QLIK: How to lose a Billion Dollars in 6 months

On Friday July 8, 2011, the closing price of Qliktech's share (symbol QLIK) was $35.43. Yesterday January 6, 2012, QLIK closed with price $23.21. If you consider yesterday's price as 100% than QLIK (blue line below) lost 52% of value in just 6 months, while Dow Jones (red line below) basically lost only 2-3% :

Since Qliktech's Market Capitalization as of yesterday evening was about $1.94B, it means that Qliktech lost in last 6 month about 1 billion dollars in capitalization! That is a sad observation to make and made me wonder why it happened?

I see nothing wrong with Qlikview software, in fact everybody knows (and this blog is the prove for it) that I like Qlikview very much.

So I tried to guess for reasons (for that lost) below, but it just my guesses and I will be glad if somebody will prove me mistaken and explain to me the behavior of QLIK stock during last 6 months...

2011 supposed to be the year of Qliktech: it had successful IPO in 2010, it doubled the size of its workforce (I estimate it has more than 1000 employees by end of 2011), it sales grew almost 40% in 2011, it kept updating Qlikview and it generated a lot of interest to it's products and to Data Visualization market. In fact Qlliktech dominated its market and its marketshare is about 50% (of Data Visualization market).

So I will list below my guesses about factors which influenced QLIK stock and I do not think it was only one or 2 major factors but rather a combination of them (I may guess wrong or miss some possible reasons, please correct me):

  1. P/E Ratio (price-to-earnings) for QLIK is 293 (and it was even higher), which may indicate that stock is overvalued and investors expectations are too high.

  2. Company insiders (Directors and Officers) were very active lately selling their shares, which may affected the prices of QLIK shares.

  3. 56% of Qliktech's sales are coming from Europe and European market is not growing lately.

  4. 58% of Qliktech's sales are coming from existing customers and it can limit the speed of growth.

  5. Most new hires after IPO were sales, pre-sales, marketing and other non-R&D types.

  6. Qliktech's offices are too diversified for its size (PA, MA, Sweden etc.) and what is especially unhealthy (from my view) is that R&D resides mostly in Europe while Headquarters, marketing  and other major departments reside far from R&D  - in USA (mostly in Radnor, PA)

  7. 2011 turned to be a year of Tableau (as oppose to my expectation to be a year of Qlikview) and Tableau is winning the battle for mindshare with its Tableau Public web service and its free Desktop Tableau Reader, which allows to distribute Data Visualizations without any Web/Application Servers and IT personnel to be involved. Tableau is growing much faster then Qliktech and it generates a huge momentum, especially in USA, where Tableau's R&D,QA, Sales, Marketing and Support all co-reside in Seattle, WA.

  8. Tableau has the best support for Data Sources; for example, which is important due soon to be released SQL Server 2012, Tableau has the unique ability to read Multidimensional OLAP Cubes from SQL Server Analysis Services and from local Multidimensional Cubes from PowerPivot. Qlikview so far ignored Multidimensional Cubes as data sources and I think it is a mistake.

  9. Tableau Software, while it is 3 or 4 times smaller then Qliktech, managed to be able to have more job openings then Qliktech and many of them in R&D, which is a key for a future growth! Tableau's sales in 2011 reached $72M, workforce is 350+ now (160 of them were hired in 2011!), number of customers is more then 7000 now...

  10. I am aware of more and more situations when Qlikview is starting to feel (and sometimes lose) a stiff competition; one of the latest cases documented (free registration may be required) here: http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.co.uk/news/2240112678/Irish-Life-chooses-Tableau-data-visualisation-over-QlikView-Oracle and it happened in Europe, where Qlikview suppose to be stronger then competitors. My recent Data Visualization poll also has Tableau as a winner, while Qlikview only on 3rd place so far.

  11. In case if you miss it, 2011 was successful for Spotfire too. In Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript, TIBCO "saw demand simply explode across" some product areas. According to TIBCO, "Spotfire grew over 50% in license revenue for the year and has doubled in the past two years". If it is true, that means Spotfire Sales actually approached $100M in 2011.

  12. As Neil Charles noted, that Qliktech does not have transparent pricing and "Qlikview's reps are a nightmare to talk to. They want meetings; they want to know all about your business; they promise free copies of the software. What they absolutely will not do is give you a figure for how much it's going to cost to deploy the software onto x analysts' desktops and allow them to publish to a server." I tend to agree that Qliktech's pricing policies are pushing many potential customers away from Qlikview toward Tableau where almost all prices known upfront.

I hope I will wake up next morning or next week or next month or next quarter and Qliktech somehow will solve all these problems (may be perceived just by me as problems) and QLIK shares will be priced higher ($40 or above?) than today - at least it is what I wish to my Qliktech friends in new 2012...

Update on 3/2/12 evening: it looks like QLIK shares reading my blog and trying to please me: during last 2 months they regained almost $9 (more then 30%), ending the 3/2/12 session with $29.99 price and regaining more then $550M in market capitalization (qlik on chart to get full-size image of it):

I guess if  QLIK will go in wrong direction again, I have to blog about it, and it will correct itself!


  1. You might be right in some points, except point 6. R&D is growing at a fast pace without getting into exact figures and support is not mainly located in the US but actually in the same building as R&D in Sweden, with a tight cooperation between the two. So the reason for the stock dropping must be found elsewhere, maybe in any of the other points you mention.

  2. Andrei Pandre9/1/12 09:51

    Hi Martin:

    and thanks for your comment: I corrected the point 6 accordingly. I worked before for companies (like GeoTrust) with more then 1 location and it was counterproductive, so my experience telling me that having a team in one location can be very helpful.

  3. Apparently there was an exit on the part of the venture investors in Qliktech which held nearly 25 percent of the company, this corresponds to the period just before the news of resignation of VP of Marketing Douglas Laird.


    (have not verified the source and date of this article)

    I am also a fan of Qlikview and your observation got me worried, and so did a little hunting around. But it was a quick search and I hope that the management is still in place and that this decline in stock price was only due to profit booking.

    I suppose the stock is still trending and would be in an upswing once it's above 26-28 range. It might need new investment/boost to get back to earlier levels.

    It would be interesting to compare it with its peer companies and IT index to come to a better conclusion.

    Do correct me.


  4. Abhinav AGARWAL11/1/12 01:01


    I think I am wrong about JVP and the 25 percent, that was earlier maybe around the IPO, but there was some selling by MARGALIT EREL around the 1st peak after Laird Douglas exercised his stock options....

    Abhinav AGARWAL

  5. Andrei Pandre11/1/12 01:18


    2nd article you are referring too is 13 months old, so it is unrelated to a 6 months period I am reviewing in my blog post. But this article has a very curious observation:
    "The investors realized part of their holdings in QlikTech, selling 11.5 million shares for a total of $265 million. JVP, the second largest shareholder in the company after Accel Partners, sold 30% of its holding for $112 million, posting an unprecedented 4,000% return on its investment."

    Full text of article you mentioned, published on 12/6/2010 here:

  6. Thanks for your blog! Very valuable, insightful and interesting!
    Going to resort to the feed though.. you can't be serious about your background image. Or this is subtle industry criticism ;)

  7. This how your website looks in my browsers: http://min.us/mGK0gSswo
    Is the high-noise background intentional or some css error? (didn't check the code myself)

  8. Thanks for these observations on QlikTech and Tableau. Where do you get business data (revenue, growth, employees, etc) for privately held companies (such as Tableau)?

    I wanted to add to my time-series interactive Bubble chart on Gartner's Magic Quadrant on BI data on such indicators (revenue or market cap, first year = 100%) as bubble size for additional insight. This would show clearly that Tableau's "bubble" is expanding fast vs. QlikTech's not so much...


    Thanks, Thomas.

  9. It's not rocket science14/10/12 23:33

    Hi Andrei,

    History teaches us nothing.

    I have invested in the early/mid 2000s on stocks I thought had IT- and technological-potential. These stocks should at best now be used to teach my children how to do origami.

    The technologies survived and strive, but the companies and stocks prices were diluted. Please note that the banking "expertise" valuations are what decide a company's value (market cap). Not the actual content and value of their product/service. The IT start-up bubble pop (IT companies with nothing more really than servers and desktops were valuated at millions because of their "market potential") as well as the recent sub-prime financial crisis proves 2 things:
    - Trusting bankers to correctly assess "value" is suicidal, although they are "good" at manipulating the price (and sometimes even the back-office books/accounting, which determine their bonuses).
    - Even historically (e.g. Galilei), it is a fact that what humans believe is true, and is contrary to scientific evidence, will be true in the human world. On the other hand, consider that Gandhi said: “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” And human beings learn this sooner or later, as the recent market "crash" seems to. Airy-fairy valuations, optimism and down right "lies" cannot be sustained long enough.

    Therefore, to establish the actual worth, value or even market performance based on the stock value and market cap, is at best erroneous.

    Please consider the following:
    Facebook, that sells "air", has a net income of 205 mill (2011) and is valuated at 77 billion.
    QlikView, that sells actual software that has a business application, has an (approx) 60 million net income (2011) and has a market cap of 2 billion.

    History will teach us nothing: especially not the IT bubble bust, nor the sub-prime problems, not even decade-known issues on the IBORs, even though Bernanke only recently declared its "flaws". And these are not "history" per se, they are recent, current events.

    Consensus is never a good gauge of "truth", although "consensus" will create a "human or societal truth".

    However, the market will decide whether QlikView will survive. Whether the market is right or wrong. This is the risk of an IPO.

    That's my 2-cents worth.

    C ;o)

  10. Yes, I do like tableau. So simple. But is it so strong in scripting as in Qlikview. It is not so. I am learning tableau and spotfire. I know QV more. It can do more in scripting. ETL works. May be in visualization tableau ranks more. But i do expect more from QV.. waiting for QV12. I think it will be answer for tableau 8 and spot fire 5