Afternoon Coffee: Biden targets semiconductor shortage, supply chain reviews; Upwork posts positive 2020 financial results; Tipalti records growth

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President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order Wednesday afternoon that will address the global semiconductor shortage, which is forcing US automakers and other manufacturers to cut production, according to Reuters.

Administration officials said the executive order will launch a 100-day review of supply chains for four products: semiconductor chips, large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, rare earth minerals and pharmaceuticals. The order will also direct six sector reviews in areas of defense, public health, communications technology, transportation, energy and food production, Reuters reported.

The United States has been hit with many supply shortages since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chip shortage is the latest example of issues hurting American workers. This new order is a move for the White House to diversify the United States’ supply chains to avoid dependence for specific products like rare earth minerals from China, the article said.

Upwork records positive financial results for fiscal year 2020

Upwork Inc., the global work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent, announced its Q4 2020 and fiscal year (FY) 2020 financial results, highlighted by significant top-line growth and strong performance in other metrics (including net income, which was positive in Q4).

The growth of the company, which processed $2.5 billion in spend (gross services value, or GSV) in 2020, could be attributed not only to Covid-19 pandemic-driven transactional demand for online work and services, but also to a broader shift in how organizations are viewing their total workforces.

Key financial results for Q4 and FY 2020, are summarized here:

Q4 2020

  • GSV increased 33% year-over-year (YoY) to $727.7 million
  • Revenue grew 32% YoY to $106.2 million
  • Freelancer marketplace revenue grew 34% YoY to $96.9 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $9.6 million compared to $3.5 million in Q4 2019

FY 2020

  • GSV increased by 21% YoY to $2.5 billion
  • Revenue grew 24% to $373.6 million
  • Marketplace revenue grew 26% to $338.2 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $14.0 million compared to $7.4 million in Q4 2019

Over the past year, Upwork’s strategy — as a kind of online, multi-shop stop providing a range of solutions and services to address any size organizations’ independent talent needs — seems to have come into sharper focus. These solutions and services, beyond the original Talent Marketplace, include: Virtual Talent Bench, Talent Scout, Project Catalog, Direct Contracts, etc.

In her analyst call remarks, Upwork President and CEO Hayden Brown said: “Throughout the course of 2020, we saw increased demand from clients wanting to onboard their various team members and agencies onto Upwork for easy and unified billing, program management and collaboration, and competitive bidding in our marketplace."

Tipalti sees growth in revenue, transactions and workforce in Q4 2020

Tipalti, an accounts payables (AP) automation platform, announced growth in revenue, transactions and its workforce in Q4 2020.

In a press release announcing the growth, Tipalti said revenue grew 85% in Q4 2020 relative to Q4 2019, while surpassing $18 billion in annualized transactions in the second half of 2020. At the same time, the company added 160 employees last year, bringing the total to over 400 worldwide. Tipalti said it hopes to hire an additional 350 employees in 2021.

“Tipalti’s growth is a clear indication that businesses are increasingly digitizing their finance operations to support remote work and scalability, which will continue long after the pandemic,” Chen Amit, CEO and co-Founder of Tipalti, said in the press release. “We are proud to support our customers as they modernize their financial operations by automating the entire payables process to make it easier, more efficient and safer.”

See where Tipalti and other AP automation vendors score in our SolutionMap rankings.

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