警惕:负毛利率公司

36氪的朋友们 · 2017-02-13
负毛利率战略要成功,比想象的要难的多的多,其底线就是:业务实现垄断性

编者按:本文来自微信公众号“ThinkingSlow缓慢思考”(ID:ThinkingSlow),作者愉悦资本戴汨,原文来自USV的合伙人Fred Wilson 2015年底的一篇Blog;36氪经授权发布。

在传统的经济里,没有负毛利率这件事。但是互联网的世界里,由于互联网的高增长可能,加上资本的推动,追逐增长而保持负毛利率成为很普遍的现象。负毛利率战略要成功,比想象的要难的多的多,其底线就是:业务实现垄断性。否则,不管是通过锁定用户后未来提价,还是通过规模化后降低成本,都是困难的。

There’s been a lot of talk coming out of silicon valley lately about fast growing companies with high valuations that are going to face problems in the coming year(s).

硅谷最近很多人谈论那些快速增长的高估值公司,认为他们会在未来的几年内面临问题。

Bill Gurley said this recently: “I do think you’ll see some dead unicorns this year”

Bill Gurley最近说:“我想你今年会看到一些死的独角兽”

Mike Moritz said this recently: “There are a considerable number of unicorns that will become extinct.”

Mike Mortiz最近说:“有相当多的独角兽将会灭绝。

But how is this going to happen?

但是,这样的事情会如何发生呢?

The most likely scenario is the thing that has been driving growth (and valuations) for these companies ultimately comes home  to roost. And that is negative gross margins.

最可能的情况是,当初驱动这些公司增长(和估值)的幕后推手会反过来会成为罪魁祸首(所谓,成也萧何败萧何)。这个幕后推手就是负毛利率。

We have seen a tremendous number of high growth companies raising money this year with negative gross margins. Which means they sell something for less than it costs them to make it.

今年以来,我们看到了大量的高增长公司融到了钱,但是毛利率为负。这意味着他们卖的东西的价格低于他们的生产成本。

It can be an “on-demand” service provider that subsidizes the cost of the workers on its platform so that the service seems like it costs less than it actually does. Why would an on-demand startup take this approach? To build demand for the service, of course. The idea is get users hooked on a home cleaning service, a ridesharing service, a food delivery service, or a gym roaming service by bringing it to market at a price point that is highly attractive and then, once the users are truly hooked, take the price up.

它可能是一个“按需”服务提供商,在其平台上补贴工人的成本,使其服务看起来比实际成本低。为什么“按需”服务的创业公司采用这种方法?答案显然:为其提供的服务吸引需求。这么做的想法是,通过把价格降到有吸引力的位置让用户上钩,不管是家庭清洁服务、交通分享服务、食品快递服务还是健身房漫游服务,一旦用户真正上钩了,再把价格上涨起来。

It can be a service provided to startups, like the ability to ship via an API, or the ability to process payments via an API, or the ability to pay your employees or give them benefits. All of these examples have a real cost component to them. They are not pure software. And there are providers in the market who are not passing through the true cost, in effect subsidizing the cost of the service, to gain market share. This results in fast growth but negative gross margins. Again, the companies that are doing this are hoping that once they get to scale and users are “locked in”, they can raise prices.

它也可能是为初创公司提供服务的公司,例如通过API接口提供货运服务,或者通过API接口提供支付能力,或者帮助公司支付员工或给员工发放付复利。所有这些例子都有一个真正的成本组件。它们不是纯软件。市场的服务商为了获取市场份额,价格低于成本,实际上补贴了服务的成本。这导致增长很快,但毛利率为负。同样,这样做的公司希望,一旦他们达到规模和用户“锁定”,他们就可以提高价格。

There are other examples out there of companies with negative gross margins, but these two categories are where we’ve seen a lot of this kind of behavior.

还有其他负毛利率的公司的例子,但这两个类别里,我们已经看到了很多这种行为。

The thing that is wrong with this strategy is that taking prices up, or using your volume to drive costs down, in order to get to positive gross margins is a lot harder than most people think. If there are other startups competing with you and offering a similar service, you aren’t going to be able to take prices up without losing customers to a similar competitor, unless your service truly has “lock in.” And most don’t. Using volume to drive costs down can work, but if there are similar services out there, the provider who is being asked to take a cut by you might just move their supply over to another competitor offering a higher price.

这种策略是错误的,原因在于:希望通过提价或利用规模优势降低成本从而实现正的毛利率,要比大多数人想象的难得多。如果有其他创业公司与你竞争并提供类似的服务,你提高价格的话,客户将流向竞争对手,除非你的服务能真正“锁定”客户。而大多数公司不可能锁定。使用规模来降低成本是可以的,但是如果有类似的服务,被要求降价的供应商可能会跑到出价更高的竞争对手那里,给他们供货。

The bottom line is the primary way this strategy works is if you obtain a monopoly position in your market and you are the only game in town for your customers and suppliers. But given the massive amount of startup capital that is out there and the endless number of entrepreneurs starting businesses similar to each other these days, I think it will be hard for most companies to achieve monopoly position (which is somewhat in conflict with what I wrote here the other day).

这种策略要想成功,其底线是,你在你的市场上获得垄断地位,你是你的客户和供应商唯一的选择。但是考虑到市场上大量的创业资本和不断涌现的彼此类似的创业公司,我认为,大多数公司将难以实现垄断地位(这有点与我以前写的“赢家通吃大部分”矛盾)。

Yes, there will be a few that succeed with this strategy. Getting a huge lead on your competitors, raising a ton of money to operate a scorched earth strategy and force your competitors out of the market, will work for some. But not nearly as many as the capital markets seem to think.

是的,肯定会有一些公司因为这个战略而成功。相对于竞争对手获得巨大的领先优势,筹集大量资金来实施焦土战略迫使竞争对手退出市场,这对一些公司能够管用。但绝对不像资本市场想象的那么多。

And so most of the companies out there who are growing like weeds using a negative gross margin strategy are going to find that the capital markets will ultimately lose patience with this strategy and force them to get to positive gross margins, which will in turn cut into growth and what we will be left with is a ton of flatlined zero gross margin businesses carrying billion dollar plus valuations. And that is what Gurley and Moritz see when they look out into next year and the year beyond. They aren’t alone.

因此,大多数采用了负毛利率战略而像野草一样疯长的公司,将会发现资本市场会最终失去对这一战略的耐心,并迫使他们达到正向的毛利率,这反过来会削减增长,而留给我们的是一大堆的零毛利润业务以及超过10亿美元的估值。这就是Gurley和Moritz展望明年和未来几年里看到的。他们的观点,并不孤独。

愉悦资本是新一代VC基金,由刘二海、李潇、戴汨创立。我们是创始人也是投资经理。

+1

好文章,需要你的鼓励

参与评论
登录后才能参与讨论哦...
后参与讨论
提交评论0/1000

请回复有价值的信息,无意义的评论将很快被删除,账号将被禁止发言。

36氪的朋友们资深作者

群众的智慧是无穷的~欢迎一线的创业者和投资者分享你们的观察和看法 tips@36kr.com

下一篇

从便利蜂看国内零售领域创业

2017-02-13

36氪APP让一部分人先看到未来
36氪
鲸准
氪空间

为你推送和解读最前沿、最有料的科技创投资讯

一级市场金融信息和系统服务提供商

聚集全球最优秀的创业者,项目融资率接近97%,领跑行业