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Ellie Mae Doubles 1Q Revenue, Increases Annual Guidance

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Ellie Mae nearly doubled its revenue in the first quarter of 2012, turning net income of $3.6 million, compared to a net loss of $800,000 in the year-over-year quarter.

Revenue for the Pleasanton, Calif.-based mortgage technology vendor was $20.9 million, up 97% from $10.6 million in 1Q11 and up 11% from revenue of $18.75 million in 4Q11, when Ellie posted net income of $1.8 million.

"Our strong first quarter performance was primarily attributable to three things—the steady growth of our SaaS user base throughout 2011, with more than 18,000 Encompass SaaS users signed up, the faster-than-anticipated activation of 5,000 of those users during the first quarter, and finally, the higher-than-previously-forecasted national loan volume," said president and CEO Sig Anderman in a call with analysts after market close Wednesday.

In response in increased industry projections of total mortgage origination volume of $1.2 trillion in 2012, Ellie Mae increased its annual revenue projection to $78 million to $79 million, up from previous estimates of $68 million to $70 million. The company is also now projecting annual net income of $5.8 million to $6.3 million, up from previous estimates of $2.4 million to $3.8 million.

"We're feeling a conservative optimism out there. There is definitely activity coming from refinance and stuff coming from the HARP side and there is a much more positive feel around the purchase side of the market," chief operating officer Jonathan Corr said on the earnings call. "What we're hearing is that the market is returning to a normal type of seasonal curve and as we go through the end of this year and look out to 2013, it looks like we've hit a foundation and things are starting to turn positive."

At noon Eastern Thursday, the company's stock was trading at $14.65 per share, up nearly 15% from Wednesday's closing price of $12.76.

Ellie Mae also announced that it would begin providing less detailed information about its customer base, revenue streams and pricing models in its financial disclosures, which executives said was reflective of consolidation of the company's operations.

Rather than breaking out mortgage broker users (a waning customer segment) and individual users employed at mortgage lenders, Ellie Mae will report a combined "active Encompass users" total, which also includes users of its recently acquired DataTrac loan origination system. For 1Q12, Ellie Mae had 59,000 users.

Also, Ellie Mae will no longer separately report the revenue generated from sales and transaction fees of its LOS products and the revenue generated from fees charged for accessing its Ellie Mae Network and other ancillary products.

Instead, it will disclosure "on-demand revenue"—which includes the software as a service and transaction-based pricing models of the Encompass LOS, its document preparation, compliance, and product and pricing services and the Ellie Mae Network—and "on-premise revenue"—which includes revenue from legacy licensed software products and maintenance fees.

Corr said that virtually all new sales of Ellie Mae's SaaS version of Encompass are sold under the transaction-based, or "success-based pricing" model. In addition, the "vast majority" of its customer base is mortgage lenders, and "we've decided to consolidate them into one active user base and focus on revenue per active user," which was $367 in 1Q12, up 76% year-over-year.

Ellie Mae will continue to report SaaS seat licenses booked during the quarter, which totaled 4,905 in 1Q12. The majority, 3,711 licenses, were conversions of existing customers from licensed-model versions of Ellie Mae's LOS offerings, but Corr declined an analyst's request to disclose how many conversions were former DataTrac users.

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