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Zendesk Aims for $1 Billion in Revenue by 2020, Adds Autodesk CEO to Board

The company also reported sales that were better than analysts expected.


Shares of the cloud-based customer service software company Zendesk rose by 4 percent in after-hours trading after the company posted a quarterly sales that beat the expectations of analysts and pledged to reach $1 billion in annual revenue by 2020.

Zendesk also said it has appointed Carl Bass, the CEO of software company Autodesk, to its board of directors.

Zendesk shares rose 60 cents to $16.51 after it posted results, a loss of 7 cents a share on revenue of $62.6 million. The loss was in line with expectations, while revenue was better than the consensus forecast of analysts, who expected $60 million. It finished the fiscal year with revenue of $208 million and a net loss of 30 cents per share on a non-GAAP basis.

For the year ahead it said it expects sales in the range of $290 million to $300 million, which in turn gave CEO Mikkel Svane the confidence that the company could hit the billion-dollar mark three years after that.

“It’s how we want to be perceived,” he said in an interview with Re/code. “We have the momentum and a billion in revenue is a realistic goal.”

It’s probably a good time to sound a positive note to a market in which investors have suddenly turned against cloud software companies. Before today, Zendesk shares had fallen more than 40 percent since the start of the year alongside numerous other cloud-based software companies whose shares have declined significantly in recent weeks. An index of 44 publicly held cloud companies tracked by Bessemer Venture Partners has declined by about 54 percent since a mid-December high.

Bass joined the Zendesk board of directors effective Feb. 9. He has been CEO of Autodesk, the maker of 3-D design software, since 2006.

“He comes from a very interesting business,” Svane said of Bass. “Autodesk makes these beautiful products and has a strong developer community. I’ve learned a lot personally from Carl.”

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