|TEV||3,298||TEV/EBIT||181||TTM 2019-09-30, in MM, except price, ratios|
|Item 1. Business|
|Item 1A. Risk Factors|
|Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments|
|Item 2. Properties|
|Item 3. Legal Proceedings|
|Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures|
|Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities|
|Item 6. Selected Financial Data|
|Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (&Quot;MD&A&Quot;)|
|Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk|
|Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data|
|Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure|
|Item 9A. Controls and Procedures|
|Item 9B. Other Information|
|Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance|
|Item 11. Executive Compensation|
|Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters|
|Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence|
|Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services|
|Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules|
|Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary|
|Balance Sheet||Income Statement||Cash Flow|
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
Ops, Inv, Fin
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ______ to _______
Commission File Number:
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of exchange on which registered
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
(Title of Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 762(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes
As of June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $
The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding as of February 18, 2021 was
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Parts of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2021 annual meeting of stockholders to be prepared and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after December 31, 2020 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.
AXON ENTERPRISE, INC.
INDEX TO ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020
Statements contained in this report that are not historical are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), including statements regarding our expectations, beliefs, intentions and strategies regarding the future. We intend that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements give our current expectations or forecasts of future events; they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. Words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “future,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate,” and similar expressions, as well as statements in future tense, identify forward-looking statements. However, not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words.
We cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will be realized, although we believe we have been prudent in our plans and assumptions. Achievement of future results is subject to risks, uncertainties and potentially inaccurate assumptions. Many events beyond our control may determine whether results we anticipate will be achieved. Should known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove inaccurate, actual results could differ materially from past results and those anticipated, estimated or projected. You should bear this in mind as you consider forward-looking statements. This report lists various important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected and historical results. These factors are intended as cautionary statements for investors within the meaning of Section 21E of the Exchange Act and Section 27A of the Securities Act. Readers can find them under the heading “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and investors should refer to them. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete set of all potential risks or uncertainties.
Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are advised, however, to consult any further disclosures we make on related subjects in our Form 10-Q, 8-K and 10-K reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Our filings with the SEC may be accessed at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov.
Item 1. Business
Axon Enterprise, Inc. may be referred to as “the Company,” “Axon,” “we,” or “our.” We were incorporated in Arizona in September 1993 as ICER Corporation. We changed our name to AIR TASER, Inc. in December 1993 and to TASER International, Incorporated in April 1998. In January 2001, we reincorporated in Delaware as TASER International, Inc., and in April 2017, changed our name to Axon Enterprise, Inc.
Our headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona houses our executive management, sales, marketing, certain engineering, manufacturing, finance and other administrative support functions. Our global software hub is located in Seattle, Washington, and we also have subsidiaries and / or offices located in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
Axon’s mission is to protect life. We fulfill this mission through developing hardware and software products that advance our long-term strategic goals of a) obsoleting the bullet, b) reducing social conflict, c) enabling a fair and effective justice system, and d) building for racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Our products solve some of society's most challenging problems and our mission attracts top talent.
An axon is a nerve fiber that serves as the primary communication link in a nervous system — similarly, we see ourselves as building the nervous system for public safety. Our research & development (“R&D”) investments support continuous innovation on behalf of our customers. Our financial strategy is to build highly recurring, highly profitable businesses.
|●||What we build - Technologies to assist officers in de-escalating events, devices, digital evidence management systems, productivity software, real-time operations software and services, and virtual reality training services|
|●||Who we sell to - State and local police departments, U.S. federal agencies, justice and court systems, fire departments and emergency medical services providers, consumers, and commercial enterprises such as private security firms and transportation services|
|●||Where we deliver – U.S., Asia-Pacific (“APAC”); Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”) and the Americas|
Axon’s operations comprise two reportable segments:
|1.||TASER: Axon is the market leader in the development, manufacture and sale of conducted energy devices ("CEDs"), which we sell under our brand name, TASER.|
|2.||Software and Sensors: We develop, manufacture and sell fully integrated hardware and cloud-based software solutions that enable law enforcement to capture, securely store, manage, share and analyze video and other digital evidence.|
Further information about our reportable segments and sales by geographic region is included in Notes 1 and 17 of the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. For backlog by reportable segment, refer to Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Key Product Category Revenue Drivers: What We Offer
Axon products are generally cloud-connected, designed to drive better outcomes and customer experiences, and sold via mutually reinforcing integrated bundles. Our key revenue drivers belong to three broad product categories:
|1.||TASER: We develop smart devices, tools and services that support public safety officers in de-escalating situations, avoiding or minimizing use of force. These tools include:|
|●||TASER devices: Research has shown that TASER devices are the most effective less-than-lethal force option, with the lowest likelihood of injury to officers and assailants. Since our inception in 1993, TASER devices have been adopted by a majority of U.S. police departments and are used daily to help keep communities safe. The cloud-connected TASER CED (TASER 7) is our newest device. We also sell TASER devices to consumers for personal protection.|
|●||VR and Training: We offer a suite of virtual reality ("VR") training services for public safety, delivered through our Axon Academy training platform. To obsolete bullets, we intend to drive training and adoption of best practices in modern policing.|
|2.||Sensors: Axon devices address many needs, including transparency, real-time situational awareness, and capturing evidence accurately and integrating with software workflows. Product categories within sensors include:|
|●||Axon Body cameras, including Axon Body 3, an LTE-enabled camera with Global Positioning System ("GPS") capability and support for real-time awareness via our software. Our body cameras also include the Axon Flex sunglasses-or-brim-mounted camera.|
|●||Axon Fleet in-car camera systems. We are investing in automated license plate reading (“ALPR”), which uses artificial intelligence (“AI”) to read license plates to apprehend criminals, find missing children, and recover stolen vehicles. We believe a key differentiator is that our AI-powered system is being built from the ground up using an ethical design and privacy-centric framework.|
|●||Axon Air is Axon's unmanned aircraft program, which allows agencies to ingest data captured on drone devices directly into Axon Evidence. Axon Air is an important tool to help improve officer safety, provide tactical support, and manage evidence.|
|●||Our sensors network works with our software to help to automatically ensure cameras are on when they are supposed to be on and send alerts within the network, including Signal Sidearm sensors that detect when a firearm has been removed from a holster, sensors that detect when a TASER device is unholstered or armed, when a vehicle lightbar is activated, or the vehicle door opens, and we are introducing new signal activation events based on location and dispatching.|
|3.||Software: Axon is building a suite of cloud-based, software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) solutions that integrate with our sensors and TASER devices to benefit customers and drive annual recurring revenue, which totaled $221.3 million(a) as of December 31, 2020. Our SaaS solutions can be best trisected into:|
|●||Digital Evidence Management: Axon Evidence addresses the challenges presented by growing amounts of digital evidence via closed circuit television video, body worn camera video, in-car camera video, Internet of Things sensors and citizen-captured digital evidence. We make it easy to store, manage, redact and share evidence on one platform. Axon Evidence is the world’s largest cloud-hosted public safety data repository of public safety video data and other types of digital evidence. Products include:|
|o||Axon Evidence (Evidence.com) for managing, sharing and storing video, as well as hosting all types of digital evidence.|
|o||Axon Performance to help agencies ensure officers are adhering to policies and provides analytics on the effectiveness of body-worn camera programs.|
|o||Redaction Assistant to enable agencies to quickly redact videos using AI.|
|(a)||Monthly recurring license, integration, warranty, and storage revenue annualized.|
|●||Productivity: Our productivity suite of tools is designed to reduce the time officers spend on administrative tasks and give command staff tools to make data-driven decisions. Our productivity-enhancing products include:|
|o||Axon Records, an emerging cloud-based report-writing tool that modernizes records management systems ("RMS") by putting body camera video at the heart of incident records.|
|o||Axon Standards, a use-of-force reporting module that can be easily adopted alongside an agency’s legacy RMS before an agency adopts the rest of Axon Records.|
|o||Auto-transcribe, which uses AI to help agencies review massive amounts of video evidence to find what is pertinent to an investigation and quickly and accurately transcribe video so it can move through the justice system.|
|●||Real Time Operations. We are developing decision-making and communication tools that support real-time situational awareness through the sharing of information across myriad media, including voice, messaging, location mapping, and intelligence and evidence sharing. Products include:|
|o||Respond for Devices, which allows agencies to receive alerts, to know the GPS location of their officers and what those officers are experiencing through live-video streaming.|
|o||Respond for Dispatch, a computer-aided dispatch ("CAD") solution designed to empower everyone in public safety involved in incident response: dispatchers, call takers, command staff, patrol officers, firefighters and medical personnel.|
Sales and Distribution: Who We Sell To and Where We Deliver
Axon’s direct sales force and strong customer relationships represent key strategic advantages. The majority of our revenues are generated via direct sales, including our online store, although we do leverage distribution partners and third-party resellers.
No customer represented more than 10% of total net sales for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 or 2018.
Our primary customer market is U.S. law enforcement. Of the approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., we have a customer relationship with approximately 17,000. Axon has dedicated sales representatives for the 1,200 largest agencies, which account for 70% to 80% of U.S. law enforcement patrol officers. The remaining agencies are served via our telesales team as well as distributors. Internationally, we began focusing on a direct sales strategy in 2017, and we have made significant investments over the past three years in building out our international direct sales force, particularly in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.
In 2019, we added sales personnel to capture law enforcement-adjacent markets, such as the U.S. federal government and military, domestic and international departments of corrections, and the fire and emergency medical services markets. In 2020, we also added dedicated sales personnel to support increased adoption of new products within law enforcement, specifically for Axon Air, AR / VR and Training, Axon Records, and Respond for Dispatch.
Governmental agencies generally have the ability to terminate our contracts, in whole or in part, for reasons including, but not limited to, non-appropriation of funds.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain
We perform light manufacturing, final assembly, and final test operations at our headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, and own substantially all of the equipment required to develop, prototype, manufacture and assemble our finished products. We have continued to maintain both our ISO 9001 and our ISO 9001:2015 certifications.
We previously took steps to diversify our supply chain and global manufacturing footprint, which have positioned us well to manage through the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, we have been able to produce and ship our critical core products with little to no interruption. We have proactively built up a safety stock of raw and finished goods inventory aligned to our strategic model to help meet strong product demand while also preparing us to stagger factory work schedules as needed. We continue to adjust strategic inventory levels based on areas of risk to mitigate potential supply disruptions.
In light of our broad domestic and international geographic supplier base, we are continuously monitoring our supply chain to manage through potential impacts, finding alternate sources as well as shipping or logistic options as available or working with foreign regulators to ensure that our suppliers can provide parts.
We obtain many of our components from single source suppliers; however, because we own the injection molded component tooling used in their production, we believe we could obtain alternative suppliers in most cases without incurring significant production delays. For additional discussion of sources and availability of raw materials, refer to Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We provide limited manufacturer’s warranties on our CEDs and Axon devices, and customers also have the option to purchase extended warranties. For additional information about our warranties, refer to Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We protect our intellectual property with U.S. and international patents and trademarks. Our patents and pending patent applications relate to technology used by us in connection with our products. We also rely on international treaties, organizations and laws to protect our intellectual property. As of December 31, 2020, we hold 223 U.S. patents, 89 U.S. registered trademarks, 137 international patents, and 333 international registered trademarks, and also have numerous patent and trademark applications pending. We are constantly innovating across all of our platforms, including on the TASER platform, and in 2020, we filed more patent applications related to TASER 7 alone than there are TASER patents expiring in the next few years due to age.
We continuously assess whether and where to seek formal protection for particular innovations and technologies based on such factors as the commercial significance of our operations and our competitors’ operations in particular countries and regions, our strategic technology or product directions in different countries, and the degree to which intellectual property laws exist and are meaningfully enforced in different jurisdictions. We have the exclusive rights to many Internet domain names, primarily including “TASER.com”, “Axon.com”, “Axon.net”, “Evidence.com” and “Axon.io.” We also vigorously protect our intellectual property, including trademarks, patents and trade secrets against third-party infringement.
Confidentiality agreements are used with employees, consultants and key suppliers to help ensure the confidentiality of our trade secrets.
TASER for Law Enforcement, Corrections and Private Security Markets: Our CEDs compete with a variety of other less-lethal alternatives to firearms, including rubber bullets or rubber baton rounds, pepper spray, mace, traditional stun guns, hand-held remote restraint devices involving a tether, laser dazzlers that cause temporary blindness, stun grenades, long-range acoustic devices, police batons and night sticks. TASER devices offer advanced technology, versatility, portability, effectiveness, built-in accountability systems, and low injury rates, which enable us to compete effectively against other less-lethal alternatives. TASER devices also offer connectivity to our cloud network, which allows agencies to more effectively manage their less-lethal programs and automate use-of-force reporting.
The primary competitive factors in this market include a device’s accuracy, effectiveness, reputation, safety, cost, ease of use, and exceptional customer experience. The design maturity of the TASER platform, as well as our
development and sale of a two-shot device, are also key competitive differentiators. We are aware of competitors providing competing CED products primarily in international markets.
TASER for Personal Safety: In the private citizen market, TASER devices compete with firearms and with other less-than-lethal self-defense options such as stun guns and pepper spray-based products including pepper guns and miniature spray cans. The TASER StrikeLight competes in the flashlight category, in which there are dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors, including tactical flashlight providers with and without stun-gun capabilities.
TASER devices are not stun guns, and have different capabilities, including NMI (neuro-muscular incapacitation) functionality. The broader market for personal safety and home defense is far-reaching, and categories range from threat detection and accountability (dash and doorbell cameras), to home security (home alarms, locks, and response services) to personal defense (firearms, stun guns, TASER devices, pepper spray, tactical flashlights, and personal alarms).
The primary benefit of TASER devices is in less-than-lethal stopping power. Other competitive factors include a device’s cost, effectiveness, safety, ease of use, and available training options.
Sensors — Connected Cameras and Digital Evidence Management Software: The body-worn camera and in-car video/ALPR market is highly competitive. Our competition includes Motorola Solutions, WatchGuard, Edesix, and Vigilant, all three of which Motorola purchased in 2019, Utility Associates, Getac, Panasonic Corp., Reveal Media, Coban Technologies, L3 Mobile-Vision, Digital Ally, Visual Labs, Intresnsic, LLC, as well as Safety Vision, Rekor, and Genetec.
The market for software solutions to improve public safety agency workflows is both highly fragmented and highly competitive. Our cloud-based digital evidence management system, Axon Evidence, competes with both cloud-based platforms and on-premises based systems designed by third-parties or developed internally by an agency's technology staff.
Key competitive factors in this market include product performance, product features, battery life, product quality and warranty, total cost of ownership, data security, data and information work flows, company reputation and financial strength, and relationships with customers.
Productivity and Real-Time Operations — RMS and CAD: The RMS and CAD markets are highly competitive and highly fragmented. We have identified more than 50 software providers, including Motorola Solutions, Tyler Technologies, Central Square Technologies (formerly Superion, TriTech and Aptean), Northrop Grumman, Hexagon AB, Niche Technology Inc., Caliber Public Safety (parent, Harris Systems USA), Saab, SOMA Global, RapidDeploy, Sopra Steria, and Mark 43 Inc. In addition, not all law enforcement agencies use software for report writing — some still use paper. We believe our network of camera sensors and digital evidence management platform give us a strategic advantage in these product categories.
We have historically experienced higher net sales in our fourth quarter compared to other quarters in our fiscal year due primarily to municipal budget cycles. Additionally, new product introductions can significantly impact the cadence of net sales, product costs and operating expenses. Municipal law enforcement budgets tend to feature a mix of fiscal years that end in either June, September or December. However, historical seasonal patterns, municipal budgets or historical patterns of product introductions should not be considered reliable indicators of our future net sales or financial performance.
We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including, for example, laws and regulations related to: privacy and data protection, security, retention, and deletion; rights of publicity; content; intellectual property; regulation of our CEDs as firearms; advertising;
marketing; distribution; electronic contracts and other communications; competition; consumer protection; telecommunications; product liability; taxation; labor and employment; economic or other trade prohibitions or sanctions; securities; and online payment services. There are a number of legislative proposals in the U.S., at both the federal and state level, that could impose new obligations in areas affecting our business, such as liability for copyright infringement by third parties. Foreign laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the U.S.
These U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices.
TASER and Axon Devices
For our TASER products, we rely on the opinions of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including the determination that a device that does not expel projectiles by the action of an explosive is not classified as a firearm.
Federal regulation of sales in the U.S.: Our CEDs are not firearms regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but our consumer products are regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. There are currently no federal laws restricting sales of our core CED products in the U.S.
Axon devices using lithium batteries are subject to U.S.-DOT/UN 38.3 for transportation.
Our CED products are also subject to testing, safety and other standard organizations such as the American National Standards Institute, the International Electrotechnical Commission, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Underwriters Laboratories. These regulations also affect CEDs with Axon Signal technology, including Signal Performance Power Magazine technology, and TASER 7 battery packs.
Federal regulation of international sales: Our CEDs are considered a “crime control” product by the U.S. Department of Commerce (“DOC”) for export directly from the U.S. Consequently, we must obtain an export license from the DOC for the export of our CED devices from the U.S. to any country other than Canada.
Federal regulation of foreign national employees: Our intangible CED production is also considered controlled “technology” by the U.S. DOC and is categorized as a “deemed export” for any foreign national employees exposed to the technology within the U.S. Consequently, we must obtain an export licenses from the DOC for any deemed export within the U.S. made to a foreign national employee exposed to the deemed controlled technology. Deemed export licenses are subject to DOC approvals and issued licenses require annual status reports for the stated employees.
State and local regulation: Our CEDs are controlled, restricted or, less frequently, prohibited by a number of state and local governments. As of December 31, 2020, the general public in Hawaii and Rhode Island is prohibited from possessing certain of our TASER-branded devices. Some cities and municipalities also prohibit private citizen possession or use of our CED products.
International regulation of foreign imports and sales: Certain jurisdictions prohibit, restrict, or require a permit for the importation, sale, possession or use of CEDs, including in some countries by law enforcement agencies, limiting our international sales opportunities.
U.S. and International regulation of component movements globally: We rely on a global supply chain of components across our product lines with most final assembly occurring in the U.S. Export of these components from abroad is subject to shifting regulatory landscapes imposed by both the foreign government and U.S. authorities upon import.
International regulation of foreign-based operations: We maintain foreign operations in several countries globally for purposes of logistics, sales, and R&D support. Depending on these activities, regulations can include
business activity licensing and registration, import permits and recordkeeping, warehousing & storage security and permitting, and government reporting.
Radio Spectrum Devices
Certain of our products utilize the radio spectrum to provide wireless voice, data and video communications services. The allocation of spectrum is regulated in the U.S. and other countries and limited spectrum space is allocated to wireless services and specifically to public safety users. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulates spectrum use by non-federal entities and federal entities. Similarly, countries around the world have one or more regulatory bodies that define and implement the rules for use of radio spectrum and electromagnetic interference, pursuant to their respective national laws. We manufacture and market products in spectrum bands already made available by regulatory bodies.
Axon body worn cameras, docks, fleet vehicle cameras and signal devices are subject to FCC’s rules and regulations. The FCC regulates not only the "intentional radiation" of radio transmitters, but also the "unintentional radiation" of noise from all sorts of electrical equipment. Current Axon products use Bluetooth, WiFi and/or Long Term Evolution (“LTE”) radio technologies. With the integration of LTE technologies, we must also apply for the approval of private certifications such as Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association certification, required by FirstNet and other operators. These regulations affect CEDs with Signal technology, including the TASER 7, SPPM, and future CEDs implementing wireless technology.
We are subject to various state, federal and international laws and regulations governing the environment, including restricting the presence of certain substances in our products and making producers of those products financially responsible for the collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of such products.
The European Union (“EU”) has published Directives on the restriction of certain hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment (the “RoHS Directive”) and on electronic and electrical waste management (the “WEEE Directive”). The RoHS Directive restricts the use of a number of substances, including lead. The WEEE Directive directs members of the EU to enact laws, regulations, and administrative provisions to ensure that producers of electric and electronic equipment are financially responsible for the collection, recycling, treatment and environmentally responsible disposal of certain products sold into the EU. In addition, similar environmental legislation has been enacted in other jurisdictions, including the U.S. (under federal and state laws) and other countries.
In addition, the EU has defined a regulation for the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals that places responsibility on companies to manage the risks from chemicals contained in products and to provide safety information about such substances. Manufacturers and importers are required to gather information on the properties of the chemical substances in their products and provide for their safe handling. As of January 5, 2021, companies supplying products on the EU market containing substances of very high concern as identified by the EU have to submit information on these products to the European Chemicals Agency. The information in their database is then made available to waste operators and consumers.
We are subject to laws and regulations that dictate whether, how, and under what circumstances we can transfer, process and/or receive certain data that is critical to our operations, including data shared between countries or regions in which we operate and data shared among our products and services. For example, in 2016, the EU and the U.S. agreed to an alternative transfer framework for data transferred from the EU to the U.S., called the Privacy Shield Framework. However, in 2020, the EU’s Court of Justice invalidated the use of this framework moving forward. The court ruled that the framework did not ensure an adequate level of protection for data transferred from the EU to the U.S. Notably, there are alternative legal mechanisms available that allow the compliant transfer of data from the EU to the U.S., however, they may also be challenged by national regulators or private parties.
The European General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") took effect in May 2018 and applies to many of our products and services that provide service in Europe. The GDPR includes operational requirements for companies
that receive or process personal data of residents of the EU. The GDPR includes significant penalties for non-compliance. In addition, some countries have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements.
Human Capital Resources
Our success depends on the continued service of our employees and on our ability to continue to attract, retain, and motivate top talent. To facilitate this, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment at Axon, with equitable opportunities for employee growth and development, supported by strong compensation and benefits and by programs that build connections between our employees and their communities. Axon’s mission is central to our recruiting and retention efforts.
As of December 31, 2020, we had 1,710 full-time employees and 838 temporary employees (temporary employees include contractors, interns, and consultants). The breakdown of our full-time employees by department was as follows: 260 direct manufacturing employees, 475 research and development employees, 458 administrative and manufacturing support employees and 517 employees within sales, marketing, communications and training. Our employees are not covered by any collective bargaining agreement, and we have never experienced a work stoppage. We believe that our relations with our employees are strong.
During fiscal 2020, the number of full-time employees increased by approximately 380, primarily due to increases in engineering resources as well as sales. We closed the year with our regrettable attrition rate(b) under 5% and with 94% of employees responding to an internal survey stating they were proud to work at Axon.
Diversity and Inclusion
We embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. A truly innovative workforce needs to be diverse, leverage the skills and perspectives of a wealth of backgrounds and experiences, and ensure that all employees are equitably empowered to succeed. We continue to focus on the hiring, retention, development, and advancement of women and underrepresented communities. We are focused on recruiting diverse candidates and on internal talent development of our diverse leaders so that they can advance their careers and move into leadership positions.
Our employee affinity groups are company-sponsored, employee-led communities that address specific needs, priorities, and barriers to success for each community of focus. These groups provide a forum for employees to discuss problems and craft solutions for each community of focus, while also creating leadership and professional development opportunities for members. As of December 31, 2020, we had four affinity groups — Axon Allies for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, Axon Mosaic for Black employees, Axon Vets for service veterans, and Women at Axon.
In 2020, we broadened our already strong support for our customers and the communities they are sworn to protect. We added a Vice President of Community Impact to build and lead a team dedicated to listening to communities, seeking citizen feedback, and keeping them safe and informed on a variety of topics. We also launched a company-wide R&D initiative that allowed employees to break from their regular responsibilities and solely focus on developing life-changing solutions to better protect citizens and law enforcement. Internally, we took time to listen to our employees with town hall sessions and, after intentional reflection, took action with employee affinity groups, provided expert-led webinars for parents, and hosted community round tables.
Regrettable attrition is defined as rolling 12-month attrition of employees rated as “exceptional” or “exceeds” in the prior performance rating cycle.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of our employees is of utmost important to us. We conduct regular self-assessments and audits to ensure compliance with our health and safety guidelines and regulatory requirements. Our ultimate goal is to achieve a level of work-related injuries as close to zero as possible through continuous investment in our safety programs. We provide protective gear (e.g. eye protection, masks and gloves) as required by applicable standards and as appropriate given employee job duties. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have invested heavily to help ensure the health of our employees. Through the use of education and awareness, provision of necessary personal protective equipment, and changes to our manufacturing facilities and screening, we strive to make our workplaces a safe place for employees during the workday.
To promote mental and emotional wellbeing, all full time employees globally were provided free, unlimited access by Axon to Ginger. Ginger is a 24/7 resource that includes individualized coaching via text in addition to access to article and activities offering guidance on maintaining emotional balance throughout tumultuous times.
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC are available free of charge on our website at http://investor.axon.com as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file or furnish such material to the SEC. The information on our website, including information about our trademarks, is not incorporated by reference into or otherwise a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at http://www.sec.gov.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Because of the following factors, as well as other variables affecting our operating results, our past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of our future performance and historical trends should not be used to anticipate our results or trends in future periods. You should carefully consider the trends, risks and uncertainties described below and other information in this Form 10-K and subsequent reports filed with or furnished to the SEC before making any investment decision with respect to our securities. If any of the following trends, risks or uncertainties actually occurs or continues, our business, financial condition or operating results could be materially adversely affected, the trading prices of our securities could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
We are materially dependent on acceptance of our products by law enforcement markets, both domestic and international. If law enforcement agencies do not continue to purchase and use our products, our revenues will be adversely affected.
At any point, due to external factors and opinions, whether or not related to product performance, law enforcement agencies may elect to no longer purchase our CEDs or other products.
We substantially depend on sales of our TASER CEDs, and if these products do not continue to be widely accepted, our growth prospects will be diminished.
In the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, we derived a significant portion of our revenues from sales of TASER brand devices and related cartridges, and expect to depend on sales of these products for a significant portion of our revenue for the foreseeable future. A decrease in the selling prices of, or demand for these products, or their failure to maintain broad market acceptance, would significantly harm our growth prospects, operating results and financial condition.
If we are unable to design, introduce, sell and deploy new products or new product features successfully, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.
Our future success will depend on our ability to develop new products or new product features that achieve market acceptance in a timely and cost-effective manner. These products include, but are not limited to, Axon Records, Axon Respond, and future generations of the TASER CED and Axon Body Cameras. The development of new products and new product features is complex, time consuming and expensive, and we may experience delays in completing the development and introduction of new products. We may choose to carry higher level of inventories to mitigate the risk of production delays, which may in turn expose us to an increased risk of obsolescence.
We are devoting significant resources to develop and deploy our cloud-based productivity and real-time operations SaaS solutions, which we intend to broadly deploy to a large number of customers. Customer requirements for these products are complex and varied. If we are unable to develop scalable solutions that can consistently be configured for customers with minimal effort, or if we are unable to build out a professional services team that can consistently configure our products to meet the requirements of large numbers of customers in a timely and cost-effective manner, our ability to broadly scale our cloud-based productivity and real-time operations SaaS solutions could be negatively impacted, and our deployment costs could negatively impact our operating results.
We cannot provide any assurance that products that we may develop in the future will achieve market acceptance. If we fail to develop new products or new product features on a timely basis that achieve market acceptance, our business, financial results and competitive position could be adversely affected.
We face risks associated with rapid technological change and new competing products.
The technology associated with law enforcement devices and software is receiving significant attention and is rapidly evolving. While we have some patent protection in certain key areas of our CED, Axon device and SaaS technology, it is possible that new technology may result in competing products that operate outside our patents and could present significant competition for our products, which could adversely affect our business, financial results and competitive position.
Our future success is dependent on our ability to expand sales through direct sales and distributors and our inability to increase direct sales or recruit new distributors would negatively affect our sales.
Our distribution strategy is to pursue sales through multiple channels with an emphasis on direct sales and independent distributors. We are focusing on direct sales to larger agencies through our regional sales managers and our inability to grow sales to these agencies in this manner could adversely affect our sales. Our inability to establish relationships with and retain law enforcement equipment distributors, who we believe can successfully sell our products, would adversely affect our sales. If we do not competitively price our products, meet the requirements of our distributors or end-users, provide adequate marketing support, or comply with the terms of our distribution arrangements, our distributors may fail to aggressively market our products or may terminate their relationships with us. These developments would likely have a material adverse effect on our sales. Our reliance on the sales of our products by others also makes it more difficult to predict our revenues, cash flow and operating results.
In certain states and foreign jurisdictions we have decided to pursue sales directly with law enforcement customers, rather than working through established distribution channels. Our customers may have strong working relationships with distributors and we may face resistance to this change. If we do not overcome this resistance and effectively build a direct relationship with our customers, sales may be adversely affected.
Acquisitions, joint ventures, and other strategic investments may have an adverse effect on our business.
We may consider additional acquisitions, joint ventures, or other strategic investments as part of our long-term business strategy. These transactions involve significant challenges and risks including that the transaction does not advance our business strategy, expected synergies are not achieved, we do not realize a satisfactory return on our investment, we experience difficulty in the integration or coordination of new employees, business systems, and technology, we incur unanticipated liabilities or impairments, or there is a diversion of management’s attention from our other businesses. These events could harm our operating results, financial condition or cash flows.
We are highly dependent on the services of Patrick W. Smith, our Chief Executive Officer.
Our future success depends upon our ability to retain executive officers, specifically Patrick W. Smith, and any failure to do so could adversely impact our business, prospects, new product development, financial condition and operating results.
Catastrophic events may disrupt our business.
A disruption or failure of our systems or operations in the event of a major earthquake, weather event, fire, explosion, failure to contain hazardous materials, industrial accident, cyber-attack, terrorist attack, public health crisis, or other catastrophic event could cause delays in completing sales, providing services, or performing other mission-critical functions. A catastrophic event that results in the destruction or disruption of any of our critical business or information technology systems could harm our ability to conduct normal business operations and our operating results as well as expose us to claims, litigation and governmental investigations and fines.
In March 2020 the World Health Organization declared coronavirus (or “COVID-19”) a global pandemic. This contagious disease outbreak, which has continued to spread throughout the United States and world, has adversely affected workforces, economies, and financial markets globally, leading to an economic downturn. As an essential provider of products and services for law enforcement and other first responders, we remain focused on protecting the health and well-being of our employees while assuring the continuity of our business operations.
COVID-19-related risks that may affect our operations and financial results include, but are not limited to:
|●||Manufacturing disruptions at our Scottsdale headquarters or at our suppliers;|
|●||A change in our classification as an essential business that impairs our ability to continue operating;|
|●||Economic slowdowns that negatively affect municipal and state tax collections and put pressure on law enforcement budgets that in turn increases the risk that our customers will be unable to appropriate funds for existing or future contracts with us; this could also affect customer demand and ability to pay, cause decreases in sales, and negatively impact the realizability of our accounts and notes receivable and contract assets|
|●||Existing and potential increased costs relating to personal protective equipment, which we are sourcing for our employees and customers;|
|●||Costs incurred to shut down and decontaminate our facilities if the virus is detected|
|●||Extended illness, incapacitation or death of key personnel or executives;|
|●||Ongoing governmental mandates to shutdown factories or limit travel and the movement of people that causes interruptions to our business, supply chain or extended supply chain;|
|●||Compounding risk from continued surges in infections around the world, including in the U.S.; and|
|●||Additional airline bankruptcies or further reduction in very limited global freight capacity that causes interruptions to our supply chain or extended supply chain|
These events have had and could continue to have an impact on our operations. If our backup and mitigation plans are not sufficient to minimize business disruption, our financial results could be adversely affected. We are continuously monitoring our operations and intend to take appropriate actions to mitigate the risks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there can be no assurances that we will be successful in doing so.
Higher costs or unavailability of materials could adversely affect our financial results.
We depend on certain domestic and international suppliers for the delivery of components used in the assembly of our products. Our reliance on third-party suppliers creates risks related to our potential inability to obtain an adequate supply of components or sub-assemblies and reduced control over pricing and timing of delivery of components and sub-assemblies. Specifically, we depend on suppliers of sub-assemblies, machined parts, injection molded plastic parts, printed circuit boards, custom wire fabrications and other miscellaneous customer parts for our
products. Although we have and are implementing additional long-term agreements with strategic suppliers to mitigate the risk of supply continuity, there remains risk across our supply chain while we extend our supplier contract program, and there is no guarantee that supply will not be interrupted.
Single or sole-source components used in the manufacture of our products may become unavailable or discontinued. Delays caused by industry allocations or obsolescence may take weeks or months to resolve. In some cases, parts obsolescence may require a product re-design to ensure quality replacement components. These delays could cause significant delays in manufacturing and loss of sales, leading to adverse effects significantly impacting our financial condition or results of operations and could injure our reputation.
A significant number of our raw materials or components are comprised of petroleum-based products or incur some form of landed cost associated with transporting the raw materials or components to our facility. Our freight and import costs and the timely delivery of our products could be adversely impacted by a number of factors which could reduce the profitability of our operations, including: higher fuel costs; potential port closures; customs clearance issues; increased government regulation or regulatory changes for imports of foreign products into the U.S.; delays created by terrorist attacks or threats, public health issues, national disasters or work stoppages; and other matters. Any interruption of supply for any material components of our products could significantly delay the shipment of our products and have a material adverse effect on our revenues, profitability and financial condition. For example, other industries are experiencing a significant shortage of semiconductors in their supply chains. We are tracking second-and third-level constraints and have taken steps to mitigate the potential impacts by building in buffers in our raw materials inventory and ensuring our suppliers have adequate access to raw material levels aligned to our forecasts. Disruptions in the semi-conductor supply chain could cause a disruption in our ability to make our products.
International or domestic geopolitical or other events, including the imposition of new or increased tariffs and/or quotas by the U.S. government on any of these raw materials or components and other government trade policies, could adversely impact the supply and cost of these raw materials or components, and could adversely impact the profitability of our operations. In particular, the implementation of tariffs and trade restrictions as well as changes in trade policies between the U.S. and China may have an adverse effect on our supply chain from a sourcing and cost perspective. We source certain raw materials from China, as do some of our suppliers. While we have actively implemented programs to increase buffer inventory levels as well as transition from China along with secondary sources of raw materials outside of China, future actions or events could result in a material adverse effect on our revenues, profitability and financial condition.
To the extent demand for our products increases, our future success will be dependent upon our ability to manage our growth and to increase manufacturing production capacity, which may be accomplished by the implementation of customized manufacturing automation equipment.
To the extent demand for our products increases significantly in future periods, one of our key challenges will be to increase our production capacity to meet sales demand while maintaining product quality. Our primary strategies to accomplish this include introducing additional shifts, increasing the physical size of our assembly facilities, the hiring of additional production staff, and the implementation of additional customized automation equipment. The investments we make in this equipment may not yield the anticipated labor and material efficiencies. Our inability to meet any future increase in sales demand or effectively manage our expansion could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, financial results and financial condition.
Delays in product development schedules may adversely affect our revenues and cash flows.
The development of CEDs, devices, sensors and software is a complex and time-consuming process. New products and enhancements to existing products can require long development and testing periods. Our focus on our SaaS platform also presents complex development issues. Significant delays in new product or service releases or significant problems in creating new products or services could adversely affect our business, financial results and competitive position.
We expend significant resources in anticipation of a sale due to our lengthy sales cycle and may receive no revenue in return.
Generally, law enforcement and corrections agencies consider a wide range of issues before committing to purchase our products, including product benefits, training costs, the cost to use our products in addition to, or in place of, other products, budget constraints and product reliability, safety and efficacy. The length of our sales cycle may range from a few weeks to as long as several years. Adverse publicity surrounding our products or the safety of such products has in the past, and could in the future, lengthen our sales cycle with customers. In the past, we believe that our sales were adversely impacted by negative publicity surrounding our products or the use of our products. We may incur substantial selling costs and expend significant effort in connection with the evaluation of our products by potential customers before they place an order. If these potential customers do not purchase our products, we will have expended significant resources and received no revenue in return.
Changes in civil forfeiture laws may affect our customers’ ability to purchase our products.
Some of our customers use funds seized through civil forfeiture proceedings to fund the purchase of our products. Legislative changes could impact our customers’ ability to seize funds or use seized funds to fund purchases. Changes in civil forfeiture statutes or regulations are outside of our control and could limit the amount of funds available to our customers, which could adversely affect the sale of our products.
If our security measures or those of our third-party cloud storage providers are breached and unauthorized access is obtained to customers’ data or our data, our network, data centers and service may be perceived as not being secure, customers may curtail or stop using our service and we may incur significant legal and financial exposure and liabilities.
Our service involves the storage and transmission of customers’ proprietary information, and security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss of information or the total or partial deletion or encryption of all stored customer data, litigation and possible liability. We devote significant resources to engineer secure products and ensure security vulnerabilities are mitigated, and we require our third-party service providers to do so as well. Despite these efforts, security measures may be breached as a result of third-party action, employee error, and malfeasance or otherwise. Breaches could occur during transfer of data to data centers or at any time, and result in unauthorized access to our data or our customers’ data. Third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or customers into disclosing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords or other information in order to gain access to our data or our customers’ data. Additionally, hackers may develop and deploy viruses, worms, and other malicious software programs that attack or gain access to our networks and data centers.
Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, or to sabotage systems, change frequently, grow more complex over time, and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Moreover, our security measures and those of our third-party service providers or customers may not detect such security breaches if they occur. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect our data and user data, to prevent data loss, and to prevent or detect security breaches, we cannot assure that such measures will provide absolute security, and we may incur significant costs in protecting against or remediating cyber-attacks.
A security breach could expose us to a risk of loss or inappropriate use of proprietary and sensitive data, or the denial of access to this data. A security breach could also result in a loss of confidence in the security of our service, disrupt our business, damage our reputation, lead to legal liability, negatively impact our future sales and significantly harm our growth prospects, operating results and financial condition.
Defects or disruptions in our services could impact demand for our services and subject us to substantial liability.
We currently serve our Axon Evidence customers from third-party cloud storage providers based in the U.S. and other countries. Interruptions in our service, or loss or corruption of digital evidence, may reduce our revenue, cause us to issue credits or pay penalties, cause customers to file litigation against us, cause customers to terminate their
subscriptions and adversely affect our renewal rates and our ability to attract new customers. Our business will also be harmed if our customers and potential customers believe our service is unreliable.
Since our customers use our services for important aspects of their operations, any errors, defects, disruptions in service or other performance problems could hurt our reputation and may damage our customers’ operations. As a result, customers could elect to not renew our services or delay or withhold payment to us. We could also lose future sales or customers may make warranty or other claims against us, which could result in an increase in our warranty expense, an increase in collection cycles for and decline in the collectability of accounts receivable, and an increase in the expense and risk of litigation.
Defects in our products could reduce demand for our products and result in a loss of sales, delay in market acceptance and damage to our reputation.
Complex components and assemblies used in our products may contain undetected defects that are subsequently discovered at any point in the life of the product. Defects in our products could result in a loss of sales, delay in market acceptance, damage to our reputation and increased warranty costs, which could adversely affect our business, financial results and competitive position.
Our international operations expose us to additional risks that could harm our business, operating results, and financial condition.
Our international operations are significant, and we plan to continue to grow internationally by acquiring existing entities or setting up new legal entities in new markets. In certain international markets, we have limited operating experience and may not benefit from any first-to-market advantages or otherwise succeed. In addition to risks described elsewhere in this section, our international operations expose us to other risks, including the following:
|●||Restrictions on foreign ownership and investments, and stringent foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned in countries outside the U.S.|
|●||Import and export requirements, tariffs, trade disputes and barriers, and customs classifications that may prevent us from offering products or providing services to a particular market or obtaining necessary parts and components to manufacture products, which may lead to decreased sales and may increase our operating costs.|
|●||Longer payment cycles in some countries, increased credit risk, and higher levels of payment fraud.|
|●||Uncertainty regarding liability for our products and services, including uncertainty as a result of local laws and lack of legal precedent.|
|●||Different labor laws and customs, existence of workers’ councils and labor unions, and other challenges caused by distance, language, and cultural differences, making it harder to do business in certain jurisdictions.|
Additionally, changes in international local political, economic, regulatory, tax, social, and labor conditions may adversely harm our business and compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business. These numerous and sometimes conflicting laws and regulations include, among others, environmental regulations, internal control and disclosure rules, privacy and data protection requirements, anti-corruption laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and other local laws prohibiting corrupt payments to governmental officials, and competition regulations, among others.
Our business in the United Kingdom may be negatively impacted by the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU (commonly referred to as "Brexit"). The exit itself could negatively impact the United Kingdom and other economies, which could adversely affect sales of our products and services. We may also experience increased volatility in the value of the pound sterling, the euro and other European currencies. In addition, Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations in the United Kingdom and the EU, and we
may incur additional costs or need to make operational changes as we adapt to potentially divergent regulatory frameworks.
Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and on our ability to offer our products and services in one or more countries, and could also materially affect our brand, our international growth efforts, our ability to attract and retain employees, our business, and our operating results. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, or agents will not violate our policies.
We depend on our ability to attract and retain our key management, sales and technical personnel.
Our success depends upon the continued service of our key management personnel. Our success also depends on our ability to continue to attract, retain and motivate qualified technical employees. Although we have employment agreements with our officers and other members of our executive management team, the employment of such persons is “at-will” and either we or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, subject to the applicable terms of the employment agreements. The competition for our key employees is intense. The loss of the service of one or more of our key personnel could adversely impact our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results.
An increasing percentage of our revenue is derived from subscription billing arrangements which may result in delayed cash collections and may increase customer credit risk on receivables and contract assets.
A growing portion of our sales are derived from subscription billing arrangements and on an open credit basis. While we record an estimate of expected credit losses and perform ongoing reviews of trade accounts receivables, if we become aware of information related to the creditworthiness of a major customer, or if future actual default rates on receivables in general differ from those currently anticipated, we may have to adjust our expected credit loss reserve, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results.
We may experience a decline in gross margins due to a shift in product sales from CEDs to software and sensors products and services which may continue to carry a lower gross margin.
We continue to invest in the growth of the Software and Sensors segment, and this expected growth may result in a higher percentage of total revenues being comprised of Software and Sensors products and services. Gross margin as a percentage of net sales for the Software and Sensors segment is currently lower than that of the TASER segment, and may continue to be lower in the future.
SaaS revenue for Axon Evidence is recognized over the terms of the contracts, which may be several years, and, as such, trends in new business may not be immediately reflected in our operating results.
Our SaaS service revenue is generally recognized ratably over the terms of the contracts, which generally range from one to five years. As a result, most of the SaaS revenue we report each quarter is the result of agreements entered into during previous quarters. Consequently, current positive or negative trends in this portion of our business may not be fully reflected in our revenue results for several periods.
Most of our end-user customers are subject to budgetary and political constraints that may delay or prevent sales.
Most of our end-user customers are government agencies. These agencies often do not set their own budgets and therefore, have limited control over the amount of money they can spend. In addition, these agencies experience political pressure that may dictate the manner in which they spend money. As a result, even if an agency wants to acquire our products, it may be unable to purchase them due to budgetary or political constraints, particularly in challenging economic environments. There can be no assurance that the economic, budgeting or political issues will not worsen and adversely impact sales of our products. Some government agency orders may also be canceled or
substantially delayed due to budgetary, political or other scheduling delays, which frequently occur in connection with the acquisition of products by such agencies, and such cancellations may accelerate or be more severe than we have experienced historically.
Due to municipal government funding rules, certain of our contracts are subject to appropriation, termination for convenience, or similar cancellation clauses, which could allow our customers to cancel or not exercise options to renew contracts in the future.
Although we have entered into contracts for the delivery of products and services in the future and anticipate the contracts will be completed, if agencies do not appropriate money in future year budgets, terminate contracts for convenience or if other cancellation clauses are invoked, revenue and cash associated with these bookings will not ultimately be recognized, and could result in a reduction to bookings and revenue.
We maintain most of our cash balances, some of which are not insured, at four depository institutions.
We maintain the majority of our cash and cash equivalents accounts at four depository institutions. As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate balances in such accounts were $145.1 million. Our balances with these institutions regularly exceed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) insured limits for domestic deposits and various foreign deposit insurance programs covering our deposits in Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
We could suffer losses with respect to the uninsured balances if the depository institutions failed and the institution’s assets were insufficient to cover its deposits and/or the governments did not take actions to support deposits in excess of existing insurance limits. Any such losses could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.
Stock compensation expense may have a material, unpredictable impact on our results of operations.
We have historically granted and expect to continue to grant stock-based compensation to key employees and non-employee directors as a means of attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel. All stock-based awards are required to be recognized in our financial statements based on their grant date fair values. The amount recognized for stock compensation expense could vary depending on a number of assumptions or changes that may occur.
For awards containing multiple service, performance and market conditions, where all conditions must be satisfied prior to vesting, compensation expense is recognized over the requisite service period, which is defined as the longest explicit, implicit or derived service period, based on management’s estimate of the probability and timing of the performance criteria being satisfied, adjusted at each balance sheet date. Changes in the subjective and probability-based assumptions can materially affect the estimates of the fair value of the awards and timing of recognition of stock-based compensation expense and consequently, the related amount recognized in our statements of operations and comprehensive income.
If we achieve specific operational goals and the covered employees complete the requisite service conditions for the performance-based awards with multiple service, performance, and market conditions, including our CEO Performance Award and our eXponential Stock Performance Plan ("XSPP"), we will recognize stock compensation expense regardless of whether the market conditions are achieved and the underlying tranches vest.
Our financial performance is subject to risks associated with changes in the value of the U.S. dollar versus local currencies.
For current and potential international customers whose contracts are denominated in U.S. dollars, the relative change in local currency values creates relative fluctuations in our product pricing. These changes in international end-user costs may result in lost orders and reduce the competitiveness of our products in certain foreign markets. Additionally, intercompany sales to our non-U.S. dollar functional currency international subsidiaries are transacted in U.S. dollars which could increase our foreign exchange rate risk caused by foreign currency transaction gains and losses.
For non-U.S. dollar denominated sales, weakening of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar generally leads us to raise international pricing, potentially reducing demand for our products. Should we decide not to raise local prices to fully offset the dollar’s strengthening, the U.S. dollar value of our foreign currency denominated sales and earnings would be adversely affected. We do not currently engage in hedging activities. Fluctuations in foreign currency could result in a change in the U.S. dollar value of our foreign denominated assets and liabilities including accounts receivable. Therefore, the U.S. dollar equivalent collected on a given sale could be less than the amount invoiced causing the sale to be less profitable than contemplated.
We also import selected components which are used in the manufacturing of some of our products. Although our purchase orders are generally in U.S. dollars, weakness in the U.S. dollar could lead to price increases for the components.
Unanticipated changes in our effective tax rate and additional tax liabilities may impact our operating results.
We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. and various jurisdictions outside of the U.S. Our effective tax rate could fluctuate due to changes in the mix of earnings and losses in countries with differing statutory tax rates. Our tax expense could also be impacted by changes in non-deductible expenses, changes in excess tax benefits related to exercises of stock options and vesting of restricted stock units, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and our ability to utilize them, the applicability of withholding taxes, and changes in our liability for unrecognized tax benefits.
We are subject to tax examinations in multiple jurisdictions. While we regularly evaluate new information that may change our judgment resulting in recognition, derecognition or change in measurement of a tax position taken, there can be no assurance that the final determination of any examinations will not have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial position.
Our tax provision could also be impacted by changes in federal, state or international tax laws including fundamental tax law changes applicable to corporate multinationals.
Additionally, we may be subject to additional tax liabilities due to changes in non-income-based taxes resulting from changes in federal, state, city or international tax laws, changes in taxing jurisdictions’ administrative interpretations, decisions, policies, and positions, results of tax examinations, settlements or judicial decisions, changes in accounting principles, changes to the business operations, including acquisitions, as well as the evaluation of new information that results in a change to a tax position taken in a prior period.
Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate unexpectedly from quarter-to-quarter, which may cause our stock price to decline.
Our revenues and operating results have varied significantly in the past and may vary significantly in the future due to various factors, including, but not limited to:
|●||budgetary cycles of municipal, state and federal law enforcement and corrections agencies;|
|●||market acceptance of our products and services;|
|●||the timing of large domestic and international orders;|
|●||the outcome of any existing or future litigation;|
|●||adverse publicity surrounding our products, the safety of our products, or the use of our products;|
|●||changes in our sales mix;|
|●||new product introduction costs;|
|●||increased raw material expenses;|
|●||changes in our operating expenses, including stock-based compensation expense;|
|●||changes in foreign currency exchange rates and|
|●||regulatory changes that may affect the marketability of our products.|
As a result of these and other factors, we believe that period-to-period comparisons of our operating results may not be meaningful in the short term, and our performance in a particular period may not be indicative of our performance in any future period.
Legal and Compliance Risks
We may face personal injury, wrongful death and other liability claims that harm our reputation and adversely affect our sales and financial condition.
Our CED products are often used in aggressive confrontations that may result in serious, permanent bodily injury or death to those involved. Our CED products may be associated with these injuries. A person, or the family members of a person, injured in a confrontation or otherwise in connection with the use of our products, may bring legal action against us to recover damages on the basis of theories including wrongful death, personal injury, negligent design, defective product or inadequate warning. We are currently subject to a number of such lawsuits and we have been subject to significant adverse judgments and settlements. We may also be subject to lawsuits involving allegations of misuse of our products. If successful, wrongful death, personal injury, misuse and other claims could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition and could result in negative publicity about our products. We incur significant legal expenses in defending these cases, and significant litigation could also result in a diversion of management’s attention and resources, negative publicity and a potential award of monetary damages in excess of our insurance coverage. The outcome of any litigation is inherently uncertain and there can be no assurance that our existing or any future litigation will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operating results.
Other litigation may subject us to significant litigation costs and judgments and divert management attention from our business.
We have been or could in the future be involved in numerous other litigation matters relating to our products, contracts and business relationships, including litigation against persons whom we believe have infringed on our intellectual property, infringement litigation filed against us, litigation against a competitor, enforcement actions filed against us, and litigation involving the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Such matters have resulted, and are expected to continue to result in, substantial costs to us, including in the form of attorneys’ fees and costs, damages, fines or other penalties, whether pursuant to a judgment or settlement, and diversion of our management’s attention, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or operating results. There is also a risk of adverse judgments, as the outcome of litigation is inherently uncertain.
We have been, and may be in the future, subject to intellectual property infringement and other claims, which could incur substantial litigation costs, result in significant damage awards, inhibit our use of certain technologies, and divert management attention from our business.
Many companies own intellectual property rights that are directly or indirectly related to public safety technologies. These companies periodically demand licensing agreements or engage in litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of their patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets. Non-practicing entities also have patents they have been granted or otherwise acquired, including patents that are directly or indirectly related to public safety technologies. These entities may seek compensation for perceived infringement of their patents, including by filing claims against us, independent of the merit of any such claims. As we enter new markets, expand into new product categories, and otherwise offer new products, services, and technologies, additional intellectual property claims may be filed against us by these companies, entities, and other third parties. Additional intellectual property claims may also be filed against us as our current products, services, and technologies gain additional market share.
If our products, services, or technologies were found to infringe a third-party’s proprietary rights, we could be forced to enter into costly royalty or licensing agreements in order to be able to sell our products or discontinue use of the protected technology. Such royalty and licensing agreements may not be available on terms acceptable to us or at all. We could also be required to pay substantial damages, fines or other penalties, indemnify customers or distributors,
cease the manufacture, use, or sale of infringing products or processes, and/or expend significant resources to develop or acquire non-infringing technologies. Our suppliers may not provide, or we may not be able to obtain, intellectual property indemnification sufficient to offset all damages, fines or other penalties resulting from any claims of intellectual property infringement brought against us or our customers. There is no guarantee that our use of conventional technology searching and brand clearance searching will identify all potential rights holders. Rights holders may demand payment for past infringements and/or force us to accept costly license terms or discontinue use of protected technology and/or works of authorship that may include, for example, photos, videos, and software. Our current research and development focus on developing software-based products, including that which is related to artificial intelligence, increases this risk.
If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, the value of our brands and products may decrease and we may lose our competitive market advantage.
Our future success depends upon our proprietary technology. Our protective measures for this proprietary technology include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secret protection. However, these protective measures, as well as our efforts to pursue such protective measures, may prove inadequate. For example, the value of intellectual property protection in certain countries may not be apparent until after such protection can no longer be pursued. As such, our intellectual property protection may not extend to all countries in which our products are distributed or will be distributed in the future. Though we work to protect our innovations, we may not be able to obtain protection for certain innovations. For example, we may be unable to patent some software-based products. The scope of any patent protection we have obtained, or may obtain, may not prevent others from developing and selling competing products. Despite our efforts, any intellectual property protection we obtain may be later determined to be insufficient or ineffective.
Our protective measures may prove inadequate for reasons outside of our control. Different intellectual property laws between different countries may lead to differences in protection between such countries. In certain countries in which our products are distributed, the ability to effectively enforce intellectual property rights may not exist. Patent requirements differ by country and certain domestic or foreign laws may prohibit us from satisfying these requirements, creating a risk that some of our international patents may become unenforceable. Patents for older technologies, such as our M26 and X26E models of CEDs, have expired or will expire due to statutory limits on patent term. Despite policies and efforts to maintain secrecy, trade secrets and other confidential information we maintain, or may choose to maintain in the future, could be compromised by employees, partners, or other third parties.
Once established, there is no guarantee that our intellectual property rights will remain in force. Issued patents may be re-examined and subsequently ruled invalid or unenforceable. Our registered trademarks may also be diminished or lost. For example, there is a risk that our “TASER” trademark could become synonymous with the general product category of “conducted energy devices”. The right to stop others from misusing our trademarks and service marks in commerce depends, to some extent, on our ability to show evidence of enforcement of our rights against such misuse in commerce. Our efforts to stop improper use, if insufficient, may lead to loss of trademark and service mark rights, brand loyalty and notoriety among our customers and prospective customers.
Our intellectual property may also be at risk if we are unable to defend from enforcement actions, such as that filed by the FTC against us regarding our acquisition of Vievu LLC from Safariland LLC on May 3, 2018. For additional discussion of this matter, refer to Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If successful, the FTC is seeking a divestiture of Vievu along with Axon assets sufficient to stand up a viable competitor.
Inability to protect our intellectual property could negatively impact our commercial efforts and competitive market advantage. Regardless of outcome, the prosecution of patent and other intellectual property claims is both costly and time consuming. Unauthorized use of our proprietary technology could divert our management’s attention from our business, and could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and operating results.
Internationally, we can enforce patent rights only in the jurisdictions in which our patent applications have been granted.
Our U.S. patents protect us from imported infringing products coming into the U.S. from abroad. We have made applications for patents in a few foreign countries; however, these may be inadequate to protect markets for our products in other foreign countries. Each patent is examined and granted according to the law of the country where it was filed independent of whether a U.S. patent on similar technology was granted. A patent in a foreign country may be subject to cancellation if the claimed invention has not been sold in that country. Meeting the requirements of working invention differs by country and ranges from sales in the country to manufacturing in the country. U.S. export law, or the laws of some foreign countries, may prohibit us from satisfying the requirements for working the invention, creating a risk that some of our international patents may become unenforceable.
A variety of new and existing laws and/or interpretations could materially and adversely affect our business.
As detailed in “Business – Government Regulation,” we are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business, including privacy, data protection and personal information, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, consumer protection, telecommunications, product liability, taxation, labor and employment, economic or other trade prohibitions or sanctions, securities law compliance, and online payment services. The introduction of new products, expansion of our activities in certain jurisdictions, or other actions that we may take may subject us to additional laws, regulations, or other government scrutiny. In addition, foreign data protection, privacy, content, competition, and other laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the United States.
These U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices. New laws and regulations (or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations) may require us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil or criminal liability, or cause us to change our business practices.
The costs of compliance with these laws and regulation are high and are likely to increase in the future. Additionally, these laws and regulations, or any associated inquiries or investigations or other government actions, may delay or impede the development of new products, result in negative publicity, require significant management time and attention, and subject us to remedies that may harm our business, including fines or demands or orders that we modify or cease existing business practices.
TASER and Axon Devices
For our TASER products, we rely on the opinions of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including the determination that a device that does not expel projectiles by the action of an explosive is not classified as a firearm. Changes in statutes, regulations, and interpretation outside of our control may result in our products being classified or reclassified as firearms. If this were to occur, our private citizen market could be substantially reduced because consumers would be required to comply with federal, state, or local firearm transfer requirements prior to purchasing our products.
Federal regulation of sales in the U.S.: Our CEDs are not firearms regulated by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but our consumer products are regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although there are currently no federal laws restricting sales of our core CED products in the U.S., future federal regulation could adversely affect sales of our products.
Our CED products are subject to regulation by testing, safety and other standard organizations. These regulations also affect CEDs with Axon Signal technology, including Signal Performance Power Magazine technology, and TASER 7 battery packs, and could impact future CEDs that feature wireless technology.
Federal regulation of international sales: Our CEDs are considered a “crime control” product by the U.S. DOC for export directly from the U.S which requires us to obtain an export license from the DOC for the export of our CED devices from the U.S. to any country other than Canada. Future products and services may require classifications from the DOC before they may be shipped internationally. Our inability to obtain DOC export licenses or classifications on a timely basis for sales of our products to our international customers could significantly and adversely affect our international sales.
Federal regulation of foreign national employees: Our intangible CED production is also considered controlled “technology” by the U.S. DOC and is categorized as a “deemed export” for any foreign national employees exposed to the technology within the U.S. Consequently, we must obtain an export licenses from the DOC for any deemed export within the U.S. made to a foreign national employee exposed to the deemed controlled technology. Deemed export licenses are subject to DOC approvals and issued licenses require annual status reports for the stated employees. Inability to obtain proper licensing could curtail the company’s ability to execute R&D and production related to CED technology.
State and local regulation: Our CEDs are controlled, restricted or, less frequently, prohibited by a number of state and local governments. Other jurisdictions may ban or restrict the sale of our CED products, or restrict their use through changes to use-of-force laws or regulations, and our product sales may be significantly affected by additional state, county and city governmental regulation.
International regulation of foreign imports and sales: Certain jurisdictions prohibit, restrict, or require a permit for the importation, sale, possession or use of CEDs, including in some countries by law enforcement agencies, limiting our international sales opportunities.
U.S. and International regulation of component movements globally: We rely on a global supply chain of components across our product lines with most final assembly occurring in the U.S. Export of these components from abroad is subject to shifting regulatory landscapes imposed by both the foreign government and U.S. authorities upon import. Abrupt changes to these regulations can result in delays or interruptions to final product supplies.
International regulation of foreign-based operations: We maintain foreign operations in several countries globally for purposes of logistics, sales, and R&D support. Any failure to properly maintain or license could limit our ability to sell, support, or develop our products and services both internationally and in the U.S. market.
Radio Spectrum Devices
Certain of our products utilize the radio spectrum to provide wireless voice, data and video communications services. The allocation of spectrum is regulated in the U.S. and other countries and limited spectrum space is allocated to wireless services and specifically to public safety users. We manufacture and market products in spectrum bands already made available by regulatory bodies. If current products do not comply with the regulations set forth by these governing bodies, we may be unable to sell our products or could incur penalties. Our results could be negatively affected by the rules and regulations adopted from time to time by the FCC or regulatory agencies in other countries. Regulatory changes in current spectrum bands may also require modifications to some of our products so they can continue to be manufactured and marketed.
Axon body worn cameras, docks, fleet vehicle cameras and signal devices are subject to FCC’s rules and regulations. These regulations affect CEDs with Signal technology, including the TASER 7, SPPM, and future CEDs implementing wireless technology. Compliance with government regulations could increase our operations and product costs and impact our future financial results.
We are subject to various state, federal and international laws and regulations governing the environment, including restricting the presence of certain substances in our products and making us financially responsible for the collection, treatment, recycling and disposal of such products. In addition, further environmental legislation may be
enacted in other jurisdictions, including the U.S. (under federal and state laws) and other countries, the cumulative impact of which could be significant.
We endeavor to comply with applicable environmental laws, yet compliance with such laws could increase our operations and product costs, increase the complexities of product design, procurement, and manufacturing, limit our ability to manage excess and obsolete non-compliant inventory, limit our sales activities, and impact our future financial results. Any violation of the various environmental regulations can subject us to significant liability, including fines, penalties, and prohibiting sales of our products into one or more states or countries and result in a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
We are subject to laws and regulations that dictate whether, how, and under what circumstances we can transfer, process and/or receive certain data that is critical to our operations, including data shared between countries or regions in which we operate and data shared among our products and services. If one or more of the legal mechanisms for transferring data from other countries to the U.S. is invalidated, if we are unable to transfer data between and among countries and regions in which we operate, or if we are prohibited from sharing data among our products and services, it could affect the manner in which we provide our services or adversely affect our financial results. Additional countries may pass legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services and expose us to significant penalties for non-compliance.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities are based in an approximately 100,000 square foot facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, which we own. We also lease premises in Phoenix, Arizona; Scottsdale, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; Topsfield, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Melbourne, Australia; Sydney, Australia; Toronto, Canada; Daventry, England; London, England; Tampere, Finland; Frankfurt, Germany; Mumbai, India; Rome, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In September 2020, we purchased a parcel of land located in Scottsdale, Arizona on which we intend to construct a new manufacturing and office facility.
We believe our existing facilities are well maintained and in good operating condition. We also believe we have adequate manufacturing capacity for our existing product lines. To the extent that we introduce new products in the future, we will likely need to acquire additional facilities to locate the associated production lines. However, we believe we can acquire or lease such facilities on reasonable terms. We continue to make investments in capital equipment as needed to meet anticipated demand for our products.
The majority of our locations support both of our reportable segments, except for our Vietnam and Seattle, Washington locations, which primarily support our Software & Sensors segment.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
See discussion of litigation in Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which discussion is incorporated by reference herein.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is quoted under the symbol “AXON” on The NASDAQ Global Select Market.
As of December 31, 2020, there were 229 holders of record of our common stock.
To date, we have not declared or paid cash dividends on our common stock. We do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
In February 2016, our Board of Directors authorized a stock repurchase program to acquire up to $50.0 million of our outstanding common stock subject to stock market conditions and corporate considerations. The stock repurchase program does not have a stated expiration date. During the year ended December 31, 2020, no common shares were purchased under the program. As of December 31, 2020, $16.3 million remained available under the plan for future purchases.
Stock Performance Graph
The following stock performance graph compares the performance of our common stock to the NASDAQ Composite Index, Russell 3000 Index, S&P 500 Index, and Russell 2000 Index. We are transitioning from the Russell 3000 Index to the Russell 2000 Index, and adding the S&P 500 Index, based on the increase in our market capitalization.
The graph covers the period from December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2020. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our stock and in each index was $100 at December 31, 2015, and that all dividends were reinvested. We do not pay dividends on our common stock.
Axon Enterprise, Inc.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A")
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") is designed to provide a reader of our consolidated financial statements with a narrative from the perspective of our management on our financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and certain other factors that may affect our future results. Our MD&A should be read in conjunction with the other sections of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Part I, Item 1A: “Risk Factors” and Part II, Item 8: “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” The various sections of this MD&A contain a number of forward-looking statements, all of which are based on our current expectations and could be affected by the uncertainties and risk factors described throughout this filing. The tables in the MD&A sections below are derived from exact numbers and may have immaterial rounding differences.
This section discusses our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2019. For a discussion and analysis of the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to the same period in 2018 please refer to Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on February 27, 2020.
Axon is a global network of devices, apps and people that helps public safety personnel become smarter and safer. With a mission of protecting life, our technologies give law enforcement the confidence, focus and time they need to protect their communities. Our products impact every aspect of a public safety officer’s day-to-day experience with the goal of helping everyone get home safe.
Our revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $681.0 million, an increase of $150.1 million, or 28.2%, from the prior year. We had a loss from operations of $14.2 million compared to $6.4 million in the prior year. The higher loss from operations was primarily the result of increased stock compensation expense for our CEO Performance Award and XSPP awards and an increase in legal expenses. Remaining cost increases were primarily attributable to the increase in unit sales and an increase in headcount. These cost increases were largely offset by higher revenue and improved gross margin. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded net loss of $1.7 million compared to net income of $0.9 million for the prior year.
For the year ending December 31, 2021, we expect revenue of $740 million to $780 million. We anticipate that revenue for the three months ending March 31, 2021 will reflect approximately 12% growth as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020. We anticipate capital expenditures of approximately $65 million to $70 million in 2021, including approximately $25 million in support of capacity expansion and automation of TASER device and cartridge manufacturing, approximately $20 million for development of our planned new manufacturing and office facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the remainder on investments to support our continued growth.
In late 2019, COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China. In March 2020 the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. This contagious disease outbreak, which has continued to spread throughout the United States and world, has adversely affected workforces, economies, and financial markets globally, leading to an economic downturn. As an essential provider of products and services for law enforcement and other first responders, we remain focused on protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees while assuring the continuity of our business operations.
In response to the pandemic, Axon has taken a number of actions:
Free access to Axon Citizen cloud software to all public law enforcement agencies in 2020 to enable social distancing;
A partnership with the National Police Foundation to provide personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for first responders;
An online support center for our customers, www.axon.com/covid-19-support-center; and
Our annual Axon Accelerate user conference was held virtually in late August 2020.
Employee safety and manufacturing:
Curbed all non-essential travel at the beginning of March;
We continue to allow for a remote work model for the majority of our office staff, with medical screening for any employees who do work in our offices; and
Mitigating contamination risk in our facilities through staggered shifts, the use of PPE, increased distancing, cleaning standards that exceed CDC guidance, and paying or subsidizing certain high-risk employees while they stay at home.
We previously took steps to diversify our supply chain and global manufacturing footprint, which have positioned us well to manage through the pandemic. Thus far, we have been able to produce and ship our critical core products with little to no interruption.
We have proactively built up a safety stock of raw and finished goods inventory aligned to our strategic model to help meet strong product demand while also preparing us to stagger factory work schedules. We continue to adjust strategic inventory levels based on areas of risk to mitigate potential supply disruptions.
In light of our broad geographic supplier base both domestic and international, we are continuously monitoring our supply chain to manage through potential impacts, finding alternate sources as well as shipping / logistic options as available or working with foreign regulators to ensure that our suppliers can provide parts.
We have pivoted our shareholder engagement to a virtual format.
Our annual meeting was held virtually on May 29, 2020, and we anticipate holding our 2021 annual meeting virtually;
We completed a follow-on equity offering in June 2020 for which all related marketing was conducted virtually; and
We will continue to participate in several upcoming investor conferences utilizing video conferencing. All investor materials and events are available at investor.axon.com.
We are in a strong liquidity position, with substantial cash and investments on hand, which are discussed in more detail under Liquidity and Capital Resources. We believe that our existing liquidity and other sources of funding will be sufficient to satisfy our currently anticipated cash requirements including capital expenditures, working capital requirements, potential acquisitions or strategic investments and other liquidity requirements through at least the next 12 months. Our expenses for the year ended December 31, 2020 increased by approximately $4.1 million for costs related to the pandemic. We expect ongoing increased costs related to the mitigation of contamination risk at our facilities. We expect these incremental costs will continue to be partially offset by savings on travel and events and other cost-savings measures.
We have elected to participate in the social security deferral program offered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, whereby we deferred payment of the employer portion of all social security taxes that would otherwise have been payable from March 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Payment of the deferred amount is due 50% on December 31, 2021 and 50% on December 31, 2022.
Results of Operations
The following table presents data from our consolidated statements of operations as well as the percentage relationship to total net sales of items included in our statements of operations (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
Net sales from products
Net sales from services
Cost of product sales
Cost of service sales
Cost of sales
Sales, general and administrative
Research and development
Total operating expenses
Income (loss) from operations
Interest and other income, net
Income (loss) before provision for income taxes
Provision for (benefit from) income taxes
Net income (loss)
Net sales to the U.S. and other countries are summarized as follows (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
International revenue in 2020 increased substantially compared to 2019, driven by strength in all of our international regions and most notably within EMEA.
Our operations are comprised of two reportable segments: the manufacture and sale of CEDs, batteries, accessories and extended warranties and other products and services (collectively, the “TASER” segment); and software and sensors, which includes the sale of devices, wearables, applications, cloud and mobile products, and services (collectively, the "Software and Sensors" segment). In both segments, we report sales of products and services. Service revenue in both segments includes sales related to Axon Evidence. In the TASER segment, service revenue also includes digital subscription training content. In the Software and Sensors segment, service revenue also includes other recurring cloud-hosted software revenue and related professional services. Collectively, this revenue is sometimes referred to as "Axon Cloud revenue." Revenue from our “products” in the Software and Sensors segment are generally from sales of sensors, including on-officer body cameras, Axon Fleet cameras, other hardware sensors, warranties on sensors, and other products, and is sometimes referred to as "Sensors and Other revenue." Within the Software and Sensors segment, we include only revenues and costs attributable to that segment which costs include: costs of sales for both products and services, direct labor, and product management and R&D for products included, or to be included, within the Software and Sensors segment. All other costs are included in the TASER segment.
For the Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019
Net sales by product line were as follows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
Axon Evidence and cloud services
Software and Sensors segment:
Axon Evidence and cloud services
Software and Sensors segment
Total net sales
Net unit sales were as follows:
Year Ended December 31,
Net sales for the TASER segment increased $84.9 million, or 30.1%, primarily as a result of a net increase of $49.6 million in TASER device sales and a $29.2 million increase in cartridge revenue. Cartridge revenue increased due to increased unit sales, partially offset by a slight decrease in average selling price. We continue to see a shift to purchases of our latest generation device, TASER 7, from legacy devices, especially X26P devices. Sales of our TASER 7 device also drove the increase in revenue from Axon Evidence and cloud services. Revenue was also impacted by higher average selling prices for TASER 7, X2, and X26P. Revenue from consumer TASER Pulse devices increased due to a substantial increase in volume, partially offset by lower average selling prices.
Net sales for the Software and Sensors segment increased $65.3 million, or 26.2%. Revenue from Axon Evidence and cloud services increased $46.5 million as we continued to add users and associated devices to our network during
the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in the aggregate number of users and devices also resulted in increased extended warranty revenues of $5.2 million. Revenue from Axon Body cameras increased $13.1 million following the introduction of our Axon Body 3 camera during the third quarter of 2019.
Backlog - As of December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019
Our backlog for products and services includes all orders that have been received and are believed to be firm.
In the TASER segment, we define backlog as equal to deferred revenue. Deferred revenue represents amounts invoiced to customers for goods and services to be delivered in subsequent periods. We process orders within the TASER segment quickly, and our best estimate of firm orders outstanding as of period end represents those that have been invoiced but remain undelivered. The TASER segment backlog balance was $61.8 million as of December 31, 2020. We expect to realize $28.9 million of this deferred revenue balance as revenue during the next 12 months. This represents cash received and accounts receivable from customers on or prior to December 31, 2020 for products and services expected to be delivered in the next 12 months.
In the Software and Sensors segment, we define backlog as cumulative bookings, net of cancellations, less product and service revenue recognized to date. Bookings are generally realized as revenue over multiple years. The Software and Sensors backlog balance was $1.4 billion as of December 31, 2020. This backlog balance includes $213.4 million of deferred revenue, and $1.2 billion that has been recorded as bookings but not yet invoiced, all as of December 31, 2020. We expect to realize approximately $370.0 million of the December 31, 2020 backlog balance as revenue during the next 12 months.
Software and Sensors
Balance, beginning of period
Add: additions to backlog, net of cancellations
Less: revenue recognized during period
Balance end of period
Our backlog of $1.5 billion as of December 31, 2020 has increased significantly from $1.1 billion as of December 31, 2019. The increase in TASER segment backlog is not expected to have a material impact on revenue or operating margins. Our significant increase in backlog, primarily in the Software and Sensors segment is indicative of expected revenue growth in this segment.
Cost of Product and Service Sales
Cost of product and services sales in dollars and as a percent of related segment sales (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
Cost of product sales
Software and Sensors segment:
Cost of product sales
Cost of service sales
Total cost of sales
Total cost of product and service sales
Within the TASER segment, cost of product and service sales was $136.9 million, an increase of $29.7 million, or 27.7%, from 2019. Cost as a percentage of sales decreased to 37.4% from 38.1%. The increase in cost of sales was primarily a result of increased sales, with improvement to the cost as a percentage of sales primarily a result of
increased leverage on manufacturing overhead expenses and higher expense in the prior year for TASER 7 ramp-up and optimization costs related to scrap, obsolete inventory, and higher labor costs.
Within the Software and Sensors segment, cost of product and service sales was $127.7 million, an increase of $11.4 million, or 9.8%, from 2019. As a percentage of net sales, cost of product and service sales decreased to 40.6% in 2020 from 46.7% in 2019. Cost of product sales increased $3.7 million primarily driven by the impact of increased units, but decreased as a percentage of total segment net sales, reflecting higher average selling prices on Axon cameras and docks, overall product mix, and relatively stable unit costs. Cost of service sales increased $7.7 million driven primarily by a $3.9 million increase in third party cloud data cost, and an increase in professional services expense due to increased deployments in 2020.
Gross Margin (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,
Software and Sensors segment
Total gross margin
Gross margin as % of net sales
Gross margin increased $109.0 million to $416.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $307.3 million for 2019. As a percentage of net sales, gross margin increased to 61.1% for 2020 from 57.9% for 2019.
As a percentage of net sales, gross margin for the TASER segment increased to 62.6% for the year ended December 31, 2020 from 61.9% for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Within the Software and Sensors segment, gross margin as a percentage of total segment net sales was 59.4% and 53.3% for the years ended 2020 and 2019, respectively. Within the Software and Sensors segment, product gross margin was 36.6% for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 29.8% for the same period in 2019, while the service margins were 77.1% and 74.8% during those same periods, respectively.
Sales, General and Administrative Expenses
Sales, General and Administrative ("SG&A") Expenses (dollars in thousands):
Year Ended December 31,