PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

C3.ai Reports Strong Q4 Results, Sees ‘Huge Opportunity’ in GenAI

C3.ai, earnings, Artificial intelligence, GenAI, Generative AI

C3.ai, an enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) software company, reported strong fourth-quarter results for fiscal year 2024, exceeding both its own guidance and analysts’ expectations. The company saw its fifth consecutive quarter of accelerating revenue growth, with subscription revenue increasing 41% year-over-year.

The performance comes at a time when the AI industry is experiencing rapid growth and increased attention, particularly in the field of generative AI (GenAI). C3.ai’s focus on enterprise AI applications and its differentiated GenAI offerings have positioned the company to capitalize on the massive potential in the market.

“Q4 was a great quarter and the end of a huge year for C3.ai. We exceeded all expectations for revenue, cash flow and profitability,” said CEO Tom Siebel on the earnings call. “This was our fifth consecutive quarter of accelerating revenue growth.”

The company reported revenue of $86.6 million for the quarter, with subscription revenue accounting for 92% of the total. Non-GAAP gross profit was $60.9 million, representing a 70% gross margin. C3.ai generated a free cash flow of $18.8 million and ended the quarter with $750.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments.

Focused on Enterprise AI Applications

Siebel emphasized the company’s focus on enterprise AI applications, which he believes will dominate the AI value stack in the long run. “What doesn’t get commoditized in the long run are the applications, and that’s where C3.ai plays,” he said.

The federal defense and aerospace sector proved to be a significant growth driver for C3.ai, accounting for approximately 50% of its bookings in the fourth quarter. Over the past year, the company closed 65 agreements with federal agencies and made inroads with ten new federal organizations in Q4.

GenAI Offerings Garner Substantial Interest

C3.ai’s GenAI offerings have also garnered substantial interest, with the company receiving nearly 50,000 inquiries from 3,000 businesses in the fourth quarter alone. Siebel highlighted the differentiated nature of C3.ai’s GenAI products, which address issues such as hallucinations, IP liability and access controls.

“Every time we look at this generative AI market, it looks bigger than before. It’s a huge opportunity,” Siebel said. He provided examples of GenAI applications, including a law firm using the technology to generate SEC filings and the U.S. Air Force leveraging it for predictive maintenance of weapon systems.

Looking ahead, C3.ai expects revenue growth to accelerate to approximately 23% in fiscal year 2025. The company plans to continue investing in development to establish market leadership and build a profitable enterprise software company.

“Regardless of the current fad that happens in response to market fluctuations quarter-to-quarter, C3.ai is looking at addressing a potentially $1 trillion addressable software market,” Siebel said. “We believe this is the largest market opportunity in the history of software.”

The strong Q4 results and the company’s optimistic outlook highlight C3.ai’s position in the rapidly evolving enterprise AI market. As businesses increasingly recognize the potential of AI to transform their operations, C3.ai’s focus on applications and its approach to addressing the challenges associated with GenAI could play a significant role in shaping the industry’s future.

However, the company will need to navigate an increasingly competitive landscape and demonstrate the tangible benefits of its offerings to maintain its growth trajectory. The coming quarters will be crucial in determining whether C3.ai can capitalize on the opportunities presented by the expanding AI market and establish itself as a long-term leader.