New Braunfels tech firm TaskUs boosted revenue by nearly 60 percent in ’21

New Braunfels tech services company TaskUs Inc. swung to a loss in 2021 as its revenue jumped nearly 60 percent over the previous year.

The company reported a loss of $58.7 million on revenue of $760.7 million, compared with 2020 earnings of $34.5 million on revenue of $478 million.

For 2022, TaskUs is forecasting revenue of between $980 million and $1 billion. CEO Bryce Maddock said the company ended 2021 with 72 clients who are each spending at least $1 million annually on its services, up from 46 the year before.

Investors liked what they saw, driving up TaskUs’ share price 16.2 percent on Tuesday. It ended trading at $33.37, a gain of $4.65 from Monday’s closing price. The company announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results late Monday.

“2021 was one of our strongest — actually our strongest sales year ever,” Maddock said in a conference call with analysts, according to a transcript. “Q1 of 2022 is off to a very fast start.”

The company also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $19.1 million on revenue of $226.8 million, up from a profit of $13.6 million on revenue of $138.8 million in the same period in 2020.

Its 2021 growth, Maddock said, was “driven by expansion with existing clients and new client signings.”

“A big part of our success in this area has been driven by our investments in the fintech (financial services technology) and cryptocurrency space, where we’re delivering the specialized services these high-growth businesses need to grow and protect their brands,” he said. “We also saw continued expansion with our ride-sharing and food-delivery clients.”

TaskUs provides companies — including Facebook (recently renamed Meta), Netflix, Zoom and Uber — with customer support, content security, consulting and artificial intelligence operations.

Revenue from the company’s AI offerings surged 128 percent in the fourth quarter of the year before because of greater demand from social media and autonomous vehicle clients.

“We’ve been investing heavily in AI operations,” Maddock said.

In 2017, TaskUs moved its headquarters to San Antonio from Santa Monica, Calif. It relocated to New Braunfels in 2018, but still maintains a San Antonio workforce.

Founded in 2008, TaskUs went public in June with an IPO that priced its shares at $23. They jumped to $29 on the company’s first day on the Nasdaq exchange.

TaskUs shares fell in January after New York short-seller Spruce Point Capital Management accused the company of failing to disclose enough information about its revenue and work for Facebook. TaskUs is one of the contractors Facebook uses to police inaccurate and inflammatory posts on its platform.

A short-seller makes money by borrowing a company’s shares (usually from a broker-dealer) that they believe will drop in price. They then sell the stock, with plans to buy it back at lower prices before returning the shares to the lender.

On Jan. 20, Spruce Point released a report that Facebook claimed had been relying less on TaskUs as it hired more in-house content moderators. That day, TaskUs shares dropped 15.3 percent, closing at $30.13.

TaskUs officials defended their company in a Jan. 21 statement, saying Spruce Point’s report contained “numerous inaccuracies and characterizations of our business and future prospects.”

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