $        million, or $        per share. This represents an immediate increase in pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value of $        per share to our existing stockholders and an immediate dilution of $        per share to new investors purchasing common stock in this offering.

The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis to new investors:

 

Assumed initial public offering price per share

    $             

Historical net tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2021

  $               

Pro forma increase in net tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2021 attributable to the pro forma transactions described above

    
  

 

 

   

Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2021

    

Increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share attributable to new investors participating in this offering

    
  

 

 

   

Pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share, as adjusted to give effect to this offering

    
    

 

 

 

Dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering

    $  
    

 

 

 

 

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Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) our pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $         per share and the dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering by $        per share, assuming that the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. Similarly, an increase of          million in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $        and decrease the dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering by $        per share, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us. A decrease of 1.0 million shares in the number of shares offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would decrease the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share after this offering by $        per share and increase the dilution per share to new investors participating in this offering by $        per share, assuming the assumed initial public offering price of $        per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions payable by us.

If the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase an additional        shares of our common stock from us, the pro forma as adjusted net tangible book value per share of our common stock after giving effect to this offering would be $        per share, representing an immediate increase in the pro forma net tangible book value per share to existing stockholders of $        per share, and immediate dilution of $        per share to new investors participating in this offering.

 

   Shares Purchased      Total Consideration      Average Price
Per Share
 
   Number   Percent  Amount   Percent 

Existing stockholders

                        $                                  $                  

New investors

     $     $  
  

 

 

   

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

  

Totals

     100.0 $     100.0 
  

 

 

   

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

  

After giving effect to the sale of shares in this offering by us, if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares from us, the number of shares held by existing stockholders will be reduced to                shares, or    % of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding following the completion of this offering, and will increase the number of shares held by new investors to                shares, or    % of the total number of shares outstanding following the completing of this offering.

Each $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $         per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) the total consideration paid by new investors and total consideration paid by all stockholders by approximately $         million, assuming that the number of shares of common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.

The foregoing table and calculations (other than the historical net tangible book value calculation) are based on                  shares common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2021, which gives effect to the pro forma transactions described above and excludes:

 

  

14,952,784 shares of common stock issuable upon the exercise of outstanding options as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan, or 2016 Plan, at a weighted-average exercise price of $8.93 per share;

 

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                 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021, granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan that would not have satisfied the market vesting conditions or service-based vesting condition as of March 31, 2021, which excludes 55,358 shares of common stock issuable pursuant to RSUs that would have satisfied the service-based vesting condition as of March 31, 2021;

 

  

504,487 shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs granted subsequent to March 31, 2021, and                  shares of common stock issuable upon the settlement of RSUs and options to purchase                  shares of our common stock to be granted to certain of our executive officers immediately prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, all granted pursuant to our 2016 Plan;

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our 2021 Plan, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our 2021 Plan; and

 

  

                shares of our common stock reserved for future issuance under our ESPP, which will become effective immediately prior to the execution of the underwriting agreement related to this offering, as well as any future automatic annual increases in the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under our ESPP.

To the extent that any outstanding options are exercised, new options or other equity awards are issued under our equity incentive plans, or we issue additional shares in the future, there will be further dilution to new investors participating in this offering.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF

FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations should be read together with the section titled “Prospectus Summary—Summary Consolidated Financial and Other Data,” and our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included elsewhere within this prospectus. This discussion includes both historical information and forward-looking information that involves risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Our actual results may differ materially from management’s expectations as a result of various factors, including but not limited to those discussed in the sections titled “Risk Factors” and “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” The objective of this section is to provide investors an understanding of the financial drivers and levers in our business and describe the financial performance of the business.

Overview

 

LOGO

LegalZoom is a leading online platform for legal and compliance solutions in the United States. In 2020, 10% of new limited liability companies, or LLCs, and 5% of new corporations in the United States were formed via LegalZoom. Our unique position at business inception allows us to become a trusted business advisor, supporting the evolving needs of a new business across its lifecycle. Along with formation, LegalZoom offerings include ongoing compliance and tax advice and filings, trademark filings, and estate plans. Additionally, we have unique insights into our customers and leverage our product as a channel to introduce small businesses to leading brands in our partner ecosystem, solving even more of their business needs. We operate across all 50 states and over 3,000 counties in the United States, and have more than 20 years of experience navigating complex regulation and simplifying the legal and compliance process for our customers.

The U.S. legal and regulatory landscape is broad and varied, complex, opaque, and constantly evolving, in particular with respect to the following:

 

  

Multiple third-party interactions. The simple act of forming an LLC or incorporating a corporation may require specific federal, state, county and city interactions, each with their own idiosyncrasies. For instance, in Louisiana, the state registration portal asks the not yet formed business for its EIN before completing a formation. For many consumers, this would require that they stop their filing and secure an EIN with the

 

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IRS before returning to the Louisiana registration portal, where they would need to restart the formation process again. In South Carolina, in order to incorporate, a small business must engage an attorney licensed in that state to certify its application for formation.

 

  

Compliance requirements are complex. At formation, basic compliance requirements are not anticipated or understood. More advanced requirements are dictated by industry, geography, and employer type. For instance, a restaurant in Miami with even a single employee would be required to file for formation, have a registered agent, adopt an operating agreement, get an EIN, register for sales tax, receive nine business licenses and have business insurance, among other things.

 

  

Regulations change constantly. The myriad of regulatory bodies and potential compliance requirements are daunting on their own, and this dynamic is amplified by the fact that they are constantly changing and evolving. According to a 2017 NSBA Small Business Regulations Survey, 44% of small firms in the United States reported spending 40 hours or more each year dealing with new and existing federal regulations, and 30% spend 40 hours or more each year navigating state and local regulations.

Many small businesses operate without forming a legal entity, unintentionally introducing financial risk to the owners’ personal assets. The businesses that recognize that risk upfront often struggle to address it. Once they understand the need to be protected, they often do not know what to do, where to turn or how much it will cost to get help. Even when formed properly, small businesses often fail to comply with ongoing compliance requirements, thereby reintroducing personal liability or facing significant financial and operational risk. Furthermore, these difficulties are becoming more acute as the number of U.S. business formations increase, driven by various macroeconomic factors such as the rise of the gig economy and remote work, accentuating the need for a trusted, cost-effective, digital-first and simple legal and compliance solution.

LegalZoom commenced operations in 2000 so more people could access legal help. Initially, we focused on business formation, intellectual property, and estate planning. Over the years, we have expanded our offerings to cover a broader set of legal, compliance, tax and business services for small businesses. In 2020, we helped form 10% of all new LLCs and helped incorporate 5% of all new corporations in the United States. In addition, 25,000 trademark applications, or 6% of all trademark registration applications in the United States in 2020, were made through LegalZoom. At December 31, 2020, we had over 1.0 million subscription units outstanding and were one of the largest registered agent providers for small businesses in the United States. As a result of this success, we have become the leading brand in online legal services, with 70% aided brand awareness as of December 2020 according to a 2020 study hosted by Dynata.

As a result of our traction with our customers, we have achieved economies of scale that we expect to continue to leverage as we accelerate the growth of our business. We generated revenue of $408.4 million in 2019 and $470.6 million in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 15.2%, and $105.8 million and $134.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, representing a period-over-period increase of 27.3%. We had net income (loss) of $7.4 million, $9.9 million, $(4.9) million and $(9.8) million in 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. The increase in net income between 2019 and 2020 was driven by higher revenue, which was partially offset by our investments in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. The increase in net loss between March 31, 2020 and 2021 largely resulted from increased investment in marketing spend, which nearly offset the increase in revenue. Adjusted EBITDA decreased from $97.2 million in 2019 to $88.0 million in 2020 and from $13.4 million to $3.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, as we invested further in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. Cash flows from operating activities increased from $52.7 million in 2019 to $93.0 million in 2020 and increased from $21.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $31.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Free cash flow increased from $34.3 million in 2019 to $82.5 million in 2020, primarily as a result of growing deferred revenue, driven by an increase in subscription units, an increase in accounts payable due to the timing of our payments and lower capital expenditures for the purchase of property and equipment, including capitalization of internal-use software. Free cash flow increased from $19.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $28.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021, primarily as a result of growth in deferred revenue

 

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driven by an increase in the number of transactions and subscription units. For 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, our free cash flow included cash payments for interest of $37.3 million, $27.9 million, $8.3 million and $6.1 million, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are not financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. For further information about Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow, see the section titled “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Our Business Model

Our business model is to attract customers to LegalZoom at the time of business formation, and then continue to serve their legal and compliance needs for life with our mix of transaction and subscription services. Given this dynamic, growth in overall U.S. business formations is a key driver of our business. Overall, growth of U.S. business formations has proven to be consistent over time, while also being highly resilient to market downturns, growing 28 out of the past 30 years. Furthermore, our growth in business formations has outpaced overall business formation trends each year since we began tracking the data in 2006.

We processed 378,000 business formations in 2020. Alongside this initial business formation transaction, we offer subscription services and third-party partner offerings to help our small business customers with additional legal and business needs. Given the trust that we establish with small businesses at the time of formation, during 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over 60% of our small business customers purchased one year of one of our subscription services at the time of their initial formation purchase, and over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution at time of business formation. We consider our ability to attach additional products and services to a business formation as indicative of the value we are driving for small businesses.

We generate traffic through a combination of organic content, search and media spend across a diverse set of channels. Our first interaction with potential customers is often through our free, proprietary educational content, through which we earn trust and drive significant organic traffic. Additionally, our inside sales team utilizes inbound and outbound customer interactions to establish themselves as trusted advisors by helping our potential customers through the formation process, including by explaining the products and services they may need, generally resulting in higher AOV and a greater proportion of our small business customers purchasing a subscription service at the time of their initial formation purchase.

We continue to engage our customers after their initial purchase. Subscription revenue accounts for approximately half of our total revenue, and is indicative of the ongoing relationship we have with our customers. We measure the effectiveness of this ongoing relationship through our annual retention rate. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, our annual retention rate was 68%, an improvement of nine percentage points as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. This improvement was a result of adjustments to our pricing strategy, combined with product and lifecycle marketing improvements. Our annual retention rate reflects all customer attrition, including as a result of actual business failures of certain of our customers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of new businesses fail within one year of forming. We define our annual retention rate as the percentage of annual subscription units related to business formations, acquired in the quarter one year ago that were still active subscriptions 13 months after their subscription start, excluding subscriptions from our U.K. business and from our employer group legal plan and small business concierge, for which we ceased acquiring new subscribers in October 2020. Business formation subscriptions are those purchased in conjunction with an underlying LLC, incorporation, not-for-profit, or other formation transaction on our platform and all subscriptions purchased through our business-to-business offering, such as our registered agent service. This measure typically only includes subscriptions that have aged at least 60 days in order to account for our customer satisfaction guarantee. Additionally, there are many reasons our customers come to us for another transactional purchase, including forming another business, satisfying annual compliance requirements, protecting their intellectual property with a trademark, patent or copyright or purchasing an estate plan to protect themselves personally. The primary reason customers come to us for another transactional purchase is to form another business. For each year since 2017, an average of 28% of our U.S. customers who purchased a transaction in such year had also purchased a transaction product in a prior year.

 

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We primarily serve small business customers with our transaction and subscription offerings. We also offer transaction products and subscriptions to consumers. The majority of our revenue is from our small business customers. Transaction offerings include legal documents, business filings, and related services for small business owners and their families, such as business formations, annual compliance filings, intellectual property, estate planning documents, forms and agreements. Subscription offerings include compliance solutions and credentialed professional subscription services, including legal and tax advisory services. Approximately 60% of our subscription units as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021 were for our registered agent service, a subscription service that most states require for businesses to receive legal notices and critical mail. We also introduce our customers to a variety of third-party partners, giving them access to critical services they need to start and run their business, such as business license services, bookkeeping services, banking services, productivity tools and business insurance, among others.

Growing Lifetime Value per Business Formation Customer

Our unit economic model is characterized by expanding customer lifetime value and efficient customer acquisition. We define lifetime value as bookings, net of estimated refunds and related cost of revenue, over the life of a business formation customer, excluding bookings from our business-to-business offering and UK business. Bookings include cash receipts for transactions and subscriptions, including payments due to us under the terms of contractual agreements for which we may not have yet received a payment. We measure lifetime value on an annual cohort basis. In the chart below each line shows the cumulative lifetime value generated by the annual cohort of customers acquired in that year, divided by the beginning number of customers in that cohort, indexed to one hundred percent based on month one of the 2011 cohort. Since 2011, we have grown both the initial lifetime value per acquired customer and the rate of lifetime value growth over time per acquired customer. Lifetime value is not calculated or derived from GAAP amounts. Bookings differs from revenue as bookings includes cash bookings for a transaction or subscription irrespective of when revenue is recognized under GAAP. Related costs of revenue include an estimate of related cost of revenue specific to business formation customers.

 

LOGO

 

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We deploy a disciplined customer acquisition strategy that has allowed us to generate lifetime value in excess of customer acquisition costs within the first 90 days of establishing a customer relationship in the United States. We define customer acquisition costs as customer acquisition media costs and sales costs, both for the initial acquisition and for renewal related costs. Customer acquisition media costs consist primarily of search engine marketing, television, over-the-top, digital video and radio costs. We intend to continue to invest in customer acquisition given the large market opportunity, and may strategically increase our target payback period to accelerate our growth.

As we continue to invest in customer acquisition costs to grow our business, we look to do so efficiently. We aim to achieve a ratio of lifetime value to customer acquisition costs of approximately 3x within 25 months of customer acquisition, and approximately 5x within 96 months of customer acquisition.

Our Evolution

LegalZoom started with a narrow focus on business formation, intellectual property and estate planning, and has since expanded into a broad platform, with professional expertise and expanded services, both legal and non-legal, to better meet the needs of small businesses.

We have created a powerful financial model that is characterized by:

Accelerating growth. We have seen accelerating revenue growth in our business, increasing from 4% year-over-year growth in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to 27% in the three months ended March 31, 2021. This growth has been driven by accelerating business formations, coupled with efficient customer acquisition. Business formation growth accelerated from a decline of (3%) for the three months ended March 31, 2020 to an increase of 51% for the three months ended March 31, 2021, as compared to the comparable period in the prior year. In addition, we have leveraged our leading brand, significant organic traffic, disciplined customer acquisition strategy and strong competitive position to acquire new customers efficiently. Over the past several years, we have generated a lifetime value in excess of customer acquisition costs within the first 90 days of establishing a customer relationship in the United States.

Attractive subscription model. The sizeable and growing subscription portion of our business gives us highly recurring revenue. At March 31, 2021, over 85% of our subscription units were on annual terms billed at the start of the term. Additionally, in 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, our average revenue per subscription unit, or ARPU, was $223 and $226, respectively.

Ability to drive additional purchases and cross-sell customers. Given the trusted relationship we establish with customers at time of business formation, we are able to develop ongoing relationships which allows us to sell them additional products and services over time. During 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over 60% of our small business customers purchased one year of one of our subscription services at the time of their initial formation purchase, and over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution at time of business formation. In addition, our ongoing customer engagement drives repeat purchase behavior. For example, in 2020, 27% of our transaction customers had also transacted with us in a prior year.

Strong margins. Our technology-enabled platform with a largely variable cost structure yields efficient unit economics. In addition, our subscription services have a higher gross margin than our transaction products, and as they have become an increasing percentage of our revenue mix over the years, overall gross margin has increased. Given these dynamics, we have been able to drive consistently high Adjusted EBITDA margins. Our net income (loss) was $7.4 million, $9.9 million, $(4.9) million and $(9.8) million for 2019, 2020, and for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our net income (loss) margin was 1.8%, 2.1%, (4.6)% and (7.3)% for 2019, 2020, and for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. While our Adjusted EBITDA decreased from $97.2 million in 2019 to $88.0 million in 2020, and from $13.4 million to $3.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, as we invested further in

 

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marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership, we generated Adjusted EBITDA margins of 23.8%, 18.7%, 12.6% and 2.7%, respectively.

High cash flow generation. As a result of our operating efficiencies, we have been able to generate significant cash flow. In addition to our profitability, we generally receive customer payments for our transaction and subscription services prior to rendering services, driving favorable working capital dynamics. Coupled with our cash generation, we are not highly capital intensive. For the year ended December 31, 2020 and for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, our capital expenditures for the purchase of property and equipment, including capitalization of internal-use software, averaged approximately 3.4% and 2.0% of total revenue, respectively. As a result of these dynamics, we generated net cash from operating activities of $52.7 million, $93.0 million, $21.9 million and $31.4 million in 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, and free cash flow of $34.3 million, $82.5 million, $19.9 million and $28.5 million in 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Key Business Metrics

In addition to the measures presented in our consolidated financial statements, we regularly monitor the following financial and operating metrics to evaluate the growth of our business, measure the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, identify trends, formulate financial forecasts and make strategic decisions.

Number of business formations

We define the number of business formations in a given period as the number of global LLC, incorporation, not-for-profit and other formation orders placed on our platform in such period. We consider the number of business formations to be an important metric considering that it is typically the first product or service small business customers purchase on our platform, creating the foundation for additional products and subsequent subscription and partner revenue as they adopt additional products and services throughout their business lifecycles.

The below table sets forth the number of business formations for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021:

 

   Year
    Ended December 31,    
   Three Months
    Ended March 31,    
 
   2019   2020   2020   2021 
   (in thousands) 

Number of business formations

   292    378    81    122 

The growth in number of business formations on our platform during 2020 was primarily due to improved growth in overall U.S. business formations. Additionally, our market share of business formations increased and we expect to continue to grow our market share of new business formations.

Number of transactions

We define the number of transactions in a given period as gross transaction order volume, prior to refunds, on our platform during such period, excluding transactions from our subsidiary, Beaumont ABS Limited, which was divested in April 2020. Transactions may include one or more services purchased at the same time. For example, a customer of our business formation services may choose to form an LLC and purchase an operating agreement and business licenses at the same time. This constitutes a single transaction. Refunds, or partial refunds, may be issued under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of our customer satisfaction guarantee. We consider the number of transactions to be an important metric considering that our customers generally begin their LegalZoom journey with a transaction, creating the foundation for generating subsequent subscription and partner revenue.

 

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The below table sets forth the number of transactions for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021:

 

   Year
    Ended December 31,    
   Three Months
    Ended March 31,    
 
   2019   2020   2020   2021 
   (in thousands) 

Number of transactions

   691    892    210    276 

We achieved 29.1% growth in transactions from 2019 to 2020, and 31.4% from the three months ended March 31, 2020 to the three months ended March 31, 2021. Our growth in number of transactions in 2020 was driven by improved growth in U.S. business formations such as LLCs and incorporations, as well as increased growth in estate planning transactions, in part due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove tailwinds in our business, as individuals and small businesses turned to online services given the relative inaccessibility of offline alternatives. In the three months ended March 31, 2021, transaction unit growth was driven by improved growth in U.S. business formations. We expect to continue to grow transactions, however the growth may fluctuate period over period based on the variability of overall business formations and estate planning transactions. In both 2019 and 2020, consumer transactions comprised approximately 30% of total transactions. While we cannot quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether our growth rate may moderate if trends toward greater adoption of online services, moderate or reverse over time, we expect the proportion of consumer transactions to decrease over time as we focus more of our investment in small business formations, which have a significantly higher order value.

Average order value

We define AOV for a given period as total transaction revenue divided by total number of transactions in such period, excluding revenue and related transactions from our subsidiary, Beaumont ABS Limited, or Beaumont, which was divested in April 2020. We consider average order value to be an important metric given it indicates how much customers are spending on our platform. Estate planning transactions are generally at a lower price point, making our overall average order value lower than our typical price point for small business formations.

The below table sets forth the average order value for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021:

 

   Year
    Ended December 31,    
   Three Months
    Ended March 31,    
 
       2019           2020           2020           2021     

Average order value

  $230   $236   $210   $223 

Average order value increased by 2.6% from 2019 to 2020 and by 6.2% from the three months ended March 31, 2020 to the three months ended March 31, 2021. Growth in average order value was primarily driven by increased customer adoption of our “Attorney Led Trademark” product in 2020 and by an increase in the proportion of small business formations (which have a significantly higher order value compared to other transactions) relative to total transactions for the three months ended March 31, 2021. Our goal is to grow AOV as we increase the average number of transactional products purchased in a single order and the mix of higher-value credentialed professional-assisted products. Growth may fluctuate period over period based on estate planning transactions and our ability to introduce and sell higher-value products.

Number of subscription units

We define the number of subscription units in a given period as the paid subscriptions that remain active at the end of such period, including those that are not yet 60 days past their subscription order dates, excluding subscriptions from our employer group legal plan and small business concierge subscription service, which we

 

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ceased acquiring new subscribers in October 2020. Refunds, or partial refunds, may be issued under certain circumstances pursuant to the terms of our customer satisfaction guarantee.

We consider the number of subscription units to be an important metric since subscriptions enable us to increase lifetime value through deeper, longer-term relationships with customers. Subscriptions typically range from 30 days to one year in duration and the vast majority of our new subscriptions originate from business formation orders and have an annual term. Our customers can have multiple subscriptions at the end of a period. For example, a popular combination for a new small business owner is attorney advice and registered agent subscriptions. Our registered agent offering comprised approximately 60% of our subscription units as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

The below table sets forth the number of subscription units as of December 31, 2019 and 2020 and March 31, 2020 and 2021:

 

   As of
December 31,
   As of
March 31,
 
     2019       2020       2020       2021   
   (in thousands) 

Number of subscription units

   921    1,085    936    1,146 

We achieved 17.8% growth in our number of subscription units in 2020 as compared to 2019, and 22.4% growth in the three months ended March 31, 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020, reflecting strong growth from our registered agent and attorney advice subscriptions primarily due to increased business formations and improved retention, partially offset by the result of our strategic decision to increase the initial price of our registered agent subscription. We aim to continue to grow subscription units by increasing the proportion of our small business customers that purchase a subscription service at the time of their initial formation purchase and improving retention rates.

Average revenue per subscription unit

We define ARPU as of a given date as subscription revenue for the 12-month period ended on such date, or LTM, divided by the average number of subscription units at the beginning and end of the LTM period, excluding revenue and subscriptions from our employer group legal plan and small business concierge subscription service, which we ceased acquiring new subscribers in October 2020. We consider ARPU to be an important metric because it helps to illustrate our ability to deepen our relationship with our existing customers as they purchase incremental and higher-value services. We have generated ARPU expansion in recent periods, and in 2020, ARPU increased 0.9% from 2019, and in the three months ended March 31, 2021, ARPU remained stable as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020.

The below table sets forth ARPU for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021:

 

   Year
    Ended December 31,    
   Three Months
    Ended March 31,    
 
       2019           2020           2020           2021     
   (in thousands) 

Average revenue per subscription unit

  $221   $223   $226   $226 

We expect ARPU to remain relatively stable over time, as we plan to focus more of our efforts on increasing the number of subscription units rather than increasing pricing on existing subscription plans.

 

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Key Factors Affecting Our Performance

We believe that our future performance will depend on many factors, including the following:

 

  

Our share of business formations. The majority of our transaction revenue is generated by providing formation services to guide our customers through the transition from being aspiring business owners to actually launching their entities. We offer entity formation services for LLCs, corporations and non-profits. In each of 2019 and 2020 as well as the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, business formations represented the largest share of our total transaction orders. In addition, business formations act as an entrance point for many customers to the LegalZoom ecosystem, where they then often purchase additional products and services. We grew our share of total U.S. business formations from 8.7% in 2019 to 10.0% in 2020, representing an increase of 15%, and expect we will continue to increase our share over time as small businesses become more comfortable with digital solutions and are better educated on the risks of not being protected. Our business depends on the continuation of new business formation in the United States, which may be seasonal in nature and dependent on macroeconomic factors, and even more so, our ability to increase our share of these formations.

 

  

Product leadership. We have invested significantly in our user experience, which we believe is critical to converting customers and improving retention. These investments consist mainly of educational content creation, improving our website and application user interface, and creating and offering additional products and services, including the growing use of experts in the customer journey. The performance of our product is important to attracting new customers to our platform, maintaining a healthy subscriber base and retaining our customers.

 

  

Ability to enhance customer lifetime value. Many of our subscribers have increased their cumulative spend with us over time as they have expanded their use of our platform to include additional products and subscription services. Our relationship with our small business customers typically starts with the formation of their business, and we can generate additional revenue as their businesses grow and their needs become more complex. We intend to further increase customer lifetime value by developing new products and subscription services such as tax advice and preparation to deepen customer relationships, and which in turn we expect will result in higher customer engagement and retention. Additionally, we offer third-party services via our partner ecosystem, and we expect to be able to generate incremental revenue and further increase our customer lifetime value via these offerings.

 

  

Investment in marketing. We have invested, and expect that we will continue to invest, in our brand and the promotion of our services through our various customer acquisition channels, including search engine marketing, search engine optimization, television, digital video, social, radio, and our inside sales team to acquire new customers and grow our business. We frequently evaluate how we price, market, and sell transaction products in order to optimize our subscription business. Given our customer acquisition efficiency, we intend to increase our marketing spend over the medium term.

 

  

Investment in tax offerings. Tax represents a natural adjacency in our mission to make legal and compliance services accessible to small businesses. Based on customer surveys, we estimate that approximately 70% of small business owners that sought a tax accountant did not have one at the time of their entity formation, but face tax implications as a result of the entity they choose. We have invested in launching our Tax Advisory offering. We incurred costs related to this investment in 2020 and to date in 2021, and anticipate continued investment throughout the remainder of 2021, as we believe that our tax offerings represent an attractive opportunity for incremental revenue growth.

 

  

Talent acquisition and retention. We are focused on providing a quality employee experience as we believe the future success of our business is heavily dependent on our ability to attract and retain talented and highly productive employees, including software engineers, product designers, brand and performance marketers, and customer-facing positions. We compete for talent within the technology industry and believe that our strong brand recognition and greater company purpose are important, positive considerations in our ability to recruit talent. We also are scaling an in-house team of certified public accountants (CPAs), and enrolled agents that are critical to our tax offerings.

 

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COVID-19 impact. In 2020, we saw tailwinds driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals and small businesses turned to online services given the relative inaccessibility of offline alternatives. We believe these shifts represent an acceleration of existing trends toward greater adoption of online services, however our growth rate may moderate if these trends moderate or reverse over time.

Key Components of our Results of Operations

Revenue

We generate revenue from the sources identified below.

Transaction revenue. Transaction revenue is primarily generated from our customized legal document services upon fulfillment of these services. Transaction revenue includes filing fees and is net of cancellations, promotional discounts, sales allowances and credit reserves. Until April 2020, when we ceased providing such services, we also generated transaction revenue from our residential and commercial conveyancing business in the United Kingdom, and revenue for these services was recognized when delivered to the customer. Until July 2019, when we ceased providing such services, we also generated revenue from litigation services in the United Kingdom, and we recognized this revenue based on the time incurred by the attorneys at their market billing rates. In 2020, we commenced providing tax advice and filing services in the United States which are recognized at the point in time when the customer’s tax return is filed and accepted by the applicable government authority.

Subscription revenue. Subscription revenue is generated primarily from subscriptions to our registered agent services, compliance packages, attorney advice, and legal forms services, in addition to software-as-a-service, or SaaS, subscriptions in the United Kingdom. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we commenced providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll subscription services. We recognize revenue from our subscriptions ratably over the subscription term. Subscription terms generally range from thirty days to one year. Subscription revenue includes the value allocated to bundled free-trials for our subscription services and is net of promotional discounts, cancellations, sales allowances and credit reserves and payments to third-party service providers such as legal plan law firms and tax service providers.

For transaction and subscription revenue, we generally collect payments and fees at the time orders are placed and prior to services being rendered. We record amounts collected for services that have not been performed as deferred revenue on our consolidated balance sheet. The transaction price that we record is generally based on the contractual amounts in our contracts and is reduced for estimated sales allowances for price concessions, charge-backs, sales credits and refunds, which are accounted for as variable consideration when estimating the amount of revenue to recognize.

Partner revenue. Partner revenue consists primarily of one-time or recurring fees earned from third-party providers from leads generated to such providers through our online legal platform. Revenue is recognized when the related performance-based criteria have been met. We assess whether performance criteria have been met on a cost-per-click or cost-per-action basis.

See the section titled “—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Revenue Recognition” for a description of the accounting policies related to revenue recognition, including arrangements that contain multiple deliverables.

Cost of revenue

Cost of revenue includes all costs of providing and fulfilling our services. Cost of revenue primarily includes government filing fees; costs of fulfillment, customer care and credentialed professionals, and related benefits, including stock-based compensation, and costs of independent contractors for document preparation; telecommunications and data center costs, amortization of acquired developed technology, depreciation and amortization of network computers, equipment and internal-use software; printing, shipping and handling

 

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charges; credit and debit card fees; allocated overhead; legal document kit expenses; and sales and use taxes. We defer direct and incremental costs primarily related to government filing fees incurred prior to the associated service meeting the criteria for revenue recognition. These contract assets are recognized as cost of revenue in the same period the related revenue is recognized.

We expect our cost of revenue to increase in absolute dollars as we continue to invest in enhancing our customer experience and in new product development, including expert-assisted offerings for our Tax and Attorney-Assisted services.

Gross profit and gross margin

Gross profit, or revenue less cost of revenue, and gross margin, or gross profit as a percentage of revenue, have been and will continue to be affected by various factors, primarily the mix between transaction, subscription and partner revenue. Our gross margin on subscription and partner revenue is higher than our gross margin on transaction revenue. Our gross margin expansion is also driven by automation improvements and digitization efforts. Further, our acquisitions of other companies have negatively impacted our gross margin in the short term, and any such future acquisitions could have a similar effect.

We expect our gross profit to increase in absolute dollars and our gross margin to increase modestly over the long term as we continue to focus on growing higher-margin subscription revenue and invest in fulfillment automation technologies. However, our gross margin could fluctuate from period to period due to fulfillment rates and seasonality.

Operating expenses

Our operating expenses consist primarily of sales and marketing, technology and development, general and administrative expenses, and to a lesser extent, impairments of goodwill, long-lived assets and other assets, in addition to a loss on sale of a business in 2020.

Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing expenses consist of customer acquisition media costs; compensation and related benefits, including stock-based compensation for marketing and sales personnel; media production; public relations and other promotional activities; general business development activities; an allocation of depreciation and amortization and allocated overhead. Customer acquisition media costs consist primarily of search engine marketing, television and radio costs. Marketing and advertising costs to promote our services are expensed in the period incurred. Media production costs are expensed the first time the advertisement is aired.

We intend to continue to make significant investments in sales and marketing to drive additional revenue, further penetrate our expanding addressable market, and build on our digital brand leadership and awareness. As a result, we expect our sales and marketing expenses to continue to increase in absolute dollars and to be our largest operating expense category for the foreseeable future. Upon the closing of this offering, we are expected to incur significant stock-based compensation expense for certain options and restricted stock units, or RSUs, that may vest upon this offering. See the section titled “Prospectus Summary—Summary Consolidated Financial and Other Data” for additional information.

Technology and development

Technology and development expenses consist primarily of personnel costs and related benefits, including stock-based compensation, expenses for outside consultants, an allocation of depreciation and amortization and allocated overhead. These expenses include costs incurred in the development and implementation of our websites, mobile applications, online legal platform, research and development and related infrastructure.

 

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Technology and development expenses are expensed as incurred, except to the extent that such costs are associated with internal-use software costs that qualify for capitalization.

We expect our technology and development expenses to continue to increase in absolute dollars for the foreseeable future as we invest in new products and services, enhancing our customer experience, and in production automation technologies. We expect our technology and development expenses to remain relatively consistent or increase as a percentage of our revenue over the long term, although our technology and development expenses may fluctuate as a percentage of our revenue from period to period due to seasonality and the timing and extent of these expenses. Upon the closing of this offering, we are expected to incur significant stock-based compensation expense for certain options and RSUs that may vest upon this offering. See the section titled “Prospectus Summary—Summary Consolidated Financial and Other Data” for additional information.

General and administrative

Our general and administrative expenses relate primarily to compensation and related benefits, including stock-based compensation, for executive and corporate personnel, professional and consulting fees, an allocation of depreciation and amortization, allocated overhead and legal costs. We expense legal costs for defending legal proceedings as incurred.

We expect our general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars for the foreseeable future due to additional costs associated with accounting, compliance, insurance and investor relations as we become a public company.

We expect our general and administrative expenses to decrease as a percentage of our revenue over the long term, although our general and administrative expenses may fluctuate as a percentage of our revenue from period to period due to seasonality and the timing and extent of these expenses. Upon the closing of this offering, we are expected to incur significant stock-based compensation expense for certain options and RSUs that may vest upon this offering. See the section titled “Prospectus Summary—Summary Consolidated Financial and Other Data” for additional information.

Interest expense, net

Interest expense, net, consists primarily of interest expense on our 2018 Credit Facility, hedging instruments, capital lease obligations, amortization of debt issuance costs and annual commitment fees on our 2018 Revolving Facility. Interest and other expense, net, decreased in 2020 primarily due to a decrease in interest rates on our 2018 Term Loan.

We expect interest expense, net, to decrease in the near term following our repayment of $         million of our outstanding indebtedness under our 2018 Term Loan with a portion of the net proceeds of this offering.

Income taxes

Our provision for income taxes consists of current and deferred federal, state and foreign income taxes. See the section titled “—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Income Taxes.”

In 2020, we had federal net operating loss, or NOL, carryforwards of $11.7 million which will begin to expire in 2031. In 2020, we had state NOL carryforwards of $49.8 million, which will begin to expire in 2022. In 2020, we had foreign NOL carryforwards of $32.4 million which can be carried forward indefinitely and are not subject to expiration. In general, under Sections 382 and 383 of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” generally defined as a greater than 50% change, by value, in its equity ownership by certain stockholders over a three-year period, the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change NOLs and other pre-change tax attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset its post-change income or taxes may be limited.

 

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We had an ownership change in prior years, and as a result certain federal and state NOLs were limited pursuant to Section 382 of the Code. This limitation has been accounted for in calculating our available NOL carryforwards. We may experience an ownership change in the future as a result of this offering or subsequent changes in our stock ownership, some of which changes are outside our control. If we undergo another ownership change, our ability to further utilize federal NOLs could be limited by Section 382 of the Code. Furthermore, for federal NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2020, the Tax Act limits a taxpayer’s ability to utilize federal NOL carryforwards to 80% of taxable income. In addition, NOLs arising in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 can be carried forward indefinitely. However, carryback of such NOLs is generally prohibited, except that, under the CARES Act, federal NOLs generated in 2018, 2019 and 2020 may be carried back to each of the five taxable years preceding the taxable year in which the loss arises. For these reasons, we may not be able to utilize a material portion of any NOLs that are generated in tax years ending after December 31, 2020. In addition, at the state level, there may be periods during which the use of NOLs is suspended or otherwise limited, which could accelerate or increase our state taxes owed.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our consolidated statement of operations data for each of the periods indicated. The period-to-period comparison of financial results should not be considered as a prediction or indicative of our future results.

 

  Year Ended December 31,  Three Months Ended March 31, 
        2019              2020              2020              2021       
  (in thousands) 

Revenue

 $408,380  $470,636  $105,795  $134,632 

Cost of revenue(1)(2)

  136,915   154,563   35,112   43,960 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Gross profit

  271,465   316,073   70,683   90,672 

Operating expenses:

    

Sales and marketing(1)(2)

  115,913   171,390   43,481   71,361 

Technology and development(1)(2)

  37,204   41,863   10,543   10,499 

General and administrative(1)(2)

  57,762   51,017   12,661   13,165 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

  14,321   1,105   555   —   

Loss on sale of business

  —     1,764   —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

  225,200   267,139   67,240   95,025 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations

  46,265   48,934   3,443   (4,353

Interest expense, net

  (38,559  (35,504  (9,270  (8,654

Other income (expense), net

  2,577   3,713   (1,106  248 

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

  —     (4,818  —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes and income from equity method investment

  10,283   12,325   (6,933  (12,759

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

  3,161   2,429   (2,055  (2,936
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income from equity method investment

  7,122   9,896   (4,878  (9,823

Income from equity method investment

  321   —     —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

 $7,443  $9,896  $(4,878 $(9,823
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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(1)

Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:

 

  Year Ended
December 31,
  Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
      2019          2020          2020          2021     
  (in thousands) 

Cost of revenue

 $205  $177  $37  $59 

Sales and marketing

  1,020   1,122   643   207 

Technology and development

  1,314   2,703   950   526 

General and administrative

  4,170   9,719   2,697   3,150 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total stock-based compensation expense

 $6,709  $13,721  $4,327  $3,942 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Stock-based compensation expense increase in 2020 primarily relates to recent equity grants to new executive officers.

 

(2)

Includes depreciation and amortization expense for our property and equipment, including capitalized internal-use software and intangible assets as follows:

 

   Year Ended December 31,   Three Months Ended March 31, 
       2019           2020           2020           2021     
   (in thousands) 

Cost of revenue

  $6,773   $8,324   $1,958   $1,678 

Sales and marketing

   6,469    6,913    1,849    1,475 

Technology and development

   1,055    2,800    650    587 

General and administrative

   2,093    2,060    463    426 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total depreciation and amortization expense

  $16,390   $20,097   $4,920   $4,166 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

The following table sets forth our consolidated statement of operations data as a percentage of revenue for each of the periods indicated.

 

   Year Ended December 31,  Three Months Ended March 31, 
         2019              2020              2020              2021       

Revenue

   100.0  100.0  100.0  100.0

Cost of revenue

           33.5           32.8           33.2           32.7 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Gross margin

   66.5   67.2   66.8   67.3 

Operating expenses:

     

Sales and marketing

   28.4   36.4   41.1   53.0 

Technology and development

   9.1   8.9   10.0   7.8 

General and administrative

   14.2   10.9   12.1   9.8 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

   3.5   0.2   0.5   —   

Loss on sale of business

   —     0.4   —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

   55.2   56.8   63.7   70.6 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations

   11.3   10.4   3.1   (3.3

Interest expense, net

   (9.4  (7.5  (8.7  (6.4

Other income (expense), net

   0.6   0.7   (0.9  0.2 

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

   —     (1.0  —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes and income from equity method investment

   2.5   2.6   (6.5  (9.5

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

   0.8   0.5   (2.0  (2.2
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income from equity method investment

   1.7   2.1   (4.6  (7.3

Income from equity method investment

   0.1   —     —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

   1.8  2.1  (4.6)%   (7.3)% 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Comparison of the Three Months Ended March 31, 2020 and 2021

Revenue

 

   Three Months Ended March 31,         
         2020               2021         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Revenue by type

        

Transaction

  $45,586   $61,388   $15,802    34.7

Subscription

   54,235    65,493    11,258    20.8

Partner

   5,974    7,751    1,777    29.7
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total revenue

  $105,795   $134,632   $28,837    27.3
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $28.8 million, or 27.3%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily driven by increases in transaction revenue and subscription revenue. Transaction revenue was 43.1% and 45.6% of total revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, and subscription revenue was 51.3% and 48.6% of total revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Transaction revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $15.8 million, or 34.7%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020, driven by a 31.4% increase in the number of transactions and a 6.2% improvement in average order value.

Subscription revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $11.3 million, or 20.8%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to a 22.4% increase in the number of subscription units. The increase in subscription units was driven in part by strong growth in the number of transactions in the second half of 2020. Strong performance from our registered agent subscription services drove the largest contribution of growth to the number of subscription units.

Partner revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $1.8 million, or 29.7%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to higher transaction volumes.

Cost of revenue

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Cost of revenue

  $35,112   $43,960   $8,848    25.2

Cost of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $8.8 million, or 25.2%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to higher filing fees and costs associated with customer care as a result of the increase in transaction volume.

Gross margin

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
   2020  2021 

Gross margin

   66.8  67.3

Gross margin for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased 0.5% to 67.3%. The increase was primarily due to the April 2020 sale of our subsidiary, Beaumont, which negatively impacted gross margin for the three months ended March 31, 2020.

 

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Sales and marketing

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Sales and marketing

  $43,481   $71,361   $27,880    64.1

Sales and marketing expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $27.9 million, or 64.1%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to an increase in customer acquisition marketing spend of $23.6 million and media production spend of $3.0 million. Customer acquisition marketing spend was $30.1 million and $53.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, respectively, as we invested to expand our customer base and build our digital brand leadership and awareness.

Technology and development

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Technology and development

  $10,543   $10,499   $(44   (0.4)% 

Technology and development expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2021 remained consistent compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020.

General and administrative

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

General and administrative

  $12,661   $13,165   $504    4.0

General and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $0.5 million, or 4.0%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to higher professional services costs for recruiting and legal fees offset by lower travel and entertainment spend due to the impact of COVID-19 beginning March 2020.

Impairment of long-lived and other assets

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
       2020           2021       $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Impairment of long-lived and other assets

  $555   $—     $(555   (100)% 

In March 2020, prior to the disposition of Beaumont, we recorded an impairment charge of $0.6 million related to its property and equipment.

Interest expense, net

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Interest expense, net

  $(9,270  $(8,654  $616    (6.6)% 

 

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Interest expense, net, for the three months ended March 31, 2021 decreased $0.6 million, or 6.6%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The decrease was primarily a result of a decrease in LIBOR on our 2018 Term Loan partially offset by costs related to our interest rate swaps and amortization of debt issuance costs.

Other (expense) income, net

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
         
   2020   2021   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Other (expense) income, net

  $(1,106  $248   $1,354    122.4

Other (expense) income, net for the three months ended March 31, 2021 increased $1.4 million, or 122.4%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to changes in foreign currency movements related to our intercompany loans which are denominated in GBP.

Benefit from income taxes

 

   Three Months
Ended March 31,
        
   2020  2021  $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Benefit from income taxes

  $(2,055 $(2,936 $881    42.9

Effective tax rate

   30  23   

The benefit from income taxes increased by $0.9 million primarily due to the tax impact from the decrease in U.S income compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020.

Comparison of the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2020

Revenue

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
   2019   2020   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Revenue by type

        

Transaction

  $168,305   $212,114   $43,809    26.0

Subscription

   206,447    229,840    23,393    11.3 

Partner

   33,628    28,682    (4,946   (14.7
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total revenue

  $408,380   $470,636   $62,256    15.2
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

Total revenue increased $62.3 million, or 15.2%, to $470.6 million in 2020. The increase was primarily driven by increases in transaction revenue and subscription revenue. Transaction revenue was 41.2% and 45.1% of total revenue in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and subscription revenue was 50.6% and 48.8% of total revenue in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Transaction revenue increased $43.8 million, or 26.0%, to $212.1 million in 2020 driven by a 29.1% increase in the number of transactions.

Subscription revenue increased $23.4 million, or 11.3%, to $229.8 million in 2020. The increase was primarily driven by a 17.8% increase in the number of subscription units coupled with a 0.9% increase in ARPU. Strong performance from our registered agent subscription services drove the largest contribution of growth to both the number of subscription units and ARPU.

 

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Partner revenue decreased $4.9 million, or 14.7%, to $28.7 million in 2020. The decrease was primarily due to cessation of certain partnership arrangements that were not aligned with our go-forward strategy.

Cost of revenue

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
   2019   2020   $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Cost of revenue

  $136,915   $154,563   $17,648    12.9

Cost of revenue increased $17.6 million, or 12.9%, to $154.6 million in 2020. The increase was primarily due to higher filing fees and costs associated with customer care as a result of the increase in transaction volume.

Gross margin

 

   Year Ended December 31, 
         2019              2020       

Gross margin

   66.5  67.2

Gross margin increased 0.7% in 2020 to 67.2%. The increase was primarily due to the April 2020 sale of our subsidiary, Beaumont, which had lower gross margins.

Sales and marketing

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Sales and marketing

  $115,913   $171,390   $55,477    47.9

Sales and marketing expenses increased $55.5 million, or 47.9%, to $171.4 million in 2020. The increase was primarily due to our strategy to increase customer acquisition marketing costs by $52.0 million, predominantly in the search engine marketing channel, as we invested to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership and awareness. We increased our customer acquisition marketing costs beginning

in the second quarter of 2020 in anticipation of growing demand. Customer acquisition marketing spend was $67.2 million and $119.2 million for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Technology and development

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Technology and development

  $37,204   $41,863   $4,659    12.5

Technology and development expenses increased $4.7 million, or 12.5%, to $41.9 million in 2020. The increase was primarily due to lower capitalization of personnel costs for internal-use software development.

General and administrative

 

   Year Ended December 31,        
         2019               2020         $ change  % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

General and administrative

  $57,762   $51,017   $(6,745  (11.7)% 

 

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General and administrative expenses decreased $6.7 million, or 11.7%, to $51.0 million in 2020. The decrease was primarily due to lower business strategy consulting and outside legal expenses coupled with lower travel and entertainment spend due to the impact of COVID-19 in 2020.

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

 

   Year Ended December 31,        
         2019               2020         $ change  % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

  $14,321   $1,105   $(13,216  (92.3)% 

In 2019, we recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $10.6 million related to our U.K. reporting unit. In 2019 and 2020, we impaired $3.7 million and $1.1 million, respectively, related to internal-use software projects that were no longer considered part of our strategic business plans.

Loss on sale of business

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Loss on sale of business

  $—     $1,764   $1,764    100.0

In 2020, we sold our subsidiary, Beaumont and we incurred a loss of $1.8 million upon disposal.

Interest expense, net

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Interest expense, net

  $38,559   $35,504   $(3,055   (7.9)% 

Interest expense, net, decreased by $3.1 million to $35.5 million in 2020. The decrease was primarily a result of a decrease in the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, on our 2018 Term Loan partially offset by costs related to our interest rate swaps and amortization of debt issuance costs.

Other income, net

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Other income, net

  $2,577   $3,713   $1,136    44.1

The change in other income, net between 2019 and 2020 was primarily due to a gain from the change in the fair value of our financial guarantee of $1.8 million, partially offset by changes in foreign currency movements related to our intercompany loans which are denominated in British Pound Sterling, or GBP.

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

  $—     $4,818   $4,818    100.0

 

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In 2020, we fully impaired our investment in Firma.de Firmenbaukasten AG, a German limited liability company, and we incurred a loss of $4.8 million because the present value of cash flows expected to be collected is less than the amortized cost basis of the investment.

Provision for income taxes

 

   Year Ended December 31,         
         2019               2020         $ change   % change 
   (in thousands, except percentages) 

Provision for income taxes

  $3,161   $2,429   $(732   (23.2)% 

Provision for income taxes decreased $0.7 million, or 23.2%, to $2.4 million in 2020. The decrease was primarily due to increased benefits from the exercise of non-qualified stock options in 2020 over 2019, increased interest deductions under Section 163(j) due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, and reduced nondeductible expenses in 2020 over 2019.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

At March 31, 2021, our principal sources of liquidity were cash and cash equivalents of $141.2 million, which consisted of cash on deposit with banks and money market funds, of which $1.9 million related to our foreign subsidiaries. Our cash and cash equivalents increased in June 2021 by $25.0 million upon the lapse of our restricted cash equivalent upon the release of collateral related to a personal loan by a former executive. See the section titled “Certain Relationships and Related Persons Transactions—John Suh Line of Credit.” Since inception, we have funded our operations and capital expenditures primarily from private sales of equity securities, cash flows provided by operating activities and debt financing arrangements.

We expect to make capital expenditures of approximately $22.0 million in 2021, the majority of which would be for capitalized software expenditures and the remainder of which would be for other capital expenditures associated with scaling our operations, technology and infrastructure to support our growth. We currently anticipate that our available cash and cash equivalents and cash provided by operating activities will be sufficient to meet our operational cash needs for at least the next twelve months. We may supplement our liquidity needs with borrowings under our New Credit Facility. Our future capital requirements may vary from those now planned and will depend on many factors, including:

 

  

the development, launch and success of new services;

 

  

the levels of marketing required to attract new customers and retain existing customers;

 

  

the continuous development of our platform to accommodate actual and anticipated technology changes;

 

  

the expansion of our business in the United States through additional merger and acquisition activity; and

 

  

the timing and extent to which we scale our operations, technology and infrastructure to support future growth.

We may in the future enter into arrangements to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, services and technologies, including intellectual property rights. We may be required to seek additional equity or debt financing. In the event that additional financing is required from outside sources, we may not be able to raise it on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to raise additional capital or generate cash flows necessary to expand our operations and invest in new technologies, this could reduce our ability to compete successfully and harm our results of operations.

 

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We have historically considered the undistributed earnings of our foreign subsidiaries to be indefinitely reinvested, and, accordingly no taxes have been provided on such earnings. We continue to evaluate our plans for reinvestment or repatriation of unremitting foreign earnings and have not changed our previous indefinite reinvestment determination following the enactment of the Tax Act. We have not repatriated funds to the United States to satisfy domestic liquidity needs, nor do we anticipate the need to do so. If we determine that all or a portion of our foreign earnings are no longer indefinitely reinvested, we may be subject to foreign withholding taxes and U.S. state income taxes.

Borrowings

2018 Credit Facility

In 2018, we entered into the 2018 Credit Facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as Administrative Agent and lender, and the other lenders party thereto, which provided $575.0 million of loans, consisting of the $535.0 million 2018 Term Loan maturing on November 21, 2024, and an available $40.0 million 2018 Revolving Facility maturing on November 23, 2023. The 2018 Revolving Facility includes a subfacility that provides for the issuance of letters of credit in an amount of up to $8.0 million at any time outstanding.

The 2018 Credit Facility is subject to customary fees for loan facilities of this type, including a commitment fee on the 2018 Revolving Facility that decreases if our total net first lien leverage ratio falls beneath certain levels.

The interest rate applicable to the 2018 Term Loan under the 2018 Credit Facility is, at our option, either (a) the LIBOR (or a comparable successor rate approved by the administrative agent and us) plus a margin of 4.50% per annum or (b) the base rate plus a margin of 3.50% per annum. The interest rate applicable to loans under our 2018 Revolving Facility is, at our option, either (a) LIBOR (or a comparable successor rate approved by the administrative agent and us) plus a margin of 4.00% per annum or (b) the base rate plus a margin of 3.00% per annum. Each such margin may decrease depending on our total net first lien leverage ratio. The base rate is the highest of (a) the federal funds rate plus 1/2 of 1.00%, (b) the prime rate as publicly announced by JPMorgan Chase, (c) LIBOR plus 1.00% and (d) 2.00%.

Since 2019, we have been repaying the 2018 Term Loan in quarterly installments of 0.25% of the initial principal, or $1.3 million, with the remaining outstanding principal due on maturity in November 2024. Accrued interest must be paid at the end of each LIBOR period we elect or, if we choose the base rate option, together with each quarterly amortization payment. Upon the occurrence of certain asset sales and certain debt issuances, we are required to repay the 2018 Term Loan with the proceeds from such sales and issuances. The 2018 Term Loan must also be repaid from a portion of our excess cash flow ranging from 0.0% to 50.0%, depending on our net first lien leverage ratio. In 2019 and 2020 we had no excess cash flow under our 2018 Term Loan. The 2018 Revolving Facility terminates and borrowings thereunder, if any, are due in full in November 2023.

Debt under the 2018 Credit Facility is guaranteed by certain of our material wholly owned domestic restricted subsidiaries and is secured by substantially all of our and such subsidiaries’ assets. Pursuant to the 2018 Credit Facility, there is a 1.00% prepayment premium on any prepayments made in connection with certain transactions deemed to be repricing events under the 2018 Credit Facility. This offering is not a repricing event under the 2018 Credit Facility. The 2018 Credit Facility contains affirmative and negative covenants, indemnification provisions and events of default. Affirmative covenants include administrative, reporting and legal covenants, in each case subject to certain exceptions. The negative covenants restrict our ability, subject to customary exceptions, to, among other things: make restricted payments including dividends and distributions on, redemptions of, repurchases or retirement of our capital stock; restrict certain of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in certain intercompany transactions with other subsidiaries that do not guarantee obligations under the 2018 Credit Facility; restrict our ability to incur additional indebtedness and issue certain types of equity; sell assets, including capital stock of subsidiaries; enter into certain transactions with affiliates; incur liens; enter into

 

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fundamental changes including mergers and consolidations; make investments, acquisitions, loans or advances; create negative pledges or restrictions on the payment of dividends or payment of other amounts owed from subsidiaries; make prepayments or modify documents governing material debt that is subordinated with respect to right of payment; engage in certain sale leaseback transactions; change our fiscal year; and change our lines of business. The 2018 Credit Facility also contains a financial covenant with respect to the 2018 Revolving Facility that requires us to maintain a maximum total net first lien leverage ratio of 7.90:1.00 on the last day of any fiscal quarter during which our 2018 Revolving Facility usage exceeds 35.0% of the 2018 Revolving Facility capacity. The total net first lien leverage ratio is calculated as the ratio of first lien secured debt less cash and cash equivalents to consolidated Cash EBITDA, which is defined in the 2018 Credit Facility. We were in compliance with our covenants in the 2018 Credit Facility as of March 31, 2021. The 2018 Credit Facility also includes customary events of default, including failure to pay principal, interest or certain other amounts when due, material inaccuracy of representations and warranties, violation of covenants, specified cross-default and cross-acceleration to other material indebtedness, certain bankruptcy and insolvency events, certain events relating to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, certain undischarged judgments, material invalidity of guarantees or grant of security interest, and change of control, in certain cases subject to certain thresholds and grace periods. If an event of default occurs and is continuing, lenders holding a majority of the commitments and outstanding 2018 Term Loan under the 2018 Credit Facility have the right to, among other things, (i) terminate the commitments under the 2018 Credit Facility, (ii) accelerate and require us to repay all the outstanding amounts owed under the 2018 Credit Facility and (iii) require us to cash collateralize any outstanding letters of credit. In addition, if we fail to sell at least 15% of our issued and outstanding common stock in connection with this offering, and certain of our stockholders do not maintain voting control over the election of directors, we could be deemed to have undergone a change of control, which would constitute an event of default under the 2018 Credit Facility. At March 31, 2021, we had approximately $523.0 million of outstanding indebtedness that we would have to repay immediately if this provision were triggered.

At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, we had no amounts drawn on the 2018 Revolving Facility.

At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, we had $524.3 million and $523.0 million, respectively, of principal outstanding under the 2018 Term Loan.

New Credit Facility

We expect to enter into the New Credit Facility (as defined below) concurrently with the consummation of this offering. Despite our expectations, the entering into the New Credit Facility and the terms of such credit facility are subject to a number of factors, and we cannot assure you that we will enter into a credit facility on such terms or at all.

LegalZoom.com, Inc. will be the borrower under the New Credit Facility. The New Credit Facility will be set forth in an amendment and restatement of our 2018 Credit Agreement, and is expected to permit revolving borrowings of up to $150.0 million.

Subject to the satisfaction of certain criteria, we will be able to increase the facility by an amount equal to the sum of (i) the greater of $90.0 million and 75% of consolidated last twelve months Cash EBITDA, or LTM Cash EBITDA, plus (ii) unused amounts under the general debt basket (i.e., an amount equal to the greater of $50.0 million and an equivalent percentage of consolidated LTM Cash EBITDA), plus (iii) an unlimited amount so long as the borrower is in pro forma compliance with the Financial Covenant (as defined below), in each case, with the consent of the lenders participating in the increase. The New Credit Facility is expected to provide for the issuance of up to $20.0 million of letters of credit as well as borrowings on same-day notice, referred to as swingline loans, in an amount of up to $10.0 million.

 

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Borrowings under the New Credit Facility are generally expected to bear interest at a rate equal to, at our option, either (a) a base rate equal to the greatest of (i) the administrative agent’s prime rate; (ii) the federal funds effective rate plus 1/2 of 1.0% and (iii) one month LIBOR plus 1.0% (subject to a 1.00% floor), plus 1.00% or (b) LIBOR (subject to a 0.00% floor) plus 2.00%. The interest rate margins under the New Credit Facility are subject to one reduction of 0.25% and a further reduction of 0.25%, in each case, upon achieving certain total net first lien leverage ratios forth in the documentation in respect of the New Credit Facility.

We will be required to pay a commitment fee in respect of unutilized commitments under the New Credit Facility. The commitment fee will be, initially, 0.35% per annum. The commitment fee is subject to one reduction of 0.10% upon achieving certain total net first lien leverage ratios set forth in the documentation in respect of the New Credit Facility. We will also be required to pay customary letter of credit fees and agency fees.

We will have the option to voluntarily repay outstanding loans at any time without premium or penalty, other than customary “breakage” costs with respect to LIBOR loans. There will be no scheduled amortization under the New Credit Facility. The principal amount outstanding will be due and payable in full at maturity, five years from the closing date of the New Credit Facility.

Obligations under the New Credit Facility will be guaranteed by our existing and future direct and indirect material wholly-owned domestic subsidiaries, subject to certain exceptions. The New Credit Facility will be secured by a first-priority security interest in substantially all of the assets of the borrower and the guarantors, subject to certain exceptions.

The New Credit Facility will contain a number of covenants that, among other things and subject to certain exceptions, restrict our ability and the ability of our restricted subsidiaries to:

 

  

incur additional indebtedness and guarantee indebtedness;

 

  

create or incur liens;

 

  

pay dividends and distributions or repurchase capital stock;

 

  

merge, liquidate and make asset sales;

 

  

change lines of business;

 

  

change our fiscal year;

 

  

incur restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions and create liens;

 

  

modify our organizational documents;

 

  

make investments, loans and advances; and

 

  

enter into certain transactions with affiliates.

The New Credit Facility will require compliance with a total net first lien leverage ratio of 4.50 to 1.00, or the Financial Covenant. The Financial Covenant will be tested at quarter-end only if the total principal amount of all revolving loans, swingline loans and drawn letters of credit that have not been reimbursed exceeds 35% of the total commitments under the New Credit Facility on the last day of such fiscal quarter.

The New Credit Facility will also contain certain customary affirmative covenants and events of default for facilities of this type, including relating to a change of control. If an event of default occurs, the lenders under the New Credit Facility will be entitled to take various actions, including the acceleration of amounts due under the New Credit Facility and all actions permitted to be taken by secured creditors under applicable law.

 

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Cash flows

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated:

 

   Year Ended
December 31,
  Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
   2019  2020  2020  2021 
   (in thousands)  (in thousands) 

Net cash provided by operating activities

  $52,695  $93,049  $21,889  $31,415 

Net cash used in investing activities

   (20,717  (12,727  (1,988  (2,911

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities

   (12,852  (15,089  36,589   (1,834

Effect of exchange rates on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash equivalent

   (495  57   (185  35 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash equivalent

   18,631   65,290  $56,305  $26,705 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

Our largest source of operating cash is cash collections from our customers for our transaction and subscription services. Our primary uses of cash in operating activities are for our fulfillment, production and customer care costs, employee salaries and benefits, sales and marketing expenses and third-party consulting expenses. Net cash provided by operating activities is impacted by our net income adjusted for certain non-cash items, including depreciation and amortization expense, stock-based compensation and impairments of long-lived assets, as well as the effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities.

In 2020, cash provided by operating activities was $93.0 million resulting from net income of $9.9 million, adjusted for non-cash expenses of $44.8 million and net cash flow provided by changes in operating assets and liabilities of $38.4 million. The $38.4 million of net cash flows provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities included a $23.2 million increase in deferred revenue primarily as a result of the growth of our subscription units, which are predominantly billed in advance of our revenue recognition, and a $12.4 million increase in accounts payable due to the timing of our payments.

In 2019, cash provided by operating activities was $52.7 million resulting from net income of $7.4 million, adjusted for non-cash expenses of $39.9 million and net cash flow provided by changes in operating assets and liabilities of $5.4 million. The $5.4 million of net cash flows provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities included a $5.6 million increase in deferred revenue primarily as a result of the growth of our subscription units, and a $3.9 million increase in accounts payable, partially offset by a $1.6 million decrease in accrued expenses and other liabilities due to the timing of our payments.

For the three months ended March 31, 2021, cash provided by operating activities was $31.4 million resulting from a net loss of $9.8 million, adjusted for non-cash expenses of $6.5 million and net cash flow provided by changes in operating assets and liabilities of $34.7 million. The $34.7 million of net cash flows provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities included a $18.4 million increase in deferred revenue primarily as a result of the growth of our subscription units, which are predominantly billed in advance of our revenue recognition, and a $14.1 million increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities and $6.0 million in accounts payable, due to the timing of our payments.

For the three months ended March 31, 2020, cash provided by operating activities was $21.9 million resulting from a net loss of $4.9 million, adjusted for non-cash expenses of $9.2 million and net cash flow provided by changes in operating assets and liabilities of $17.6 million. The $17.6 million of net cash flows provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities included a $9.6 million increase in deferred revenue primarily as a result of the growth of our subscription units, which are predominantly billed in advance of our revenue recognition, and a $7.5 million increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities due to the timing of our payments.

 

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Net cash used in investing activities

Our primary investing activities have consisted of capital expenditures to purchase property and equipment necessary to support our customer contact center, network and operations, the capitalization of internal-use software necessary to develop and maintain our platform and deliver new products and features, which provide value to our customers, business acquisitions and investments in other companies. As our business grows, we expect our capital expenditures to continue to increase.

In 2020, net cash used in investing activities was $12.7 million resulting primarily from $10.6 million in purchases of property and equipment, including capitalized internal-use software.

In 2019, net cash used in investing activities was $20.7 million resulting primarily from $18.3 million in purchases of property and equipment and capitalized internal-use software, and $2.7 million in investments in available-for-sale debt securities and other equity securities.

For the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, net cash used in investing activities was $2.9 million and $2.0 million, respectively, resulting primarily from purchases of property and equipment, including capitalized internal-use software.

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities

Our primary uses of cash in financing activities are for our servicing and refinancing our long-term debt, repurchases of common stock and settlements of stock options and RSUs. Net cash provided by financing activities is primarily impacted by exercises of stock options by our employees and issuance of common stock.

In 2020, net cash used in financing activities was $15.1 million resulting primarily from repayments on our 2018 Term Loan totaling $5.4 million, repurchases of common stock of $4.8 million and repurchases of common stock for tax withholding obligations of $3.6 million. In March 2020, we drew down the full $40.0 million available from our 2018 Revolving Facility in response to macroeconomic concerns with regards to COVID-19. The 2018 Revolving Facility was paid in full by May 2020.

In 2019, net cash used in financing activities was $12.9 million resulting primarily from repayments on our 2018 Term Loan totaling $5.4 million, repurchases of common stock for tax withholding obligations of $3.8 million and the repurchase of common stock of $1.5 million.

For the three months ended March 31, 2021, net cash used in financing activities was $1.8 million, resulting primarily from repayments on our 2018 Term Loan of $1.3 million.

For the three months ended March 31, 2020, net cash provided by financing activities was $36.6 million, resulting primarily from the drawdown of the full $40.0 million from our 2018 Revolving Facility in response to macroeconomic concerns with regards to COVID-19, offset in part by repurchases of common stock for tax withholding obligations of $2.0 million.

Contractual obligations and commitments

We have contractual commitments for our 2018 Term Loan, operating leases, marketing and technology expenditures. For additional information, see Note 11 and Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Interest payments on the 2018 Term Loan are based upon the applicable interest rates as of December 31, 2020. We currently intend to use a portion of the net proceeds to us from this offering to repay the outstanding indebtedness under the 2018 Credit Facility. We have operating lease commitments primarily related to

 

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minimum lease payments under the operating leases we entered into for facility spaces in Glendale, California, Austin and Frisco, Texas and London, United Kingdom. Our purchase commitments relate to minimum purchase commitments for advertising, media, and technology.

We believe our current cash and cash equivalents, as well as cash expected to be generated by future operating activities, will be sufficient to meet our contractual obligations for the next twelve months.

Our commitments are associated with contracts that are enforceable and legally binding and that specify all significant terms, including fixed or minimum services to be used, fixed, minimum or variable price provisions and the approximate timing of the actions under the contracts. Our disclosure does not include obligations under agreements that we can cancel without a significant penalty.

Off-balance sheet arrangements

We do not have any relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, that were established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

To supplement our consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, we use certain non-GAAP financial measures, as described below, to understand and evaluate our core operating performance. These non-GAAP financial measures, which may be different than similarly titled measures used by other companies, are presented to enhance investors’ overall understanding of our financial performance and should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information about our financial performance, enhance the overall understanding of our past performance and future prospects and allow for greater transparency with respect to important measures used by our management for financial and operational decision-making. We are presenting these non-GAAP measures to assist investors in seeing our financial performance using a management view and because we believe that these measures provide an additional tool for investors to use in comparing our core financial performance over multiple periods with other companies in our industry.

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) adjusted to exclude interest expense, net, provision for income taxes, depreciation and amortization, other income, net, stock-based compensation, losses from impairments of goodwill, long-lived and other assets, impairments of available-for-sale debt securities, acquisition related expenses, restructuring expenses, legal reserves and settlements, and certain other non-recurring expenses. Our Adjusted EBITDA financial measure differs from GAAP in that it excludes certain items of income and expense. We define Adjusted EBITDA margin as Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue. We define net income (loss) margin as net income (loss) as a percentage of revenue.

Adjusted EBITDA is one of the primary performance measures used by our management and our board of directors to understand and evaluate our financial performance and operating trends, including period-to-period comparisons, prepare and approve our annual budget, develop short- and long-term operational plans and determine appropriate compensation plans for our employees. Accordingly, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our results of operations in the same manner as our management team and board of directors. In assessing our performance, we exclude certain expenses that we believe are not comparable period over period. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation of, or as an alternative to, measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are a number of limitations related to the use of Adjusted EBITDA rather than net income, which is the nearest GAAP equivalent of Adjusted EBITDA, and it may

 

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be calculated differently by other companies in our industry, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure. Some of these limitations include that the non-GAAP financial measure:

 

  

does not reflect interest expense, or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments, which reduces cash available to us;

 

  

does not reflect provision for income taxes that may result in payments that reduce cash available to us;

 

  

excludes depreciation and amortization and, although these are non-cash expenses, the assets being depreciated may be replaced in the future;

 

  

does not reflect foreign currency exchange or other gains or losses, which are included in other income, net;

 

  

excludes stock-based compensation expense, which has been, and will continue to be, a significant recurring expense for our business and an important part of our compensation strategy;

 

  

excludes losses from impairments of goodwill, long-lived and other assets and available-for-sale debt securities;

 

  

excludes acquisition related expenses, which reduce cash available to us;

 

  

excludes restructuring expenses, which reduce cash available to us; and

 

  

does not reflect certain other non-recurring expenses that are not considered representative of our underlying performance, which reduce cash available to us.

The following table presents a reconciliation of net income (loss), the most directly comparable GAAP measure, to Adjusted EBITDA for each of the periods indicated:

 

   Year
Ended December 31,
  Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
         2019              2020              2020              2021       
   (in thousands)  (in thousands) 

Reconciliation of Net Income (loss) to Adjusted EBITDA

     

Net income (loss)

  $7,443  $9,896  $(4,878 $(9,823

Interest expense, net

   38,559   35,504   9,270   8,654 

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

   3,161   2,429   (2,055  (2,936

Depreciation and amortization

   16,390   20,097   4,920   4,166 

Other (income) expense, net

   (2,577  (3,713  1,106   (248

Stock-based compensation(1)

   5,181   12,894   4,088   3,786 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

   14,321   1,105   555   —   

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

   —     4,818   —     —   

Acquisition related expenses

   5,433   132   —     —   

Restructuring expenses(2)

   1,600   2,524   348   —   

Legal reserves and settlements(3)

   735   525   —     —   

Certain other non-recurring expenses(4)

   6,911   1,764   —     —   
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

  $97,157  $87,975  $13,354  $3,599 
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss) margin

   1.8  2.1  (4.6)%   (7.3)% 

Adjusted EBITDA margin

   23.8  18.7  12.6  2.7
  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

(1)

Stock-based compensation expense excludes amounts paid in cash to certain employees as part of a buyback program as further described in Note 15 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

(2)

Restructuring expenses relate to certain one-time severance events for different components of our business, which was part of our overall reset of business strategy during 2019 and 2020. See Note 17 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

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(3)

Legal reserves and settlements include costs accrued or paid for potential litigation settlements, and are net of insurance recoveries, if any.

(4)

In 2019, we incurred certain expenses for strategic transactions that were not consummated, including $4.6 million of costs associated with our filing of a registration statement, $1.9 million of compensation expense recorded in general and administrative expenses related the establishment of a financial guarantee for a former executive officer, and $0.4 million for other transaction related expenses. In 2020, we incurred a loss on sale from the disposal of Beaumont, our conveyancing business in the United Kingdom, of $1.8 million.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased from $97.2 million in 2019 to $88.0 million in 2020. The decrease of $9.2 million primarily reflects an investment in customer acquisition media spend, which increased by $52.0 million in 2020 as we invested to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership and awareness, as well as an increase in cost of revenue of $17.7 million driven by increases in customer care and fulfillment costs, partially offset by an increase in revenue of $62.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA decreased $9.8 million from $13.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $3.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The decrease primarily reflects an investment in customer acquisition media spend, which increased by $23.6 million, filing fee expense which increased by $6.2 million in cost of revenue, media production spend which increased by $3.0 million and salaries and benefits which increased by $3.6 million from our investment in headcount, which was partially offset by a $28.8 million increase in revenue. We expect our Adjusted EBITDA to increase in absolute dollars in the longer term, although the rate at which our Adjusted EBITDA may grow could vary based upon the interplay of the foregoing factors.

Free cash flow

Free cash flow is a liquidity measure used by management in evaluating the cash generated by our operations after purchases of property and equipment including capitalized internal-use software. We consider free cash flow to be an important metric because it provides useful information to management and investors about the amount of cash generated by our business that can be used for strategic opportunities, including investing in our business and strengthening our balance sheet. Once our business needs and obligations are met, cash can be used to maintain a strong balance sheet and invest in future growth. The usefulness of free cash flow as an analytical tool has limitations because it excludes certain items, which are settled in cash, does not represent residual cash flow available for discretionary expenses, does not reflect our future contractual commitments, and may be calculated differently by other companies in our industry. Accordingly, it should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of other GAAP financial measures, such as net cash provided by operating activities.

The following table presents a reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, to free cash flow:

 

   Year
Ended December 31,
   Three Months
Ended March 31,
 
   2019   2020   2020   2021 
   (in thousands) 

Reconciliation of Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities to Free Cash Flow

        

Net cash provided by operating activities

  $52,695   $93,049   $21,889   $31,415 

Purchase of property and equipment

   (18,349   (10,587   (1,988   (2,911
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Free cash flow

  $34,346   $82,462   $19,901   $28,504 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

We experienced an increase in our free cash flow from 2019 to 2020 as a result of an increase in net cash provided by operating activities, which was primarily due to an increase of $17.6 million in deferred revenue driven by an increase in subscription units as well as a $8.5 million increase in accounts payable due to the timing of our payments. We experienced an increase in our free cash flow for the three months ended March 31, 2020 as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2021 as a result of an increase of $8.8 million in deferred revenue primarily as a result of the growth of our subscription units, which are predominantly billed in advance

 

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of our revenue recognition, a $6.6 million increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities and $2.7 million in accounts payable, due to the timing of our payments. Additionally, in the year ended 2020 as compared to 2019, we recorded a decrease in purchase of property and equipment related to less capitalization of internal-use software projects. In the three months ended March 31, 2021, we recorded an increase in purchase of property and equipment related to additional capitalization of internal-use software projects, associated with scaling our operations, technology and infrastructure to support our growth. We expect our free cash flow to increase in absolute dollars in the near term, although the rate at which our free cash flow may grow could vary based upon the interplay of the factors discussed above.

For 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, our free cash flow included cash payments for interest related to our 2018 Credit Facility of $37.3 million, $27.9 million, $8.3 million and $6.1 million, respectively.

Quarterly Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our unaudited quarterly consolidated results of operations by quarter from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2021. The unaudited quarterly consolidated results of operations set forth below have been prepared on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements and in our opinion contain all adjustments, consisting only of normal and recurring adjustments, necessary for the fair statement of this financial information. The following information should be read in conjunction with the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus. The results of historical periods are not necessarily indicative of the results for any future period, and the results for any quarter are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for a full year or any other period.

 

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Quarterly Consolidated Statement of Operations Data

 

  Three Months Ended 
  March 31,
2019
  June 30,
2019
  September 30,
2019
  December 31,
2019
  March 31,
2020
  June 30,
2020
  September 30,
2020
  December 31,
2020
  March 31,
2021
 
  (In thousands) 

Revenue (1)

 $102,177  $103,506  $103,977  $98,720  $105,795  $111,007  $131,595  $122,239  $134,632 

Cost of revenue

  35,947   35,999   34,144   30,825   35,112   35,759   43,841   39,851   43,960 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Gross margin

  66,230   67,507   69,833   67,895   70,683   75,248   87,754   82,388   90,672 

Operating expenses:

         

Sales and marketing

  34,328   26,765   27,414   27,406   43,481   40,173   46,833   40,903   71,361 

Technology and development

  8,230   8,728   9,420   10,826   10,543   10,165   10,911   10,244   10,499 

General and administrative

  12,015   13,252   17,044   15,451   12,661   12,612   10,424   15,320   13,165 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

  —     —     —     14,321   555   —     —     550   —   

Loss on sale of business

  —     —     —     —     —     1,764   —     —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

  54,573   48,745   53,878   68,004   67,240   64,714   68,168   67,017   95,025 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations

  11,657   18,762   15,955   (109  3,443   10,534   19,586   15,371   (4,353

Interest expense, net

  (9,826  (9,838  (9,665  (9,230  (9,270  (8,857  (8,658  (8,719  (8,654

Other income (expense), net

  1,037   (1,000  (1,079  3,619   (1,106  (355  1,610   3,564   248 

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

  —     —     —     —     —     (4,818  —     —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes and income from equity method investment

  2,868   7,924   5,211   (5,720  (6,933  (3,496  12,538   10,216   (12,759

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

  1,107   2,492   1,932   (2,370  (2,055  563   3,126   795   (2,936
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income on equity method investment

  1,761   5,432   3,279   (3,350  (4,878  (4,059  9,412   9,421   (9,823

Income from equity method investment

  —     —     —     321   —     —     —     —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

 $1,761  $5,432  $3,279  $(3,029 $(4,878 $(4,059 $9,412  $9,421  $(9,823
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

(1)

Includes revenue by type as follows:

 

  Three Months Ended 
  March 31,
2019
  June 30,
2019
  September 30,
2019
  December 31,
2019
  March 31,
2020
  June 30,
2020
  September 30,
2020
  December 31,
2020
  March 31,
2021
 
  (In thousands) 

Transaction

 $45,772  $45,350  $41,376  $35,807  $45,586  $50,429  $63,850  $52,249  $61,388 

Subscription

  47,419   50,175   53,879   54,974   54,235   53,832   59,348   62,425   65,493 

Partner

  8,986   7,981   8,722   7,939   5,974   6,746   8,397   7,565   7,751 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total revenue

 $102,177  $103,506  $103,977  $98,720  $105,795  $111,007  $131,595  $122,239  $134,632 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Quarterly Revenue, Cost and Operating Expense Trends

We have experienced, and expect that we will continue to experience, seasonality in the number of orders placed and when we enter into subscription agreements with customers. Customers tend to place a higher number of orders and enter into new or renewed subscriptions in the first quarter of the year, which is when we believe the demand for forming businesses is the highest. Further seasonality is reflected in the timing of our revenue recognition in the second quarter, when we typically recognize a high amount of revenue from transactions placed in the first quarter but fulfilled in the second quarter. Also, historically we generally see demand for our services decline in the last two months of the fourth quarter as a result of the winter holidays. For example, in 2019, we saw our highest number of transaction orders in the first quarter. Although the number of transactions declined in the second quarter as compared to the first quarter of 2019, our revenue increased as we fulfilled a number of transaction orders placed in the first quarter. In addition, starting in the second quarter of 2020, we saw tailwinds driven by the COVID-19 pandemic as individuals and small businesses turned to online services given the relative inaccessibility of offline alternatives.

Generally, these seasonal trends also apply to our cost of revenue, which includes all costs of fulfilling our services, such as government filing fees and costs associated with customer care that scale with order volumes.

Our operating expenses consist primarily of sales and marketing, technology and development, general and administrative expenses, and to a lesser extent, impairments of goodwill, long-lived assets and other assets, in addition to a loss on sale of a business in April 2020. Customer acquisition media spend has historically been highest in the first quarter of the year when customer demand is strongest, while other operating expenses such as technology and development and general and administrative expenses typically exhibit less seasonal fluctuation. We expect our sales and marketing expenses will continue to increase in absolute dollars and be our largest operating expense category for the foreseeable future as we invest to drive additional revenue, further penetrate our expanding addressable market and build on our digital brand leadership and awareness. We also expect technology and development expenses to increase in absolute dollars going forward as we invest in new products and services, enhancing our customer experience, and production automation technologies. Additionally, we expect our general and administrative expenses to increase as we expand our headcount to support our growth and meet our obligations as a public company following the completion of this offering. In addition, during the second and third quarters of 2020, we saw the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic impact these trends, which cannot be quantified and may not continue in future periods.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The following table presents a reconciliation of net income (loss) to Adjusted EBITDA, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP. For more information as to the limitations of using non-GAAP measurements, please see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA

 

  Three Months Ended 
  March 31,
2019
  June 30,
2019
  September 30,
2019
  December 31,
2019
  March 31,
2020
  June 30,
2020
  September 30,
2020
  December 31,
2020
  March 31,
2021
 
  (In thousands) 

Net income (loss)

 $1,761  $5,432  $3,279  $(3,029 $(4,878 $(4,059 $9,412  $9,421  $(9,823

Interest expense, net

  9,826   9,838   9,665   9,230   9,270   8,857   8,658   8,719   8,654 

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

  1,107   2,492   1,932   (2,370  (2,055  563   3,126   795   (2,936

Depreciation and amortization

  4,397   4,072   4,226   3,695   4,920   4,827   4,415   5,935   4,166 

Other (income) expense, net

  (1,037  1,000   1,079   (3,619  1,106   355   (1,610  (3,564  (248

Stock-based compensation(1)

  1,185   1,309   1,144   1,543   4,088   3,090   2,712   3,004   3,786 

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived and other assets

  —     —     —     14,321   555   —     —     550   —   

Impairment of available-for-sale debt securities

  —     —     —     —     —     4,818   —     —     —   

Acquisition related expenses

  5   2,244   2,695   489   — ��   —     38   94   —   

Restructuring expenses(2)

  363   258   137   842   348   64   155   1,957   —   

Legal reserves and settlements(3)

  —     —     —     735   —     —     525   —     —   

Certain other non-recurring expenses(4)

  306   847   3,806   1,952   —     1,764   —     —     —   
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

  17,913   27,492   27,963   23,789   13,354   20,279   27,431   26,911   3,599 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Net income (loss) margin

  1.7  5.2  3.2  (3.1)%   (4.6)%   (3.7)%   7.2  7.7  (7.3)% 

Adjusted EBITDA margin

  17.5  26.6  26.9  24.1  12.6  18.3  20.8  22.0  2.7
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

(1)

Stock-based compensation expense excludes amounts paid in cash to certain employees as part of a buyback program as further described in Note 15 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

(2)

Restructuring expenses relate to certain one-time severance events for different components of our business, which were part of our overall reset of business strategy during 2019 and 2020. Such expenses are not expected to recur in the near or longer term. Due to continued decline in the business performance of Beaumont, our conveyancing business in the United Kingdom, we conducted a phased restructuring during 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2019, we restructured our United Kingdom Research and Development team, as part of the reset of our product strategy. In the first half of 2020, we restructured our United Kingdom business, mainly in our leadership and technology team. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we incurred $2.0 million in severance costs related to a reduction in headcount in our U.S. workforce.

(3)

Legal reserves and settlements include costs accrued or paid for potential litigation settlements, and are net of insurance recoveries, if any.

(4)

In 2019, we incurred certain expenses for strategic transactions that were not consummated, including $4.6 million of costs associated with our filing of a registration statement during the first and second quarters of 2019 and which was later withdrawn in the third quarter of 2019, $1.9 million of compensation expense recorded in general and administrative expenses related the establishment of a financial guarantee for a former executive officer in the fourth quarter of 2019, and $0.4 million for other transaction related expenses. In the second quarter of 2020, we incurred a loss on sale from the disposal of Beaumont, our conveyancing business in the United Kingdom, of $1.8 million.

 

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The following table presents a reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, to free cash flow:

Reconciliation of Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities to Free Cash Flow

 

  Three Months Ended 
  March 31,
2019
  June 30,
2019
  September 30,
2019
  December 31,
2019
  March 31,
2020
  June 30,
2020
  September 30,
2020
  December 31,
2020
  March 31,
2021
 
  (In thousands) 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 $23,102  $4,885  $14,410  $10,298  $21,889  $27,431  $32,749  $10,980  $31,415 

Purchase of property and equipment

  (5,442  (4,784  (4,281  (3,842  (1,988  (2,503  (3,328  (2,768  (2,911
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Total free cash flow

 $17,660  $101  $10,129  $6,456  $19,901  $24,928  $29,421  $8,212  $28,504 
 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenue and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent liabilities in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Estimates are used for, however not limited to, revenue recognition, sales allowances and credit reserves, available-for-sale debt securities, valuation of long-lived assets and goodwill, income taxes, commitments and contingencies, valuation of assets and liabilities acquired in business combinations, fair value of derivative instruments and stock-based compensation. Actual results could differ materially from those estimates. Our most critical accounting policies are summarized below. See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for a discussion of our other significant accounting policies.

Revenue recognition

We derive our revenue from the following sources:

Transaction revenue—Transaction revenue is primarily generated from our customized legal document services upon fulfillment of these services. Transaction revenue includes filing fees and is net of cancellations, promotional discounts and sales allowances. Until April 2020, when we ceased providing such services, we also generated transaction revenue from our residential and commercial conveyancing business in the United Kingdom. Revenue for these services was recognized when delivered to the customer. In addition, until July 2019, when we ceased providing such services, we generated revenue from litigation services in the United Kingdom, and we recognized this revenue based on the time incurred by the attorneys at their market billing rates. In 2020, we commenced providing tax advice and filing services in the United States, which are recognized at the point in time when the customer’s tax return is filed and accepted by the applicable government authority.

Subscription revenue—Subscription revenue is generated primarily from subscriptions to our registered agent services, compliance packages, attorney advice, and legal forms services, in addition to SaaS subscriptions in the United Kingdom. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we commenced providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll subscription services. We recognize revenue from our subscriptions ratably over the subscription term. Subscription terms generally range from thirty days to one year. Subscription revenue includes the value allocated to bundled free-trials for our subscription services and is net of promotional discounts, cancellations, sales allowances and credit reserves and payments to third-party service providers such as legal plan law firms and tax service providers.

 

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Partner revenue—Partner revenue consists primarily of one-time or recurring referral fees earned from third-party providers from leads generated to such providers through our online legal platform. Revenue is recognized when the related performance-based criteria have been met. We assess whether performance criteria have been met on a cost-per-click or cost-per-action basis.

We determine revenue recognition through the following five steps: identification of a contract with a customer; identification of the performance obligations in the contract; determination of the transaction price; allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and recognition of revenue when or as the performance obligations are satisfied.

Our customers generally pay for transactions in advance by credit or debit card except for certain services provided under installment plans where we allow customers to pay for their order in two or three equal payments. The first installment due under the installment plans is charged to the customer’s debit or credit card on the date the order is placed, and the remaining installments are generally charged on a monthly basis thereafter. We recognize revenue for the amount we expect to be entitled to for providing the services to our customers. The total fees collected by us for our services include, as applicable, expedited services fees, government filing fees, shipping fees and sales tax.

Subscription services are generally paid monthly or annually in advance of the subscription period except for SaaS services in the United Kingdom which are invoiced monthly in arrears. Amounts collected in advance of revenue recognition are recorded in deferred revenue. Customers may pay for services, however, may not provide the necessary information to complete a transaction. We attempt to contact the customer to complete the abandoned order. We recognize revenue on abandoned services, or breakage, when it is likely to occur and the amount can be recognized without significant risk of reversal. We recognize breakage in proportion to the pattern of rights exercised by the customer. Judgment is required to determine the amount of breakage and when breakage is likely to occur, which we estimate based on historical data of breakage for similar services.

Services we offer can generally either be purchased on a stand-alone basis or bundled together as part of a package of services. Accordingly, a significant number of our arrangements include multiple performance obligations, such as the preparation of legal documents combined with related document revision, document storage, registered agent services, and free trial periods of our legal plans. At contract inception, we assess the services promised in our contracts with customers and identify performance obligations for each promise to transfer to the customer a service or bundle of services that is distinct. The identification of distinct performance obligations within our packages may require significant judgment.

The transaction price allocated to each separate performance obligation represents the amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled in exchange for the services we provide. The transaction price is based on the contractual amounts in our contracts and is reduced for estimated sales allowances for price concessions, charge-backs, sales credits and refunds, which are accounted for as variable consideration when estimating the amount of revenue to recognize. We only include variable consideration in the transaction price to the extent that it is probable that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur. We estimate sales allowances using the expected value method. We have established a sufficient history of estimating sales allowances given the large number of homogeneous transactions. The majority of our allowances and reserves are known within a relatively short period of time following our balance sheet date. The estimated provision for sales allowances has varied from actual results within ranges consistent with management’s expectations. The transaction price excludes sales taxes.

Contracts with our customers may include options to purchase additional future services, and in the case of subscription services, options to auto-renew the subscription service. Additional consideration attributable to either the option to purchase additional future services or the option to renew are excluded from the transaction price until such time that the option is exercised, unless these options provide a material right to the customer.

 

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For arrangements that contain multiple performance obligations, such as our bundled arrangements, we allocate the transaction price to each performance obligation based on estimates of the standalone selling price of each performance obligation within the bundle. For the services we sell on a standalone basis, we use the sales price of these services in the allocation of the transaction price in bundled arrangements. Where we do not sell the service on a standalone basis, we estimate the standalone selling price based on the adjusted market assessment approach or the expected cost plus a margin approach when market information is not observable. In these cases, the determination of the standalone selling price may require significant judgment.

We recognize revenue when we satisfy the performance obligation by transferring the promised good or service to the customer. For our transaction-based services, we generally recognize revenue at a point-in-time when the services are delivered to the customer. For our subscription-based services we recognize revenue on a straight-line basis over the subscription term. For our partner-based services, we recognize revenue at a point-in-time when the related performance-based criteria have been met.

We do not have significant financing components in arrangements with our customers.

Principal agent considerations

In certain of our arrangements, another party may be involved in providing services to our customer. We evaluate whether we can recognize revenue gross as a principal or net as an agent. We record revenue on a gross basis when we are the principal in the arrangement. To determine whether we are a principal or an agent, we identify the specified good or service to be provided to the customer and assess whether we control the specified good or service before that good or service is transferred to the customer. We evaluate a number of indicators of whether we control the good or service before it is transferred to the customer, including whether we have primary fulfillment responsibility and obligation to perform the services being sold to the customer; we have latitude in establishing the sales price; and we have inventory risk.

In arrangements in which we are the principal, we record as revenue the amounts we have billed to our customer, net of sales allowance, and we record the fee payable to the third-party as cost of revenue. We are the principal in most of our legal document preparation and registered agent services, including legal entity formations and similar arrangements and conveyancing and formation services in the United Kingdom. For these services, revenue includes filing and similar fees.

In arrangements in which we are not the principal, we record revenue on a net basis, which is equal to the amount billed to our customer, net of sales allowances and the fee payable to the third-party or partner that is primarily responsible for performing the services for the customer. We are not a law firm in the United States and cannot provide legal advice through our U.S. entities, therefore the participating independent law firms in our legal plans control the service to the customer and have the primary service obligation to provide attorney consultations to our customers, for which we pay the law firms a monthly fee. For these arrangements, we recognize revenue on a net basis as an agent. Since 2016, our Alternative Business Structure, or ABS, subsidiary in the United Kingdom began offering legal advisory services that were marketed through our website. Our ABS provides independent legal advice to our customers and is directly responsible for, and controls the fulfillment of, the legal services. Accordingly, for services provided by our ABS, we recognize revenue as the principal. For other services provided by third-parties, including deed transfer, accounting, tax, credit monitoring, business data protection and logo design services, revenue is recognized net of fees payable to third-parties. For partner revenue, we receive a fee for the referral of our customer to the partner or we retain a portion of the fee paid by the customer and share the remainder with partner. Our partner controls the service to the customer and the partner is responsible for fulfilling the referred service to the customer; accordingly, we recognize revenue for these arrangements on a net basis.

Revenue includes shipping and handling fees charged to customers.

 

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Business combinations

The results of businesses acquired in a business combination are included in our consolidated financial statements from the date of the acquisition. Purchase accounting results in assets and liabilities of an acquired business being recorded at their estimated fair values on the acquisition date. Any excess purchase consideration over the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed is recognized as goodwill.

We perform valuations of assets acquired and liabilities assumed for an acquisition and allocate the purchase price to their respective net tangible and intangible assets. Determining the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed requires management to use significant judgment and estimates including the selection of valuation methodologies, estimates of future revenue and cash flows, discount rates and selection of comparable companies. We generally engage the assistance of third-party valuation specialists in determining fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed and contingent consideration, if any, in a business combination.

Transaction costs associated with business combinations are expensed as incurred and are included in general and administrative expenses in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the aggregate fair value of the consideration transferred in a business combination over the fair value of the assets acquired, net of liabilities assumed. Goodwill is not amortized, however, it is subject to impairment testing at the reporting unit level annually during the fourth quarter of our fiscal year or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that goodwill may be impaired.

In assessing impairment, we have the option to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether or not a reporting unit is impaired. Alternatively, we may perform a quantitative impairment assessment or if the qualitative assessment indicates that it is more-likely-than-not that the reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount, a quantitative analysis is required. The quantitative analysis compares the estimated fair value of the reporting unit with its respective carrying amount, including goodwill. If the estimated fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount including goodwill, goodwill is considered not to be impaired. If the fair value is less than the carrying amount including goodwill, then a goodwill impairment charge is recorded by the amount that the carrying value exceeds the fair value, up to the carrying amount of goodwill.

In 2019, we had two reporting units, the U.S. reporting unit and the U.K. reporting unit. Our U.K. reporting unit’s performance was below expectations and further deteriorated in 2019. Our quantitative goodwill assessment in 2019 concluded that the carrying value of the U.K. reporting unit exceeded its fair value, and accordingly, we impaired all the goodwill attributable to the U.K. reporting unit of $10.6 million.

For our goodwill impairment test performed in the fourth quarter of 2020, the fair value of our consolidated reporting unit significantly exceeded our carrying value.

Loss contingencies

We record loss contingencies in our consolidated financial statements in the period when they are probable and reasonably estimable. If the amount is probable and we are able to reasonably estimate a range of loss, we accrue the amount that is the best estimate within that range, and if no amount is better than any other in the range, we record the amount at the low end in the range. We disclose those contingencies that we believe are at least reasonably possible but not probable regardless of whether they are reasonably estimable. The likelihood of a loss is determined using several factors including the nature of the matter, advice of our internal and external counsel, previous experience and historical and relevant information available to us. The determination of the likelihood of loss or the range of loss requires significant management judgment. We expense legal costs for defending legal proceedings as incurred.

 

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As discussed in Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus, we are subject to pending matters for which we believe that we have meritorious defenses to the claims and intend to defend against vigorously.

Income taxes

We account for income taxes using the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in our consolidated financial statements. Deferred income tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates anticipated to be in effect when those tax assets and liabilities are expected to be realized or settled. The effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets and liabilities is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations in the period that includes the enactment date.

We make judgments in evaluating whether deferred tax assets will be recovered from future taxable income. A valuation allowance is established if, based upon the available evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. We consider all available evidence, both positive and negative, including historical levels of income, expectations and risk associated with estimates of future taxable income in assessing the need for a valuation allowance. If our assumptions and consequently our estimates, change in the future, the valuation allowance may be increased or decreased, resulting in an increase or decrease, which may be material, to our provision for income taxes and the related impact on our net income.

We recognize tax benefits from an uncertain position only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on the technical merits. If this threshold is met, we measure the tax benefit as the largest amount of the benefit that is greater than fifty percent likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement. We recognize penalties and interest accrued with respect to uncertain tax positions as a component of the income tax provision.

See Note 18 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for further information on our income taxes.

Stock-based compensation

We estimate the fair value of employee stock-based payment awards on the grant-date and recognize the resulting fair value, net of estimated forfeitures, over the requisite service period. We use the Black-Scholes option pricing model for estimating the fair value of options granted under our stock option plans that vest based on service and performance conditions. The fair value of RSUs, that vest based on service and performance conditions is determined based on the value of the underlying common stock at the date of grant. For awards that contain market conditions, we estimate the fair value using a Monte Carlo simulation model. We record expense for awards that contain performance conditions only to the extent that we determine it is probable that the performance condition will be achieved. Expense for awards containing market conditions is not reversed even if the market condition is not achieved. We have elected to treat stock-based payment awards with graded vesting schedules and time-based service conditions as a single award and recognize stock-based compensation on a straight-line basis, net of estimated forfeitures, over the requisite service period. Awards with performance or market conditions are recognized using graded vesting.

Options. The Black-Scholes option-pricing model and the Monte Carlo simulation model requires us to make certain assumptions including the fair value of our underlying common stock, the expected term, the expected stock price volatility, the risk-free interest rates and the expected dividend yield of our common stock. These assumptions used in the Black-Scholes option-pricing model and the Monte Carlo simulation model, other than the fair value of our common stock (see the section titled “—Common Stock Valuations” below), are estimated as follows:

 

  

Expected term. The expected term of employee stock options represents the weighted-average period that the stock options are expected to remain outstanding. The expected term of options granted is estimated based upon actual historical exercise and post-vesting cancellations, adjusted for expected future exercise behavior.

 

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Risk-free interest rate. The risk-free interest rate assumption is based upon observed interest rates on the U.S. government securities appropriate for the expected term of our stock options.

 

  

Expected volatility. Because our common stock has no publicly traded history, we estimate the expected volatility from the historical volatility of selected public companies with comparable characteristics to us, including similarity in size, lines of business, market capitalization and revenue and financial leverage. We determine the expected volatility assumption using the frequency of daily historical prices of comparable public company’s common stock for a period equal to the expected term of the options. We periodically assess the comparable companies and other relevant factors used to measure expected volatility for future stock option grants.

 

  

Expected dividend yield. The dividend yield assumption is based on our history and expectation of dividend payouts. Other than the special dividends paid in 2015, 2017 and 2018 which resulted in corresponding reductions in the exercise price of the stock options, we have not declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

Stock-based compensation expense is recognized based on awards that are ultimately expected to vest. Forfeitures are estimated at the time of grant and revised, if necessary, in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates. Forfeitures are estimated based on our historical experience and future expectations.

If any of the assumptions used in the Black-Scholes option-pricing model change significantly, stock-based compensation for future awards may differ materially compared with the awards granted previously.

The determination of stock-based compensation is inherently uncertain and subjective and involves the application of valuation models and assumptions requiring the use of judgment. If we had made different assumptions, our stock-based compensation expense, and our net income (loss) for 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, may have been materially different.

The weighted-average assumptions that were used to calculate the grant-date fair-value of our stock option grants were as follows (in thousands):

 

   Year Ended December 31,  Three Months Ended
March 31,
2020
 
   2019  2020 

Expected term (years)

   5.1   5.2   5.1 

Risk-free interest rate

   1.5  1.1  1.6

Expected volatility

   44  45  43

Expected dividend yield

   —     —     —   

We did not grant any stock options in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Our types of stock option awards are as follows:

Options that vest upon the satisfaction of service-based vesting conditions, which is typically over a four-year period. For these options we recognize stock-based compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of 4 years net of forfeitures.

Options that vest depending upon the fair value of our common stock appreciation compared to the grant-date fair value of our common stock upon the consummation of a CIC event, which includes an IPO, merger, acquisition, or sale of more than 50% of our assets, providing the holder remains employed through the date of the event. These options contain a performance vesting condition, a market condition and a service condition, and were valued using a Monte-Carlo simulation model. The market condition is satisfied on a linear basis, starting at 0% with a fair value of our common stock equal to $19.64 per share and ending at 100% upon reaching a fair value of our common stock of $29.46 per share. For these options, since vesting is contingent on a CIC event, no

 

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stock-based compensation expense is recognized until the CIC event occurs. At the date of the CIC event, including this offering, we will recognize stock-based compensation expense for all of the then unrecognized stock-based compensation cost, irrespective of whether the market condition is satisfied. At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there was $8.2 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to these options.

Furthermore, we granted a separate option to an executive officer that vests depending upon the fair value of our common stock appreciation compared to the grant date fair value of our common stock upon the earlier of (i) consummation of a CIC event, which includes a merger, acquisition, or sale of more than 50% of our assets, or (ii) upon the fourth anniversary of the grant date, provided that the holder remains employed through such date. This option does not vest upon an IPO. Stock-based compensation for this option is being recognized on a straight-line basis over the four-year service period and will be recognized irrespective of whether the market condition is satisfied either upon the CIC event or the fourth anniversary, whichever occurs first. At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there was $9.2 million and $8.4 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to this option, respectively.

For time-based options granted to certain executive officers, vesting will accelerate 50% of their unvested options upon a change in ownership of more than 50%, sale, merger, disposition, dissolution or liquidation. Vesting does not accelerate upon an IPO. Furthermore, the time-based options will accelerate up to 100% if the executives are terminated without cause by us or by the executive officer for good reason within 24 months of a CIC event.

Restricted stock units. We have granted several types of restricted stock awards as follows:

RSUs that vest upon the satisfaction of service-based vesting conditions, which is typically over a four-year period. For these RSUs we recognize stock-based compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of 4 years.

RSUs that only vest upon the achievement of up to four-years of service and upon the consummation of a CIC event. Employees will be eligible to retain the right to any awards that have met the service vesting condition up to a period of 6.5 years from their respective grant date. If the recipient employee terminates for any reason other than for cause, the employee shall retain any service-vested RSUs until 6.5 years from the date of grant or the earlier settlement of the service-vested RSUs upon the consummation of a CIC event. For these RSUs, since vesting is contingent on a CIC event, no stock-based compensation expense is recognized until the CIC event occurs. At the date of the CIC event, including this offering, we will recognize stock-based compensation on a graded vesting basis for the portion of the service period completed prior to the CIC event. At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there was $17.9 million and $27.5 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to these RSUs, respectively. There has been no compensation expense recognized as both the CIC event and service-based vesting condition had not been satisfied as of March 31, 2021.

RSUs that vest upon the earlier of either prior to December 31, 2022: (1) a change in control, or CIC event establishing an enterprise value of at least $5.0 billion; or (2) our registered securities achieving a trailing 30-day volume weighted average price on a listed exchange establishing an enterprise value of at least $5.0 billion after our initial public offering, or the IPO event, providing the holder remains employed through the date of the event. These RSUs contain a performance vesting condition, a market vesting condition and service vesting condition, and were valued using a Monte-Carlo simulation model. For these RSUs, since vesting is contingent on a CIC event, no stock-based compensation expense is recognized until the CIC event occurs. At the date of the CIC event, including this offering, we will recognize stock-based compensation expense for the portion of the service period prior to CIC event and continue to recognize expense over the remainder of the derived service period, unless we meet the 30-day trading volume at an enterprise value of at least $5 billion beforehand, in which case, any remaining unrecognized stock-based compensation cost will be expensed. We will incur stock-based compensation expense irrespective of whether the market condition is satisfied. At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there was $0.3 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to these RSUs.

 

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RSUs that vest depending upon the fair value of our common stock appreciation compared to the grant-date fair value of our common stock upon the consummation of a CIC event, which includes an IPO, merger, acquisition, or sale of more than 50% of our assets, providing the holder remains employed through the date of the event. These RSUs contain a performance vesting condition, a market condition and a service condition, and were valued using a Monte-Carlo simulation model. The market condition is satisfied on a linear basis, starting at 0% with a fair value of our common stock equal to $19.64 per share and ending at 100% upon reaching a fair value of our common stock of $29.46 per share. For these RSUs, since vesting is contingent on a CIC event, no stock-based compensation expense is recognized until the CIC event occurs. At the date of the CIC event, including this offering, we will recognize stock-based compensation expense for all of the then unrecognized stock-based compensation cost, irrespective of whether the market condition is satisfied. At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, there was $0.2 million of unrecognized stock-based compensation expense related to these RSUs.

For 509,165 RSUs granted to an executive officer, vesting will accelerate on 25% of their unvested RSUs upon a CIC event including an IPO, or will accelerate 100% if the executive officer is terminated without cause by us or by the executive officer for good reason. At December 31, 2020, total remaining stock-based compensation expense for the RSU award was $5.0 million, of which $1.3 million will be expensed upon the consummation of a CIC event.

Common stock valuations. The fair value of the shares of common stock underlying our stock options and RSUs have historically been determined by our board of directors. Prior to this offering, given the absence of a public trading market of our common stock, and in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Accounting and Valuation Guide, or AICPA, Valuation of Privately-Held Company Equity Securities Issued as Compensation, our board of directors with input from management reviewed and exercised reasonable judgment and considered numerous objective and subjective factors to determine the best estimate of fair value of our common stock, including the following:

 

  

the sale of our common stock to unrelated, third parties;

 

  

the nature and history of our business;

 

  

general economic conditions and specific industry outlook;

 

  

our financial condition;

 

  

our operating and financial performance;

 

  

contemporaneous independent valuations performed at periodic intervals;

 

  

the market price of companies engaged in the same or similar line of business having their equity securities actively traded in a free and open market;

 

  

the likelihood of achieving a liquidity event, such as an IPO or sale of our company given prevailing market conditions and the nature and history of our business;

 

  

overall economic indicators, including gross domestic product, employment, inflation and interest rates, and the general economic outlook;

 

  

the differences between our preferred and common stock in respect of liquidation preferences, conversion rights, voting rights and other features; and

 

  

an adjustment necessary to recognize a lack of marketability for our common stock.

We performed valuations of our common stock that considered the factors described above. We determine our enterprise value using an income approach and market approach. The income approach estimates our enterprise value based on estimates of future cash flows that are discounted to their present values using a discount rate reflective of the risk associated with the future cash flows. As of each valuation date, we update our forecasts, as applicable, considering our recent results, changes in our expectations and any new strategic

 

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initiatives implemented at the time of the valuation. Under the market approach, we use the guideline public company method to estimate our enterprise value based on a comparison to similar publicly traded companies and other companies that have recently completed an IPO. From these comparable companies, we determine representative multiples for revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, which is then applied to our revenue and Adjusted EBITDA estimates. Once our enterprise value is determined, we then adjust for any excess working capital and other similar items, excess cash and the fair value of our debt to arrive at an equity value.

Once our equity value is determined, we utilize the probability-weighted expected return method, or PWERM, in combination with the option-pricing method, or OPM, as a hybrid method, or Hybrid Method, which is an accepted valuation method under the AICPA Practice Guide, for determining the fair value of our common stock. The PWERM is a scenario-based analysis that estimates the value per share of common stock based on the probability-weighted present value of expected future equity values for the common stock, under various possible future liquidity event scenarios, in light of the rights and preferences of each class and series of stock, discounted for a lack of marketability. The OPM values each equity class by creating a series of call options on the equity value, with exercise prices based on the liquidation preferences, participation rights and strike prices of derivatives. The Hybrid Method is appropriate for a company expecting a near-term liquidity event, but where, due to market or other factors, the likelihood of completing the liquidity event is uncertain. The Hybrid Method considers a company’s going concern nature, stage of development and our ability to forecast near and long-term future liquidity scenarios. The valuation was performed under a Monte Carlo Simulation, or MCS, framework. Under this framework, our equity value was simulated in quarterly time-steps and for each path the exit scenario was determined by drawing from a uniform (0, 1) distribution based on our probabilities.

We determine the exercise price of our option grants based on the fair value of our common stock as of the immediately preceding valuation, unless circumstances warrant obtaining a more current valuation, including any material changes in our business or events, size of the award and the proximity of the grant to the preceding valuation.

Following this offering, it will not be necessary to determine the fair value of our common stock using these valuation approaches as shares of our common stock will be traded in the public market.

Based upon an assumed initial offering price of $          per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, the aggregate intrinsic value of outstanding stock options as of March 31, 2021 was $          million, of which $          million related to vested options and $          million related to unvested options, and the intrinsic value of RSUs outstanding as of March 31, 2021 was $          million.

Proposed option modifications upon this offering. For retention purposes, prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, we expect to amend the vesting schedule of certain performance options of executive officers and employees so that the performance options do not vest immediately upon a CIC event including an IPO. The options will instead be subject to a time-based vesting schedule, such that 1/48th of the total shares of common stock underlying the options or                  shares of common stock will vest each month following the vesting commencement date, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. Under the original terms of the options,                  options would have vested upon this offering at the assumed initial offering price of $         per share, the midpoint of the estimated price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, with an immediate stock-based compensation charge of $         million. However, as a result of the modifications, we will recognize a stock-based compensation charge of $         upon the consummation of this offering, and stock-based compensation of $         will be recognized over a remaining weighted-average period of              years.

In addition, prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, we expect to amend the vesting schedule of a performance option of an executive officer so that the performance option does not vest immediately upon a CIC event or upon the fourth anniversary from the original date of grant. The options will instead be subject to a time-based vesting schedule, such that 1/48th of the total shares of common stock

 

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underlying the options or                 shares of common stock will vest each month following the vesting commencement date, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. However, as a result of the modification, we will recognize a stock-based compensation charge of $         and stock-based compensation of $         will be recognized over a remaining weighted-average period of years.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

We have operations both within the United States and, to a lesser extent, in the United Kingdom, and we are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. These risks include primarily interest rate fluctuations and foreign currency exchange risks, and to a lesser extent, inflation risk.

Interest rate fluctuation risk

At December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021, we had cash and cash equivalents of $114.5 million and $141.2 million, respectively, which consisted of cash on deposit with banks and short-term highly liquid money market funds. Interest-earning instruments carry a degree of interest rate risk. To date, fluctuations in interest income have not been significant.

We also had total outstanding debt subject to interest rate risk of $524.3 million and $523.0 million in principal as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021. We are exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates on our 2018 Credit Facility, which accrues interest at a variable rate. We performed a sensitivity analysis to determine the effect of interest rate fluctuations on our interest expense. A hypothetical 1% increase or decrease in the interest rates used for our outstanding term loans during 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, with all other variables held constant, would have resulted in an increase or decrease of $5.4 million or $1.3 million in our reported interest expense for 2020 or the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively. From time to time, we may enter into derivative transactions in an attempt to hedge our interest rate risk. In March 2018, we entered into an interest rate cap agreement for an aggregate notional amount of $340.0 million to hedge variability of cash flows in our variable interest payments attributable to fluctuations in LIBOR beyond 3.0%. The interest rate cap expired in March 2021. In April 2019, we entered into interest rate swap agreements for an aggregate notional amount of $131.9 million to swap our variable interest rate on our 2018 Term Loan for a fixed interest rate of 2.2745%. The interest rate swaps were to expire in March 2022. In March 2020, in response to a drop in LIBOR, we modified our interest rate swap agreements to extend the term to March 2024 and also to lower the fixed interest rate from 2.2745% to a revised average rate of 1.6786%. There can be no assurance that such transactions will be effective in hedging some or all of our interest rate exposures and under some circumstances could generate losses for us.

Foreign currency exchange risk

We have foreign currency risks related to our revenue and expenses denominated in currencies other than our functional currency, the U.S. Dollar, principally GBP. The volatility of exchange rates depends on many factors that we cannot forecast with reliable accuracy. We have experienced and will continue to experience fluctuations in our net income as a result of transaction gains and losses related to translating certain cash balances, trade accounts receivable and payable balances and intercompany loans that are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. We recognized foreign currency gains of $2.6 million and $1.8 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and $0.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021. A 10% adverse change in foreign exchange rates on foreign-denominated accounts for the year ended December 31, 2020 or three months ended March 31, 2021, including intercompany balances, would have resulted in a $1.2 million or $0.1 million decrease in our reported foreign currency income for 2020 or the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively. In the event our non-U.S. Dollar-denominated sales and expenses increase, our results of operations may be more greatly affected by fluctuations in the exchange rates of the currencies in which we do business. At this time, we do not, but we may in the future, enter into derivatives or other financial instruments in an attempt to hedge our foreign currency exchange risk. It is difficult to predict the impact hedging activities could have on our results of operations.

 

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Inflation risk

We do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or future prospects. If our costs were to become subject to significant inflationary pressures, we may not be able to fully offset such higher costs through price increases. Our inability or failure to do so could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects.

Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have identified three material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

The material weaknesses we identified are listed below:

 

  

We did not maintain an effective control environment. Specifically, we did not maintain sufficient accounting resources commensurate with our structure and financial reporting requirements. This material weakness contributed to the additional material weaknesses below.

 

  

We did not design and maintain effective controls to address the initial application of complex accounting standards and accounting of non-routine, unusual or complex events and transactions.

 

  

We did not design and maintain effective controls over our financial statement close process. Specifically, we did not design and maintain effective controls over certain account analyses and account reconciliations.

These material weaknesses resulted in adjustments to our current and prior year financial statements primarily related to debt extinguishment costs, goodwill, revenue, accounts receivable, foreign exchange expense and deferred revenue, and could result in a misstatement of any account balances or disclosures that would result in a material misstatement to the annual or interim consolidated financial statements that would not be prevented or detected.

We are in the early stages of designing and implementing a plan to remediate the material weaknesses identified. Our plans include:

 

  

hiring additional experienced accounting, financial reporting and internal control personnel and changing roles and responsibilities of our personnel as we transition to being a public company and are required to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. We have recently hired additional resources and we are engaging with a third-party consulting firm to assist us with our formal internal control plan and provide staff augmentation of our internal audit function;

 

  

implementing controls to enhance our review of significant accounting transactions and other new technical accounting and financial reporting issues and preparing and reviewing accounting memoranda addressing these issues; and

 

  

implementing controls to enable an effective and timely review of account analyses and account reconciliations.

We cannot assure you that these measures will significantly improve or remediate the material weaknesses described above. The implementation of these remediation measures is in the early stages and will require validation and testing of the design and operating effectiveness of internal controls over a sustained period of financial reporting cycles and as a result the timing of when we will be able to fully remediate the material weaknesses is uncertain and we may not fully remediate these material weaknesses during 2021. If the steps we take do not remediate the material weaknesses in a timely manner, there could continue to be a reasonable

 

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possibility that these control deficiencies or others would result in a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements that would not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. This, in turn, could jeopardize our ability to comply with our reporting obligations, limit our ability to access the capital markets or adversely impact our stock price.

We and our independent registered public accounting firm were not required to perform an evaluation of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we have identified all, or that we will not in the future have additional, material weaknesses. Material weaknesses may still exist when we report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as required by reporting requirements under Section 404 after the completion of this offering.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

See Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for recently adopted accounting pronouncements and recently issued accounting pronouncements not yet adopted.

JOBS Act Accounting Election

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act. Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards issued subsequent to the enactment of the JOBS Act until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to avail ourselves of delayed adoption of new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, we will not be subject to the same requirements to adopt new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. To the extent that we no longer qualify as an emerging growth company we will be required to adopt certain accounting pronouncements earlier than the adoption dates disclosed below which are for non-public business entities.

In addition, we intend to rely on the other exemptions and reduced reporting requirements provided by the JOBS Act. Subject to certain conditions set forth in the JOBS Act, if as an “emerging growth company” we intend to rely on such exemptions, we are not required to, among other things, (1) provide an auditor’s attestation report on our system of internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, (2) provide all of the compensation disclosure that may be required of non-emerging growth public companies under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, (3) the requirement of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding the communication of critical audit matters in the auditor’s report on the financial statements and (4) disclose certain executive compensation-related items such as the correlation between executive compensation and performance and comparisons of the Chief Executive Officer’s compensation to median employee compensation. These exemptions will apply until the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of this offering or until we no longer meet the requirements of being an emerging growth company, whichever is earlier.

 

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BUSINESS

Our Mission

Our mission is to democratize law. We believe every business deserves the full protection of the legal system and a simple way to stay compliant with it. Our platform helps new businesses form. Once a small business is formed, we offer subscription services to protect the business, its ideas, and the families that create them. LegalZoom empowers small business owners to apply their energy and passion to their businesses instead of the legal and regulatory complexity required to operate them.

Our Business

LegalZoom is a leading online platform for legal and compliance solutions in the United States. In 2020, 10% of new limited liability companies, or LLCs, and 5% of new corporations in the United States were formed via LegalZoom. Our unique position at business inception allows us to become a trusted business advisor, supporting the evolving needs of a new business across its lifecycle. Along with formation, LegalZoom offerings include ongoing compliance and tax advice and filings, trademark filings, and estate plans. Additionally, we have unique insights into our customers and leverage our product as a channel to introduce small businesses to leading brands in our partner ecosystem, solving even more of their business needs. We operate across all 50 states and over 3,000 counties in the United States, and have more than 20 years of experience navigating complex regulation and simplifying the legal and compliance process for our customers.

The U.S. legal and regulatory landscape is broad and varied, complex, opaque, and constantly evolving, in particular with respect to the following:

 

  

Multiple third-party interactions. The simple act of forming an LLC or incorporating a corporation may require specific federal, state, county and city interactions, each with their own idiosyncrasies. For instance, in Louisiana, the state registration portal asks the not yet formed business for its EIN before completing a formation. For many consumers, this would require that they stop their filing and secure an EIN with the IRS before returning to the Louisiana registration portal, where they would need to restart the formation process again. In South Carolina, in order to incorporate, a small business must engage an attorney licensed in that state to certify its application for formation.

 

  

Compliance requirements are complex. At formation, basic compliance requirements are not anticipated or understood. More advanced requirements are dictated by industry, geography, and employer type. For instance, a restaurant in Miami with even a single employee would be required to file for formation, have a registered agent, adopt an operating agreement, get an EIN, register for sales tax, receive nine business licenses and have business insurance, among other things.

 

  

Regulations change constantly. The myriad of regulatory bodies and potential compliance requirements are daunting on their own, and this dynamic is amplified by the fact that they are constantly changing and evolving. According to a 2017 National Small Business Association, or NSBA, Small Business Regulations Survey, 44% of small firms in the United States reported spending 40 hours or more each year dealing with new and existing federal regulations, and 30% spend 40 hours or more each year navigating state and local regulations.

Many small businesses operate without forming a legal entity, unintentionally introducing financial risk to the owners’ personal assets. The businesses that recognize that risk upfront often struggle to address it. Once they understand the need to be protected, they often do not know what to do, where to turn or how much it will cost to get help. Even when formed properly, small businesses often fail to comply with ongoing compliance requirements, thereby reintroducing personal liability or facing significant financial and operational risk. Furthermore, these difficulties are becoming more acute as the number of U.S. business formations increase, driven by various macroeconomic factors such as the rise of the gig economy and remote work, accentuating the need for a trusted, cost-effective, digital-first and simple legal and compliance solution.

 

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LegalZoom commenced operations in 2000 so more people could access legal help. Initially, we focused on business formation, intellectual property, and estate planning. Over the years, we have expanded our offerings to cover a broader set of legal, compliance, tax and business services for small businesses. In 2020, we helped form 10% of all new limited liability companies and helped incorporate 5% of all new corporations in the United States. In addition, 25,000 trademark applications, or 6% of all trademark registration applications in the United States in 2020, were made through LegalZoom. At December 31, 2020, we had over 1.0 million subscription units outstanding and were one of the largest registered agent providers for small businesses in the United States. As a result of this success, we have become the leading brand in online legal services, with 70% aided brand awareness as of December 2020 according to a 2020 study hosted by Dynata.

Our platform combines the power of technology and people to demystify and simplify complicated processes, creating user-friendly experiences for our customers. Our proprietary technology enables us to automate many complex legal and compliance processes, allowing us to offer solutions at transparent, flat-fee prices that are at a significant discount to traditional offline alternatives. While the majority of our customers complete these transactions without human assistance, many prefer to have some guidance through the process. The combination of technology and people is at the heart of our unique customer experience. For our customers looking for general help, our customer care and sales organization of over 500 people is available for real-time guidance on how to use our services. For customers preferring credentialed assistance, we embed the option for them to retain attorneys and certified public accountants, or CPAs, from the beginning of the customer journey at affordable and transparent pricing. In addition, our unique and trusted position at business formation gives us unparalleled knowledge of our customers’ needs prior to the business being operational or discoverable by other service providers. We leverage this valuable knowledge and our position as a small business’ first advisor to introduce our customers to the most relevant business solutions within our partner ecosystem to help them run other aspects of their business.

We believe we earn small businesses’ trust and drive significant organic traffic through our free proprietary educational content, which is often our first interaction with a potential customer. From there, our small business customers’ initial purchase is typically a formation product that streamlines the process of starting a business. Alongside and after this initial transaction, our customers generally purchase annual subscription services to solve additional legal, compliance and tax needs, deepening our relationship with our customers. The power of our platform yields highly efficient unit economics: over the past several years for customers in the United States, we have generated a lifetime customer value in excess of customer acquisition costs generally within the first 90 days of establishing a customer relationship. With recurring revenue through subscription services and repurchases from existing customers, we continue to benefit from an increasing customer lifetime value.

As a result of our traction with our customers, we have achieved economies of scale that we expect to continue to leverage as we accelerate the growth of our business. We generated revenue of $408.4 million in 2019 and $470.6 million in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 15.2%, and $105.8 million and $134.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, representing a period-over-period increase of 27.3%. We had net income (loss) of $7.4 million, $9.9 million, $(4.9) million and $(9.8) million in 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively. The increase in net income between 2019 and 2020 was driven by higher revenue, which was partially offset by our investments in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. The increase in net loss between March 31, 2020 and 2021 largely resulted from increased investment in marketing spend, which nearly offset the increase in revenue. Adjusted EBITDA decreased from $97.2 million in 2019 to $88.0 million in 2020 and from $13.4 million to $3.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, respectively, as we invested further in marketing spend to expand our customer base and build on our digital brand leadership. Cash flows from operating activities increased from $52.7 million in 2019 to $93.0 million in 2020 and increased from $21.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $31.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Free cash flow increased from $34.3 million in 2019 to $82.5 million in 2020, primarily as a result of growth in deferred revenue, driven by an increase in subscription units, an increase in accounts payable due to the timing of our payments and lower capital expenditures for the purchase of property and equipment, including

 

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capitalization of internal-use software. Free cash flow increased from $19.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2020 to $28.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021, primarily as a result of growth in deferred revenue driven by an increase in the number of transactions and subscription units. For 2019, 2020, and the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, our free cash flow included cash payments for interest of $37.3 million, $27.9 million, $8.3 million and $6.1 million, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are not financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. For further information about Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow, see the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Industry Trends

Millions of people start small businesses every year, an accelerating trend driven by digital enablement and the gig economy.

Small businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy, representing 65% of net new job creation since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These businesses are often family affairs—according to a 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, during 2017, 64% were started with family or personal savings, and 31% were family owned. These entrepreneurs also come from diverse backgrounds: according to a 2018 Annual Business Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, out of all employer firms in 2017, 20% were women-owned, 18% were minority-owned, 17% were immigrant-owned, and 6% were veteran-owned. Two major factors are driving an acceleration in small business creation: digital enablement and the gig economy. Today, an idea can become a digital business within a few days with the help of small business enablement tools. Further, with the rise of the gig economy and lead-generating platforms, a person can become a business in hours by engaging in independent work such as renting their home, driving their car, or selling their crafts or services on an established marketplace. According to a report published by MBO Partners, there were 38 million independent workers in the United States in 2020.

People start small businesses when economic times are both good and bad. Based on information available from secretaries of state, the number of business formations in the United States have grown for 26 out of the past 30 years on a year over year basis.

Small business owners often do not know that they may face personal liability and tax consequences depending on their business formation decision.

The first step to form a business entity is choosing a business structure at formation. A person is automatically a sole proprietor if they do not register as any other kind of business. As a sole proprietor, a small business owner has unlimited personal liability for their business activities, impacting their families and well-being. While reliable data on the total number sole proprietorships in operation is not available, we believe that millions of businesses are operating informally without forming a limited liability business, unknowingly exposing themselves to personal risk.

In spite of the risk and the complexity of the U.S. legal system, 35% of new business owners received no professional guidance in selecting a business formation structure, according to a survey conducted by Magid in 2021. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 31.7 million small businesses in the United States in 2017, all of whom could benefit from legal protection.

Many small business owners try to figure out legal requirements on their own, and often face regulatory problems for noncompliance. It can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive to navigate multiple layers of legal and compliance requirements.

The U.S. legal and compliance system is often opaque and complex, so it is challenging for people to access legal advice and protection and to stay compliant with regulations and taxes. According to the World Justice Project, over 70% of people needing legal assistance are unable to get it. Requirements for a small business include local, regional, state and federal rules for employment, insurance, licensing, health and safety, reporting,

 

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and taxation, among other areas, all of which vary depending on industry and size of business. Overlapping, potentially contradicting, and changing guidelines increase the complexity small businesses face while navigating legal and compliance requirements on their own.

Lawyers typically bill by the hour, resulting in unknown expenses for small business clients. Moreover, according to a Clio Legal Trends report based on anonymized data from tens of thousands of U.S. based lawyers using the Clio platform, approximately 69% of the attorneys’ average workday was non-billable in 2018, an inefficiency that results in higher hourly rates. The difficulty in staying current with compliance requirements can also result in high expenses for a small business. According to a 2017 NSBA Small Business Regulations Survey, 10% of small businesses in the United States are fined for regulatory non-compliance, with an average total cost of citations of nearly $31,000 for regulatory non-compliance over a five-year period.

There are structural impediments that make traditional offline attorneys unable to adapt to consumer behaviors and technology advancements.

Traditional offline attorneys face significant challenges in creating a scaled technology platform. Attorneys cannot practice nationally without being licensed and regulated in each individual state, or limiting their practice exclusively to federal law. They also face numerous restrictions on the services they offer, how they advertise, their ability to work or partner with people who are not attorneys, and even receiving credit card payments. For example, according to Clio Legal Trends, 91% of attorneys can’t calculate the ROI of advertising spend. In addition, due to regulatory restrictions concerning law firm business models, offline attorneys are prohibited from offering equity to investors that are not law firms or attorneys and cannot offer equity to employees that are not attorneys. This results in a lack of available technical talent for significant investment in technology and innovation.

Online adoption of legal services lags behind other comparable industries.

While service industries like accounting, tax, marketing and payments have rapidly transitioned online, legal offerings largely remain offline. According to IBISWorld, approximately 8% of legal services in the United States were conducted online in 2020, compared to approximately 70% of financial services and, according to Ernst & Young, 30% to 45% of healthcare services. According to the American Bar Association, more than 40% of solo attorneys do not have a website.

Online penetration has lagged in the legal industry due to the incredible complexity of the U.S. legal and regulatory landscape, which makes it difficult for an online platform to gain scale with use cases that are applicable and tailored to each local jurisdiction. The rules and regulations governing people who are not licensed attorneys providing legal solutions are complicated and vague. Offering these services nationally subjects online providers to regulatory scrutiny in each state and over 3,000 counties in the United States. This requires significant resources and processes to ensure that changes in the law, forms and procedures are monitored, identified and implemented.

The gap between a small business owner’s legal and compliance needs and available offline solutions is widening.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred new business formation and also highlighted the impact of policy and enforcement differences across local, regional and state levels. At the same time, the challenges associated with traditional offline “do it yourself” or “find an expert” options are becoming relatively worse as service level expectations increase as a result of small business enablement in other industries.

Technological advances are transforming consumer expectations for professional services. According to McKinsey, digital channels will help companies both meet changing customer needs and expectations and prepare for future industry disruption. The standard for digital convenience and efficiency, already high before the pandemic, has only increased. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the rapid adoption of

 

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video conferencing, which dramatically increases the ability for service providers to directly connect with their clients.

Our Market Opportunity

We view our opportunity in terms of a $48.7 billion serviceable addressable market, or SAM, which we believe we address today, and a larger total addressable market, or TAM, which we believe we can address over the long term as we grow small business consumption of legal and compliance solutions. We primarily serve small businesses with up to 50 or fewer employees. In 2017, there were 31.7 million such businesses according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The small business market is dynamic, and we estimate that there are 4.4 million new business formations annually, based on our analysis of secretary of state filings.

Our SAM includes $18.3 billion in services that small businesses use at the time of business formation, $21.5 billion in services that small businesses use later in their lifetime, and $8.8 billion of consumer estate planning services. We categorize our business formation and attach opportunity as total small business spending on business formation, registered agent and government filings, tax planning and bookkeeping/records, and intellectual property protection. We categorize our post-business formation opportunity as contracts, legal forms, and other legal matters and tax preparation. In spite of the benefits of third-party legal and compliance services, there is very little usage today by small businesses of external providers of these services, based on a Kantar study, as detailed in the table below.

 

   Total Addressable
Businesses
   Current Spending—SAM 
   % Usage(1)  Total Spend 
   (in millions)      (in millions) 

   Business Formation and Attach Opportunity

     

   Business formation filings(2)

   4.4    65 $2,292 

   Registered agents and government filings

   31.7    10 $3,516 

   Tax planning and bookkeeping / records

   31.7    21 $9,574 

   Intellectual property(3)

   31.7    8 $2,967 
     

 

 

 
     $18,349 

   Post-Business Formation Opportunity

     

   Contracts and legal forms

   31.7    10 $5,545 

   Business tax returns

   31.7    21 $10,099 

   Other legal matters(4)

   31.7    3 $5,905 
     

 

 

 
     $21,549 

   Consumer Estate Planning(3)

 

     $

 

8,830

 

 

 

Total SAM

           $48,728 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (businesses) as of 2017 and Kantar Consulting (usage and spend) as of 2019, unless noted below.

 

(1)

Usage based percentage of U.S. small business owners that have hired an external provider for specific services.

(2)

Addressable businesses based on our estimate of new business filings based on our analysis of secretary of state filings. Current Spending—SAM % Usage based on Magid study.

(3)

Addressable business based on management estimates.

(4)

Other legal matters include HR and employment matters, board management, immigration, dissolution of business and estate planning for small businesses.

We believe that our TAM could grow to be multiples of our SAM over the long term with increased usage of legal and compliance solutions by small businesses. By increasing access, we believe we will grow our market opportunity. Many small businesses are not aware of the various legal and compliance solutions that exist, or are daunted by the complexity and uncertainty of traditional solutions. We believe that we can address the needs of every small business with our simple, transparent, and affordable solution.

 

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Our strategy is to grow our number of small business customers and to grow our revenue per customer by serving them throughout their lifetime. In 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, most of our business formation customers purchased another service on our platform. Moreover, we believe the number of new businesses will continue to grow as digital disruption transforms the economy and makes it easier for small businesses to thrive. We also have further opportunities to increase our TAM by adding adjacent services through third-party partnerships, in categories such as business insurance and financial planning.

Our Customer Journey

Our first interaction with potential customers is often through our free proprietary educational content, through which we earn trust and drive significant organic traffic.

Typically, our small business customers’ initial purchase is a business formation product that streamlines the process of starting a business. We use our technology platform to create a simple, user-friendly workflow that enables our customers to confidently form a business with just a few clicks. For many customers, getting real-time general information about the overall business entity formation process and our related products is an important benefit, so we provide care and sales support real time. As a result, our business formation products have a net promoter score, or NPS, of 51, which is over double that of traditional offline attorneys, who have an NPS of 25, and our NPS for our independent attorney network is 77, which is three times that of traditional offline attorneys, helping us form a trusted relationship with small business owners. Based on this trusted relationship, during 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over 60% of our small business customers purchased one year of one of our subscription services at the time of their initial formation purchase, and over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution at time of business formation.

Our compliance solutions are our largest group of subscription services. Compliance regulation and process are often cumbersome to follow and difficult to understand. For example, in most states, small businesses are required to have a registered agent, which generally must be an adult or authorized business that can receive mail or hand-delivered court documents at a physical address during normal business hours. With our registered agent subscription, we serve as our customer’s registered agent: accepting their documents through the mail, digitizing critical business documents, and alerting them of critical business documents or notices. This serves to help them adhere to critical tax and annual report deadlines, among other benefits. In this fashion, our compliance solutions simplify cumbersome processes and free up our customers’ time to focus on their businesses.

Customers can freely access live help from our world class customer care and sales organization, while subscribers to our legal and tax advisory plans may consult with a vetted network of independent attorneys licensed in their jurisdiction to provide legal advice, or an accountant for tax advice. With these assisted subscription services, our customers get the benefit of a credentialed professional that can provide advice at an affordable cost. For example, with our business advisory plan, our customers get fast and ongoing legal support from our independent network of attorneys for less than $40 a month. A significant number of our customers purchase attorney advice subscriptions when starting their business, and we have seen strong traction with our tax advice subscriptions, which include advice from a CPA or enrolled agent, since its launch in late 2020.

The majority of our customers have not begun operations when they begin their relationship with LegalZoom, giving us a unique position in the business lifecycle. To help our customers operate, we partner with a variety of third-party solutions, such as business license services, bookkeeping services, banking services, productivity tools and business insurance, among others. We provide our customers with seamless introductions to trusted partners, giving them access to the critical services they need to operate and grow their business. In 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, over half of our small business customers purchased at least one third-party solution.

We continue to engage our customers after their initial purchase of transaction products and subscription services. For example, after forming their business entity, our customers can opt to register their company name and/or logo as a trademark or protect their intellectual property with a patent or copyright. Additionally, as

 

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forming a company is an important life event, some of our small business customers opt to purchase an estate plan offering when they form their company. Our ongoing customer engagement results in additional purchases. For each year since 2017, an average of 28% of our U.S. customers who purchased a transaction in such year had also purchased a transaction product in a prior year.

Our Value Proposition

Our offerings align with our mission of democratizing law and empowering small business owners to apply their energy and passion to their businesses instead of the legal and regulatory complexity required to operate them. We achieve this mission because our platform has:

Simplicity: Streamlined approach to legal and compliance. LegalZoom simplifies complicated legal and compliance processes, creating user-friendly experiences for customers. We offer extensive legal, compliance and tax information that anyone can freely access. Once customers decide to purchase a product, our platform removes the friction associated with filing documents with local, state, and federal regulators through an intuitive user-friendly questionnaire that guides customers through the process. A typical small business forming a business entity offline spends a median of five hours just searching for a quality attorney. By comparison, LegalZoom’s business formation process is designed to take under 15 minutes to complete and is increasingly done on a mobile device. Additionally, our products are reflective of our customer’s evolving behaviors: almost half of our traffic is through mobile devices, and we have built a simple mobile responsive experience.

Affordability: Accessible with fixed pricing. We believe our platform is significantly more efficient when compared to traditional offline legal services, allowing us to offer solutions at transparent, flat-fee prices. Our business formation product starts at a flat fee of $79, plus state-imposed filing fees. We achieve this significant cost saving in part by automating aspects of the legal document production process, such as filing entity formation documents, submitting trademark applications and generating estate planning documents. Additionally, we lower costs by utilizing customer care and fulfillment specialists to provide generalized help and only involve our independent attorney network and CPAs at the customer’s request and where legally required.

Trust: Confidence in quality. Through over 20 years of delivering high-quality solutions, LegalZoom has built a brand associated with ease of use, transparency, and trusted quality. When small businesses come to LegalZoom to form their business and stay protected, they know they are receiving consistently high-quality, comprehensive services that will meet their needs. This trust is reflected in our NPS for our business formation products, which is over double the score of traditional offline attorneys, and our NPS for our independent attorney network, which is three times that of traditional offline attorneys. The independent attorneys in our network have on average of 15 years of experience and an average customer review rating of 4.8 stars. These product features are supplemented by our customer care and sales organization, with over 500 team members that are able to answer customers’ general process questions in real time. The combination of our digital solutions, customer care organization and access to credentialed assistance gives our customers confidence that their needs are being met. In addition, through more than one million telephone conversations we have with our customers every year, we receive valuable feedback that we use to consistently evolve our products and services to meet our customers’ demands for quality.

Expertise: Credentialed professional-assisted solutions. In instances where customers choose to engage a credentialed professional, our platform connects customers with independent attorneys in our network or in-house accountants. Through LegalZoom, customers can access professional expertise when they need it. Our network of over 1,300 independent attorneys and 75 in-house tax advisors provides our users with access to legal and compliance support when they need it. Since 2011, our independent network of attorneys has provided over 611,000 individual consultations to small businesses and families.

Breadth: Comprehensive product and partner ecosystem. We have built a comprehensive product ecosystem that protects businesses, ideas and the families that create them. Our educational content and business formation products arm entrepreneurs at the start of their journeys, and our IP, compliance, attorney, and tax advisory subscriptions help small business owners as they run their businesses by protecting their ideas and

 

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ensuring they stay compliant. We supplement our products and services with a curated network of partnerships that customers can access through our platform, enabling our customers to discover additional services to run their businesses. We also offer a range of services for families including estate planning services, divorce, name change, residential leases, deed transfers and attorney subscription services.

Our Competitive Strengths

Leading legal platform. We provide a leading online legal platform that helps small businesses form, protect their ideas, stay compliant and run their businesses. We helped form 378,000 businesses in 2020 and helped create 250,000 estate plan documents in 2020. In 2020, approximately 10% of new LLCs and 5% of new corporations in the United States were formed through LegalZoom. In addition, 25,000 trademark applications, or 6% of all trademark registration applications in the United States in 2020, were made through LegalZoom. At December 31, 2020, we had over 1.0 million subscription units outstanding and were one of the largest registered agent providers for small businesses in the United States. Since inception, we have served as registered agent for more than 1.5 million current and former customers. We have invested significantly to create a highly recognizable legal brand, online and offline, with aided brand awareness of 70% and unaided brand awareness of 25% as of December 2020, more than eight times our nearest online competitor. Since inception, we have helped form over 2.8 million businesses, helped create over 3.5 million estate plan documents and served over 4.0 million customers.

Proven ability to operate in a highly regulated market. We have spent more than 20 years building a systematic understanding of many aspects of the U.S. legal system, across 50 states and over 3,000 counties. There is a wide variety of individual statutes and requirements across the United States, making it difficult for small businesses and consumers to fulfill their legal obligations. We have filed millions of documents on behalf of our customers with various county and state agencies in the United States. Our compliance platform allows our customers to stay focused on running their businesses, while we help them manage the ever-changing regulations and filing deadlines. Our compliance database tracks rules and deadlines across multiple jurisdictions and our platform provides notifications of rule changes and deadlines to our customers. In 2020, we sent approximately seven million notifications to our customers. Since we are a large filer of business formation and other documents with these agencies, our fulfillment teams have direct relationships with many of them and interact with many of these agencies every business day. We have also invested substantial time and capital to achieve 50-state coverage for our subscription offerings for attorney advice, registered agent, tax and other compliance related subscriptions.

Attorney integration. Most people prefer the comfort of knowing an attorney is available to help them with their legal needs, even if on an as-needed basis. However, most other online providers are either positioned purely as self-help with no access to attorney advice, or for those who do provide access, it is often a service connecting customers to attorneys with limited integration of the network to ensure consistent service quality. Offering attorney advice nationally through a legal plan, as we do, requires significant initial and ongoing investment, including: sourcing law firms and attorneys licensed in each state; ensuring such plans are acceptable to state regulatory agencies with varying rules; and keeping up with the administration of the plan. It took LegalZoom seven years from service inception to offer 50-state coverage through our network of independent attorneys.

Unique position within small business lifecycle. Given our unique position at business inception, we are typically the first business advisor a small business interacts with. In 2020, approximately two-thirds of the small businesses that formed through LegalZoom had not even begun operations when they first engaged with us. Before a small business has employees, an address or a website, they have LegalZoom. By delivering quality business formation solutions, we are able to establish trust with small businesses, who then frequently trust us with other critical needs as well. We have leveraged this trust to extend our legal and compliance product portfolio over time, through both first-party solutions such as tax, given that, based on customer surveys, we estimate that approximately 70% of small business owners that sought a tax accountant did not have one at the time of their entity formation, as well as our partner ecosystem, where we recommend third-party partners to our customers. As we grow our product portfolio, we are able to leverage proprietary data we receive at business formation to create more useful and relevant products and services for our customers.

 

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Authority in educational legal and compliance content for small businesses. Our content library serves as a funnel for new customers. Our customers often interact with our educational content before making a purchase. We have grown our content library to thousands of educational articles across our services and established ourselves as a trusted source of expertise before a potential customer even begins seeking access to legal and compliance care.

Our technology platform. We have invested significantly since our inception in building proprietary technology that drives quality and efficiency on our platform. We use software to abstract the many archaic and last mile processes that are involved in processing formations at the state level. We deploy machine learning and natural language processing to power our registered agent offering, in order to scan and sort mail for our small business customers, allowing them to stay compliant and focus on running their businesses. We consistently improve our technology platform, resulting in improved document generation, increased automation, and increased use of the cloud to enable digital collaboration. In addition, we have developed a highly accurate database of millions of business entities we have helped form. And over time, we have collected over 1.5 billion answers as part of the user-friendly questionnaires our customers complete as part of their experience with our products. We are able to leverage this data, in accordance with relevant privacy laws and our data stewardship principles, to understand new products that may be relevant to our customers and optimize our operations. We also use APIs to seamlessly integrate our formation products within third-party applications, further extending our platform reach.

Attractive business model. Our financial performance is a result of attracting new customers and delivering more value over time for customers as they stay on our platform. Our unique position at business formation allows us to grow our relationships with our small business customers as their businesses evolve. Business formation serves as an onboarding point to the LegalZoom platform, and as businesses grow, their legal, compliance and tax needs naturally increase and become more complex. We have expanded our solutions to meet more of these needs, and have seen consistent lifetime value improvement over time. Given our efficient customer acquisition dynamics, we are able to profitably acquire new customers as we pursue our massive market opportunity. We have built a profitable and cash flow generative business, given this customer acquisition efficiency, economies of scale and favorable working capital dynamics.

Our Growth Strategy

We are in the early days of penetrating and growing the online market for small business legal and compliance services. We expect to continue to grow our customer base, retain and expand our customer relationships, and increase our market opportunity with the following strategies.

Grow our customer base. We continue to grow the top of our funnel and improve our customer experience in order to grow our customer base. To accelerate growth, we intend to:

 

  

Increase LegalZoom brand awareness. We intend to continue to invest in our brand to increase awareness of the protection that legal and compliance services offer small businesses, and the ease and affordability of our platform. For example, in March 2021 we launched our latest brand campaign “Let’s Make it Official”, emphasizing the core products that we offer and the benefits of our platform. We will also amplify our net promoter advantage, through social channels that drive word of mouth. We expect to shift our marketing investment towards brand and reduce our performance marketing spend as we pursue this strategy.

 

  

Improve conversion. We have millions of visitors to our website each month and a large opportunity to increase conversion of prospects into customers. We have invested in improving ease of use and optimizing the checkout flow to drive better conversion upon the first interaction with potential customers. In addition, we plan to leverage machine learning further to create personalized experiences for potential customers, making them more likely to see the value of our platform.

 

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Attract new customers through partner integration. We partner with leading players that can help our small business customers and improve our ecosystem. Through our APIs, our partners can offer our solutions within their experience, providing us with a highly efficient customer acquisition channel. For example, our services can ensure that a user of these third-party integrations has an EIN in order to open a financial account or can help the user form an entity to enable independent contractors connected to the gig economy avoid misclassification as employees. We will continue to seek partner integrations to increase awareness of our brand and to grow our customer base. At March 31, 2021, we had over 135,000 paid subscriptions acquired through our partner integration channel.

Retain and expand our customer relationships following formation. As we innovate for small businesses, we aim to become their trusted partner for life. In order to do this, we intend to:

 

  

Launch adjacent services. Our strategy is to meaningfully expand our product line in the medium term to offer a solution for the majority of small business legal and compliance needs. We have collected a vast amount of data in the past 20+ years to both improve our own solutions as well as identify additional areas where we can launch new products for our customers throughout their lifetime. For example, in 2020, we introduced a tax advisory product. We plan on continuing to invest in a broader array of services to capture this opportunity.

 

  

Partner to offer our customers broader ecosystem solutions. We plan to offer additional access to third-party solutions to further support small business needs in areas such as banking, payments, payroll, accounting, and website hosting. In 2020, two-thirds of our new customers had not yet started their businesses when they first engaged with us. We believe that by working with our partners, we can increase our customer engagement and retention.

 

  

Increase customer lifetime value. We plan to continue to improve the lifetime value of our customers, particularly by increasing retention of our small business subscribers. We plan to maintain engagement post-purchase with additional investments in existing solutions, add new solutions to serve additional needs, and improve lifecycle marketing to increase retention rates. We also expect to leverage machine learning even further to create a more bespoke experience for our customers. Through these initiatives, we plan to better monetize our existing customers by allowing them to realize continued value on our platform over time.

Increase our market opportunity by introducing a new tier of higher-priced, higher-value products. We have a large opportunity to serve customer demand by offering assistance with their legal and compliance needs.

 

  

Broaden customer top of funnel. We aim to reduce peoples’ uncertainty and doubt about forming a business on their own, as well as to expand our opportunity to serve people who would not consider a “do it yourself” solution. We expect to continue to broaden the top of the funnel consideration for LegalZoom by highlighting our attorney integration. We believe the “assisted” market is multiples larger than the “do it yourself” market that we have historically served, because expertise increases customer confidence.

 

  

Increase adoption of assisted offerings. We plan to provide more value to our customers from existing product lines by adding a tier of Attorney Assist solutions. In June 2020, our “Attorney Assist” product for trademarks became widely available, and we have seen higher average order value, or AOV, and more orders, over time, as customers value the ability to work directly with attorneys. Solutions that incorporate an attorney have higher completion rates. We plan to continue to expand our credentialed professional-assisted offerings to complement our technology-enabled solutions.

Customer Success Stories

The following customer stories are a couple of examples of how some of our customers have used and benefited from our platform.

 

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Shannon Greevy: A Bigger Room Consulting

Like so many small business owners, Shannon Greevy spent years in corporate America before deciding the moment was right to strike out on her own. Her last day of full-time employment was on February 27, 2020, she formed her LLC through LegalZoom on March 11, and her business was born on March 13. On March 16, San Francisco went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than panicking as she watched potential clients close their businesses and lay off employees, Shannon decided she would focus on what she could control; learning about the elements of running a business for herself. Shannon enrolled in LegalZoom’s tax advisory plan and business legal advisory plan where she consulted with tax professionals and business attorneys to learn about the most important facets of staying compliant while running her business.

As she closes out her first year in business, she boasts a growing client list and considers herself a pandemic success. Contrary to her fears of not finding clients, she says “It turned out that I had a special skill the universe needed. Many of my clients were people who found themselves suddenly needing to pivot from B2B or wholesale to B2C, and I was able to help them establish a social media presence and stay in business.”

Drs. Toya and Tonya Harris: The BluePrint

As twin sisters and chiropractors, you might say Drs. Toya and Tonya Harris are joined at the hip. After pursuing their chiropractic doctorate, a second masters degree in functional nutrition, and graduating as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian from Parker University, they decided to open their own practice in Dallas, Texas. Their ultimate goal is to keep their patients happy and moving, so that their patients are able to do whatever they want in life.

The Harris sisters made it official in January 2021 by forming The BluePrint: A Body Lab, LLC through LegalZoom. They added LegalZoom’s registered agent service, DBA, and secured required business licenses through LegalZoom’s partner ecosystem. The twins stated “LegalZoom made it easy for us to focus on the other aspects of starting a practice. Their team made the process pretty seamless. Whenever we had questions, they were always there to help! ”

When asked what’s next, the Harris twins said they’d love to set up a charitable scholarship for minorities looking to pursue careers as doctors in any healthcare profession. When Drs. Toya and Tonya are ready to set up their non-profit corporation, LegalZoom will be there to help.

Mike Roberts: The Horse’s Axe

Mike Roberts first became a LegalZoom customer in 2016 and has since formed five LLCs, including The Horse’s Axe, an axe throwing and billiards bar opened in November 2020. Signing a lease just when the pandemic hit was a bit of a stumbling block, but Mike and his wife Holly found ways to drum up their Denton, Texas business after they opened. Handing out thousands of free face masks with The Horse’s Axe logo printed on the front at local high school football games and businesses around town, they spread the word about their new bar. Smart marketing and innovative ideas have paid off and they are in the process of opening a second location in Denison, Texas.

In addition to forming his business through LegalZoom, Mike purchased several additional related products and services such as protection of his business name, logo and mascot through LegalZoom’s attorney-assisted trademark service, a DBA, an operating agreement, an amendment package, and a last will and testament. Then in January 2021, Mike came back to LegalZoom for annual report compliance for all five of his companies. As Mike says with “LLC’s, trademarks, annual report compliance and several other services… LegalZoom helped us through every step.”

Mark and Victoria Thompson: GenFree LLC

Mark and Victoria Thompson worked hard to build successful careers in IT after growing up in underserved and disadvantaged communities. The Thompsons have always felt passionate about supporting others in their

 

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community by sponsoring the next generation through educational and financial support. In 2020, they established their own LLC, formed a non-profit, and updated their estate plan within three months– all through LegalZoom. GenFree LLC, the for-profit venture they formed through LegalZoom, is dedicated to building businesses that invest and create opportunities in the black community. Wanting to do even more for their community, the Thompsons also launched their non-profit, Ready for the World, through LegalZoom in February 2020. Ready for the World provides educational programs and mentorship opportunities to women of all ages.

Understanding that a new business and non-profit would require ongoing legal support, the Thompsons enrolled in LegalZoom’s business legal advisory plans for both entities, which provides them access to a third party attorney for their businesses, when they need it. The Thompsons also continue to use LegalZoom for their annual report compliance. Through this journey, Mark and Victoria quickly realized they didn’t have an estate plan for their family. Within hours, they crafted their living will and trust with LegalZoom and enrolled in the personal legal advisory plan, providing them access to an attorney to answer additional questions about their estate plan or other legal matters that might arise.

Our Products and Services

We help customers form their businesses, protect their ideas, stay compliant and scale their operations. Our products and services include business formations, creating estate planning documents, protecting intellectual property, completing certain forms and agreements, providing access to independent attorney advice, and connecting customers with experts for tax preparation and bookkeeping services. The primary driver of new customers is small business formation transactions, and at that moment we aim to start a deeper relationship reflected in bundled subscription services and partner offerings. This combination creates a suite of legal and compliance solutions that are relevant for our customers’ ongoing needs. We also have a partner ecosystem that enables us to offer third-party services to our customers and to offer our services to our partners’ customers.

Transaction products

We completed 691,000, 892,000 and 276,000 transaction orders in 2019, 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, respectively.

Our transaction products are described in the following table.

 

Transaction Products for Small Businesses

 

Transaction Products for Consumers

Business Formation

 

Limited Liability Company (LLC) Formation

Incorporation of C and S Corporations

Nonprofit Formation

Doing-Business-As (DBA)

Corporate Changes and Filings

Business Licenses

Legal Forms

 

Intellectual Property

 

Trademark Application

Copyright Registration

Provisional Patent Application

 

Tax Planning and Bookkeeping and Records(1)

 

State and Federal Tax Preparation

Payroll

Bookkeeping

 

Consumer Estate Planning

 

Last Will and Testament

Living Will

Living Trust

Power of Attorney

 

Other Legal Matters

 

Name Change

Uncontested Divorce

Real Estate Deed Transfer

Real Estate Leases

Legal Forms

 

(1)

We launched our LegalZoom-fulfilled tax advisory and preparation, payroll and bookkeeping products in October 2020.

 

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When generating a customized legal document, customers are guided through every step by our proprietary questionnaire and document engine platform. Related offerings are presented within the questionnaire, enabling customers to opt into complementary products and services. If customers need assistance, our customer care and sales organization is available to help them through the process. Additionally, if they need legal or accounting help, customers can opt into a subscription and get access to our tax experts and our network of independent attorneys. Once the customer submits the questionnaire data, our people or technology review responses for completeness prior to delivery or submission to the appropriate federal, state or local jurisdiction.

Subscription services

More than 85% of the U.S. subscription units as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021 were annual plans billed in advance. Our primary subscription services are described in the following table:

 

Small Business Subscriptions

  

Consumer Subscriptions

Registered Agent

Compliance

Attorney Advice

Tax Advice

Legal Forms

  

Attorney Advice through our Legal Plans

Estate Planning Bundle

Legal Forms

Registered agent subscriptions. In most states, a business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, is required to appoint and maintain a registered agent in its state of formation to receive service of process and official government communications. The entity must disclose the address of its appointed registered agent and, in many states, the registered agent must be available during business hours. This requirement can be burdensome for many small businesses to handle on their own. Our registered agent services receive, process, and forward served legal documents digitally or physically to the customer. The majority of our customers who formed their LLCs and corporations through us in 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021 used us as their registered agent as of each period end, and approximately 60% of our subscription units as of December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2021 were for registered agent services.

Compliance subscriptions. Our compliance subscriptions provide assistance with state-mandated regulatory filings, such as tax returns and corporate annual reports that are required to keep a business entity in good standing. The subscription plans also monitor the status of our customers’ businesses with certain state agencies and provide alerts to notify them if they fall out of good standing as well as to stay abreast of important deadlines.

Attorney advice subscriptions. For small businesses and consumers seeking legal advice, we offer subscription legal plans that provide access to independent attorneys in all 50 states. These subscriptions also include other benefits, such as access to legal forms, discounts on additional legal services offered by the network attorney, and, in some cases, an annual checkup with the network attorney for estate planning purposes.

Tax advice subscriptions. We introduced our LegalZoom-fulfilled tax advice subscription in October 2020. This subscription includes tax advice on essential tax matters at both state and federal levels with the option to add tax preparation, as well as advice on new tax and bookkeeping-related matters from a tax expert (either a certified public accountant or an enrolled agent). Our tax services help small businesses get set up right from the beginning to minimize their tax bill.

Legal forms and other subscriptions. We offer other subscriptions, including unlimited access to our library of legal forms, electronic storage of applicable LegalZoom documents, and document revisions. Additionally, we offer subscriptions that enable customers to monitor trademark applications, create meeting minutes for their board of directors’ meetings and monitor compliance calendar deadlines.

 

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Our subscription agreements generally have annual terms, while some have monthly terms. They are generally non-refundable during their term, including any renewal term, after a 60-day refund period at the beginning of the initial term and any renewal term. They generally automatically renew at the end of each term unless notice of cancellation of the renewal is provided any time in advance of the renewal date. We generally do not issue pro rata refunds outside of the applicable 60-day refund period. Customers can cancel the automatic renewal on our website or by phone. In the case of our subscriptions for registered agent services, the customer needs to appoint a new registered agent for its business in order to complete a cancellation.

Partner ecosystem

We have unique insights into our customers and leverage our product as a channel to introduce small businesses to our partner ecosystem, solving even more of their needs. Our partnering arrangements include reseller models, revenue share, and flat fees earned by introducing small businesses to leading providers of small business services such banking, bookkeeping, credit cards, business licenses, website design, and payment processing. We are evaluating expanding our strategic partnerships to include payroll, human capital management, marketing, and digital presence as well as other best-in-class industry specific solutions. We are increasingly focused on evolving our partner economic structures to recurring revenue models that reflect the value of our unique position in the customer’s business lifecycle.

In addition to serving small businesses and consumers, we offer a developer platform, including application programming interfaces that enable external developers to co-brand or white-label business formation and compliance services with a highly integrated solution. Our enterprise segment customers include both large enterprises and small business platforms with a significant number of users. Our solutions provide large enterprises the ability to manage their multi-entity legal and compliance needs and small business platforms to offer business formation and compliance services to their own customers, either within their own customer experience or by referring the customer to us. The services are delivered using our proprietary technology and may include registered agent, regulatory filing, business licenses or compliance services as well. For example, we may help a large enterprise incorporate each of its independent truck drivers via a cobranded referral program, a small business platform provide formation services on a white-label basis as an integrated part of its own customer offering, or an accounting firm incorporate its clients and assist with their compliance needs.

Partner revenue consists primarily of fees earned from third-party providers from leads generated to such providers through our online legal platform. Partner revenue is generally composed of one-time or recurring referral fees, which are generated by introducing our customers to third-party providers.

New product development

Our product development strategy is focused on reducing friction and increasing conversion across our existing core products and services and expanding our portfolio of new products and services, gaining market share, and strategically deepening customer relationships, including in ways that will make legal and compliance expertise available to our customers and increase our recurring revenue through subscription offerings. Our product development team gathers customer feedback from our front-line customer service agents and leverages user experience research to inform our product roadmap. We are highly focused on using this feedback to meaningfully expand our service offerings to help our customers, from starting their businesses to successfully running them.

An example of our recent product development success is our launch of the LZ Tax offering in October 2020. Tax advice and ongoing help with bookkeeping, tax preparation and other accounting services is a primary concern for our new business formation customers. Prior to the launch of LZ Tax, we had referred our new business formation customers to a partner for tax preparation and advice. Powered by technology-enabled tax experts that have been introduced seamlessly into the customer’s journey, we are now able to provide tax services directly to our customers. For January through March 2021, the transactional NPS on our initial tax consultations was 88.6. We believe that our tax offering naturally leads customers to other ancillary services we provide, including bookkeeping, tax preparation,

 

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payroll and accounting. We also recognize the opportunity to add additional credentialed professional assistance across our product portfolio. In 2016, we added access to attorneys to our do it yourself trademark offering through a new “Attorney Led Trademark” service. In 2020, 30% of all trademark transaction customers chose this enhanced service, paying an additional $300 per transaction. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, the share of trademark customers selecting this service rose to 51%. We intend to introduce additional access to independent attorney support into more of our business formation products. Over time, we believe we have the opportunity to build out a fully integrated technology enabled ecosystem where business formation customers will visit LegalZoom as their first and only stop, and we’ll connect them with all the appropriate, best in class credentialed professionals and advisors they need to launch and grow their small businesses.

Our content

In our more than 20 years of operating history, we have amassed and maintained a database of forms and other legal documents used at the federal, state, and county level throughout the United States for business formations, intellectual property registrations, and estate planning purposes. We distilled the forms completion process into an easy-to-understand questionnaire that asks our customers the appropriate questions to complete the documents. The result is our proprietary logic-based architecture that translates the customers responses onto one of over 1,100 documents across 150 different product types. Our core systems use automation to map the customer’s data onto the appropriate document, prepare the document in the proper format, and, in most cases, submit it to the state or county.

Our Technology

We have developed a highly scalable and flexible technology platform that enables us to efficiently process thousands of customer orders daily and facilitate seamless interactions with our customers and the independent attorneys participating in our legal network. We devote substantial resources to consistently enhance our technology platform. Key components of our technology are described below.

Dynamic online questionnaire

Legal documents are populated by our platform through the use of our dynamic online questionnaires. Our customers complete a comprehensive yet intuitive questionnaire that is powered by a rules-based engine to pose questions based on the customer’s legal jurisdiction, location and prior responses to solicit the information needed to comply with local and state laws and regulations.

Document automation

Our technology platform includes complex automation systems that transfer customer responses into our more than 1,650 state or county-specific templates to generate customized legal documents. Our automation unifies the various methods used by states and counties to form businesses into a single easy-to-understand customer experience. We have introduced straight through processing, or STP, for a subset of our estate planning and business formation documents, which has enabled us to deliver the documents to the customer in near real-time. We plan to incorporate STP in additional transactional offerings.

Compliance platform

We have built a system to notify our customers of upcoming compliance milestones and associated requirements. Additionally, for our registered agent subscribers, we have a system of receiving, scanning, sorting, and labeling documents from state agencies across the country that leverages technology to quickly deliver physical and electronic copies to our customer.

 

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Robust CRM platform

Our account executives, customer care and sales organization, fulfillment specialists, and tax advisors leverage a multi-channel customer relationship management, or CRM, platform, powered by integrating a variety of tier one contact center technologies. The platform is integrated within our production and fulfillment systems and enables us to support customers through communications via multiple channels including our websites, email, text, phone, online chat, and our mobile applications. For example, we automatically notify business formation customers over multiple channels regarding their order status as their legal documents progress through our workflow and when we receive confirmation of the documents being filed with or approved by government agencies.

Scalable and secure infrastructure

Our platform resides on a combination of on-premises infrastructure located in California and Texas and best-in-class public cloud-based platforms. Our platform is highly scalable to accommodate an increasing volume of customer orders. We have designed our websites to be highly intuitive and secure using proprietary software and commercially supported tools. Maintaining the integrity and security of our websites is a key priority. We utilize national security standards and appropriate tools for secure transmission of personal information between our customers and our websites and maintain a dedicated security team that drives compliance with data security standards. We intend to transition our platform to the public cloud with all essential products operating on public cloud platforms that have built-in security, and data and privacy controls.

Our website allows users to access the same content on our platform from their laptops, tablets, or smart phones. We also maintain apps on iOS and Android that make it easy for customers to access their documents, schedule consultations, and get status updates on their orders.

Our Attorney Advice Network

We offer attorney advice across all 50 states in the United States to our subscribers through a network of independent law firms that manage relationships with approximately 1,300 attorneys. Our network consists of a core group of over 135 attorneys who handle the majority of consultations across the most common legal issues. The remaining attorneys handle more specialized needs, including worker compensation, landlord and tenant issues and bankruptcy.

In 2020 and the three months ended March 31, 2021, our network completed over 80,000 and 22,000 consultations, respectively, bringing our total completed consultations, since the launch of our attorney assistance division in 2011, to over 611,000. Participating law firms must focus on customer care and satisfy stringent customer satisfaction standards to remain on the network. Customers are given the opportunity to review an attorney after each consultation. Based on these reviews, attorneys in our network achieved an average NPS of 77 in 2020. This compares to 25 for traditional offline attorneys in that same time period.

According to a Clio Legal Trends report based on anonymized data from tens of thousands of U.S. based lawyers using the Clio platform, approximately 69% of the attorneys’ average workday was non-billable in 2018. Our brand and marketing efforts allow the participating attorneys to focus more on the practice of law and less on business development. The initial free consultation serves as a platform for business development, where the participating attorney can offer to provide billable legal services to our customers at discounted rates. In addition, participating law firms can leverage our brand awareness as well as the customer feedback and testimonials to market their own practice. Each firm receives a flat administrative fee from us for each legal plan participant in its area to cover the administrative costs associated with participating in our network.

Our Tax and Advisory Services

We believe our goal of becoming the trusted advisor to the small business ecosystem hinges on our ability to offer high-quality legal and compliance services at business formation and beyond. We are often the first service

 

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provider a new business interacts with, a unique position from which we can form a long-term customer relationship. Our research suggests that our customers welcome assistance from us for their bookkeeping and tax needs, and that many of those needs are highly relevant and top-of-mind in the moment of business entity formation. We provide our customers with tax advice, tax preparation, and related tax services (like bookkeeping and payroll) in affordable subscriptions through LZ Tax, which we launched in October 2020. In addition, our customers receive a consultation included in their formation that includes guidance on their tax strategy, including how to maximize their deductions and income. Our customers gave this tax consultation a transactional NPS score of 88.6 from January 1 through March 2021, and one in five customers chose ongoing guidance with LZ Tax at the end of the consultation during that period.

Customer Care

As of March 31, 2021, we had over 300 customer care representatives providing assistance, support and account management to small businesses and individuals. Exceptional customer experience is central to our culture and we take pride in our customer care team based in Austin, Texas, which handled over 1.1 million customer contacts in 2020.

Our customers have access to live help from customer care representatives by phone, online chat, text, email, or via our mobile applications. In addition, our website and mobile experience contain extensive educational content in an article center, FAQs and a knowledge center designed to assist customers in choosing the products and services that best suit their needs.

We actively monitor our service levels, fulfillment speed and quality to maintain a high level of customer care. Customer care team members have metrics-driven incentives that further align their goals and compensation with our focus on the customer while maintaining regulatory compliance. We believe the effectiveness of our approach is reflected in our strong NPS of 64.8 in 2020, which is based on over 58,000 responses from customers.

Sales and Marketing

LegalZoom is a highly recognizable online legal services brand for small businesses and individuals in the United States. We have invested significantly to create a highly recognizable legal brand, online and offline, with aided brand awareness of 70% and unaided brand awareness of 25% as of December 2020, the latter more than eight times our nearest online competitor according to a 2020 study hosted by Dynata. We intend to continue to invest in our brand awareness, emphasizing the core products that we offer and the benefits of our platform. We attract a meaningful percentage of unpaid website traffic, underscoring our brand strength and unique content offering. Our content marketing includes educational initiatives such as our Article Center on our website, where we create content to better inform our customers on how they can plan for and protect themselves, their families, and their businesses.

We use a strategic mix of online and offline marketing in combination with inbound sales. We are highly disciplined and metric-driven in driving customer acquisition cost efficiencies. Our largest customer acquisition media spend is in search engine marketing to capture demand generated by our other paid and organic channels. We also advertise across television, radio, podcasts, digital video, and social media. Our affiliate partnerships have historically been another very successful channel for customers to discover LegalZoom and learn more about our products.

We maintain a sales team of over 200 professionals in the Austin, Texas area. This team takes inbound calls from customers and prospects, using a conversational approach to introduce our services, explain features and recommend various partners. When our sales team becomes involved, the average order size frequently increases due to their effectiveness in selling ancillary offerings. Our sales teams also proactively target qualified prospects, such as those who began a questionnaire in our customer experience journey but have yet to purchase.

 

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Our Competition

We operate in a very competitive industry. We face intense competition from law firms and solo attorneys, online legal document services, legal plans, secretaries of state, tax preparation companies and other service providers. The online legal solutions market is evolving rapidly and is becoming increasingly competitive. Other companies that focus on the online legal document services market or business formations, such as BizFilings, LegalShield, MyCorporation, and RocketLawyer, and law firms that may elect to pursue the online legal document services market, can and do directly compete with us. Law firms and solo attorneys, who provide in-person consultations and are able to provide direct legal advice that we cannot offer due to laws and regulations regarding the unauthorized practice of law, or UPL, compete with us offline and have and may develop competing online legal services. We compete in the registered agent services business with several companies that target small businesses, including Wolters Kluwer, and these competitors have extensive experience in this market. In addition, certain U.S. states, including Nevada and Louisiana, offer online portals where consumers may file their articles of organization. We also compete in tax advisory service business with several companies, including H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt.

We may also face potential competition from large internet providers, such as Amazon or Alphabet, who may choose to enter into the online legal solutions business. These businesses have disrupted multiple industries and routinely enter new verticals. While they have no particular expertise in providing legal solutions online, their extensive resources and brand recognition would make them formidable competitors and could adversely affect our business.

Our direct and indirect competitors, whether they are online legal document providers, legal plan providers, law firms, accounting firms, solo attorneys or large internet providers, may also be developing innovative and cost-effective services that target our existing and potential customers. We expect to face increasing competition from offline and online legal services providers in our market, and our failure to effectively compete with these providers could result in revenue reductions, reduced margins, and loss of market share, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future prospects.

We believe competitive factors for our services include ease of use, breadth of offerings, brand name recognition, reputation, price, quality and customer service and that we compare favorably on all these bases.

Human Capital Management

As of March 31, 2021, we, together with all our subsidiaries, had 1,055 employees worldwide. As of March 31, 2021, we also engage 17 contractors and consultants. None of our employees are represented by a labor union. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we believe that our employee relations are strong.

Our primary compensation strategy is to promote a pay-for-performance culture. Our guiding principles are anchored on the goals of being able to attract, incentivize, and retain talented employees who can develop, implement, and drive long-term value creation strategies. We’ve designed our compensation program so that every employee has a component of their compensation that is performance or incentive driven. We offer competitive compensation that we believe is aligned with the market and fair relative to our peers.

At LegalZoom, one of our core values is People First. By that, we not only mean caring for and protecting the millions of customers we have served since inception, but investing in, empowering and fostering trust and wellness among our employees, whom we call Zoomers. For example, when many of our Zoomers were impacted by the recent unprecedented storms and power outages in Texas in February 2021, we moved quickly to set up a relief fund for all of our impacted Zoomers and we donated directly to an organization directly serving the broader impacted community. In addition, we provided additional paid days off for employees who were unable to work due to power outages or internet connection issues.

We made an abrupt change in March 2020, in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, to move all of our non-essential workers to a remote, work-from-home environment. The primary drive for all decision-making

 

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in the face of the pandemic has been focused on employee wellness. We’ve remained agile to accommodate the ever-changing needs of our employees as well as the changing nature of the pandemic. Our non-essential workforce continues to be almost entirely remote today. We’ve made numerous investments in our employees to accommodate this new remote environment, including providing an allowance for home office needs, giving employees an added rest day each year, providing paid transportation via ridesharing apps for essential workers who would normally take public transportation, and providing ten emergency paid sick days for employees to use if they have been impacted by COVID-19 in any way. We also host virtual live Yoga sessions twice a week, and are expanding our virtual development courses to better support employees working remotely.

We are focused on building a diverse and inclusive workplace and we strive to have our employees mirror the diversity of our customers and communities we serve. We believe we are thriving when every voice is nurtured and heard.

We have five employee networks today, each with dedicated internal funding, executive sponsorship and a focus on supporting diversity equity and inclusion within and outside of LegalZoom:

Pride Zoomer Alliance Network

The mission of the Pride Zoomer Alliance is to support and empower LGBTQIA+ Zoomers, customers, and communities—and their allies—by providing a safe place for them to be seen and heard. We work to ensure that LegalZoom is a fair and inclusive workplace for all, and we join our allies across the organization who share our vision for equity, inclusion, and social justice.

Lift Every Voice Black Network

The mission of Lift Every Voice Black Network is to uplift, empower and promote the advancement of Black Zoomers. The network serves to do the following:

 

  

Provide professional development through educational, mentoring and networking opportunities;

 

  

Provide assistance with the recruitment and retention of Black talent;

 

  

Promote company-wide awareness of Black culture and issues impacting Black Zoomers and the larger Black community;

 

  

Strengthen the relationships Black Zoomers have with each other and the Zoomer community; and

 

  

Strengthen the relationship LegalZoom has with the greater Black community.

Rise Up — Women’s Network

The mission of Rise Up is to amplify the drivers of success for women at LegalZoom to increase representation in senior positions and support overall career development.

Women in Tech Network

The mission of Women in Tech is to build a community within LegalZoom where women can learn, grow and develop as leaders in technology and beyond.

LatinX Network

The mission of the LatinX network is to serve as the hub for Latinx support, inspiration, and engagement focused on empowering each other and their allies with the tools to overcome challenges that prevent their voices from being valued, heard, and represented. The network commits to work together and remove barriers, discrimination, and intolerance so that everyone feels included and supported in a safe place environment.

 

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Environmental, Social, and Governance

We believe legal help should be available to everyone, and take to heart the responsibility that comes with our mission of democratizing law. According to the Center for American Progress, 40-60% of the middle class allow legal needs to go unmet, which contributes to economic and entrepreneurial inequality, especially in under-represented communities. The cost and complexity of legal assistance is daunting for many without the financial means and legal training. As a result, LegalZoom set out to reduce these obstacles and disrupt an industry many believed couldn’t be disrupted given the rules and regulations of the legal system. We built a platform of technology and people to demystify and simplify complicated processes, creating user-friendly and cost-effective experiences for our customers while keeping their data and privacy top-of-mind. Fast-forward 20 years, now people can form a business starting at a flat fee of $79 (plus state-imposed filing fees), a significant cost savings compared to traditional offline legal services. We are committed to continuing to work so that anyone with a dream can protect their business, family and creative work by accessing our small business, estate planning, tax, and intellectual property products.

We believe that we also have a responsibility to serve those who do not have access to legal services because of who they are, who they love, where they live, the color of their skin, or their economic status. While the inherent nature of our business opens up new opportunity for many who may not have had it otherwise, we aim to do more to empower under-represented communities. That is why we partnered with Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF), who provides microloans to small business owners who face hurdles in accessing capital. They focus on people of color, women, and immigrant-owned businesses and, by joining forces with them, we can bring two critical components – access to capital and legal services – to communities that need them the most. By donating funds to their Small Business Relief Fund, LegalZoom has helped provide immediate loan payment relief and loan deferments to small business owners. To-date, 85% of the overall fund recipients are people of color, 67% low to moderate income, and 31% female. We are strategizing on providing in-kind support through product donation to their clients, and we are identifying ways to offer AOF’s loan products to our customers.

Aside from helping those with legal matters that tie closely to our business, we also feel a responsibility to contribute to the larger access to justice movement, no matter what type of legal matter it is. That is why we helped fund the first national disaster relief pro bono portal built by Paladin, a justice technology b-corp. The portal is the result of a partnership with the American Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Disaster Legal Services Program, the exclusive legal services coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and it connects legal nonprofits all over the country with attorneys who raise their hand to provide legal assistance during times of crisis. The COVID-19 crisis and other national disasters have created immediate legal needs for millions of Americans. With many people now having to navigate unlawful evictions, loss of wages and benefits, delays in court proceedings and more, there is an unprecedented need to connect low-income Americans to pro bono attorneys. Since inception, the portal has connected 5,300 Americans with attorneys to pro bono legal support.

Our social impact goes beyond our external partnership efforts and support—it’s embedded in our culture and employee experience. Addressing inequities starts internally, which is why we made hires for roles in diversity, equity, and inclusion to help us be the most diverse and inclusive company we can be. We have created new roles to ensure these priorities continue to rise in importance, including senior roles: Head of Social Impact and Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion. 63% of our C-Suite identify as either female or people of color.

Being a purpose-driven company is crucial to our employee experience, which is why we have dedicated groups, events, initiatives, and programs that help contribute to the greater good. We also support giving back outside of our walls through our employee giving and volunteerism programs. Every full-time employee has two volunteer PTO days, and can apply for a company donation match to organizations they fundraise for. Finally, we are part of the Time to Vote initiative, a nonpartisan movement led by the business community to contribute to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country’s elections. We have made the

 

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presidential Election Day a company holiday to ensure that every employee can participate in the democratic process and make time to vote.

Aside from our social initiatives, we also find environmental issues to be important. LegalZoom is committed to clean, renewable energy. In our Austin, Texas office, we have installed a 260 kW solar electric system. This produces 345,800 kWh of energy per year. The environmental impact amounts to an annual reduction of 450,000 pounds, or 224 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, an environmental benefit equivalent to planting 8,000 carbon-sequestering trees.

Data security and privacy is also important to our operations. Ensuring that we meet or exceed expectations with respect to maintaining the confidentiality of the information in our possession is embedded throughout our operations. Our customers and employees trust us with their most sensitive information, including business plans, intellectual property, tax information, and the intimate details of their personal documents (e.g. wills). To ensure the security of this data, we have implemented security practices that maintain physical, technical and administrative safeguards. We also conduct regular risk assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of our program to ensure that we are continuing to expand and adapt to a changing threat landscape.

We are equally committed to protecting our customers’ privacy. As part of this commitment, we have adopted data stewardship principles that inform our partnerships with third parties and other data sharing arrangements. These principles, which are based on principles of transparency and consent, align with our commitment to never sell our customers’ data. We conduct robust privacy reviews of our vendors for new or modified internal processes. Finally, despite the invalidation of Privacy Shield, we have opted to continue to participate in third-party audits of our privacy practices to help supplement our internal privacy program activities.

Intellectual Property

We believe that our proprietary technology is an important and valuable part of our business. We protect this proprietary technology by relying on a variety of intellectual property mechanisms including copyright and trademark laws, restrictions on disclosure and other methods. We frequently file applications for trademarks and service marks in order to protect our intellectual property. At March 31, 2021, we had 17 trademark registrations and 17 pending trademark applications in the United States. We also had over 30 trademark registrations in 13 foreign jurisdictions or under international or European Union and European Community registrations. We have no issued patents. We also license intellectual property from third parties, such as software used to support our technology and operations.

In addition, we seek to protect our intellectual property rights by requiring our employees and independent contractors to enter into agreements acknowledging that all works or other intellectual property generated or conceived by them on our behalf are our property, and assigning to us any rights, including intellectual property rights, that they may claim or otherwise have in those works or property, to the extent allowable under applicable law.

Government Regulation

We operate in a particularly complex legal and regulatory environment. We are subject to a variety of U.S., U.K. and other foreign laws, rules and regulations, including those related to internet activities, UPL, the corporate practice of law, or CPL, privacy, data protection, cybersecurity, data retention, consumer protection, content regulation, automatically renewing subscriptions, the processing of legal documents, legal plans, human resource services, employment and labor laws, workplace safety, intellectual property and the provision of online payment services, including credit card processing, anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, federal securities laws, tax regulations and other matters, which are continuously evolving and developing. We own and operate an alternative business structure, or ABS, in the United Kingdom to provide legal services to U.K. and U.S. based

 

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consumers. The ABS employs solicitors licensed in the United Kingdom as well as attorneys licensed in the United States to provide limited scope legal services to consumers who purchase such services on our websites. The ABS is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. While we believe this structure is legally permissible, it is generally untested in U.S. courts and we cannot assure you that it will insulate us from claims of CPL or UPL. These laws and regulations are regularly evolving and tested in courts, and may be interpreted, applied, created, or amended, in a manner that could harm our business.

Our business model includes the provision of services that represent an alternative to traditional legal services, which has subjected us to allegations of UPL in the United States. UPL generally refers to an entity or person giving or offering legal advice who is not licensed to practice law. However, laws and regulations defining UPL, and the governing bodies that enforce UPL rules, differ among the various jurisdictions in which we operate. While several states are implementing exploratory programs to allow non-lawyers to own law firms under strict ethical parameters, we are currently unable to acquire a license to practice law in the United States, or employ licensed attorneys to provide legal advice to our customers, because we do not meet the regulatory requirement of being exclusively owned by licensed attorneys. Our business model is also subject to laws and regulations that govern business transactions between attorneys and persons who are not licensed attorneys, including those related to the ethics of attorney fee-splitting and CPL.

We are subject to certain regulations relating to the processing of legal documents, which vary among the jurisdictions in which we conduct business. Regulation of our legal plans also varies considerably among the insurance departments, bar associations and attorneys general of the particular states in which we offer our legal plans. In addition, some states may seek to regulate our legal plans as insurance or specialized legal service products.

Property and Facilities

Our corporate and executive headquarters are located in Glendale, California, where we lease and occupy approximately 56,000 square feet. The term of our lease expires in 2022, and we have two options to extend the term of this lease for five years each. Our operational headquarters are located in Austin, Texas, where we own and occupy approximately 206,000 square feet. We maintain additional facilities in multiple locations in the United States and United Kingdom.

We may lease or purchase additional space as needed to accommodate our needs and that any additional space will be available to us on commercially reasonable terms for the foreseeable future.

Legal Proceedings

We are a party to various currently pending legal proceedings and government inquiries, and we anticipate that legal proceedings, government investigations, government inquiries or claims could be brought against us in the future. For more information on our pending legal proceedings and governmental inquiries, see Note 13 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. We are not currently a party to any such legal actions that we believe to be likely to have a material impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. However, management’s views and estimates related to these matters may change in the future, as new events and circumstances arise and the matters continue to develop.

 

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MANAGEMENT

Executive Officers and Directors

The following table provides information regarding our executive officers and directors as of June 1, 2021:

 

Name

  

Age

   

Position(s)

Executive Officers

    

Dan Wernikoff

   49   Chief Executive Officer and Director

Nicole Miller

   38   General Counsel

Rich Preece

   46   Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer

Shrisha Radhakrishna

   44   Chief Technology Officer

Noel Watson

   46   Chief Financial Officer

Key Employees

    

John Buchanan

   47   Chief Marketing Officer

Sheily Chhabria Panchal

   37   Chief People Officer

Kathy Tsitovich

   47   Chief Partnership Officer

Non-Employee Directors

    

Jeffrey Stibel

   47   Chairman

Dipanjan “DJ” Deb (2)

   52   Director

Khai Ha (3)

   38   Director

John Murphy (1)(3)

   52   Director

Dipan Patel (2)

   38   Director

Brian Ruder (3)

   48   Director

Christine Wang (1)(3)

   34   Director

David Yuan (1)(2)

   46   Director

 

(1)

Member of the audit committee.

(2)

Member of the compensation committee.

(3)

Member of the nominating and corporate governance committee upon the completion of this offering.

Executive Officers

Dan Wernikoff has served as our Chief Executive Officer and a member of our Board of Directors since October 2019. From March 2019 to August 2019, Mr. Wernikoff served as a Venture Partner at TCV, a venture capital firm. From 2003 to October 2018, Mr. Wernikoff held various general manager roles at Intuit Inc., most recently serving as been Executive Vice President and General Manager of Intuit’s Consumer Tax Group from May 2016 to May 2018. Before that role he was the GM of the Small Business Group from May 2014 to May 2016. He also served as the GM of QuickBooks from August 2010 to May 2014. Prior to his various general manager roles, Mr. Wernikoff held various product and marketing leadership positions while at Intuit. Mr. Wernikoff holds a B.S. in Finance from Miami University, and an M.B.A. from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. We believe that Mr. Wernikoff’s extensive knowledge of our company as Chief Executive Officer, his management background and experience in online technology industry qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

Nicole Miller has served as our General Counsel since June 2020, and as our Secretary since August 2020. From July 2014 to June 2020, Ms. Miller held various roles at The Honest Company, most recently serving as General Counsel. Prior to The Honest Company, Ms. Miller practiced corporate law at the law offices of Cooley LLP and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Ms. Miller was a Senate Fellow in the California State Senate from October 2005 to September 2006. Ms. Miller holds a B.A. in humanities from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

 

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Rich Preece has served as our Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer since December 2019. From 2002 to December 2019, Mr. Preece held various roles at Intuit, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Head of Customer Success for the Small Business and Self-employed group from August 2019 to December 2019. Prior roles include Vice President and Global Accountant Segment Leader, and Vice President and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Mr. Preece holds a B.S. in Marketing from Bournemouth University.

Shrisha Radhakrishna has served as our Chief Technology Officer since August 2020. From April 2009 to August 2020, Mr. Radhakrishna held various roles at Intuit, most recently serving as Vice President of Product Development from August 2016 to August 2020. Prior to Intuit, Mr. Radhakrishna served as Director of Engineering at BooRah, Inc. Mr. Radhakrishna holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Information Science from Bangalore University an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Noel Watson has served as our Chief Financial Officer since November 2020. From June 2019 to November 2020, Mr. Watson served as Chief Financial Officer at TrueCar, Inc. From April 2006 to June 2019, Mr. Watson served in various roles at TripAdvisor, Inc., including as Vice President Finance and Chief Accounting Officer. Since July 2020, Mr. Watson has served on Zynga’s Board of Directors. Mr. Watson holds a B.S. in accounting from Bryant University.

Each officer serves at the discretion of our board of directors and holds office until his or her successor is duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier resignation or removal.

Key Employees

John Buchanan has served as our Chief Marketing Officer since August 2020. From May 2019 to September 2020, Mr. Buchanan served as Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Sciences for the National Football League. From February 2018 to May 2019, Mr. Buchanan served as Global Vice President, Head of Marking and Digital Media at Adobe Inc. From January 2015 to February 2018, Mr. Buchanan served as Vice President, Global Brand Management at Electronic Arts Inc. Mr. Buchanan holds a B.S. in political science and a B.S. in international relations from the University of Southern California.

Sheily Chhabria Panchal has served as our Chief People Officer since April 2021. From October 2019 to April 2021, Ms. Panchal served as Vice President of Global Human Resources at Activision Blizzard. Prior to that, she served as Executive Vice President of People Operations for ServiceTitan, Inc. from January 2017 to May 2019. From August 2006 to February 2016, Ms. Panchal held various leadership positions at Google, Inc., most recently serving as Director of Global Trust and Safety Operations. Ms. Panchal holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Management from the University of Southern California.

Kathy Tsitovich has served as our Chief Partnership Officer since August 2020. From September 1999 to August 2020, Ms. Tsitovich held various roles at Intuit, most recently serving as Vice President, Consumer Group from March 2020 to August 2020. Prior to that, she held multiple leadership roles including Vice President, Business Development & Partnerships, Director New Business Development and Director of the Small Business Group. Ms. Tsitovich holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance from the University of Missouri.

Non-Employee Directors

Jeffrey Stibel has served as a member of our board of directors since October 2014 and Chairman since October 2018. Mr. Stibel has been a partner of Bryant Stibel & Company, an investment and strategic advisory platform since January 2013. Mr. Stibel also serves as a member of the board of directors of a number of privately held companies and non-profit entities. He is also a USA Today columnist and author of The New York Times bestseller Breakpoint (Macmillan: 2013) and Wired for Thought (Harvard Business Press: 2009). Mr. Stibel served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation from July 2010 to July 2015, and as Vice Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (NYSE) from July 2015 to March 2018. Prior to that, Mr. Stibel was President and Chief Executive Officer of Web.com, Inc. (Nasdaq). From December 2006 to January 2019, Mr. Stibel served as a member of the board of directors of AutoWeb, Inc. (Nasdaq). He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, philosophy, and

 

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cognitive science from Tufts University and a master’s degree in cognitive science from Brown University, where he was the recipient of a Brain and Behavior Fellowship while studying for a Ph.D. Mr. Stibel also received an honorary doctorate of business from Pepperdine University. We believe that Mr. Stibel’s experience as an executive officer of various online technology companies combined with his experience serving on the boards of directors of multiple public companies qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

Dipanjan (DJ) Deb has served as a member of our board of directors from August 2018 through September 2019, and from February 2020 to date. Mr. Deb is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Francisco Partners Management, L.P., or Francisco Partners, and has served at Francisco Partners since September 2005. Mr. Deb has also served as a Partner of Francisco Partners since its founding in August 1999. Prior to founding Francisco Partners, Mr. Deb was a principal at TPG Capital, a private equity firm, a Director of Semiconductor Banking at Robertson, Stephens & Company and a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Deb serves on the board of directors of GoodRx Holdings, Inc. which is a public company and has served on the board of directors of other public companies including most recently Ichor Systems, Inc. from February 2012 to May 2018, and currently also serves on the board of directors of several private companies. Mr. Deb holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. We believe that Mr. Deb’s private equity expertise combined with his experience serving on the boards of directors of both publicly and privately held companies qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

Khai Ha has served as a member of our board of directors since July 2018. Mr. Ha is a managing partner and investment committee member of GPI Capital L.P., co-founding the firm in May 2016. Before joining GPI Capital L.P., he was a managing director at BTG Pactual Global Partnership Investing, the predecessor fund. Prior to that, Mr. Ha served as a portfolio manager at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and worked at investment firms Moore Capital Management LP and Epic Capital Management Inc. He started his career in mergers and acquisitions and investment banking at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. Mr. Ha has also served on the board of directors of a number of privately held companies. Mr. Ha holds a bachelor of commerce, finance, and economics degree from the University of Toronto and is a chartered financial analyst. We believe that Mr. Ha’s financial and investment management expertise qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

John Murphy has served as a member of our board of directors since June 2021. Mr. Murphy has served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Adobe Systems, Inc., since April 2018, and served as Adobe’s Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller from March 2017 until April 2018. Prior to joining Adobe, Mr. Murphy served as Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller of Qualcomm Incorporated from September 2014 to March 2017. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of DIRECTV Inc. from November 2007 to August 2014, and Vice President and General Auditor of DIRECTV from October 2004 to November 2007. Prior to joining DIRECTV he worked at several global companies, including Experian, Nestle, and Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), in a variety of finance and accounting roles. He served as Director of DirecTV Holdings LLC from November 2007 until August 2014. Mr. Murphy serves on the Corporate Advisory Board of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He holds an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and a B.S. in Accounting from Fordham University. We believe that Mr. Murphy’s extensive experience in finance and accounting, as well as his background in the technology sector, qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

Dipan Patel has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2014. Mr. Patel serves as a partner at Permira, a leading global private equity firm, and has been with the firm since October 2009. He is Head of Global Consumer and serves on the Investment Committee and Executive Committee. Prior to that, Mr. Patel worked for The Gores Group LLC and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Mr. Patel also serves on the board of directors of The Knot Worldwide, Boats Group, Axiom and Catawiki. Mr. Patel holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Cambridge. We believe that Mr. Patel’s experience with and knowledge of technology and media companies and his private equity background qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

 

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Brian Ruder has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2014. Mr. Ruder has served as a partner at Permira since November 2008 and co-heads Permira’s Technology investing sector, sits on the firm’s Executive Committee, and is co-chair of the Permira Investment Committee. Prior to Permira, Mr. Ruder was a partner at Francisco Partners and previously he worked at Hellman & Friedman and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Ruder holds a B.A. in philosophy with mathematics from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. We believe that Mr. Ruder’s financial and investment expertise along with his knowledge of the technology industry qualifies him to serve on our board of directors.

Christine Wang has served as a member of our board of directors since September 2019. Ms. Wang serves as a principal at Francisco Partners and has been with Francisco Partners since August 2015. Prior to joining Francisco Partners, Ms. Wang was an associate at Advent International where she evaluated investments in the business services, financial services, and technology sectors. Earlier in her career, she was an investment banker in the Financial Institutions Group at J.P. Morgan. Ms. Wang also serves on the board of directors of a number of privately held technology companies. Ms. Wang holds a B.A. in economics and East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. We believe that Ms. Wang’s private equity expertise combined with her experience serving on the boards of directors of privately held companies qualifies her to serve on our board of directors.

David Yuan has served as a member of our board of directors since October 2018. Mr. Yuan is a Senior Advisor at Technology Crossover Ventures, or TCV, which he joined in 2005. Mr. Yuan serves on the Board of Directors, or as a Board observer, of multiple other companies within the technology and the financial technology space, including Avetta, Klook, SiteMinder, Toast and Wealthsimple. Prior to joining TCV, Mr. Yuan served as a private equity investor at JPMorgan Partners from 2000 through 2003, director of Business Development at 1stUp.com (acquired by CMGi) from 1999 through 2000, and as a management consultant with Bain and Company from 1997 through 1999. Mr. Yuan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. We believe that Mr. Yuan is qualified to serve on our board of directors based on his broad professional experience within the technology and FinTech industries and services as a director or board observer to other technology companies.

Family Relationships

There are no family relationships among our directors and executive officers.

Board Composition

Our board of directors currently consists of nine members with no vacancies. All of our directors currently serve on the board of directors pursuant to the provisions of a voting agreement between us and several of our stockholders. The voting agreement will terminate upon the completion of this offering. In accordance with our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, which will be effective immediately after the completion of this offering, our board of directors will be divided into three classes with staggered three-year terms. At each annual general meeting of stockholders, the successors to directors whose terms then expire will be elected to serve from the time of election and qualification until the third annual meeting following election. Our directors will be divided among the three classes as follows:

 

  

The Class I directors will be Khai Ha, Dipan Patel and Christine Wang, and their terms will expire at the annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2022;

 

  

The Class II directors will be Dipanjan Deb, Brian Ruder and David Yuan, and their terms will expire at the annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2023; and

 

  

The Class III directors will be John Murphy, Jeff Stibel and Dan Wernikoff, and their terms will expire at the annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2024.

 

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We expect that any additional directorships resulting from an increase in the number of directors will be distributed among the three classes so that, as nearly as possible, each class will consist of one-third of the directors. The division of our board of directors into three classes with staggered three-year terms may delay or prevent a change of our management or a change in control.

On             , we entered into a director nomination agreement (the “Director Nomination Agreement”) with each of (i) LucasZoom, LLC (collectively with its affiliated investment entities, “Permira”) and (ii) FPLZ I, L.P. and FPLZ II, L.P. (together with FPLZ I, L.P. and their affiliated investment entities, “FP”, and together with Permira, the “Lead Sponsors”) to provide certain rights with respect to their ability to designate members of our board of directors (the “Sponsor Designees”).

Pursuant to the Director Nomination Agreement, we will have the obligation to support the nomination of, and to cause our board of directors to include in the slate of nominees recommended to our stockholders for election, a number of designees equal to at least: (i) two individuals for so long as each Lead Sponsor continuously from the time of the completion of this offering beneficially owns shares of common stock representing at least 50% of the shares of common stock owned by such Lead Sponsor immediately following the completion of this offering and (ii) one individual for so long as each Lead Sponsor continuously from the time of the completion of this offering beneficially owns shares of common stock representing at least 25% but less than 50% of the shares of common stock owned by such Lead Sponsor immediately following the completion of this offering.

The nomination of each Sponsor Designee shall be subject to the reasonable and good faith determination of a majority of our disinterested directors, after consultation with our outside legal counsel, that such Sponsor Designee is qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors under applicable laws, the rules of the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, our amended and restated bylaws and any of our company policies. If a Sponsor Designee resigns from his or her seat on our board of directors or is removed or does not become a director for any reason, the vacancy will be filled by the election or appointment of another Sponsor Designee of the applicable Lead Sponsor as soon as reasonably practicable, subject to compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

Director independence

Our board of directors has undertaken a review of its composition, the composition of its committees and the independence of each director. Based upon information requested from and provided by each director concerning his or her background, employment and affiliations, including family relationships, our board of directors has determined that all of our directors except Dan Wernikoff and Jeff Stibel, representing seven of our nine directors, do not have any relationships that would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director and that each of these directors is “independent” as that term is defined under the applicable rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and the listing requirements of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. Our board of directors has determined that Dan Wernikoff, by virtue of his position as our Chief Executive Officer, as well as Jeff Stibel, by virtue of his relationship with Bryant Stibel Growth, LLC and its former consulting relationship with us, are not independent under applicable rules and regulations of the SEC and The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. In making this determination, our board of directors considered the current and prior relationships that each non-employee director has with our company and all other facts and circumstances our board of directors deemed relevant in determining their independence, including the beneficial ownership of our shares by each non-employee director.

Lead Independent Director

Our board of directors is currently chaired by Jeffrey Stibel. Our corporate governance guidelines provide that, if the chairperson of the board is a member of management or does not otherwise qualify as independent, the independent directors of the board may or may not elect a lead independent director. The lead independent director’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: presiding over all meetings of the board of directors at

 

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which the chairperson is not present, including any executive sessions of the independent directors; acting as the liaison between the independent directors and the chief executive officer and chairperson of the board of directors; and such additional duties as our board of directors may otherwise delegate. Our corporate governance guidelines further provide the flexibility for our board of directors to modify our leadership structure in the future, as it deems appropriate.

Board Committees

Our board of directors established a compensation committee and will establish an audit committee and a nominating and corporate governance committee prior to the completion of this offering. Our board of directors may establish other committees to facilitate the management of our business. The composition and functions of each committee are described below. Members serve on these committees until their resignation or until otherwise determined by our board of directors. Each committee has adopted a written charter that satisfies the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC and The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, which we will post on our corporate website upon completion of this offering.

Audit committee

Our audit committee consists of John Murphy, David Yuan and Christine Wang. Our board of directors has determined that each of Mr. Murphy, Mr. Yuan and Ms. Wang satisfies the independence requirements under The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards and Rule 10A-3(b)(1) of the Exchange Act. The chair of our audit committee is Mr. Murphy, who our board of directors has determined is an “audit committee financial expert” within the meaning of SEC regulations. Each member of our audit committee can read and understand fundamental financial statements in accordance with applicable requirements. In arriving at these determinations, our board of directors has examined each audit committee member’s scope of experience and the nature of their employment in the corporate finance sector. The principal duties and responsibilities of our audit committee include, among other things:

 

  

selecting a qualified firm to serve as the independent registered public accounting firm to audit our financial statements;

 

  

helping to ensure the independence and performance of the independent registered public accounting firm;

 

  

helping to maintain and foster an open avenue of communication between management and the independent registered public accounting firm;

 

  

discussing the scope and results of the audit with the independent registered public accounting firm, and reviewing, with management and the independent registered public accounting firm, our interim and year-end operating results;

 

  

developing procedures for employees to submit concerns anonymously about questionable accounting or audit matters;

 

  

reviewing our policies on risk assessment and risk management;

 

  

reviewing related party transactions;

 

  

obtaining and reviewing a report by the independent registered public accounting firm at least annually, that describes its internal quality-control procedures, any material issues with such procedures, and any steps taken to deal with such issues when required by applicable law; and

 

  

approving (or, as permitted, pre-approving) all audit and all permissible non-audit services to be performed by the independent registered public accounting firm.

Our audit committee will operate under a written charter, to be effective prior to the completion of this offering, that satisfies the applicable listing standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC.

 

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Compensation committee

Our compensation committee consists of Dipanjan Deb, Dipan Patel, and David Yuan. The chair of our compensation committee is Mr. Deb. Our board of directors has determined that each of Mr. Deb, Mr. Patel and Mr. Yuan is independent under The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards and a “non-employee director” as defined in Rule 16b-3 promulgated under the Exchange Act.

The principal duties and responsibilities of our compensation committee is include, among other things:

 

  

approving the retention of compensation consultants and outside service providers and advisors;

 

  

reviewing and approving, or recommending that our board of directors approve, the compensation, individual and corporate performance goals and objectives and other terms of employment of our executive officers, including evaluating the performance of our chief executive officer and, with his assistance, that of our other executive officers;

 

  

reviewing and recommending to our board of directors the compensation of our directors;

 

  

administering our equity and non-equity incentive plans;

 

  

reviewing our practices and policies of employee compensation as they relate to risk management and risk-taking incentives;

 

  

reviewing and evaluating succession plans for the executive officers;

 

  

reviewing and approving, or recommending that our board of directors approve, incentive compensation and equity plans; and

 

  

reviewing and establishing general policies relating to compensation and benefits of our employees and reviewing our overall compensation philosophy.

Our compensation committee will operate under a written charter, to be effective prior to the completion of

this offering, that satisfies the applicable listing standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC.

Nominating and corporate governance committee

Our nominating and corporate governance committee will consist of Khai Ha, John Murphy, Brian Ruder, and Christine Wang. The chair of our nominating and corporate governance committee will be Mr. Ruder. Our board of directors has determined that each of Mr. Ha, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Ruder and Ms. Wang is independent under The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC listing standards.

The nominating and corporate governance committee’s responsibilities include, among other things:

 

  

identifying, evaluating, and selecting, or recommending that our board of directors approve, nominees for election to our board of directors and its committees;

 

  

approving the retention of director search firms;

 

  

evaluating the performance of our board of directors and of individual directors;

 

  

considering and making recommendations to our board of directors regarding the composition of our board of directors and its committees;

 

  

evaluating the adequacy of our corporate governance practices and reporting; and

 

  

overseeing an annual evaluation of the board’s performance.

Our nominating and corporate governance committee will operate under a written charter, to be effective prior to the completion of this offering, that satisfies the applicable listing standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC.

 

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Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation

None of the members of the compensation committee is currently, or has been at any time, one of our executive officers or employees. None of our executive officers currently serves, or has served during the last year, as a member of the board of directors or compensation committee of any entity that has one or more executive officers serving as a member of our board of directors or on our compensation committee.

Code of Business Conduct and Ethics

In connection with this offering, we intend to adopt a Code of Conduct that applies to all our employees, officers and directors. This includes our principal executive officer, principal financial officer and principal accounting officer or controller, or persons performing similar functions. The full text of our Code of Conduct will be posted on our corporate website upon completion of this offering. We intend to disclose on our website any future amendments of our Code of Conduct or waivers that exempt any principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller, persons performing similar functions or our directors from provisions in the Code of Conduct. Information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus, and you should not consider information on our website to be part of this prospectus.

Limitations of Liability and Indemnification Matters

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, which will become effective immediately after the completion of this offering, and our amended and restated bylaws, which will become effective immediately prior to completion of this offering, limits our directors’ liability, and may indemnify our directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted under Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL. The DGCL provides that directors of a corporation will not be personally liable for monetary damages for breach of their fiduciary duties as directors, except for liability for any:

 

  

transaction from which the director derives an improper personal benefit;

 

  

act or omission not in good faith or that involves intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law;

 

  

unlawful payment of dividends or redemption of shares; or

 

  

breach of a director’s duty of loyalty to the corporation or its stockholders.

Such limitation of liability does not apply to liabilities arising under federal securities laws and does not affect the availability of equitable remedies such as injunctive relief or rescission.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation that will be in effect immediately prior to the completion of this offering will authorize us to indemnify our directors, officers, employees and other agents to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL. Our amended and restated bylaws that will be in effect immediately prior to the completion of this offering will provide that we are required to indemnify our directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL and may indemnify our other employees and agents. Our amended and restated bylaws that will be in effect immediately prior to the completion of this offering will also provide that, on satisfaction of certain conditions, we will advance expenses incurred by a director or officer in advance of the final disposition of any action or proceeding, and permit us to secure insurance on behalf of any officer, director, employee or other agent for any liability arising out of his or her actions in that capacity regardless of whether we would otherwise be permitted to indemnify him or her under the provisions of the DGCL. We have entered and expect to continue to enter into agreements to indemnify our directors, executive officers and other employees as determined by our board of directors. With certain exceptions, these agreements provide for indemnification for related expenses including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and settlement amounts incurred by any of these individuals in any action or proceeding. We believe these provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws and these indemnification agreements are necessary

 

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to attract and retain qualified persons as directors and officers. We also maintain customary directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.

The limitation of liability and indemnification provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may discourage stockholders from bringing a lawsuit against our directors for breach of their fiduciary duty. They may also reduce the likelihood of derivative litigation against our directors and officers, even though an action, if successful, might benefit us and other stockholders. Further, a stockholder’s investment may be adversely affected to the extent that we pay the costs of settlement and damage awards against directors and officers as required by these indemnification provisions.

Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act may be permitted for directors, executive officers or persons controlling us, we have been informed that, in the opinion of the SEC, such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act and is therefore unenforceable.

 

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EXECUTIVE AND DIRECTOR COMPENSATION

Our named executive officers for 2020, which consist of our principal executive officer and the two other most highly compensated executive officers, are:

 

  

Dan Wernikoff, Chief Executive Officer and Director;

 

  

Shrisha Radhakrishna, Chief Technology Officer; and

 

  

Noel Watson, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.

The following tables and narrative address and explain the compensation provided to our named executive officers in 2020.

Summary Compensation Table

 

Name and Principal Position

  Year   Salary
($)(1)
   Bonus
($)
  Stock
Awards
($)(2)
  Option Awards
($)(3)
   Total
($)
 

Dan Wernikoff

   2020    800,000    250,000(4)   —     3,401,916    4,451,916 

Chief Executive Officer and Director

          

Shrisha Radhakrishna(5)

   2020    136,923    93,000(4)   4,000,000   —      4,222,923 

Chief Technology Officer

          

Noel Watson(6)

   2020    57,115    300,000(7)   5,000,000   —      5,357,115 

Chief Financial Officer

          

 

(1)

Salary amounts represent actual amounts earned during 2020. See the section titled “—Narrative to the Summary Compensation Table—Annual base salary” below.

(2)

Amounts reported represent the aggregate grant-date fair value of awards granted to our named executive officers during 2020 under our 2016 Plan, computed in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 718 Compensation—Stock Compensation, or ASC 718, without consideration to the probability of achieving the performance condition. The assumptions used in calculating the grant-date fair value of the stock-based awards reported in this column are set forth in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. This amount does not reflect the actual economic value that may be realized by the named executive officer. The RSU awards are eligible to vest as described in the table below titled “2020 Outstanding Equity Awards at Year-End.”

(3)

For Mr. Wernikoff, the amount reported represents the incremental fair value attributable to the repricing of stock options during 2020, computed as of the repricing date in accordance with ASC 718. For Mr. Radhakrishna and Mr. Watson, the amounts reported represent the aggregate grant-date fair value of the stock options granted to them during 2020 under our 2016 Plan, computed in accordance with ASC 718. Such stock options are subject to performance conditions and their grant-date fair value is based on the probable outcome of the performance conditions. The maximum grant-date fair value of the performance-based stock options granted to Mr. Radhakrishna and Mr. Watson during 2020 was $1.4 million and $1.3 million, respectively, which assumes the achievement of the highest level of the performance conditions. The assumptions used in calculating the grant-date fair value of the stock options reported in this column are set forth in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. This amount does not reflect the actual economic value that may be realized by the named executive officer.

(4)

Bonus amounts represent actual amounts earned during 2020, but paid in 2021. See the section titled “—Narrative to the Summary Compensation Table—Annual discretionary bonus plan” below.

(5)

Mr. Radhakrishna commenced his employment in August 2020.

(6)

Mr. Watson commenced his employment in November 2020.

(7)

Mr. Watson received a $300,000 signing bonus in 2020 in connection with the commencement of his employment.

Narrative to the Summary Compensation Table

Our board of directors reviews compensation annually for our named executive officers. In setting executive base salaries and bonuses and granting equity incentive awards, we consider compensation for comparable positions in the market, the historical compensation levels of our executives, individual performance as compared to our expectations and objectives, our desire to motivate our employees to achieve short- and long-term results that are in the best interests of our stockholders, and a long-term commitment to our company.

 

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Our board of directors has historically determined our executive officers’ compensation and has typically reviewed and discussed management’s proposed compensation with our chief executive officer for all executives other than our chief executive officer. Based on those discussions and its discretion, our full board of directors then reviews the compensation of each executive officer. Upon the completion of this offering, the compensation committee will determine our executive officers’ compensation and follow this process, but the compensation committee itself, rather than our board of directors, will approve the compensation of each executive officer.

Annual base salary

Base salaries for our executive officers are initially established through arm’s-length negotiations at the time of the executive officer’s hiring, taking into account such executive officer’s qualifications, experience, the scope of his or her responsibilities and competitive market compensation paid by other companies for similar positions within the industry and geography. Base salaries are reviewed annually, typically in connection with our annual performance review process, and adjusted from time to time to realign salaries with market levels after taking into account individual responsibilities, performance and experience. In making decisions regarding salary increases, we may also draw upon the experience of members of our board of directors with executives at other companies. The 2020 base salary for each of our named executive officers is as follows:

 

Name

  Base Salary 

Dan Wernikoff

  $800,000 

Shrisha Radhakrishna

  $400,000 

Noel Watson

  $450,000 

Annual discretionary bonus plan

From time to time, our board of directors or compensation committee may approve discretionary annual bonuses for our named executive officers based on individual performance, company performance or as otherwise determined appropriate. Our board of directors awarded discretionary annual cash bonuses to Mr. Wernikoff and Mr. Radhakrishna in 2020, based on the achievement of performance objectives determined by our board of directors. Mr. Radhakrishna’s bonus was prorated based on his months of service in 2020. Mr. Watson was not eligible to receive a discretionary annual bonus in 2020.

Equity-based incentive awards

Our equity-based incentive awards are designed to align our interests and those of our stockholders with those of our employees, directors and consultants, including our named executive officers. At December 31, 2020, stock option awards and RSU awards were the only forms of equity awards we granted to our named executive officers.

We have historically used stock options as an incentive for long-term compensation to our named executive officers because they are able to profit from stock options only if our stock price increases relative to the stock option’s exercise price, which exercise price is set at the fair market value of our common stock on the date of grant. However, more recently, we have used a combination of RSU awards and performance-based options to diversify the equity compensation we use to incentivize and deliver value to our named executive officers. We may grant equity awards at such times as our board of directors determines appropriate.

Prior to this offering, all of the equity awards we have granted were made pursuant to our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan, or 2016 Plan. Equity awards are currently outstanding under only our 2016 Plan. Following this offering, we will grant equity incentive awards under the terms of our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan, or 2021 Plan. The terms of our 2021 Plan and our equity plans governing outstanding equity awards are described below under “—Equity Incentive Plans.”

 

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All options are granted with an exercise price per share that is no less than the fair market value of our common stock on the date of grant of such award. In September 2020, our board of directors approved a stock option repricing in which the strike price of certain stock options was modified to the strike price equal to the then-current per-share fair market value. Mr. Wernikoff participated in the repricing. Our stock option awards and RSU awards generally vest over a four-year period, and may be subject to acceleration of vesting and exercisability under certain termination and change in control events. We also have granted RSU awards and stock options that vest in accordance with performance conditions. See the section titled “—2020 Outstanding Equity Awards at Year-End” below for additional information.

Employee benefits and perquisites

We have generally not offered special benefits to our named executive officers. Further details on these benefits are described in footnotes to the “—Summary Compensation Table.” We also provide 401(k) matching contributions as discussed in the “—Health and Welfare and Retirement Benefits—401(k) Plan” section below. Our named executive officers are eligible to participate in the 401(k) plan on the same basis as our other employees, but none of our named executive officers had matching contributions in 2020.

2020 Outstanding Equity Awards at Year-End

The following table provides information regarding the outstanding equity awards held by our named executive officers as of December 31, 2020. All awards were granted pursuant to the 2016 Plan. See the section titled “—Equity Incentive Plans—2016 Stock Incentive Plan” below for additional information.

 

  Option Awards  Stock Awards 

Name

 Grant Date  Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Exercisable
  Number of
Securities
Underlying
Unexercised
Options (#)
Unexercisable
  Option
Exercise
Price ($)(2)
  Option
Expiration
Date
  Number
of Shares
or Units
of Stock
That
Have Not
Vested
(#)
  Market
Value of
Shares or
Units of
Stock That
Have Not
Vested ($)(6)
 

Dan Wernikoff

  9/19/2019(1)   906,984   2,720,952(3)   9.82   9/19/2029   —     —   
  9/19/2019(1)   —     3,627,936(4)   9.82   9/19/2029   —     —   

Shrisha Radhakrishna

  9/23/2020   —     763,747(4)   9.82   9/23/2030   —     —   
  —     —          —     —     407,332(5)   4,684,318 

Noel Watson

  11/18/2020   —     763,747(4)   9.82   11/18/2030   —     —   
  —     —            —     —     509,165(5)   5,855,398 

 

(1)

On September 23, 2020, this option award was repriced and the strike price was modified to the strike price consummate with the then-current per-share fair market value.

(2)

All of the option awards were granted with a per share exercise price equal to the fair market value of one share of our common stock on the date of grant, or date of modification, as determined in good faith by our board of directors or compensation committee.

(3)

25% of the total shares of common stock underlying this option vested on October 1, 2020, and then the remaining 75% will vest in equal quarterly installments over the three years following October 1, 2020, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. Immediately prior to, but contingent on, a “change in control”, the option will vest with respect to 50% of the then unvested shares subject to the option. In addition, if we terminate Mr. Wernikoff’s employment without “cause” or Mr. Wernikoff resigns for “good reason,” then, if Mr. Wernikoff timely executes and does not revoke a general release of claims against us and our affiliates, Mr. Wernikoff will to receive 12 months accelerated vesting of the option, except, if the termination occurs within 24 months following a “change in control,” then the option will vest in full. Prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, we expect to amend the vesting acceleration provisions that apply to this option.

(4)

Subject to optionee’s continuous service as of the vesting date, the total shares of common stock underlying this option vest immediately prior to, but conditioned on the closing of, a “liquidity event” (which, in the case of Mr. Radhakrishna and Mr. Watson, includes the completion of this offering) on an interpolated linear basis starting at 0% and ending at 100% of the option vesting, depending on the per share common stock valuation at the time of the “liquidity event”. For retention purposes, prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, we expect to amend the vesting schedule of this option so that the option does not vest immediately upon a liquidity event but is instead subject to a time-based vesting schedule, such that 1/48th of the total shares of common stock underlying this option will vest each month following the vesting commencement date, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date.

 

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(5)

The restricted stock units will vest only if both a service-based condition and a liquidity event condition are satisfied prior to the expiration date. The service-based condition will be satisfied as follows: 25% of the award meeting the service-based requirement on the first anniversary of the vesting commencement date, and the remainder of the award meeting the service-based requirement in 12 equal quarterly installments thereafter, subject to continuous service as of the vesting date. In the event that the named executive officer’s employment is terminated without “cause” or the named executive officer resigns for “good reason,” then 100% of the restricted stock units will be deemed to have met the service-based requirement. In the case of Mr. Watson only, in the event of a “liquidity event,” 25% of the restricted stock units will vest. The liquidity event requirement will be satisfied as of the occurrence of a liquidity event. Prior to, and contingent upon, the completion of this offering, we expect to amend the vesting acceleration provisions that apply to the restricted stock units.

(6)

This amount reflects the fair market value of our common stock of $11.50 per share as of December 31, 2020 as determined by our compensation committee.

IPO Grants

Immediately prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part, we expect to grant                  shares of our common stock issuable as RSUs and options to purchase                  shares of common stock with an exercise price equal to the initial public offering price under our 2016 Plan.

Executive Employment Agreements

Each of our named executive officers has executed our standard form of confidential information and employee invention assignment agreement.

Agreement with Dan Wernikoff

Prior to the completion of this offering, we may enter into an amended and restated employment agreement with Dan Wernikoff, our Chief Executive Officer. The amended and restated employment agreement will have no specific term and will provide that Mr. Wernikoff is an at-will employee. Mr. Wernikoff’s current annual base salary is $800,000.

Agreement with Shrisha Radhakrishna

Prior to the completion of this offering, we may enter into an amended and restated employment agreement with Shrisha Radhakrishna, our Chief Technology Officer. The amended and restated employment agreement will have no specific term and will provide that Mr. Radhakrishna is an at-will employee. Mr. Radhakrishna’s current annual base salary is $400,000, and Mr. Radhakrishna is eligible for a discretionary target annual bonus opportunity equal to 50% of annual base salary, based on the achievement of performance objectives determined by our board of directors (or its compensation committee).

Agreement with Noel Watson

Prior to the completion of this offering, we may enter into an amended and restated employment agreement with Noel Watson, our Chief Financial Officer. The amended and restated employment agreement will have no specific term and will provide that Mr. Watson is an at-will employee. Mr. Watson’s current annual base salary is $450,000, and Mr. Watson is eligible for a discretionary target annual bonus opportunity equal to 50% of annual base salary, based on the achievement of performance objectives determined by our board of directors (or its compensation committee).

Potential Payments and Benefits upon Termination or Change in Control

We expect our named executive officers will be eligible to receive potential termination or change of control payments pursuant to the amended and restated employment agreements that we expect to enter into with our named executive officers prior to the completion of this offering. In addition, our named executive officers are eligible for vesting acceleration benefits with respect to certain of their equity awards as described in “—2020 Outstanding Equity Awards at Year-End.”

 

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Health and Welfare and Retirement Benefits

All of our current named executive officers are eligible to participate in our employee benefit plans, including our medical, dental and vision insurance plans, in each case on the same basis as all of our other employees. We generally do not provide perquisites or personal benefits to our named executive officers, except in limited circumstances.

401(k) plan

Our named executive officers are eligible to participate in a defined contribution retirement plan that provides eligible U.S. employees with an opportunity to save for retirement on a tax advantaged basis. Eligible employees may elect to defer up to 80% of their eligible compensation into the plan on a pre-tax basis, up to annual limits prescribed by the Code, and we make an employer matching contribution to the plan in the amount equal to 100% of the first 4% of eligible compensation that eligible employees defer each year. In general, eligible compensation for purposes of the 401(k) retirement savings plan includes an employee’s wages, salaries, fees for professional services and other amounts received for personal services actually rendered in the course of employment with us to the extent the amounts are includible in gross income, and subject to certain adjustments and exclusions required under the Code.

Equity Incentive Plans

2021 Equity Incentive Plan

In                , our board of directors adopted, and our stockholders approved, our 2021 Equity Incentive Plan, or 2021 Plan. We expect our 2021 Plan will become effective on the date of the underwriting agreement related to this offering. Our 2021 Plan came into existence upon its adoption by our board of directors, but no grants will be made under our 2021 Plan prior to its effectiveness. Once our 2021 Plan becomes effective, no further grants will be made under our 2016 Plan.

Awards. Our 2021 Plan provides for the grant of incentive stock options, or ISOs, within the meaning of Section 422 of the Code, to our employees and our parent and subsidiary corporations’ employees, and for the grant of nonstatutory stock options, or NSOs, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock awards, RSU awards, performance awards and other forms of awards to our employees, directors and consultants and any of our affiliates’ employees and consultants.

Authorized shares. Initially, the maximum number of shares of our common stock that may be issued under our 2021 Plan after it becomes effective will not exceed                  shares of our common stock, which is the sum of (i)                  new shares, plus (ii) an additional number of shares not to exceed                  shares, consisting of (a) shares that remain available for the issuance of awards under our 2016 Plan as of immediately prior to the time our 2021 Plan becomes effective and (b) any shares of our common stock subject to outstanding stock options or other stock awards granted under our 2016 Plan that, on or after our 2021 Plan becomes effective, terminate or expire prior to exercise or settlement; are not issued because the award is settled in cash; are forfeited because of the failure to vest; or are reacquired or withheld (or not issued) to satisfy a tax withholding obligation or the purchase or exercise price. In addition, the number of shares of our common stock reserved for issuance under our 2021 Plan will automatically increase on January 1 of each year for a period of ten years, beginning on January 1, 2022 and continuing through January 1, 2031, in an amount equal to (1)     % of the total number of shares of our common stock outstanding on December 31 of the immediately preceding year, or (2) a lesser number of shares determined by our board of directors no later than December 31 of the immediately preceding year. The maximum number of shares of our common stock that may be issued on the exercise of ISOs under our 2021 Plan is                  shares.

Shares subject to stock awards granted under our 2021 Plan that expire or terminate without being exercised in full or that are paid out in cash rather than in shares will not reduce the number of shares available for issuance

 

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under our 2021 Plan. Shares withheld under a stock award to satisfy the exercise, strike or purchase price of a stock award or to satisfy a tax withholding obligation will not reduce the number of shares available for issuance under our 2021 Plan. If any shares of our common stock issued pursuant to a stock award are forfeited back to or repurchased or reacquired by us (i) because of a failure to meet a contingency or condition required for the vesting of such shares; (ii) to satisfy the exercise, strike or purchase price of a stock award; or (iii) to satisfy a tax withholding obligation in connection with a stock award, the shares that are forfeited or repurchased or reacquired will revert to and again become available for issuance under our 2021 Plan.

Plan administration. Our board of directors, or a duly authorized committee of our board of directors, administers our 2021 Plan. Our board of directors may delegate to one or more of our officers the authority to (i) designate employees (other than officers) to receive specified stock awards; and (ii) determine the number of shares subject to such stock awards. Under our 2021 Plan, our board of directors has the authority to determine stock award recipients, the types of stock awards to be granted, grant dates, the number of shares subject to each stock award, the fair market value of our common stock, and the provisions of each stock award, including the period of exercisability and the vesting schedule applicable to a stock award.

Under our 2021 Plan, our board of directors also generally has the authority to effect, with the consent of any materially adversely affected participant, (i) the reduction of the exercise, purchase, or strike price of any outstanding option or stock appreciation right; (ii) the cancellation of any outstanding option or stock appreciation right and the grant in substitution therefore of other awards, cash, or other consideration; or (iii) any other action that is treated as a repricing under generally accepted accounting principles.

Stock options. ISOs and NSOs are granted under stock option agreements adopted by the administrator. The administrator determines the exercise price for stock options, within the terms and conditions of our 2021 Plan, except the exercise price of a stock option generally will not be less than 100% of the fair market value of our common stock on the date of grant. Options granted under our 2021 Plan will vest at the rate specified in the stock option agreement as determined by the administrator.

The administrator determines the term of stock options granted under our 2021 Plan, up to a maximum of 10 years. Unless the terms of an optionholder’s stock option agreement, or other written agreement between us and the optionholder, provide otherwise, if an optionholder’s service relationship with us or any of our affiliates ceases for any reason other than disability, death, or cause, the optionholder may generally exercise any vested options for a period of three months following the cessation of service. This period may be extended in the event that exercise of the option is prohibited by applicable securities laws. If an optionholder’s service relationship with us or any of our affiliates ceases due to death, or an optionholder dies within a certain period following cessation of service, the optionholder or a beneficiary may generally exercise any vested options for a period of 18 months following the date of death. If an optionholder’s service relationship with us or any of our affiliates ceases due to disability, the optionholder may generally exercise any vested options for a period of 12 months following the cessation of service. In the event of a termination for cause, options generally terminate upon the termination date. In no event may an option be exercised beyond the expiration of its term.

Acceptable consideration for the purchase of common stock issued upon the exercise of a stock option will be determined by the administrator and may include: (i) cash, check, bank draft or money order; (ii) a broker-assisted cashless exercise; (iii) the tender of shares of our common stock previously owned by the optionholder; (iv) a net exercise of the option if it is an NSO; or (v) other legal consideration approved by the administrator.

Unless the administrator provides otherwise, options or stock appreciation rights generally are not transferable except by will or the laws of descent and distribution. Subject to approval of the administrator or a duly authorized officer, an option may be transferred pursuant to a domestic relations order, official marital settlement agreement, or other divorce or separation instrument.

Tax limitations on ISOs. The aggregate fair market value, determined at the time of grant, of our common stock with respect to ISOs that are exercisable for the first time by an award holder during any calendar year

 

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under all of our stock plans may not exceed $100,000. Options or portions thereof that exceed such limit will generally be treated as NSOs. No ISO may be granted to any person who, at the time of the grant, owns or is deemed to own stock possessing more than 10% of our total combined voting power or that of any of our parent or subsidiary corporations unless (i) the option exercise price is at least 110% of the fair market value of the stock subject to the option on the date of grant; and (ii) the term of the ISO does not exceed five years from the date of grant.

Restricted stock unit awards. Restricted stock unit awards are granted under restricted stock unit award agreements adopted by the administrator. Restricted stock unit awards may be granted in consideration for any form of legal consideration that may be acceptable to our board of directors and permissible under applicable law. A restricted stock unit award may be settled by cash, delivery of stock, a combination of cash and stock as deemed appropriate by the administrator, or in any other form of consideration set forth in the restricted stock unit award agreement. Additionally, dividend equivalents may be credited in respect of shares covered by a restricted stock unit award. Except as otherwise provided in the applicable award agreement, or other written agreement between us and the recipient, restricted stock unit awards that have not vested will be forfeited once the participant’s continuous service ends for any reason.

Restricted stock awards. Restricted stock awards are granted under restricted stock award agreements adopted by the administrator. A restricted stock award may be awarded in consideration for cash, check, bank draft or money order, past or future services to us, or any other form of legal consideration that may be acceptable to our board of directors and permissible under applicable law. The administrator determines the terms and conditions of restricted stock awards, including vesting and forfeiture terms. If a participant’s service relationship with us ends for any reason, we may receive any or all of the shares of common stock held by the participant that have not vested as of the date the participant terminates service with us through a forfeiture condition or a repurchase right