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falseFY0001793663As of December 31, 2023, the Company does not have restricted cash balances. As of December 31, 2022, the restricted cash included US$608, which Itaú Bank in Brazil held. These deposits were not available for use by the other entities within the Group and refer to the guarantee granted related to BNDES and Itaú loans. The restricted cash also included US$1,000 related to guarantees used to increase the Group’s corporate credit cards limits. Refer to note 16 for additional details.Includes a earn-out adjustment of US$897 related to the Workarea acquisition. In January 2022 the Company carried out an assessment of the Purchase Price Consideration of Workarea’s acquisition, having identified an immaterial adjustment. The Purchase Price Consideration recognized on December 31, 2021, financial statements were based on a provisional assessment. In January 2022, the valuation sought by an independent valuation and assessment were completed. Also includes a fixed installment immaterial adjustment of US$244 related to the Ciashop acquisition.Refers mainly to advances payment to hosting and software suppliers.Suiteshare was acquired in April 2021, refer to note 3.2 for additional details. In March 2022 it was merged into VTEX Brazil.In May 2021, the Group acquired the non-controlling interest of VTEX MEX. Refer to note 19.2(d) for additional details.VTEX ESP was created in March/ 2022 to fulfill the Group’s operational needs.Comprising ordinary shares of an unlisted entity acquired in October 2023, measured at fair value. The Group elected to recognize the changes in fair value of the existing instrument through profit or loss (“FVPL”). 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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 27, 2024
 
 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM
20-F
 
 
 
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
 
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number
001-40626
 
 
VTEX
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
N/A
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
The Cayman Islands
(Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)
125 Kingsway, WC2B 6NH
London, United Kingdom
(Address of principal executive offices)
Ricardo Camatta Sodré, Chief Financial Officer,
Tel: +44 20 3695 7895
investors@vtex.com
125 Kingsway, WC2B 6NH London, United Kingdom
(Name, Telephone,
E-mail
and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of each class:
 
Trading
Symbol
 
Name of each exchange
on which registered:
Class A common shares, nominal value of US$0.0001
 
VTEX
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:
The number of outstanding shares as of December 31, 2023 was
77,392,906
Class A common shares and 106,634,102 Class B common shares.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities
Act. 
Yes
 ☐ No ☒
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Yes ☐ No ☒
Note- Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
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. Yes ☒ No ☐
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). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-
accelerated filer or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer     Accelerated filer ☒   
Non-accelerated filer
 
       Emerging growth company  
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, 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. 
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
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. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. 
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements: 
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to
§240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
 
U.S. GAAP ☐   
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board ☒
   Other ☐
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
Item 17 ☐   Item 18 ☐.
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No 
 
 
 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

         Page  

Part I

       1  

Item 1.

  Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers      8  

    A.

  Directors and senior management      8  

    B.

  Advisers      8  

    C.

  Auditors      8  

Item 2.

  Offer Statistics and expected Timetable      8  

Item 3.

  Key Information      8  

Item 4.

  Information on the Company      54  

    A.

  History and Development of the Company      54  

    B.

  Business Overview      54  

    C.

  Organizational Structure      76  

    D.

  Property, Plant and Equipment      76  

Item 4.A.

  Unresolved Staff Comments      77  

Item 5.

  Operating and Financial Review and Prospects      77  

    A.

  Operating Results      77  

    B.

  Liquidity and Capital Resources      92  

    C.

  Research and Development, Patents and Licenses, etc.      94  

    D.

  Trend Information      94  

    E.

  Critical Accounting Estimates      97  

Item 6.

  Directors, Senior Management and Employees      97  

    A.

  Directors and Senior Management      97  

    B.

  Compensation      101  

    C.

  Board Practices      102  

    D.

  Employees      103  

    E.

  Share Ownership      103  

    F.

  Disclosure of a registrant’s action to recover erroneously awarded compensation.      103  

Item 7.

  Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions      103  

    A.

  Major Shareholders      103  

    B.

  Related Party Transactions      106  

    C.

  Interests of Experts and Counsel      107  

Item 8.

  Financial Information      107  

    A.

  Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information      107  

    B.

  Significant Changes      108  

Item 9.

  The Offer and Listing      108  

 

1


Table of Contents

    A.

  Offer and Listing Details      108  

    B.

  Plan of Distribution      108  

    C.

  Markets      108  

    D.

  Selling Shareholders      108  

    E.

  Dilution      109  

    F.

  Expenses of the Issue      109  

Item 10.

  Additional Information      109  

    A.

  Share Capital      109  

    B.

  Memorandum and Articles of Association      109  

    C.

  Material Contracts      128  

    D.

  Exchange Controls      128  

    E.

  Taxation      128  

    F.

  Dividends and Paying Agents      133  

    G.

  Statement by Experts      133  

    H.

  Documents on Display      133  

    I.

  Subsidiary Information      133  

    J.

  Annual Report to Security Holders      133  

Item 11.

  Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk      134  

Item 12.

  Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities      135  

    A.

  Debt Securities      135  

    B.

  Warrants and Rights      135  

    C.

  Other Securities      135  

    D.

  American Depositary Shares      135  

Part II

       136  

Item 13.

  Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies      136  

Item 14.

  Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds      136  

Item 15.

  Controls and Procedures      136  

    A.

  Disclosure Controls and Procedures      136  

    B.

  Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting      136  

    C.

  Attestation Report of the Registered Public Accounting Firm      137  

    D.

  Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting      137  

Item 16.

  Reserved      137  

Item 16A

  Audit Committee Financial Expert      137  

Item 16B.

  Code of Ethics      137  

Item 16C.

  Principal Accountant Fees and Services      137  

Item 16D.

  Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees      138  

Item 16E.

  Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers      138  

 

2


Table of Contents

Item 16F.

   Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant      139  

Item 16G.

   Corporate Governance      139  

Item 16H.

   Mine Safety Disclosure      140  

Item 16I.

   Disclosure Regarding foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections      140  

Item 16J.

   Insider Trading Policies      140  

Item 16K.

   Cybersecurity      140  

Part III

        144  

Item 17.

   Financial Statements      144  

Item 18.

   Financial Statements      144  

Item 19.

   Exhibits      144  

 

 

3


Table of Contents

PART I

INTRODUCTION

Forward-Looking Statements

This annual report on Form 20-F contains information that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or Exchange Act, that are not based on historical facts and are not assurances of future results and as such, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many of the forward-looking statements in this annual report on Form 20-F can be identified based on forward-looking words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “can,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “likely,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “potential,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “would,” or the opposite of these terms or other similar expressions.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. There is no assurance that the expected events, trends or results will actually occur and we undertake no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements and estimates whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our current belief or expectations as of the date of this annual report and estimates on future events and trends that affect or may affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, prospects and the trading price of our Class A common shares. Although such forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and information currently available to us, which we believe to be reasonable, none of the forward-looking statements, whether expressed or implied, are indicative of or guarantee future results. Given such limitations, investors should not make any investment decision on the basis of the forward-looking statements contained herein.

 

   

our ability to attract new customers, retain existing customers and increase sales to both new or existing customers in a cost-effective manner;

 

   

our ability to innovate and respond to technological advances in a manner that responds to our customers’ evolving needs or preferences;

 

   

our ability to effectively develop and expand our marketing and sales capabilities and our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform;

 

   

our failure to enhance and maintain our brand recognition or maintain a positive public image;

 

   

the inherent risks related to the SaaS market, such as the interruption, failure or breach of our third-party service providers’ computer or information technology systems, resulting in the degradation of the quality or a decline in the use of the products and services we offer;

 

   

our ability to successfully acquire new businesses as clients, acquire clients in new industry verticals and appropriately manage our international expansion;

 

   

our ability to meet our contractual commitments with our customers and to offer high quality customer support;

 

   

general economic, political and business conditions and their impact on our business, notably with respect to inflation and interest rates and their impact on the discretionary spending of businesses;

 

   

risks associated with macroeconomic uncertainty and geopolitical risk, including the consequences and the impacts of the ongoing conflicts between Russia-Ukraine and Hamas-Israel in the Gaza Strip, which could limit our ability to grow our business and expand to new countries;

 

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the impact of substantial and increasing competition in our market, innovation by our competitors, and our ability to compete effectively;

 

   

our compliance with applicable regulatory and legislative developments and regulations and legislation that currently apply or become applicable to our business as we continue to grow;

 

   

our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel while controlling our personnel related expenses;

 

   

our ability to obtain, maintain, protect, enforce and enhance our brand and intellectual property and proprietary rights;

 

   

our ability to maintain our classification as an emerging growth company under the JOBS Act;

 

   

health crises, including due to pandemics and government measures taken in response thereto;

 

   

other factors that may affect our financial condition, liquidity and results of operations; and

 

   

the other factors discussed under section “Risk factors” in this annual report on Form 20-F.

Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The accompanying information contained in this annual report on Form 20-F, including without limitation the information set forth under the heading “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects,” identifies important factors that could cause such differences. In light of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions associated with forward-looking statements, investors should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Additional risks that we may currently deem immaterial or that are not presently known to us could also cause the forward-looking events discussed in this annual report on Form 20-F not to occur.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this annual report on Form 20-F, and we do not undertake any obligation to update them in light of new information or future developments or to release publicly any revisions to these statements in order to reflect later events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Certain Definitions

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all references in this annual report to “VTEX” or the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “ours,” “us” or similar terms refer to VTEX.

The term “Brazil” refers to the Federative Republic of Brazil and the phrase “Brazilian government” refers to the federal government of Brazil. “Central Bank” refers to the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil). References in the annual report to “real,” “reais” or “R$” refer to the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil and references to “U.S. dollar,” “U.S. dollars” or “US$” refer to U.S. dollars, the official currency of the United States.

Active online stores means the number of unique domains generating gross merchandise value.

APIs means application programming interfaces, a set of clearly defined methods of communication between different software components, which, together with our SDKs and other tools, enables third parties to create applications that can easily connect and integrate with our technology platform;

ARR means annual recurring revenue, calculated as subscription revenue in the most recent quarter multiplied by four;

Black Friday means the day after Thanksgiving, regarded as the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season on which retailers offer special reduced prices;

 

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Black November means the commercial sale season introduced by Brazilian ecommerce websites in 2010, that is the long equivalent of Black Friday;

BNDES means the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social);

Brick-and-mortar means a business that operates physically in a building or other structure;

Business to business (“B2B”) means a form of transaction where businesses sell products to other businesses;

Business to consumer (“B2C”) means a form of transaction where businesses sell products to end consumers or individuals;

CCPA means the California Consumer Privacy Act;

CDI means the Brazilian interbank deposit (certificado de deposito interbancário) rate, which is an average of interbank overnight rates in Brazil;

CPG means consumer packaged goods that require routine replacement or replenishment, such as food, beverages, clothes, tobacco, makeup and household products;

Digitally native brands (“DNBs”) means businesses that have only existed in the digital world primarily or entirely selling its products through an online channel;

Cohort means a group of customers that received the first invoice of our VTEX platform in the preceding 18 months, to account for average implementation and ramp-up times;.

Collaborative Commerce means an innovative approach that embraces digital collaboration with suppliers and partners enabling our customers to integrate their own proprietary software with our software and our deep network of solutions from best-of-breed partners and digital marketplaces;

Composable Commerce means our low-code development platform with a customizable and flexible back-end, decoupled storefront and pre-built integrations;

Consumers means our customers’ clients;

Content Management System (“CMS”) means a software that enables businesses to create, edit and publish digital website content without writing any code.

Conversational Commerce means ecommerce done via various means of conversation, such as live support on ecommerce websites, online chat using messaging apps, chatbots on messaging apps or websites, voice assistants.

Customer acquisition costs (“CAC”) means the total sales and marketing expenses incurred during the four quarters preceding the quarter in which the calculation is made;

Customer relationship management (“CRM”) means the technology for managing a company’s relationships and interactions with existing and potential new customers;

Customers means companies ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to larger enterprises that pay to use VTEX’s platform;

FCPA means the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law enacted in 1977 for the purposes of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business;

 

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FX neutral means a way of using the average monthly exchange rates for each month during the previous year, adjusted by inflation in countries with hyper-inflation, and applying them to the corresponding months of the current year, so as to calculate what results would have been had exchange rates remained stable from one year to the next;

GDPR means General Data Protection Regulation, a law enacted in 2016 on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area;

Graphical user interface (“GUI”) means a computer program that enables a person to communicate with a computer through the use of symbols, visual metaphors, used by most modern operating systems.

Gross merchandise value (“GMV”) means the total value of the orders processed through our platform, including value-added taxes and shipping. Our GMV does not include the value of orders processed by our SMB platform customers or B2B transactions;

Headless means the decoupling of the front-end customer experiences from back-end commerce services giving companies the flexibility and freedom to build commerce experiences that are aligned with their business and end-consumer;

Hyperinflation means the rapid increase in monetary inflation;

Independent Software Vendor (“ISVs”) means business partners focused on developing, marketing, and selling software products independently of hardware or platform providers, creating applications, solutions, or services tailored to meet specific business or consumer needs;

Internet of Things (“IoT”) means the network of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention;

Live Shopping means the combination of video livestream, ecommerce and social media. It is interactive and shoppable content that allows merchants to bring the in-store experience online where brands can promote and sell products through livestreams on digital platforms.

Low-code development means a platform providing a development environment used to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming;

LTV means lifetime value, calculated as gross profit from new sales during the four quarters of any given period divided by the subscription churn rate of the last 12 months;

Marketplaces means online businesses that connect sellers with buyers and manage all transactions;

Multi-tenant architecture means software architecture in which a single instance of a software application serves multiple groups of customers that share a single codebase;

NRR means net revenue retention, calculated on a monthly basis by dividing the subscription revenue from our platform during the current period by the subscription revenue in the same period of the previous year for the same base of online stores that were active in the same period of the previous year;

Order management system (“OMS”) means the VTEX platform feature designed to provide a 360-degree view of inventory and orders, allowing a customer to orchestrate sellers, manage inventory and develop tailor-made shipping strategies across a series of fulfillment scenarios;

Partners means the VTEX’s ecosystem of technology businesses that embed our solutions into their own offerings allowing our customers to conduct commerce more conveniently and include providers for shipping, marketplaces, point-of-sale, omnichannel, marketing automation, search, merchandising, system integrators, agencies, payment solutions, anti-fraud and lending;

 

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Payment solutions means businesses that offer technology needed to accept an end-consumer transaction on a customer’s website;

PCI acquirers means payment card industry acquirer, typically a financial institution, that processes payment card transactions for merchants and is defined by a payment brand as an acquirer;

SKUs mean stock keeping unit, a distinct type of item for sale such as a product or service;

Small-to-medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) means businesses that utilize our Loja Integrada on-demand commerce platform;

SSS means same-store-sales calculated on a yearly basis by dividing the GMV of active online stores in the current period by the GMV of the same active online same stores in the prior period;

Subscription churn rate means the annual turnover of our customers;

Suppliers means businesses supplying materials to our customers;

System integrators (“SIs”) means business partners focused on optimizing back-end system performance;

Take rate means the percentage of the total value of the orders processed through our platform, including value-added taxes and shipping;

Two-factor authentication means a security process in which users provide two different authentication factors to verify themselves;

VTEX IO means our low-code server-less environment for our customers’ technology teams to extend our core components and build new components in an integrated environment with best-in-class scalability and security; and

VTEX Lab means our university partnership program that provides students with an immersive experience of continued learning.

Financial Information

VTEX was incorporated on July 25, 2018, as a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability duly registered with the Cayman Islands Registrar of Companies.

We maintain our books and records in U.S. dollars, the functional currency of our operations and the presentation currency for our financial statements. Unless otherwise noted, the financial information presented herein has been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2023 and 2022 and for the three years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, together with the accompanying notes thereto, prepared in accordance with IFRS Accounting Standards as issued by IASB and included elsewhere in this annual report, or our consolidated financial statements

Certain amounts and percentages included in this annual report have been rounded for ease of presentation. Percentage figures included in this annual report have not been calculated in all cases on the basis of the rounded figures but on the basis of the original amounts prior to rounding. For this reason, certain percentage amounts in this annual report may vary from those obtained by performing the same calculations using the figures in our audited consolidated financial statements. The tables included in this annual report may not total due to rounding.

Special Note Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This annual report presents certain Non-GAAP financial measures, which are not recognized under IFRS Accounting Standards, specifically Free Cash Flow and FX Neutral measures. These Non-GAAP financial measures are provided to enhance investors’ overall understanding of our current financial performance and its prospects for the future. Specifically, we believe the Non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to both management and investors by giving effect to certain adjustments that may not be indicative of our core operating results and business outlook.

 

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Free Cash Flow and FX Neutral measures have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation or as substitutes for analysis of our results of operations presented in accordance with IFRS Accounting Standards. Additionally, our calculations of Free Cash Flow and FX Neutral measures may be different from the calculation used by other companies, including our competitors, and therefore, our measures may not be comparable to those of other companies.

Free Cash Flow

We calculate Free Cash Flow as our net cash provided by (used in) operating activities minus acquisition of property and equipment and intangibles related to acquisitions. In the future, we will adjust Free Cash Flow also by the capitalization of internally developed software; however, currently we do not capitalize internally developed software. Free Cash Flow is a measure used by management to understand and evaluate our liquidity and to generate future operating plans. The reduction of capital expenditures facilitates comparisons of our liquidity on a period-to-period basis and excludes items that we do not consider to be indicative of our liquidity. We believe that Free Cash Flow is a measure of liquidity that provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating the strength of our liquidity and future ability to generate cash that can be used for strategic opportunities or investing in our business in the same manner as our management and board of directors. Further, our definition of Free Cash Flow may differ from the definitions used by other companies and therefore comparability may be limited. Investors should consider Free Cash Flow alongside our other IFRS Accounting Standards-based financial performance measures, such as net cash provided by (used in) operating activities, and our other IFRS Accounting Standards financial results.

FX Neutral measures

We provide certain metrics on an FX Neutral basis to enhance overall understanding of our current financial performance and its prospects for the future, and we understand that this measure provides useful information to both our management and investors. In particular, we believe that those FX Neutral measures provide useful information to both our management and investors by excluding the foreign currency exchange rate impact that may not be indicative of our core operating results and business outlook.

The FX Neutral measures were calculated by using the average monthly exchange rates for each month during 2021, 2022 and 2023, adjusted by inflation in countries with hyper-inflation, and applying them to the corresponding months in 2022 and 2023, as applicable, so as to calculate what our results would have been had exchange rates remained stable from one year to the next.

Market Data

This annual report contains data related to economic conditions in the market in which we operate. The information contained in this annual report concerning economic conditions is based on publicly available information from third-party sources that we believe to be reliable. Market data and certain industry forecast data used in this annual report were derived from our management’s knowledge and our experience in the industry, internal reports and studies, where appropriate, as well as estimates, market research, publicly available information and industry publications. We obtained the information included in this annual report relating to the Brazilian payment solutions markets, and more broadly, the industry in which we operate, as well as the estimates concerning market shares, through internal research, public information and publications on the industry prepared by official public sources, such as the Central Bank, Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Fundação Getúlio Vargas), or FGV, Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), or IBGE, International Data Corporation, or IDC MarketScape, Gartner, Inc., or Gartner, Insider Intelligence, Digital Commerce 360, Fitch, Statista, amongst others.

 

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The sources of certain statistical data, estimates, and forecasts contained in this annual report are derived from the following independent industry publications or reports:

 

   

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide MidMarket B2B Digital Commerce Applications 2023–2024 Vendor Assessment, doc #US49742523, December 2023;

 

   

2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce Report, August 2023;

 

   

2023 Paradigm B2B Combine: Enterprise and Midmarket Editions, July 2023;

 

   

The Business Research Company, Same-day Delivery Services Global Market Report 2023, December 2023;

 

   

Insider Intelligence Inc.: Latin America Retail Ecommerce Update; December 2023;

 

   

Fitch Solutions: Global Economic Outlook, December 2023.; and

 

   

Statista: Latin America and the Caribbean: Gross domestic product (GDP) from 2018 to 2028, October 2023.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to its research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Gartner® and Peer Insights are trademarks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner® Peer InsightsTM content consists of the opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences, and should not be construed as statements of fact, nor do they represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in this content nor makes any warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this content, about its accuracy or completeness, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Industry publications, governmental publications and other market sources, including those referred to above, generally state that the information they include has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but that the accuracy and completeness of such information is not guaranteed. We have no reason to believe any of this information or these reports are inaccurate in any material respect and believe and act as if they are reliable. We have not independently verified it and they are subject to change based on various factors, including those discussed in “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors.” Estimates of market and industry data are based on statistical models, key assumptions and limited data sampling, and actual market and industry data may differ significantly from estimated industry data. In addition, the data that we compile internally and our estimates have not been verified by an independent source. Information derived from management’s knowledge and our experience is presented on a reasonable, good faith basis. Except as disclosed in this annual report, none of the publications, reports or other published industry sources referred to in this annual report were commissioned by us or prepared at our request. Except as disclosed in this annual report, we have not sought or obtained the consent of any of these sources to include such market data in this annual report.

The information set forth herein derived from Fitch Solutions is subject to the Fitch Solutions Terms of Use available at: https://www.fitch.group/terms-of-use#Terms-Solutions. Information contained on this website is not incorporated by reference into this annual report, and investors should not consider the information contained on this website to be part of this annual report or in deciding whether to invest in our Class A common shares.

 

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Emerging Growth Company Status

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in Section 2(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, as modified by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the date of our first sale of our common equity securities pursuant to an effective registration statement under the Securities Act, (b) in which we have total annual revenues of at least US$1.235 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common shares that is held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700.0 million as of the prior June 30 (the end of our second fiscal quarter), and (2) the date on which we have issued more than US$1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period. As an emerging growth company, we are eligible to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including, but not limited to, exemptions from the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 -b of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and any Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, rules, including any future audit rule promulgated by the PCAOB (unless the SEC determines otherwise). Accordingly, the information about us available to investors will not be the same as, and may be more limited than, the information available to shareholders of a non-emerging growth company.

 

ITEM 1.

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

 

A.

Directors and senior management

Not applicable.

 

B.

Advisers

Not applicable.

 

C.

Auditors

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

A.

Offer statistics.

Not applicable.

 

B.

Method and expected timetable

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.

KEY INFORMATION

 

A.

[Reserved]

 

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

 

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C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

 

D.

Risk Factors

Certain Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

Although we have experienced significant growth in recent periods, we have recorded net losses since 2019. We may record net losses for the foreseeable future as we continue to implement our growth strategy with a high-efficiency mindset. Consequently, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and sustain profitability; our recent levels of growth may not be indicative of our future growth and will depend on our ability to attract new customers, retain existing customers, and increase sales to both new and existing customers, particularly if ecommerce growth ceases or consumer spending is adversely impacted by a challenging macroeconomic environment or general economic downturns.

Since 2019, we have recorded a net loss, and we expect to continue to record a net loss for the foreseeable future as we continue to implement our growth strategy. Consequently, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to achieve and sustain profitability. We incurred a net loss of US$13.7 million, US$52.4 million and US$60.5 million in the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively. However, we experienced resilient growth in revenue, recording a 27.8% increase in total revenue to US$201.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2023, from US$157.6 million in the year ended December 2022, and 25.3% increase in total revenue in the year ended December 31, 2022, from US$125.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2021. We principally generate revenues through subscriptions plans, where we have a fixed fee and a revenue-sharing component based on a percentage charged on the customer’s GMV. Our subscription plans typically have 12-to-36-month terms. Our customers have no obligation to renew their subscriptions after their subscription term expires and have the ability to terminate their subscriptions upon short notice. As a result, even though the number of customers using our platform has grown rapidly in recent years, there can be no assurance that we will attract new customers, retain existing customers or increase sales to both new and existing customers. In addition, our results may be affected if we lose or forego income derived from commission fees charged to marketplace partners, payment providers and any other service provided through our app store with which we operate.

Our ability to grow and generate incremental revenue also depends, in part, on our ability to maintain and grow our relationships with existing customers (including any customers acquired in connection with our acquisitions) and to have them increase their usage of our platform. If our customers do not increase their use of our products, our revenue may decline, and our results of operations may be harmed. Customers are charged based on the usage of our products. Most of our customers do not have long-term contractual arrangements with us, and, therefore, most of our customers may reduce or cease their use of our products at any time without penalty or termination charges. Customers may terminate or reduce their use of our products for any number of reasons, including if they are not satisfied with our products, the value proposition of our products or our ability to meet their needs and expectations. The loss of customers or reductions in their usage levels of our products may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. If a significant number of customers cease using or reduce their usage of our products, we may be required to spend significantly more on sales and marketing than we currently plan to spend in order to maintain or increase revenue from customers. Such additional sales and marketing expenditures could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Furthermore, in future periods, we may not be able to attract new customers and sustain revenue growth consistent with our recent growth, or at all. We believe our ability to attract new customers and our revenue growth depends on a number of factors, including:

 

   

reductions in our current or potential customers’ spending levels;

 

   

competitive factors affecting the software as a service, or SaaS, business software applications market, including the introduction of competing platforms, discount pricing and other strategies that may be implemented by our competitors;

 

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our ability to execute our growth strategy and operating plans;

 

   

a decline in our customers’ level of satisfaction with our platform and customers’ usage of our platform;

 

   

changes in our relationships with third parties, including our business partners, app developers, theme designers, referral sources and payment processors;

 

   

the timeliness and success of our solutions;

 

   

the frequency and severity of any system outages;

 

   

technological change;

 

   

our ability to adequately obtain, maintain, protect and enforce our intellectual property and proprietary rights;

 

   

concerns relating to actual or perceived privacy or security breaches;

 

   

the continued willingness of the end-consumers of our customers to use the internet for commerce; and

 

   

our focus on long-term value over short-term results, through strategic decisions that may not maximize our short-term revenue or profitability if we believe that the decisions are consistent with our mission and will improve our financial performance over the long term.

As a result of the foregoing factors, it is difficult for us to forecast our future revenue or revenue growth. If our assumptions are incorrect or change in reaction to changes in our market, or if we are unable to maintain consistent revenue or revenue growth, the price of our Class A common shares could be volatile, and it may be difficult to achieve and maintain profitability. Investors should not rely on our revenue for any prior periods as any indication of our future revenue or revenue growth.

Also, to the extent there is a challenging macroeconomic environment or sustained general economic downturn which adversely impact consumer spending in the countries in which we operate or our software is perceived by customers and potential customers as costly, or too difficult to deploy or migrate to, our revenue may be disproportionately affected. Our revenue may also be disproportionately affected by delays or reductions in general information technology spending. Competitors, many of whom are larger and more established than we are, may respond to market conditions by lowering prices and attempting to lure away our customers. We cannot predict the timing, strength, or duration of any economic slowdown, instability, or recovery, generally or within any particular industry. If macroeconomic conditions of or the markets in which we operate worsen from present levels, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

If we are unable to attract new customers in a cost-effective manner, then our business, results of operations and financial condition would be adversely affected.

We may be unable to attract new customers in a cost-effective manner. We use a variety of marketing channels to promote our products and platform, such as participating in and sponsoring industry events, developer events and developer evangelism, as well as search engine marketing and optimization. We periodically adjust the mix of our other marketing initiatives such as regional customer events, email campaigns, billboard advertising and public relations initiatives. If the cost of the marketing channels we use increase dramatically, then we may choose to use alternative and less expensive channels, which may not be as effective as the channels we currently use. As we add to, or change, the mix of our marketing strategies, we may also need to expand into more expensive channels than those we are currently in, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. We incur marketing expenses before we are able to recognize any revenue that the related marketing initiatives may generate, and these expenses may not result in increased revenue or brand awareness. We have made in the past, and may make in the future, significant expenditures and investments in new marketing campaigns, and we cannot guarantee that any such investments will lead to the cost-effective acquisition of new customers. If we are unable to maintain effective marketing initiatives, our ability to attract new customers could be materially and adversely affected, our advertising and marketing expenses could increase significantly, and our results of operations may suffer.

 

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If we fail to improve, enhance or innovate the features, functionality, performance, reliability, design, security and scalability of our platform in a manner that responds to our customers’ evolving needs or preferences, our business may be adversely affected and we may become subject to performance or warranty claims, and we may incur significant costs. Our services must also integrate with a variety of operating systems, software, hardware and networks. If we are unable to ensure that our services or hardware interoperate with such operating systems, software, hardware and networks, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

The markets in which we compete are characterized by constant change and innovation, and we expect them to continue to evolve rapidly. Our success has been based primarily on our ability to identify and anticipate the needs of our customers and design a platform that provides them with the tools they need to operate and grow their businesses by giving them the ability to access our platform 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without interruption or performance degradation. Our ability to attract new customers, retain existing customers and increase sales to both new and existing customers will depend in large part on our ability to continue to improve and enhance the functionality, performance, reliability, design, security and scalability of our platform, as well as offering new solutions that appeal to our customers as their business needs evolve.

Our platform must also integrate with a variety of third-party network, hardware, mobile, and software platforms and technologies. We need to continuously modify, enhance and introduce new features to our platform to adapt to changes and innovation in these technologies. Any changes in these systems or networks that degrade the functionality of our platform, impose additional costs or requirements on us, or give preferential treatment to competitive services, including their own services, could materially and adversely affect usage of our platform. If businesses widely adopt new ecommerce technologies, we would have to develop new functionalities for our platform to be compatible with those new technologies, which we may not be able to do in a timely and cost-effective manner. These development efforts may require significant engineering, marketing and sales resources, all of which would affect our business and operating results, and there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. Any failure of our platform to operate effectively with future technologies could reduce the demand for our platform. If we are unable to respond to these changes in a cost-effective manner, our platform may become less marketable and less competitive or obsolete, and our operating results may be negatively affected.

Our customers use our services for processes that are critical to their businesses. Errors, defects, security vulnerabilities, service interruptions or software bugs in our platform, whether in connection with day-to-day operation, upgrades or otherwise, could result in losses to our customers, harm our reputation, and result in reduced sales or a loss of, or delay in, the market acceptance of our solutions. Prolonged interruption in the availability, or the reduction in functionality, of our platform or solutions, or frequent or persistent interruptions in accessing our platform, could cause customers to believe that our platform is unreliable and could materially harm our reputation and business. Our customers may seek significant compensation from us for any losses they suffer in connection with such performance issues or cease conducting business with us altogether by terminating their contracts or electing not to renew their subscriptions. Further, a customer could share information about bad experiences on social media, which could result in damage to our reputation and loss of future sales. There can be no assurance that provisions typically included in our agreements with our customers that attempt to limit our exposure to claims related to our platform would be enforceable or adequate or would otherwise protect us from liabilities or damages with respect to any particular claim, and our insurance policies may be insufficient to cover such claims. Even if not successful, a claim brought against us by any of our customers would likely be time-consuming and costly to defend and could seriously damage our reputation and brand, making it harder for us to sell our solutions.

From time to time, we have found defects or errors in our platform and may discover additional defects or errors in the future that could result in, among other issues, data unavailability, unauthorized access to, loss, corruption, or other harm to our customers’ data. We may not be able to detect and correct defects or errors before the release of solutions on our platform. Consequently, we or our customers may discover defects or errors after such solutions have been released on our platform. We implement bug fixes and upgrades as part of our regularly scheduled system maintenance, but such maintenance may adequately address all defects or errors in our platform.

 

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Furthermore, if we do not complete this maintenance according to schedule or if customers are otherwise dissatisfied with the frequency and/or duration of our maintenance services and related system outages, customers could terminate their contracts, or delay or withhold payment to us, or cause us to issue credits, make refunds, or pay penalties. The costs incurred or delays resulting from the correction of defects or errors in our software or other performance problems may be substantial and could adversely affect our operating results.

In such events, we may also be required, or may choose, for customer relations or other reasons, to expend additional resources in order to help correct the problem. In addition, we may not carry insurance sufficient to compensate us for any losses that may result from claims arising from defects or disruptions in our products. As a result, our reputation and our brand could be harmed, and our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.

Failure to effectively develop and expand our marketing and sales capabilities could harm our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform. If we are not able to hire, develop and retain talented marketing personnel, or if our new marketing personnel are unable to develop and execute efficient inbound and branding marketing programs in a reasonable period of time, or if our sales and marketing strategies are not effective to generate traffic and build a top of mind brand, our ability to attract new customers may be impaired.

Our ability to increase our customer base and achieve broader market acceptance of our platform will depend on our ability to expand our marketing and sales operations. We plan to continue expanding our sales force and strategic business partners, both domestically and internationally. We may not achieve anticipated revenue growth from expanding our sales force if we are unable to hire, develop and retain talented sales personnel, if our new sales personnel are unable to achieve desired productivity levels in a reasonable period of time, or if our sales and marketing programs are not effective. Our business and operating results may be adversely affected if our sales and marketing efforts do not generate a corresponding increase in revenue.

We also plan to dedicate significant resources to sales and marketing programs, including search engine and other online advertising with respect to our small and medium business, or SMB platform, online stores, which represented less than 7.0% of our revenues in the year ended December 31, 2023. The effectiveness of our online advertising may continue to vary due to competition for key search terms, changes in search engine use, and changes in search algorithms used by major search engines and other digital marketing platforms. If the cost of marketing our platform over search engines or other digital marketing platforms increases, our business and operating results could be adversely affected. Competitors also may bid on the search terms that we use to drive traffic to our website. Such actions could increase our marketing costs and result in decreased traffic to our website

If we fail to maintain or grow our brand recognition, our ability to expand our customer base will be impaired and our financial condition may suffer.

We believe that maintaining and growing the VTEX brand is important to supporting continued acceptance of our existing and future solutions, attracting new customers to our platform, and retaining existing customers. We also believe that the importance of brand recognition will increase as competition in our market increases. Successfully maintaining our brand will depend largely on the effectiveness of our marketing efforts, our ability to foster brand advocates from customers, partners and top-tier analyst firms, our ability to provide a reliable and useful platform to meet the needs of our customers at competitive prices, our ability to maintain our customers’ trust, our ability to continue to develop new functionalities and solutions, and our ability to successfully differentiate our platform from competitive products and services. Additionally, our business partners’ performance may affect our brand and reputation if customers do not have a positive experience. Our efforts to build and maintain our brand have involved and will continue to involve significant expenses. Brand promotion activities may not generate customer awareness or yield increased revenue. Even if they do, any increased revenue may not offset the expenses we incurred in building our brand. We strive to establish and maintain our brand in part by obtaining trademark rights. However, if our trademarks are not adequately protected, we may not be able to build name recognition in our markets of interest and our competitive position may be harmed. If we fail to successfully promote, protect and maintain our brand, we may fail to attract enough new customers or retain our existing customers to realize a sufficient return on our brand-building efforts, and our business could suffer.

 

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We face intense competition, especially from well-established companies offering solutions and related applications. We may lack sufficient financial or other resources to maintain or improve our competitive position, which may harm our ability to add new customers, retain existing customers and grow our business.

The market for ecommerce solutions is evolving and highly competitive. We expect competition to increase in the future from established competitors and new market entrants. We expect competition to persist and intensify in the future with the introduction of new technologies (such as artificial intelligence) and the entry of new companies into the market. This could harm our ability to increase sales, maintain or increase renewals and maintain our prices. We face intense competition from other software companies that may offer related ecommerce platform software solutions and services. Our competitors include larger companies that have acquired ecommerce platform solution providers in recent years. We also compete with custom software internally developed within ecommerce businesses. Our primary competitors are SAP Hybris, Oracle Commerce, Magento (an Adobe company), Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly known as Demandware), and Shopify Plus. In addition, we face competition from niche companies that offer point products that attempt to address certain of the problems that our platform solves.

Many of our existing competitors have, and our potential competitors could have, substantial competitive advantages such as greater name recognition, longer operating histories, larger sales and marketing budgets and resources, greater customer support resources, lower labor and development costs, larger and more mature intellectual property portfolios, and substantially greater financial, technical and other resources.

Some of our larger competitors also have substantially broader product lines that may allow them to offer a broader suite of products to retailers than we can. Conditions in our market could change rapidly and significantly as a result of technological advancements, partnering by our competitors, or continuing market consolidation. New start-up companies that innovate, and large companies that are making significant investments in research and development, may invent similar or superior products and technologies that compete with our platform.

Mergers and acquisition activity in the technology industry could increase the likelihood that we compete with other large technology companies. In addition, some of our competitors may enter into new alliances with each other or may establish or strengthen cooperative relationships with agency partners, technology and application providers in complementary categories, or other parties. Furthermore, ecommerce on large online marketplaces could increase as a percentage of all ecommerce activity, thereby reducing customer traffic to individual customer websites. Any such consolidation, acquisition, alliance or cooperative relationship could lead to pricing pressure, a loss of market share, or a smaller addressable share of the market. It could also result in a competitor with greater financial, technical, marketing, service and other resources, all of which could harm our ability to compete.

Some of our larger competitors use broader product offerings to compete by bundling their product, or by closing access to their technology platform. Our potential customers may worry about disadvantages associated with switching platform providers, such as a loss of accustomed functionality, increased costs and business disruption. As a result, certain potential customers may resist changing vendors. We will seek to overcome this resistance through strategies such as making investments to improve the functionality of our solutions vis-à-vis the products and solutions offered by our competitors. However, there can be no assurance that our strategies for overcoming potential customers’ reluctance to change vendors will be successful, and this resistance may adversely affect our growth plans. These competitive pressures in our market, or our failure to compete effectively, may result in price reductions, less orders, reduced revenue and gross margins, increased net losses and loss of market share. Any failure to meet and address these factors could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We may need to reduce or change our pricing model to remain competitive.

We price our fixed subscription fee and our transaction-based fee with our customers based on a combination of GMV they transact on our platform. We expect that we may need to change our pricing from time to time. As new or existing competitors introduce products that compete with ours or reduce their prices, we may be unable to attract new customers or retain existing customers. We must also determine the appropriate price to enable us to compete effectively internationally. Small, mid-market and large enterprise customers may demand substantial price discounts as part of the negotiation of sales contracts. As a result, we may be required or choose to reduce our prices or otherwise change our pricing model, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

 

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The estimates of market opportunity and forecasts of market growth included in this annual report may prove to be inaccurate. Even if the market in which we compete achieves the forecasted growth, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all.

The market for ecommerce solutions is relatively new and will experience changes over time. Ecommerce market estimates and growth forecasts are uncertain and based on assumptions and estimates that may be inaccurate. Our addressable market depends on a number of factors, including businesses’ desire to differentiate themselves through ecommerce, partnership opportunities, changes in the competitive landscape, technological changes, data security or privacy concerns, customer budgetary constraints, changes in business practices, changes in the regulatory environment, and changes in economic conditions. Our estimates and forecasts relating to the size and expected growth of our market may prove to be inaccurate and our ability to produce accurate estimates and forecasts may in the future be impacted by the macroeconomic uncertainty. Even if the market in which we compete meets the size estimates and growth rates we forecast, our business could fail to grow at similar rates, if at all.

Our business is susceptible to risks associated with international sales and the use of our platform in various countries.

We currently have customers in 43 countries. In the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 we generated 45.7% and 45.4% of our total revenue from customers outside Brazil. Besides Brazil, we currently have customers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other 29 countries. We are continuing to adapt and develop strategies to address international markets, but such efforts may not be successful.

In addition, part of our growth strategy is to further expand our operations and customer base internationally. Business expansion and development in new jurisdictions may expose us to risk related to staffing and managing cross border operations, reduced brand awareness in new markets and lack of acceptance of our products and services, competition with established local competitors and increased costs and difficulty protecting intellectual property and sensitive data, tariffs and other trade barriers, differing and potentially adverse tax consequences, increased and conflicting regulatory compliance requirements (including with respect to privacy, security and labor), challenges caused by distance, language and cultural differences, exchange rate risk and political instability. Accordingly, our efforts to develop and expand the geographic footprint of our operations may not be successful, which could limit our ability to grow our business.

Our sales and the use of our platform in various countries subject us to risks that include, but are not limited to:

 

   

the difficulty of managing and staffing international operations and the increased operations, travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs associated with servicing international customers and operating numerous international locations;

 

   

difficulties in managing systems integrators and technology partners;

 

   

differing technology standards;

 

   

our ability to effectively price our products in competitive international markets;

 

   

new and different sources of competition or other changes to our current competitive landscape;

 

   

understanding and reconciling different technical standards, data privacy and telecommunications regulations, registration and certification requirements outside of Brazil, which could prevent customers from deploying our products or limit their usage;

 

   

our ability to comply with Brazilian Federal Law No. 13,709/2018, as amended (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais), or the LGPD, and laws, regulations and industry standards relating to data privacy, data localization and security enacted in countries and other regions in which we operate or do business;

 

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potentially greater difficulty collecting trade receivable and longer payment cycles;

 

   

higher or more variable network service provider fees outside of Brazil;

 

   

the need to adapt and localize our products for specific countries;

 

   

the need to offer customer support in various languages;

 

   

lack of familiarity and burdens and complexity involved with complying with multiple, conflicting and changing foreign laws, standards, regulatory requirements, tariffs, export controls and other barriers;

 

   

greater difficulty in enforcing contracts, including our universal terms of service and other agreements;

 

   

differing labor regulations, where labor laws are generally more advantageous to employees as compared to the United States, including deemed hourly wage and overtime regulations in these locations;

 

   

reduced or uncertain protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;

 

   

compliance with various anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, the Brazilian Federal Law No. 12,846/2013, as amended, or the Brazilian Anticorruption Law, the UK Bribery Act of 2010, the UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and similar laws and regulations in other jurisdictions;

 

   

changes in international trade policies, tariffs and other non-tariff barriers, such as quotas and local content rules;

 

   

more limited protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;

 

   

compliance with (1) tax regulations in the countries in which we operate, including the complexities of foreign value-added tax (or other tax) systems and restrictions on the repatriation of earnings, which may lead to unintended abusive planning, penalties and reputational risk, or being deemed a permanent establishment and (2) payment obligations of tax on digital services in jurisdictions where we do not have legal presence;

 

   

currency exchange rate fluctuations and the resulting effect on our revenue and expenses, and the cost and risk of entering into hedging transactions if we chose to do so in the future;

 

   

restrictions on the transfer of funds;

 

   

deterioration of political relations between Brazil and other countries;

 

   

the impact of natural disasters and public health epidemics on employees, contingent workers, partners, travel and the global economy and the ability to operate freely and effectively in a region that may be fully or partially on lockdown; and

 

   

political or social unrest or economic instability in a specific country or region in which we operate, which could have an adverse impact on our operations in that location.

 

   

impact and effects arising from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the recent attack by Hamas on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

 

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These factors may cause our international costs of doing business to exceed our comparable domestic costs and may also require significant management attention and financial resources. Our future expansion efforts that we undertake may not be successful. Our failure to manage any of these risks successfully could harm our international operations, and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. If we invest substantial time and resources to expand our international operations and are unable to do so successfully, our business and operating results will suffer.

In addition, our business involves interactions with various third parties, and our customers have international operations, being subject to the aforementioned risks. Third-party entities, including service providers, suppliers, and distributors, may encounter difficulties in delivering essential services, products, or technologies within stipulated timeframes, potentially causing disruptions that could adversely affect our business and reputation. These risks may also influence our customers’ demand for our products, services, and solutions. Moreover, a disturbance in global financial markets poses a potential threat to our banking partners, critical for our operational cash management and capital market transactions. Such disruptions could further have adverse consequences, potentially hindering our customers’ ability to fulfill payment obligations due to delays or limitations in accessing their existing cash reserves.

We provide service or experience level commitments under our customer agreements. If we fail to meet these contractual commitments, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Our agreements with customers typically provide for service or experience level commitments that contain guarantees on certain performance metrics, such as uptime starting from 99.7% and maximum latency. If we suffer extended periods of downtime for our products or platform and we are unable to meet these commitments, we are contractually obligated to provide our customer a service credit of up to 20% of the monthly fees payable to us by such customer. In addition, the performance and availability of our third-party service providers, including Amazon Web Services, or AWS, which provides our cloud infrastructures, is outside of our control and, therefore, we are not in full control of whether we can meet our service level commitments. Any of the above circumstances or events may harm our reputation, cause customers to terminate their agreements with us, impair our ability to grow our customer base, subject us to contractual penalties in the form of service credits under our service level agreements, or SLAs, and otherwise harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

If we fail to offer high-quality customer support, our business and reputation could suffer.

Our customers rely on our personnel for support related to their subscription and customer solutions. High-quality support is important for the renewal and expansion of our agreements with existing customers. The importance of high-quality support, including with respect to multiple cloud support, will increase as we expand our business and pursue new customers, particularly mid-market and large enterprise customers. If we do not help our customers quickly resolve issues and provide effective ongoing support, our ability to sell new software to existing and new customers could suffer and our reputation with existing or potential customers could be harmed.

If we are unable to hire, retain and motivate qualified personnel, our business will suffer.

Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel. The inability to attract or retain qualified personnel or delays in hiring required personnel may seriously harm our business, financial condition and operating results. Our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel, specifically employees with technical and engineering skills and employees with high levels of experience in designing and developing software and internet-related services, will be critical to our future success. Competition for highly skilled personnel in Brazil and some of the countries in which we operate can be intense due in part to the more limited pool of qualified personnel as compared to other places in the world, and we have experienced difficulties hiring employees from foreign jurisdictions to work in our offices. In addition, to the extent we hire personnel from competitors, we may be subject to allegations that they have been improperly solicited by us or divulged proprietary or other confidential information to us.

 

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As our operations expand, we will require additional engineering support staff to sustain the increased use of our platform and services. If we are unable to adequately and timely grow our engineering support team or the overall quality of our current team diminishes significantly, our resources may be diverted to fixing existing errors, defects, security vulnerabilities, service interruptions or software bugs, instead of providing additional services to customers. While we may enhance our offering through acquisitions, the overall quality and cohesiveness of our product may be impaired. Failure to properly integrate the engineering support staff and activities of any of our acquired companies may result in the diversion of attention of staff to migrations and integration issues rather than focusing on the continued improvement of our platform and services.

While we issue stock options or other equity awards as key components of our overall compensation and employee attraction and retention efforts, we are required under IFRS Accounting Standards to recognize compensation expense in our operating results for employee stock-based compensation under our equity grant programs, which may increase the pressure to limit stock-based compensation and jeopardize our ability to hire, retain and motivate qualified personnel.

The loss of our qualified personnel, as well as any difficulty to attract and replace them in a timely manner, may cause an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We are dependent on the continued services and performance of our senior management and other key employees, the loss of any of whom could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our future performance depends on the continued services and contributions of our senior management, including our Founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers, Geraldo do Carmo Thomaz Júnior and Mariano Gomide de Faria, and other key employees to execute on our business plan and to identify and pursue new opportunities and product innovations. The loss of one or more of our executive officers or key employees could have a serious adverse effect on our business causing significant delays or prevent the achievement of our strategic objectives. We do not have employment agreements with our executive officers or other key personnel that require them to continue to work for us for any specified period; therefore, they could terminate their employment with us at any time. In addition, some of the members of our current senior management team have only been working together for a short period of time, which could adversely impact our ability to achieve our goals. From time to time, there may be changes in our senior management team resulting from the hiring or departure of executives, which could disrupt our business. The loss of the services of one or more of our senior management or other key employees for any reason could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results and require significant amounts of time, training and resources to find suitable replacements and integrate them within our business, and could affect our corporate culture. In addition, if the perceived value of our stock awards declines, it may adversely affect our ability to recruit and retain highly skilled employees. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, it could adversely affect our business and future growth prospects.

Our success depends in part on our business partner-centric strategy. Our business would be harmed if we fail to maintain or expand our partner relationships.

Strategic technology business partnerships are essential to our competitive strategy. A significant percentage of our customers choose to integrate our ecommerce platform with third-party application providers using our open APIs and software development kits. The functionality and popularity of our platform depends, in part, on our ability to integrate our platform with third-party applications and platforms, including marketplaces and social media sites. We are dependent on strategic technology partner solutions for major ecommerce categories, including payments (through providers such as Paypal, Adyen, Stripe, Mercado Pago and EBANX), shipping, tax, accounting, ERP, marketing, fulfillment, cross-channel commerce and point of sale system, or POS. We will continue to depend on various third-party relationships to sustain and grow our business. Third-party application providers may change the features of their applications and platforms, alter their governing terms, and restrict our ability to add, customize or integrate systems, functionality and consumer experiences. Such changes could limit or terminate our ability to use these third-party applications and platforms as part of our effort to provide our customers a highly extensible and customizable experience. This could negatively impact our offerings and harm our business. Marketplaces or social networks that have allowed limited integration into their platforms, such as Dafiti, Mercado Libre, Amazon, Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram, may discontinue our access or allow other platforms to integrate with their platforms more easily, which would increase competition for ecommerce platforms across their solutions. Our business will be negatively impacted if we fail to retain our technology partner relationships for any reason, including contractual disputes, failure to support their or our technology or integrations, errors, bugs, or defects in our or their technology, or changes in our or their platforms. Any failure to maintain such relationships could harm our relationship with our customers, our reputation and brand, our revenue, our business and our results of operations.

 

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Strategic technology partners and third parties may not be successful in building integrations, co-marketing our platform to provide a significant volume and quality of lead referrals, or continuing to work with us as their products evolve. Identifying, negotiating and documenting relationships with additional strategic technology of partners requires significant resources. Integrating third-party technology can be complex, costly and time-consuming, and third parties may be unwilling to build such necessary integrations. Consequently, we may be required to devote additional resources to develop integrations for business applications on our own. Providers of business applications with which we have integrations may decide to compete with us or enter into arrangements with our competitors, resulting in such providers withdrawing support for our integrations. Any failure of our platform to operate effectively with third-party business applications could reduce the demand for our platform, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and harm to our business. If we are unable to respond to these changes or failures in a cost-effective manner, our platform may become less marketable, less competitive, or obsolete, and our results of operations may be negatively impacted.

We also leverage the sales and referral resources of agency and referral partners through a variety of programs. If we are unable to effectively utilize, maintain and expand these relationships, our revenue growth would slow, we would need to devote additional resources to the development, sales and marketing of our platform, and our financial results and future growth prospects would be harmed. Our referral partners may also demand greater referral fees or commissions, which would increase our costs.

A cyberattack, security breach or other unauthorized access or interruption to our information technology systems or those of our third-party service providers could delay or interrupt service to our customers and their customers, harm our reputation or subject us to significant liability.

We collect, transmit, use, disclose, store and process personal information, including credit card information and other confidential information, of our employees, our business partners, our customers and their end-consumers. Third-party applications may also collect, transmit, use, disclose, store and process such personal information, credit card information and other confidential information. In addition, third-party applications may run arbitrary code within our infrastructure without our consent or knowledge to extend access to our platform. We cannot and do not proactively monitor the content that our customers upload or the information provided to us through the applications integrated with our ecommerce platform; therefore, we do not control the substance of the content on our servers, which may include personal information. Although we require users of our ecommerce platform to adopt and secure credentials in order to access it and use encryption and authentication technologies to secure the transmission and storage of data, these security measures may be compromised as a result of illegal activities by unauthorized persons, employee error, malfeasance, faulty credential management, or other irregularity which may cause unauthorized access to our customers’ - and their end consumers’ - data in our platform. Also, our employees customers, or customers contractors may inadvertently or be fraudulently instructed by third parties to disclose credentials, usernames, passwords or other access keys , which may, in turn, be used to access our ecommerce platform, commit identity theft or carry out other prohibited activities, including the irregular collection and use of personal information of our customers and their end-consumers.

We also use third-party service providers and subprocessors to help us deliver services to customers and their end-consumers. These service providers and subprocessors may also collect, transmit, use, disclose, store and process personal information, credit card information and/or other confidential information of our employees and customers. Additionally, while we believe we comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS, our subprocessors may not. This information, and the information technology systems that store such information, have in the past and may in the future be the target of unauthorized access or intrusion, or subject to security breaches and other incidents, including as a result of third-party action, employee or contractor error, nation state malfeasance, malware, phishing, computer hackers, system error, software bugs or defects, process failure or otherwise. Cybersecurity threats, privacy breaches, insider threats or other incidents and malicious internet-based activity continue to increase, evolve in nature and become more sophisticated. Information security risks for companies such as ours have significantly increased in recent years in part because of the proliferation of new technologies, the use of internet and telecommunications technologies to conduct financial transactions, and the increased sophistication and activities of organized crime, hackers, terrorists and other external parties, as well as

 

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nation-state and nation-state-supported actors. For example, in February 2021, our subsidiary, Ciashop Soluções para Comércio Eletrônico S.A., or Ciashop, was subject to a ransomware attack that corrupted certain operating system files. Ciashop’s site reliability engineering team was ultimately able to restore all services and applications and recover the corrupted data and Ciashop adopted a number of actions in an effort to prevent future incidents, including, among others, upgrading its antivirus software, a review of firewall rules of its production environment and a scan for vulnerabilities in its environment. While our platform was not affected as it is segregated from that of Ciashop’s, we cannot guarantee that any similar incidents may not occur again and adversely affect our operations.

Many companies that provide services similar to ours have also reported a significant increase in cyberattack activity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, in the past, some of our customers have been subject to distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks, a technique used by hackers to take an internet service offline by overloading its servers. Our platform may be subject to similar DDoS attacks in the future. In addition, because we leverage third-party partners and service providers, including cloud, software, data center and other critical technology vendors to deliver our solutions, we rely heavily on the data security practices and policies adopted by these third-party service providers. Our ability to monitor our third-party service providers’ data security is limited. A vulnerability in our third-party service providers’ software or systems, a failure of our third-party service providers’ safeguards, policies or procedures, or a breach of a third-party service provider’s software or systems could result in the compromise of the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our systems or the data housed in our third-party solutions. In addition, we may also become liable in the event our third-party service providers and subprocessors are subject to security breaches, privacy breaches or other cybersecurity threats. For example, in May 2021, the server of one of our third-party service providers in Chile that stores, among other things, certain of our customer’s consumer personal information processed through our platform, was accidentally made publicly available on the internet and data of approximately 3,500 of one of our customer’s consumers became accessible without authorization. Although our customer is the data controller of its consumers’ data and ultimately responsible for any privacy or security breaches involving such personal data, as our customer’s data processor, we may be held jointly or severally liable if we (or our third-party service provider) are found to not have instituted adequate data security measures on our platform. As of the date of this annual report, we concluded the investigation regarding this incident and we confirmed that unauthorized third parties did not access the exposed consumer personal information. Additionally we adopted measures to address the security flaw with this third-party service provider. We cannot guarantee that any similar incidents may not occur again and adversely affect our operations. We and our third-party service providers and partners may be unable to anticipate or prevent techniques used in the present or in future to obtain unauthorized access or to sabotage systems and cannot guarantee that applicable recovery systems, security protocols, network protection mechanisms, authentication processes and other procedures are or will be adequate to prevent network and service interruption, system failure or data loss. Since techniques used to obtain unauthorized access change frequently and the sophistication and size of DDoS and other cybersecurity attacks is increasing, we may be unable to implement adequate preventative measures or stop the attacks while they are occurring. Any actual or perceived DDoS attack or other security breach or incident could delay or interrupt service to our customers and their customers, could result in loss, compromise, corruption or disclosure of confidential information, intellectual property and sensitive and personal data or data we rely on to provide our solutions, may deter consumers from visiting our customers’ shops, damage our reputation and brand, expose us to a risk of litigation, indemnity obligations and damages for breach of contract, cause us to incur significant liability and financial loss and be subject to regulatory scrutiny, investigations, proceedings and penalties, and require us to expend significant capital and other resources to alleviate problems caused by any such DDoS attack or other security breach or incident and implement additional security measures.

Some jurisdictions, including Brazil and all 50 states in the United States, have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data, and our agreements with certain customers require us to notify them in the event of a security incident. Such mandatory disclosures – and associated data security breaches -could lead to negative publicity and may cause our customers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our data security measures and controls. Moreover, if a high-profile security breach occurs with respect to another SaaS provider, customers may lose trust in the security of the SaaS business model generally, which could adversely impact our ability to retain existing customers or attract new ones. In addition, if our security measures fail to protect credit card information adequately, we could be liable to our business partners, the payment card associations, our customers, their end-consumers and consumers with whom we have a direct relationship. We could be subject to fines and higher transaction fees, we could face regulatory or other legal action, and our customers could end their relationships with us. The limitations of liability in our contracts may

 

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not be enforceable or adequate or would otherwise protect us from any such liabilities or damages with respect to any particular claim. Our failure to comply with legal, contractual, or standards-based requirements around the security of personal information could lead to significant fines and penalties, as well as claims by our customers, their end-consumers, or other stakeholders. These proceedings or violations could force us to spend money in defense or settlement of these proceedings, result in the imposition of monetary liability or injunctive relief, divert management’s time and attention, increase our costs of doing business, and materially adversely affect our reputation and the demand for our platform.

We currently maintain cybersecurity insurance for limited clients in the US and for the EU subsidiaries, but not a global coverage, and in the event we were to seek to obtain such insurance coverage, it may not be available on acceptable terms or may not be available in sufficient amounts to cover one or more large claims in connection with cybersecurity liabilities. Insurers could also deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us, or changes in any insurance policies we may enter into, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or coinsurance requirements, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are also subject to federal, state and foreign laws regarding cybersecurity and the protection of data. See “—Our business is subject to the APAC region, the European Union and United Kingdom, Latam and the United States., data protection and information security laws, regulations, rules, standards, policies and contractual and other legal obligations, and our customers may also be subject to such laws and regulations. Any actual or perceived failure of our products to comply with or enable our customers to comply with such applicable laws and regulations would harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.”

See “Item 16K. Cybersecurity—Cybersecurity Risk Management.”

We depend on third-party data hosting and transmission services. Increases in cost, interruptions or delays in service, latency, or poor service from our third-party data center or internet service providers could impair the functionality of our platform. This could result in customer or consumer dissatisfaction, damage to our reputation, loss of customers, limited growth and reduction in revenue.

We currently host the majority of our platform functions on third-party data center hosting facilities operated by AWS, located in the United States of America. Our ability to deliver our solutions also depends on the development and maintenance of internet infrastructure by third parties, including the maintenance of reliable networks with the necessary speed, data capacity and bandwidth. Our platform is deployed to multiple data centers primarily located in the United States in multiple locations, including some for the purpose of disaster recovery. However, despite precautions taken and disaster recovery arrangements we have in place at our data centers or those of our third-party service providers, natural disaster, acts of terrorism, vandalism, fraud, security attacks or sabotage, closure of a facility by public authorities without adequate notice, or other unanticipated problems could result in lengthy interruptions or performance degradation of our platform. Our third-party service providers are ultimately responsible for maintaining their own network security, disaster recovery and system management procedures, and our review processes for such providers may be insufficient to identify, prevent or mitigate adverse events. The owners and operators of our current and future hosting facilities do not guarantee that our customers’ access to our solutions will be uninterrupted, error-free or secure. Our operations depend, in part, on our third-party providers’ protection of their facilities and infrastructure against damage, interruption and other performance problems, including from natural disasters, power or telecommunications failures, criminal acts, infrastructure changes, human or software errors, cybersecurity attacks, or similar events. If any of our third-party service providers experience disruptions or service lapses, or if our third-party infrastructure services agreements are terminated, we could experience interruptions in our platform, latency, as well as delays and additional expenses in arranging new facilities and services. Any prolonged service disruption affecting our platform caused by our third-party service providers could result in lengthy interruptions in the delivery of our platform and solutions, cause system interruptions, damage our reputation with current and potential customers, expose us to liability, cause us to lose customers, cause the loss of critical data, prevent us from supporting our platform and otherwise harm our business.

Our customers often draw significant numbers of end-consumers to their online stores over short periods of time, including from events such as new product releases, holiday shopping seasons and flash sales, which significantly increases the traffic on our servers and the volume of transactions processed on our platform. Our servers may be unable to achieve or maintain data transmission capacity sufficient for timely service of increased

 

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traffic or order processing and the failure of data centers, internet service providers or other third-party service providers to meet our capacity requirements could result in interruptions or delays in access to our platform and inhibit our ability to grow our business and scale our operations. Our failure to achieve or maintain sufficient and performant data transmission capacity could significantly reduce demand for our platform. In the future, we may be required to allocate resources, including spending substantial amounts of money, to build, purchase or lease additional data centers and equipment and upgrade our technology and network infrastructure in order to handle the increased load. If one of these third parties suffers from capacity constraints, our business may be adversely affected. In addition, because we and our customers generate a disproportionate amount of revenue in the fourth quarter as a result of customary seasonality, any disruption in our customers’ ability to process and fulfill customer orders in the fourth quarter could have a disproportionately negative effect on our operating results.

Furthermore, a significant portion of our operating cost is from our third-party data hosting and transmission services. If the costs for such services increase due to vendor consolidation, regulation, contract renegotiation or otherwise, we may not be able to increase the fees for our ecommerce platform or professional services to cover the changes. As a result, our operating results may be significantly worse than forecasted.

We rely on third-party and open source software for our platform. Our inability to obtain third-party licenses for such software, or obtain them on favorable terms, or any errors or failures caused by such software could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to sell our products and subject us to possible litigation.

Some of our offerings include software or other intellectual property licensed from third parties. It may be necessary in the future to renew our license agreements relating to various aspects of our offerings or to seek new licenses for existing or new offerings. Necessary licenses may not be available on acceptable terms that allow our platform and offerings to remain competitive, or at all. In addition, a third party may assert that we or our customers are in breach of the terms of a license, which could, among other things, give to such third party the right to terminate a license or seek damages from us, or both. Our inability to obtain certain licenses or other rights, or to obtain such licenses or rights on favorable terms, could result in delays in product releases until equivalent technology can be identified, licensed or developed, if at all, and integrated into our platform, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, we may be subject to liability if third-party software that we license is found to infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate intellectual property rights of others. Third parties may also allege that we are infringing, violating or otherwise misappropriating their intellectual property rights and that additional licenses are required for our use of their software or intellectual property, and we may be unable to obtain such licenses on commercially reasonable terms or at all. The inclusion in our offerings of software or other intellectual property licensed from third parties on a non-exclusive basis could also limit our ability to differentiate our offerings from those of our competitors. To the extent that our platform depends upon the successful operation of third-party software, any undetected errors or defects in, or failures of, such third-party software could also impair the functionality of our platform, delay new feature introductions, result in a failure of our platform, and injure our reputation. Many third-party software providers attempt to impose limitations on their liability for such errors, defects or failures, and if enforceable, we may have additional liability to our customers that could harm our reputation and increase our operating costs.

In addition, our platform and some of our products incorporate open source software, and we expect to continue to incorporate open source software in our products and platform in the future. Open source software is generally freely accessible, usable and modifiable. Few of the licenses applicable to open source software have been interpreted by courts, and there is a risk that these licenses could be construed in a manner that could impose unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to commercialize our products and platform. Moreover, although we have implemented policies to regulate the use and incorporation of open source software into our products and platform, we cannot be certain that we have not incorporated open source software in our products or platform in a manner that is inconsistent with such policies. If we fail to comply with open source licenses, we may be subject to certain requirements, including requirements that we offer our products that incorporate the open source software for no cost, that we discontinue our products that incorporate the open source software, that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating or using the open source software and that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of applicable open source licenses. If an author or other third party that distributes such open source software were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of one or more of these licenses, we could be required to incur significant legal

 

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expenses defending against such allegations and could be subject to significant damages, enjoined from generating revenue from customers using products that contained the open source software and required to comply with onerous conditions or restrictions on these products. In any of these events, we and our customers could be required to seek licenses from third parties in order to continue offering our products and platform and to re-engineer our products or platform or discontinue offering our products to customers in the event we cannot re-engineer them on a timely basis. Any of the foregoing could require us to devote additional research and development resources to re-engineer our products or platform, could result in customer dissatisfaction and may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, the use of certain open source software can lead to greater risks that the use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally make their open source software available “as-is” and do not provide updates, warranties, support, indemnities or other contractual protections regarding infringement claims or quality of the code.

We could incur substantial costs in maintaining, enforcing, protecting or defending our intellectual property and proprietary rights. Failure to adequately obtain, maintain, enforce and protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights could impair our competitive position and cause us to lose valuable assets, experience reduced revenue and incur costly litigation.

Our success is dependent, in part, upon obtaining, maintaining, protecting and enforcing our proprietary technology and other intellectual property. We rely on a combination of trade secret laws, contractual provisions with our employees, consultants, independent contractors and third parties with whom we have relationships, trademarks, service marks and copyrights in an effort to establish and protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights. However, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property and intellectual property laws may be inadequate, breached, may offer only limited protection and may not adequately permit us to gain or keep any competitive advantage. Despite our efforts, third parties have in the past and may in the future attempt to disclose, obtain, copy or use our intellectual property or other proprietary rights or technology without our authorization. To the extent we expand our international activities, our exposure to unauthorized copying and use of our platform and proprietary information may increase. Moreover, effective trademark, copyright, patent and trade secret protection may not be available or commercially feasible in every country in which we conduct business, as the laws of certain foreign countries may not protect intellectual property rights and technology to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Further, intellectual property law, including statutory and case law, is constantly developing and changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws could make it harder for us to enforce our rights. Third parties may also legitimately and independently develop products, services and technology similar to or duplicative of our products and solutions.

The process of obtaining trademark, copyright and patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and may not always be successful depending on the intellectual property laws of the applicable jurisdiction in which we seek protection or other circumstances, in which case we may be unable to secure intellectual property protection for all of our technology. We may not be able to obtain protection for our technology and even if we are successful in obtaining effective patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret protection, it is expensive to maintain these rights, both in terms of application and maintenance costs and the time and cost required to defend our rights. If we elect to file patent applications in the future, we may be unable to obtain patent protection for technology covered in our patent applications or obtain the coverage originally sought. In addition, any patents issued in the future may not provide us with competitive advantages or may be successfully challenged by third parties, which could result in them being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable. It is also possible that third parties, including our competitors, may obtain patents relating to technologies that overlap or compete with our technology. If third parties obtain patent protection with respect to such technologies, they may assert that our technology infringes their patents and seek to charge us a licensing fee or otherwise preclude the use of our technology or file suit against us. Any of our patents, trademarks or other intellectual property rights may lapse, be abandoned, be challenged or circumvented by others or invalidated through administrative process or litigation. We also may be unable to obtain trademark protection for our products and brands, and our existing trademark registrations and applications, and any trademarks that may be used in the future, may not provide us with competitive advantages or distinguish our products and services from those of our competitors. In addition, our trademarks may be contested or found unenforceable, weak or invalid, and we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing or otherwise violating them. Our failure to develop and properly manage and protect our intellectual property could hurt our market position and business opportunities. We also may choose not to pursue registrations in every jurisdiction or allow certain of our registered intellectual property rights, or our pending applications for intellectual property

 

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rights, to lapse or to become abandoned if we determine that obtaining or maintaining the applicable registered intellectual property rights is not worthwhile. Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights, there can be no guarantee that such rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products or services that are substantially similar to ours, independently developing similar products, duplicating any of our products, other adopting trade names similar to ours, competing with our business or attempting to copy aspects of our technology and using information that we consider proprietary, thereby impeding our ability to promote our platform and possibly leading to customer confusion.

In addition to registered intellectual property rights, we rely on non-registered proprietary information and technology. We make business decisions about when to seek patent protection for a particular technology and when to rely upon trade secret protection and the approach we select may ultimately prove to be inadequate. In order to protect our proprietary information and technology, we rely in part on invention assignment and confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants and other parties who create intellectual property on our behalf and enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees, consultants, strategic and business partners and other parties who have access to our confidential information. However, these agreements may not be effective in controlling access to and distribution of our proprietary information and intellectual property, may not be self-executing, sufficient in scope or enforceable, and these agreements do not prevent our competitors or partners from independently developing technologies that are equivalent or superior to our platform. We also cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with all parties who may have or have had access to our proprietary and confidential information or otherwise developed intellectual property for us or that the agreements we have entered into will not be breached. Enforcing a claim that a third party illegally disclosed or misappropriated our proprietary information is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. In addition, some courts inside and outside the United States are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. If any of our trade secrets were to be unlawfully obtained or independently developed by a competitor or other third party, we would have no right to prevent them from using that technology or information to compete with us, which could harm our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property, third parties have in the past and may in the future infringe, misappropriate or otherwise violate our intellectual property and proprietary rights and we may be required to spend significant resources to monitor, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights. Policing unauthorized use of our technologies, trade secrets and intellectual property is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, particularly in foreign countries where the laws may not be protective of intellectual property rights and where mechanisms for enforcement of intellectual property rights may be weak. We have in the past and may in the future also be subject to claims by third parties that we have infringed, misappropriated or otherwise violated their intellectual property. Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our trade secrets. Litigation brought to defend, protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could be costly, time-consuming and distracting to management, regardless of the outcome. Enforcement of our intellectual property rights may be met with defenses, counterclaims and countersuits attacking the validity and enforceability of our intellectual property. Such litigation could result in the impairment or loss of portions of our intellectual property and require us to, among other things, redesign or stop providing our products, pay substantial amounts to satisfy judgments or settle claims or lawsuits, pay substantial royalty or licensing fees, or satisfy indemnification obligations that we have with certain parties with whom we have commercial relationships. In addition, many companies may have the capability to dedicate greater resources to enforce their intellectual property rights and to defend claims that may be brought against them. In addition, because of the substantial discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, our confidential or sensitive information could be compromised by disclosure in such litigation. There could also be public announcements regarding the results of such litigation and if securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our Class A common shares.

Our inability to protect our proprietary technology against unauthorized copying or use, as well as any costly litigation or diversion of our management’s attention and resources in connection with intellectual property related disputes, could delay further sales or the implementation of our platform, impair the functionality of our platform, delay introductions of new functionality to our platform, result in the substitution of inferior or more costly technologies into our platform, or injure our reputation. We will not be able to protect our intellectual property if we are unable to adequately maintain and enforce our rights or if we do not detect unauthorized use of our intellectual property. If we fail to meaningfully protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights, our business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.

 

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Evolving global laws, regulations and standards, including data privacy regulations and data localization requirements, may limit the use and adoption of our services, expose us to liability, or otherwise adversely affect our business.

Federal, state, or foreign governmental bodies or agencies have in the past adopted, and may in the future adopt, laws and regulations affecting the use of the internet as a commercial medium. These laws and regulations could impact taxation, internet neutrality, tariffs, content, copyright protection, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, consumer protection and data privacy, and the characteristics and quality of services we offer. Legislators and regulators may make legal and regulatory changes or apply existing laws in ways that require us to incur substantial costs, expose us to unanticipated civil or criminal liability, or cause us to change our business practices. Also, such laws and regulations are often inconsistent and may be subject to amendment or re-interpretation, which may cause us to incur significant costs and expend significant effort to ensure compliance. These laws and regulations and resulting increased compliance and operational costs could materially harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

For instance, we continue to see jurisdictions imposing data localization laws, which require personal information, or certain subcategories of personal information, to be stored in the jurisdiction of origin. These regulations may inhibit our ability to expand into those markets or prohibit us from continuing to offer services in those markets without significant additional costs.

As we expand into new industries and regions, we will likely need to comply with new requirements to compete effectively. The uncertainty and changes in the requirements of multiple jurisdictions may increase the cost of compliance, delay or reduce demand for our services, restrict our ability to offer services in certain locations, impact our customers’ ability to deploy our solutions in certain jurisdictions, or subject us to sanctions regulators, all of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, although we endeavor to have our products and platform comply with applicable laws and regulations, these and other obligations may be modified, they may be interpreted and applied in an inconsistent manner from one jurisdiction to another, and they may conflict with one another, other regulatory requirements, contractual commitments or our internal practices.

Our business is subject to the APAC region, the European Union and United Kingdom, Latam and the United States., data privacy, data protection and information security laws, regulations, rules, standards, policies and contractual and other legal obligations, and our customers may also be subject to such laws and regulations. Any actual or perceived failure of our products to comply with or enable our customers to comply with such applicable laws and regulations would harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The privacy and security of personally identifiable, personal, sensitive, regulated or confidential information is a major focus in our industry and we and our customers that use our products are subject to federal, state, local and foreign privacy and data protection-related laws and regulations that impose obligations in connection with the collection, storage, use, processing, disclosure, protection, transmission, retention and disposal of confidential or sensitive information, including personal data, such as financial data, health or other similar data. Laws and regulations governing data privacy, data protection and information security are constantly evolving and there has been an increasing focus on privacy and data protection issues with the potential to affect our business. The nature of our business exposes us to risks related to compliance with data protection and information security laws and regulations. Any perceived or actual failure to comply with any of these laws and regulations could result in litigation, enforcement actions, damages, fines and penalties and could harm our reputation and impair our ability to attract and retain our customers, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

For example, in Brazil, current practices involving the treatment of personal data are governed by certain sector laws, such as Law No. 8,078/1990, or the Brazilian Consumer Defense Code, and Law No. 12,965/2014, or the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet. In addition, LGPD came into force on September 18, 2020 to regulate the processing of personal data. The LGPD applies to individuals or legal entities and private or government entities who process personal data in Brazil or collect personal data in Brazil or, further, when their

 

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processing activities have the purpose of offering or supplying goods or services to data subjects located in Brazil. The LGPD establishes detailed rules for processing personal data, which includes the collection, use, transfer and storage of personal data and affects all economic sectors, including the relationship between clients and suppliers of goods and services, employees and employers and other relationships in which personal data is collected, whether in a digital or physical environment.

The LGPD requires us to adapt our data processing activities to comply with this regime, and we have implemented changes with respect to our policies and procedures designed to facilitate our compliance with the relevant requirements under the LGPD. However, the interpretation and application of the LGPD is still uncertain.

The penalties and fines for violations of the LGPD include: warnings, with the imposition of a deadline for the adoption of corrective measures; a daily fine, up to a maximum amount of R$50.0 million per violation; the restriction of access to the personal data to which the violation relates up to a six-month period, which can be extended until the processing activities are compliant with the regulation; and in case of repetition of the violation, a temporary block and/or deletion of the relevant personal data, and a partial or complete prohibition of processing activities and a fine of up to 2.0% of gross sales of the company or group of companies in violation, up to a maximum amount of R$50.0 million per violation. Pursuant to the LGPD, security breaches that may result in significant risk or damage to personal data must be reported to the National Data Protection Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados), or ANPD, Brazil’s data protection regulatory body, within a reasonable time period. The notice to the ANPD must include a description of the nature of the personal data affected by the breach; the affected data subjects; the technical and security measures adopted by the impacted entity; the risks related to the breach; the reasons for any delays in reporting the breach, if applicable; and the measures adopted to revert or mitigate the effects of the damage caused by the breach. Moreover, the ANPD could establish additional obligations related to data protection in the future. The LGPD and any additional privacy laws or regulations enacted or approved in Brazil or in other jurisdictions in which we operate could significantly impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Similarly, many foreign countries and governmental bodies, including in the countries in which we currently operate, have laws and regulations concerning the collection, use and other processing of sensitive and personal data obtained from individuals located in their jurisdiction or by businesses operating within their jurisdiction. Laws and regulations in these jurisdictions apply broadly to the collection, use, storage, disclosure, transmission, processing and security of personal data that identifies or may be used to identify an individual, such as names, telephone numbers, email addresses and, in some jurisdictions, IP addresses and other online identifiers. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, went into effect in May 2018 and implemented more stringent administrative requirements for controllers and processors of personal data of EU residents, including, for example, data breach notification requirements, limitations on retention of information, and rights for individuals over their personal data, and creates a range of new compliance obligations. The GDPR also provides that EU member states may make their own further laws and regulations limiting the processing of personal data. Ensuring compliance with the GDPR is an ongoing commitment that involves substantial costs, and despite our efforts, governmental authorities or others may assert that our business practices fail to comply with its requirements. If our operations are found to violate GDPR requirements, we may incur substantial fines and other penalties, including bans on processing and transferring personal data, have to change our business practices, and face reputational harm, any of which could have an adverse effect on our business. In particular, serious breaches of the GDPR can result in administrative fines of up to 4.0% of annual worldwide revenues or up to €20 million, whichever is higher. Fines of up to 2.0% of annual worldwide revenues can be levied for other specified violations, and violations of the GDPR may also lead to damages claims by data controllers and data subjects. Such penalties are in addition to any civil litigation claims by data controllers, customers and data subjects. Recent legal developments in Europe have created compliance uncertainty regarding transfers of personal data from Europe to the United States. In July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union, or CJEU, invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, a mechanism for the transfer of personal information from the EU to the United States, and made clear that reliance on Standard Contractual Clauses, an alternative mechanism for the transfer of personal information outside of the EU alone may not be sufficient in all circumstances. Following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU on January 31, 2020, the data protection obligations of the GDPR continue to apply to United Kingdom-related processing of personal data in substantially unvaried form by virtue of section 3 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, as amended, which, together with the amended UK Data Protection Act of 2018, retains the GDPR in UK national law. On June 28, 2021, the European Commission adopted an adequacy decision under the GDPR which recognized that the United Kingdom provides an essentially equivalent level of personal data protection to that guaranteed under the GDPR, ensuring free flows of personal data between the United Kingdom and the EEA and minimizing risk of future divergence.

 

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In the United States, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which took effect in January 2020 and imposes several obligations on companies that do business in California that are different from the obligations set forth in the GDPR. For example, the CCPA provides that covered companies must provide new disclosures to California consumers and afford such consumers new data privacy rights that include the right to request a copy from a covered company of the personal information collected about them, the right to request deletion of such personal information, and the right to request to opt-out of certain sales of such personal information. The California Attorney General can enforce the CCPA, including seeking an injunction and civil penalties for violations. The CCPA also provides a private right of action for certain data breaches, which is expected to increase data breach litigation. Further, in November 2020, California voters passed the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act, or the CPRA. Effective beginning January 1, 2023, the CPRA imposes additional obligations on companies covered by the legislation and will significantly modify the CCPA, including by expanding California residents’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and CPRA. It remains unclear how various provisions of the CCPA and CPRA will be interpreted and enforced, and we may be required to modify our data practices and policies and incur substantial costs in an effort to comply. Certain other state laws, including the recently enacted Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, impose similar privacy obligations and all 50 states have laws including obligations to provide notification of certain security breaches to affected individuals, state officials and others.

In the APAC region, Data Protection Authorities have applied substantial penalties in case of privacy or security breaches. For example, the Australian Data Protection Authority (ACMA) collected approximately USD 6.6 million in fines for certain privacy violations (e.g. for unsolicited marketing emails) in 2023. In South Korea, there are multiple laws governing protection of personal data, cybersecurity infrastructure such as cloud computing, and cybersecurity measures. South Korean privacy laws provide not only administrative penalties up to 3% a company’s annual revenue, but also to criminal liability (maximum of 10 years of imprisonment) and punitive damages in the amount of five times the damages suffered by the data subject. Singapore has been going through several reforms on its data protection law and cybersecurity acts, adopting mandatory notification in case of breach and creating new types of privacy offenses, which can trigger penalties of up to 10% of a company’s annual turnover. As our operations grow in the region we may become increasingly more exposed to the regulatory reach of these authorities. In addition a number of countries in the APAC region have adopted rules for international data transfers from countries in the APAC region that resemble the framework of the GDPR in terms of requirements of adequacy decisions, proper legal basis and cross border security measures. In this heavily regulated scenario, any perceived lack of ability to comply with local laws may negatively affect our ability to attract new customers in the region.

We also may be bound by contractual obligations relating to our collection, use, processing and disclosure of personal, financial and other data or may find it necessary or desirable to join industry or other self-regulatory bodies or other privacy or data protection-related organizations that require compliance with their rules pertaining to privacy and data protection.

While we strive to comply with all applicable privacy, data protection and information security laws and regulations, as well as our contractual obligations, posted privacy policies and applicable industry standards, such laws, regulations, obligations and standards continue to evolve and are becoming increasingly complex, and sometimes conflict among the various jurisdictions and countries in which we operate, which makes compliance challenging and expensive. We expect that there will continue to be new proposed laws, rules of self-regulatory bodies, regulations and industry standards concerning privacy, data protection and information security in Brazil and other jurisdictions, and we cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, rules, regulations and standards may have on our business. Moreover, existing Brazilian and foreign privacy and data protection-related laws and regulations are evolving and subject to potentially differing interpretations, and various legislative and regulatory bodies may expand current or enact new laws and regulations regarding privacy and data protection-related matters. Additionally, our customers may be subject to differing privacy laws, rules and legislation, which may mean that they require us to be bound by varying contractual requirements application to certain other jurisdictions. Because global laws, regulations and industry standards concerning privacy and data security have continued to develop and

 

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evolve rapidly, it is possible that we or our products or platform may not be, or may not have been, compliant with each such applicable law, regulation and industry standard and compliance with such new laws or to changes to existing laws may impact our business and practices, require us to expend significant resources to adapt to these changes, or to stop offering our products in certain countries. These developments could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Any failure or perceived failure by us, or any third parties with whom we do business, to comply with laws, regulations, policies, industry standards or contractual or other legal obligations relating to privacy, data protection or information security may result in governmental investigations, inquiries, enforcement actions and prosecutions, private litigation, fines and penalties, adverse publicity or potential loss of business. Future restrictions on the collection, use, processing, storage, sharing or disclosure of sensitive or personal information could require us to incur additional costs or modify our platform, and could limit our ability to develop new functionality. Complying with these requirements and changing our policies and practices may be onerous and costly, and we may not be able to respond quickly or effectively to regulatory, legislative or other developments. Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our business and operating results.

There are risks for which our insurance policies may not adequately cover or for which we have no insurance coverage. Insufficient insurance coverage or the materialization of such uninsured risks could adversely affect us.

Our insurance policies may not adequately cover all risks to which we are exposed. In addition, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain our insurance policies in the future or that we will be able to renew them at reasonable prices or on acceptable terms, which may adversely affect our business and the trading price of our Class A common shares. Moreover, we are subject to risks for which we are uninsured, such as war, acts of God, including hurricanes, other force majeure events and breaches of the security of our systems by hackers. The occurrence of a significant loss that is not insured or compensable, or that is only partially insured or compensable, may require us to commit significant cash resources to cover such losses, which may adversely affect us.

Our operating results are subject to seasonal fluctuations.

Our subscription revenues are directly linked to the level of GMV that our customers process through our platform. Our customers historically have processed additional GMV during the holiday season. As a result, we have historically generated higher subscription revenues in the fourth quarter in each year compared to other quarters. While we believe that this seasonality has affected and will continue to affect our quarterly results, our rapid growth has largely masked seasonal trends to date. However, as a result of the continued growth of our subscription revenue offerings, we believe that our business may become more seasonal in the future and that historical patterns in our business may not be a reliable indicator of our future sales activity or performance. For further information “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Seasonality and Quarterly Results of Operations.”

We face exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, and such fluctuations could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

As our international operations expand, our exposure to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates grows. For example, global political events, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the recent attack by Hamas on Israel from the Gaza Strip, trade tariff developments and other geopolitical events have caused global economic uncertainty and variability in foreign currency exchange rates. While we have primarily transacted with customers and business partners in Brazilian reais, in light of our international expansion we expect to transact with customers in Argentine pesos, Colombian pesos and British pounds, among others. We expect to significantly expand the number of transactions with customers that are denominated in foreign currencies in the future as we continue to expand our business internationally. We also incur expenses for some of our network service provider costs outside of Brazil in local currencies and for employee compensation and other operating expenses at our non-Brazil locations in the local currency for such locations. Fluctuations in the exchange rates between the Brazilian real and other currencies could result in an increase to the Brazilian equivalent of such expenses.

 

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In addition, our international subsidiaries may maintain net assets that are denominated in currencies other than the functional operating currencies of these entities. As we continue to expand our international operations, we become more exposed to the effects of fluctuations in currency exchange rates. The results of operations in the countries where we operate are exposed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations as the financial results of the applicable subsidiaries are translated from the local currency into U.S. dollars upon consolidation. If the U.S. dollar weakens against foreign currencies, the translation of these foreign-currency-denominated transactions will result in increased revenues, operating expenses and net income. Similarly, our revenues, operating expenses and net income will decrease if the U.S. dollar strengthens against foreign currencies. In the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, 20.3% and 15.6% of our revenues were denominated in, or linked to, U.S. dollars, respectively. Although total revenue in the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 grew 27.8% and 25.3% in U.S. dollars, our reporting and functional currency, and 23.7% and 22.3% on an FX neutral basis, the foreign currency exchange rates in 2023 relative to 2022 and 2022 relative to 2021 resulted in an increase of 3.3% and in an increase of 2.4% in our revenue growth, respectively.

Accordingly, changes in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar can affect our results of operations due to transactional and translational remeasurements. As a result of such foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, it could be more difficult to detect underlying trends in our business and results of operations. In addition, to the extent that fluctuations in currency exchange rates cause our results of operations to differ from our expectations or the expectations of our investors and securities analysts who follow our stock, the trading price of our Class A common shares could be adversely affected.

Although we have implemented a program to hedge transaction exposures in some foreign currencies And we employ derivative instruments like foreign currency forward and option contracts to hedge specific exposures to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, the use of such hedging activities may not fully offset the adverse financial impacts resulting from unfavorable movements in foreign exchange rates within the duration of these hedges while they are active. Moreover, the use of hedging instruments may introduce additional risks if we are unable to structure effective hedges with such instruments. See “—Certain Risks Relating to Latin America —Significant foreign currency exchange controls and currency devaluation in certain countries in which we operate which may have adverse effects on the economies of such countries, us and the price of our Class A common shares.”

We rely on search engines and social networking sites to attract a meaningful portion of our SMB customers. If we are not able to generate traffic to our website through search engines and social networking sites, our ability to attract new SMB customers may be impaired. In addition, if our customers are not able to conclude their online store setup and generate traffic to their online stores through search engines and social networking sites, their ability to attract consumers may be impaired.

Many of our customers locate our website through internet search engines, such as Google, and advertisements on social networking sites, such as Facebook. The prominence of our website in response to internet searches is a critical factor in attracting potential customers to our platform. If we are listed less prominently or fail to appear in search results for any reason, visits to our website could decline significantly, and we may not be able to replace this traffic.

Similarly, many consumers locate our customers’ shops through internet search engines and advertisements on social networking sites. If our customers’ shops are listed less prominently or fail to appear in search results for any reason, visits to our customers’ shops could decline significantly. As a result, our customers’ businesses may suffer, which would affect the GMV that they process through our platform and could affect the ability of such customers to pay for our solutions.

Search engines revise their algorithms from time to time in an attempt to optimize their search results. If search engines modify their algorithms, our website and our customers’ shops may appear less prominently or not at all in search results, which could result in reduced traffic to our website and to our customers’ shops.

 

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Additionally, if the price of marketing our solutions over search engines or social networking sites increases, we may incur additional marketing expenses or may be required to allocate a larger portion of our marketing spend to search engine marketing and our business and operating results could be adversely affected. Furthermore, competitors may in the future bid on the search terms that we use to drive traffic to our website. Such actions could increase our marketing costs and result in decreased traffic to our website. In addition, search engines or social networking sites may change their advertising policies from time to time. If any change to these policies delays or prevents us from advertising through these channels, it could result in reduced traffic to our website and sales of our solutions. As well, new search engines or social networking sites may develop, particularly in specific jurisdictions, that reduce traffic on existing search engines and social networking sites, and if we are not able to achieve prominence through advertising or otherwise, we may not achieve significant traffic to our website through these new platforms and our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

We are dependent upon customers’ and their end-consumer willingness to use the internet for commerce.

Our success depends upon the general public’s continued willingness to use the internet as a means to pay for purchases, communicate, access social media, research and conduct commercial transactions, including through mobile devices. If customers and their consumers become unwilling or less willing to use the internet for commerce for any reason, including lack of access to high-speed communications equipment, congestion of traffic on the internet, internet outages or delays, disruptions or other damage to customers’ and end-consumers’ computers, increases in the cost of accessing the internet and security and privacy risks or the perception of such risks, our customers and prospective customers could be less inclined to adopt the services offered by a SaaS company like us, and our business prospects could be adversely affected.

Activities of customers or the content of their shops could damage our brand, subject us to liability and harm our business and financial results.

Our terms of service prohibit our customers from using our platform to engage in illegal activities and our terms of service permit us to take down a customer’s online shop if we become aware of such illegal use. Customers may nonetheless engage in prohibited or illegal activities or upload store content in violation of applicable laws, which could subject us to liability. We could also be subject to liability under applicable law, which may not be fully mitigated by our terms of service. Any liability attributed to us could adversely affect our brand, reputation, ability to expand our subscriber base, and financial results. Furthermore, our brand may be negatively impacted by the actions of customers that are deemed to be hostile, offensive, inappropriate or illegal. We do not proactively monitor or review the appropriateness of the content of our customers’ shops and we do not have control over customer activities. The safeguards we have in place may not be sufficient for us to avoid liability or avoid harm to our brand, especially if such hostile, offensive, inappropriate or illegal use is high profile, which could adversely affect our business and financial results.

If we are unable to maintain our corporate culture as we grow, we could lose the innovation, teamwork, passion and focus on execution that we believe contribute to our success, and our business may be harmed.

We believe a critical component to our success has been our corporate culture. We have invested substantial time and resources in building our team. As we grow and develop our infrastructure as a public company, our operations may become increasingly complex. We may find it difficult to maintain these important aspects of our corporate culture. We maintain work-from-home arrangements for a growing number of our employees, which may impact our ability to preserve our corporate culture. Any failure to preserve our culture could negatively affect our future success, including our ability to retain and recruit personnel, and to effectively focus on and pursue our corporate objectives.

We have in the past made, and may in the future make, acquisitions and investments, which could divert management’s attention, result in operating difficulties and dilution to our shareholders and otherwise disrupt our operations and adversely affect our business, operating results or financial position.

From time to time, we evaluate potential strategic acquisition or investment opportunities. Any transactions that we enter into could be material to our financial condition and results of operations. The process of acquiring and integrating another company or technology could create unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures. We may also experience difficulties integrating personnel of the acquired company into our business and culture. Acquisitions may also disrupt our business, divert our resources and require significant management attention that would otherwise be available for development of our existing business. Key personnel of the acquired companies

 

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may choose not to work for us, their software may not be easily adapted to work with ours, or we may have difficulty retaining the customers of any acquired business due to changes in ownership, management, or otherwise. The anticipated benefits of any acquisition, investment, or business relationship may not be realized or we may be exposed to unknown risks or liabilities, such as:

 

   

use of resources that are needed in other areas of our business;

 

   

in the case of an acquisition, implementation or remediation of controls, procedures and policies of the acquired company;

 

   

in the case of an acquisition, difficulty integrating the accounting systems and operations of the acquired company, including potential risks to our corporate culture;

 

   

in the case of an acquisition, coordination of product, engineering and selling and marketing functions, including difficulties and additional expenses associated with supporting legacy services and products and hosting infrastructure of the acquired company and difficulty converting the customers of the acquired company onto our platform and contract terms, including disparities in the revenues, licensing, support or professional services model of the acquired company;

 

   

in the case of an acquisition, retention and integration of employees from the acquired company;

 

   

unforeseen costs or liabilities;

 

   

adverse effects to our existing business relationships with partners and customers as a result of the acquisition or investment;

 

   

the possibility of adverse tax consequences;

 

   

litigation or other claims arising in connection with the acquired company or investment; and

 

   

in the case of foreign acquisitions, the need to integrate operations across different cultures and languages and to address the particular economic, currency, political and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.

In addition, a significant portion of the purchase price of companies we acquire may be allocated to acquired goodwill and other intangible assets, which must be assessed for impairment at least annually. In the future, if our acquisitions do not yield expected returns, we may be required to take charges to our operating results based on this impairment assessment process, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

Acquisitions and investments may also result in dilutive issuances of equity securities, which could adversely affect our share price, or result in issuances of securities with superior rights and preferences to our Class A common shares or the incurrence of debt with restrictive covenants that limit our future uses of capital in pursuit of business opportunities.

Also, in the context of our acquisitions, we may face contingent liabilities in connection with, among others things, (1) judicial and/or administrative proceedings of the business we acquire, including civil, regulatory, tax, labor, social security, environmental and intellectual property proceedings, and (2) financial, reputational and technical issues, including with respect to accounting practices, financial statement disclosures and internal controls, as well as other regulatory matters, all of which may not be sufficiently indemnifiable under the relevant acquisition agreement and may impact our financial reporting obligations and the preparation of our consolidated financial statements, resulting in delays to such preparation.

We may not be able to identify acquisition or investment opportunities that meet our strategic objectives, or to the extent such opportunities are identified, we may not be able to negotiate terms with respect to the acquisition or investment that are acceptable to us. At this time we have made no commitments or agreements with respect to any such transaction.

 

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Our holding company structure makes us dependent on the operations of our subsidiaries.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. Our material assets are our direct and indirect equity interests in our subsidiaries. We are, therefore, dependent upon payments, dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries for funds to pay our holding company’s operating and other expenses and to pay future cash dividends or distributions, if any, to holders of our Class A common shares. The amount of any dividends or distributions which may be paid to us from time to time will depend on many factors including, for example, such subsidiaries results of operations and financial condition; limits on dividends under applicable law; its constitutional documents; documents governing any indebtedness; applicability of tax treaties; and other factors which may be outside our control. Furthermore, exchange rate fluctuation will affect the U.S. dollar value of any distributions our subsidiaries (which are currently mostly located in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia) make with respect to our equity interests in those subsidiaries. See “—Certain Risks Relating to Latin America—Significant foreign currency exchange controls and currency devaluation in certain countries in which we operate which may have adverse effects on the economies of such countries, us and the price of our Class A common shares,” “The ongoing economic uncertainty and political instability in Brazil and the other countries in which we operate may harm us and the price of our Class A common shares” and “Dividends and Dividend Policy.”

We may require additional financing to support our future capital requirements. Our ability to timely raise capital in the future may be limited, or may be unavailable on acceptable terms, if at all. Our failure to raise capital when needed could harm our business, operating results and financial condition. Debt or equity issued to raise additional capital may reduce the value of our Class A common shares.

We have funded our operations since inception primarily through equity financings and payments by our customers for use of our platform and related services. We cannot be certain when or if our operations will generate sufficient cash to fund our ongoing operations or the growth of our business.

We intend to continue to make investments to support our business and may require additional funds. In particular, we may seek additional funds to develop new products and enhance our platform and existing products, expand our operations, including our sales and marketing organizations and our presence outside of Brazil, improve our infrastructure or acquire complementary businesses, technologies, services, products and other assets. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. Additional financing may not be available on favorable terms, if at all. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to invest in future growth opportunities, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition. If we incur additional debt, the debt holders could have rights senior to holders of Class A common shares to make claims on our assets. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our shareholders may experience dilution, and the new equity securities could have rights senior to those of our Class A common shares. Because our decision to issue securities in the future offering will depend on numerous considerations, including factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of any future issuances of debt or equity securities. As a result, our shareholders bear the risk of future issuances of debt or equity securities reducing the value of our Class A common shares and diluting their interest.

Payment transactions on our commerce platform subject us to regulatory requirements and other risks that could be costly and difficult to comply with or that could harm our business.

We are required by our payment processors to comply with payment card network operating rules and standards and we have agreed to reimburse our payment processors for any fees or fines they are assessed by payment card networks as a result of any rule violations by us or our customers. We may also be directly liable to the payment card networks for rule violations. Payment card networks set and interpret such operating rules and standards, which govern a variety of areas, including how customers may use their cards, the security features of cards, security standards for processing, data protection and information security and allocation of liability for certain acts or omissions, including liability in the event of a data breach. Participants are subject to audit by the payment card networks to ensure compliance with applicable rules and standards. The payment card networks could adopt new operating rules or interpret or reinterpret existing rules that we or our processors might find difficult or even impossible to follow or costly to implement.

 

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Our subsidiary, Loja Integrada Tecnologia para Software LTDA, or Loja Integrada, utilizes our platform, which we believe currently complies with the PCI DSS, to process payments of its customers’ consumers. However, Loja Integrada does not use our platform to process payments of its customers’ subscription fees, and maintains its customers’ payment information in an encrypted database managed by Loja Integrada that is not compliant with PCI DSS. Loja Integrada is in the process of migrating its entire billing system to a PCI DSS compliant third-party payment processing service provider.

If we or any of our subsidiaries fail to migrate our billing system to a PCI DSS compliant third-party payment processing service provider, and/or otherwise fail to comply with applicable payment card network rules, including the PCI DSS, and those of each of the credit card brands, we could breach our contractual obligations to our payment processors, financial institutions, partners and customers. Such a failure may subject us to fines, penalties, damages, higher transaction fees, and civil liability and prevent us from processing or accepting payment cards or lead to a loss of payment processor partners, even if customer or end-consumer information has not been compromised. This would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.

We provide our ecommerce platform to businesses in highly regulated industries, which subjects us to a number of challenges and risks.

We provide our ecommerce platform to customers in highly regulated industries, such as pharmaceuticals, insurance, healthcare and life sciences, and we may have customers in other highly regulated industries in the future. Providing our ecommerce platform to such entities subjects us to a number of challenges and risks. Selling to such entities can be highly competitive, expensive and time consuming, often requiring significant upfront time and expense without any assurance that these efforts will generate a sale. Customers in highly regulated industries may demand shorter subscription periods or other contract terms that differ from our standard arrangements, including terms that can lead those customers to obtain broader rights in our offerings than would be standard. Such entities may have statutory, contractual, or other legal rights to terminate contracts with us or our business partners due to a default or for other reasons. Any such termination may adversely affect our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, due to the heightened regulatory environment in which they operate, potential customers in these industries may encounter additional difficulties when trying to move away from legacy ecommerce platforms to an open SaaS platform like the one we provide.

Our sales cycle with our customers can be long and unpredictable, and our sales efforts require considerable time and expense.

The timing of our sales with our customers and related revenue recognition is difficult to predict because of the length and unpredictability of the sales cycle for these customers. Mid-market and large enterprise customers, particularly those in highly regulated industries and those requiring customized applications, may have an even further lengthy sales cycle for the evaluation and implementation of our platform. This caused and may continue to cause a delay between increasing operating expenses for such sales efforts and, upon successful sales, the generation of corresponding revenue. We are often required to spend significant time and resources to better educate our potential customers and familiarize them with our platform. Our sales cycle for these customers, from initial evaluation to contract execution, is generally 8 to 12 months for large enterprise customers and 4 to 8 months for small and mid-market customers, but can vary substantially.

The challenging and uncertain macroeconomic environment influenced our customers’ planning and decision-making processes. Consequently, in 2022 our sales cycle has been at the high end of the sales cycle ranges, while we also experienced an increase in the average time to implement the VTEX platform and longer than usual ramp-up times from customers that recently implemented the VTEX platform.

Our sale cycle stabilized during the course of 2023 with marginal improvements in the implementation and ramp-up times compared to 2022. However our sale cycle remains inherently uncertain and challenging to predict and we cannot guarantee that the positive trends we experienced during 2023 will be maintained in the future.

 

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As a result, a significant portion of our revenue is generated from the recognition of contract liabilities from contracts entered into with customers during prior periods. Customers often view our revenue sharing arrangements and subscription to our ecommerce platform and services as a strategic decision requiring significant investment. As a result, customers frequently require considerable time to evaluate, test and qualify our platform prior to entering into or expanding a subscription. During the sales cycle, we spend significant time and resources on sales and marketing and contract negotiation activities, which may not result in a sale. Additional factors that may influence the length and variability of our sales cycle include:

 

   

the effectiveness of our sales force, as we hire and train our new salespeople to sell to mid-market and large enterprise customers;

 

   

the discretionary nature of purchasing and budget cycles and decisions;

 

   

the obstacles placed by customers’ procurement process;

 

   

customers’ integration complexity;

 

   

customers’ familiarity with SaaS ecommerce solutions;

 

   

customers’ evaluation of competing products during the purchasing process; and

 

   

evolving customer demands.

Due to these uncertainties, predicting the completion of a sale or revenue recognition timing remains challenging. While a decrease in current-period revenue might not be substantial, it could adversely influence future revenue if demand for our solutions and services or contract renewals declines.

Changes in tax laws or regulations or differing interpretations may be applied adversely to us or our customers. We may be subject to tax liability for past sales or become subject to tax laws or regulations that are applied adversely to us or our customers, which could harm our business.

New income, sales, use, or other tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances could be enacted at any time in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Any new taxes could adversely affect our domestic and international business operations and our business and financial performance. Existing tax laws, statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances could be interpreted, changed, modified or applied adversely to us. These events could require us or customers using our ecommerce platform to pay additional tax amounts on a prospective or retroactive basis. They could require us or our customers to pay fines and/or penalties and interest for past amounts deemed to be due. If we raise our prices to offset the costs of these changes, existing and potential future customers may elect not to continue to subscribe or elect not to subscribe to our ecommerce platform in the future. Additionally, new or modified tax laws could increase our customers’ and our compliance, operating and other costs, as well as the costs of our platform. Any or all of these events could adversely impact our business and financial performance.

Moreover, our application of certain tax laws may be subject to controversial interpretation by tax authorities. In the event that tax authorities interpret tax laws in a manner that is inconsistent with our interpretation, we may be adversely affected.

With sales in various countries, we are subject to taxation in several jurisdictions around the world with increasingly complex tax laws, the application of which can be uncertain. The amount of taxes we pay in these jurisdictions could increase substantially as a result of changes in the applicable tax principles, including increased tax rates, new tax laws or revised interpretations of existing tax laws and precedents, which could have an adverse impact on our liquidity and results of operations.

 

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In addition, we may be subject to additional obligations to collect and remit sales tax and other taxes. The jurisdictions in which we operate have differing rules and regulations governing sales, use, value-added and other taxes, and these rules and regulations are subject to varying interpretations that may change over time. In particular, the applicability of such taxes to our ecommerce platform in various jurisdictions is unclear (especially with respect to taxes on digital services in jurisdictions where we do not have legal presence). These jurisdictions’ rules regarding tax nexus are complex and vary significantly. As a result, we could face tax assessments and audits. Our liability for these taxes and associated penalties could exceed our original estimates. Jurisdictions in which we have not historically collected or accrued sales, use, value-added, or other taxes could assert our liability for such taxes. This could result in substantial tax liabilities and related penalties for past sales. It could also discourage customers from using our platform or otherwise harm our business and operating results.

Our future effective tax rates could be subject to volatility or adversely affected by a number of factors, including:

 

   

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

   

expected timing and amount of release of any tax valuation allowances;

 

   

tax effects of stock-based compensation;

 

   

costs related to intercompany restructurings;

 

   

changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations thereof; or

 

   

future earnings being lower than anticipated in countries where we have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated in countries where we have higher statutory tax rates.

We currently conduct activities in multiple jurisdictions through our subsidiaries pursuant to transfer pricing arrangements and may in the future conduct operations in other jurisdictions pursuant to similar arrangements. If two or more affiliated companies are located in different countries, the tax laws or regulations of each country generally will require that transfer prices be the same as those between unrelated companies dealing at arm’s length. While we believe that we operate in compliance with applicable transfer pricing laws and intend to continue to do so, our transfer pricing procedures are not binding on applicable tax authorities. If tax authorities in any of these countries were to successfully challenge our transfer prices as not reflecting arm’s length transactions, they could require us to adjust our transfer prices and thereby reallocate our income to reflect these revised transfer prices, which could result in a higher tax liability to us.

Loss of, or adverse modifications to, certain tax benefits that we enjoy in Brazil and Argentina could have a negative impact on our operating results and profitability.

Our Brazilian subsidiaries enjoy a social contribution benefit introduced by the Brazilian government in 2011 as a stimulus to labor intensive companies pursuant to Brazilian Federal Law 12,546/11, named Contribuição Previdenciária sobre a Receita Bruta (CPRB). Under this benefit, employers of specific business segments can elect to pay their share of social contribution at rates of up to 4.5% on gross revenues instead of 20.0% on payroll. This benefit was originally designed to be effective for a limited period of time but, it has been extended several times since its introduction and was meant to remain in force until December 31, 2027. However, in December 2023, the Brazilian Federal Government adopted Provisional Measure 1202, revoking the benefit and restoring the social contribution tax rates at 20% on payroll effective April 2024, although recognizing a relief through 2027 for taxpayers that commit to keep the existing job positions. The Provisional Measure is expected to be reviewed by the Brazilian Congress during the first quarter of 2024, and if approved it will adversely affect the results of operations of VTEX Brasil.

Also, VTEX Brasil benefits from research and development, or R&D, tax credits that significantly reduce its income tax liability pursuant to Brazilian Federal Law 11,196/05, or Lei do Bem. If the relevant R&D tax benefit is terminated, the tax liability of VTEX Brasil could be significantly increased.

VTEX Informatica S.A., our Argentine subsidiary, is partially exempt from an indirect tax due in the city of Buenos Aires that applies on gross revenues at approximately 4.0%. This exemption applies to technology companies in general which are located in a technological district and will be in force until 2035. Failure to comply with the relevant requirements or an early termination of this exemption will significantly adversely affect the results of operations of VTEX Informatica S.A.

 

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We are subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering and similar laws. Non-compliance with such laws can subject us to criminal and/or civil liability and harm our business.

We are subject to the FCPA, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the U.S. Travel Act, the Brazilian Anticorruption Law, the UK Bribery Act of 2010, the UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and other anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in the countries in which we conduct activities. Anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws have been enforced aggressively in recent years. These laws are interpreted broadly to prohibit companies and their employees and third-party intermediaries from authorizing, promising, offering, or providing, directly or indirectly, improper payments or anything else of value to recipients in the public or private sector. As we increase our international sales and business and sales to the public sector, we may engage with partners and third-party intermediaries to market our services and to obtain necessary permits, licenses and other regulatory approvals. In addition, we or our third-party intermediaries may have direct or indirect interactions with officials and employees of government agencies or state-owned or affiliated entities. We can be held liable for corrupt or other illegal activities of these third-party intermediaries, our employees, representatives, contractors, partners and agents, even if we do not explicitly authorize such activities.

While we have policies and procedures to address compliance with such laws, our employees and agents could violate our policies and applicable law, for which we may be ultimately held responsible. As we increase our international sales and business, our risks under these laws may increase.

Non-compliance with anti-corruption, anti-bribery, or anti-money laundering laws could subject us to whistleblower complaints, investigations, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, suspension and/or debarment from contracting with certain persons, the loss of export privileges, reputational harm, adverse media coverage and other collateral consequences. If any subpoenas or investigations are launched, or governmental or other sanctions are imposed, or if we do not prevail in any possible civil or criminal litigation, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially harmed. Responding to any action will likely result in a materially significant diversion of management’s attention and resources and significant defense costs and other professional fees. Enforcement actions and sanctions could further harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting in preparing our consolidated financial statements in the past. If we identify new material weaknesses in the future or we fail to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud, which may adversely affect our business and stock price or cause our access to the capital market to be impaired.

As discussed in Item 15 of this annual report, we have previously identified a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022 reporting related to failure to maintain controls related to restrict access management procedures, regarding granting, revoking and reviewing access and segregation of duties. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of control deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of a company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. If we fail to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, this could result in errors in our financial statements that could result in a material restatement of our financial statements, we could fail to meet our public reporting obligations or fail to prevent fraud, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and cause a decline in the price of our Class A common shares. Additionally, failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could also subject us to potential delisting from the NYSE or to other regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions.

As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the rules and regulations and the listing standards of the NYSE. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we evaluate the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. This assessment must include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by management in internal controls over financial reporting. We have incurred and expect to continue to incur substantial accounting and auditing expenses and to expend significant management time in complying with these requirements.

 

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In addition, until we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, which may not be until after five full fiscal years following the date of our initial public offering, our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to attest to and report on, and did not attest to and report on, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, our current reporting obligations as a SEC-reporting company may place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources, and systems for the foreseeable future. There can be no assurance that in the future we will not have additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting.

Our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risks, including risk of fraud, which could expose us to losses and liability and otherwise adversely affect our business.

We operate in a rapidly changing industry, and we have experienced significant growth in recent years. Accordingly, our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in identifying, monitoring and managing our risks. Some of our risk evaluation methods depend upon information provided by others and public information regarding markets, customers or other matters that are otherwise inaccessible by us. In some cases, however, that information may not be accurate, complete or up-to-date. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or we are not always successful in capturing all risks to which we are or may be exposed, we may suffer harm to our reputation or be subject to litigation or regulatory actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We offer our platform to a large number of customers, and we are responsible for vetting and monitoring these customers and determining whether the transactions we process for them are lawful and legitimate. When our products and services are used to process illegitimate transactions, and we settle those funds to customers and are unable to recover them, we suffer losses and liability. For instance, we face risk of fraud with respect to our SMB platform business, as our customers may use our platform to create online stores that sell goods to end-consumers without actually delivering them or may use our platform to test illegally obtained credit card data. If we are unable to prevent these illicit uses of our platform, our business, financial condition, operating result and reputation may be adversely affected. These types of illegitimate, as well as unlawful, transactions can also expose us to governmental and regulatory sanctions, including outside of Brazil (e.g., U.S. AML and economic sanctions violations). The highly automated nature of, and liquidity offered by, our payments services make us a target for illegal or improper uses, including fraudulent or illegal sales of goods or services, money laundering and terrorist financing. Identity thieves and those committing fraud using stolen or fabricated credit card or bank account numbers, or other deceptive or malicious practices, potentially can steal significant amounts of money from businesses like ours. In configuring our payments services, we face an inherent trade-off between security and customer convenience. Our risk management policies, procedures, techniques and processes may not be sufficient to identify all of the risks to which we are exposed, to enable us to mitigate the risks we have identified, or to identify additional risks to which we may become subject in the future. In addition, when we introduce new services, focus on new business types, or begin to operate in markets in which we have a limited history of fraud loss, we may be less able to forecast and reserve accurately for those losses. Furthermore, if our risk management policies and processes contain errors or are otherwise ineffective, we may suffer large financial losses, we may be subject to civil and criminal liability, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

In 2020, we made public statements as to our historical profitability, despite incurring in a net loss in 2020 and 2019.

In 2020, we made public statements as to our historical profitability, despite incurring in a net loss of US$0.8 million and US$4.6 million in the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Such public statements may be viewed as inaccurate and were contemporaneous with the closing of a round of private financing with certain investors. Any such investor may attempt to assert claims against us for any losses incurred in reliance on any such public statements made by us. Any such claims can be time-consuming, divert management’s attention and resources and cause us to incur significant expenses, and it could also adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition or results of operation.

 

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We may be subject to various legal proceedings which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We may be involved in various legal proceedings, investigations and similar matters from time to time arising from tax, civil and labor claims, amongst others. Such matters can be time-consuming, divert management’s attention and resources and cause us to incur significant expenses. Any insurance or indemnities that we may have may not cover all claims that may be asserted against us, and any claims asserted against us, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, may harm our reputation. If we are unsuccessful in our defense in these legal proceedings, we may be forced to pay damages or fines, enter into consent decrees or change our business practices, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, certain legal proceedings may result in negative publicity or affect our reputation. We are currently a party to a legal proceeding relating to alleged misappropriation and/or retention of confidential and proprietary information. For further information “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal and Administrative Proceedings.”

In addition, media coverage and public statements that insinuate improper actions by us or our subsidiaries, regardless of their factual accuracy or truthfulness, may result in negative publicity or legal proceedings. Addressing negative publicity and any resulting legal proceeding may distract management, increase costs and divert resources. Negative publicity may have an adverse impact on our reputation or the morale of our employees, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Certain Risks Relating to Latin America

Governments have a high degree of influence in Brazil and the other economies in which we operate. The effects of this influence and political and economic conditions in Brazil and Latin America could harm us and the trading price of our Class A common shares.

Governments in many of the markets in which we currently, or may in the future, operate frequently exercise significant influence over their respective economies and occasionally make significant changes in policy and regulations. Government actions to control inflation and other policies and regulations have often involved, among other measures, increases or decreases in interest rates, changes in fiscal policies, wage and price controls, foreign exchange rate controls, blocking access to bank accounts, currency devaluations, capital controls and import and export restrictions. We have no control over and cannot predict what measures or policies governments may take in the future. We and the market price of our securities may be harmed by changes in government policies, as well as general economic factors, including, without limitation:

 

   

growth or downturn of the relevant economy;

 

   

interest rates and monetary policies;

 

   

exchange rates and currency fluctuations;

 

   

inflation;

 

   

liquidity of the capital and lending markets;

 

   

import and export controls;

 

   

exchange controls and restrictions on remittances abroad and payments of dividends;

 

   

modifications to laws and regulations according to political, social and economic interests;

 

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fiscal policy and changes in tax laws and related interpretations by tax authorities;

 

   

economic, political and social instability, including general strikes and mass demonstrations;

 

   

the regulatory framework governing our industry;

 

   

labor and social security regulations;

 

   

public health, including as a result of epidemics and pandemics;

 

   

changes in demographics; and

 

   

other political, diplomatic, social and economic developments in or affecting Latin America.

Uncertainty over whether Brazil and other Latin American governments will implement reforms or changes in policy or regulation affecting these or other factors in the future may affect economic performance and contribute to economic uncertainty in Latin America, such as increased tax uncertainty regarding the tax authorities’ interpretations of applicable tax laws and exemptions, which may have an adverse effect on our activities and consequently our operating results, and may also adversely affect the trading price of our Class A common shares.

In addition, recent economic and political instability in Brazil in general has led to a negative perception of the Brazilian economy and higher volatility in the Brazilian securities markets, which also may adversely affect us and our Class A common shares. See “—The ongoing economic uncertainty and political instability in Brazil and the other countries in which we operate, may harm us and the price of our Class A common shares” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results— Latin American Macroeconomic Environment.”

Significant foreign currency exchange controls and currency devaluation in certain countries in which we operate which may have adverse effects on the economies of such countries, us and the price of our Class A common shares.

Certain Latin American economies have experienced shortages in foreign currency reserves and their respective governments have adopted restrictions on the ability to transfer funds out of the country and convert local currencies into U.S. dollars. This may increase our costs and limit our ability to convert local currency into U.S. dollars and transfer funds out of certain countries, including for the purchase of dollar-denominated inputs, the payment of dividends or the payment of interest or principal on our outstanding debt. In the event that any of our subsidiaries are unable to transfer funds to us due to currency restrictions, we are responsible for any resulting shortfall.

Specifically in the case of Argentina, since September 2019, the government has tightened restrictions on capital flows and imposed foreign exchange controls and transfer restrictions, substantially limiting the ability of companies to retain foreign currency or make payments outside of Argentina. As a consequence of the re-imposition of exchange controls, the spread between the official exchange rate and other exchange rates resulting implicitly from certain capital market operations usually effected to obtain U.S. dollars has broadened significantly, reaching a value of approximately 26% above the official exchange rate as of February 26, 2024. Also, in the course of 2023, the rate and reach of the so-called Impuesto PAIS (Impuesto Para una Argentina Inclusiva y Solidaria), an emergency tax created to tax the purchase of foreign currency, was broadened. The implementation of the above-mentioned measures, or additional future measures, significantly impacts our ability and costs to transfer funds outside of Argentina and prevents or delays payments that our Argentine subsidiary is required to make outside Argentina.

If we become subject to similar restrictions in other countries in which we operate, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

 

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In addition, the Brazilian, Mexican and Argentinian currencies (as well as the currency of other countries in which we operate) have been historically volatile and have devalued frequently over the past three decades. The continuing devaluation of the Argentine peso since the end of 2015 has led to higher inflation levels, has significantly reduced competitiveness, real wages and consumption and has had a negative impact on businesses whose success is dependent on domestic market demand and supplies payable in foreign currency. Further currency devaluations in any of the countries in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Throughout this period, for example, the Brazilian government has implemented various economic plans and used various exchange rate policies, including sudden devaluations, periodic mini-devaluations (during which the frequency of adjustments has ranged from daily to monthly), exchange controls, dual exchange rate markets and a floating exchange rate system. . The exchange rate reported by the Central Bank was R$5.581 per US$1.00 on December 31, 2021, R$5.218 per US$1.00 on December 31, 2022, R$4.841 per US$1.00 on December 31, 2023 and R$4.9813 per US$1.00 on February 26, 2024. There can be no assurance that the real will not again depreciate against the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future.

The value of the Mexican peso has also been subject to significant fluctuations with respect to the U.S. dollar in the past and may be subject to significant fluctuations in the future. In 2021, 2022 and 2023, the Mexican peso depreciated 2.7%, appreciated 4.7% and 13.1% respectively, against the U.S. dollar in nominal terms. There can be no assurance that the Mexican peso will not again depreciate against the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future.

The value of the Colombian peso has also been subject to significant fluctuations with respect to the U.S. dollar in the past and may be subject to significant fluctuations in the future. In 2021, 2022 and 2023 the Colombian peso depreciated 18.3%, 19.1% and appreciated 20.1% respectively, against the U.S. dollar in nominal terms. There can be no assurance that the Colombian peso will not again depreciate against the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future.

The value of the Argentine peso has been subject to significant devaluation against the U.S. Dollar in the past. In 2021, 2022 and 2023 the Argentine peso depreciated 22.0%, 72.5%, and 356.5% respectively, against the U.S. dollar in nominal terms. There can be no assurance that the Argentine peso will not again depreciate against the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future.

See “—We face exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, and such fluctuations could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.”

The ongoing economic uncertainty and political instability in Brazil and the other countries in which we operate, may harm us and the price of our Class A common shares.

The Brazilian political environment influenced and continues to influence the economic performance of the country. The political crises affected and continue to affect the trust of investors and the general public, causing economic slowdowns and an increase in volatility of securities issued by Brazilian companies.

Federal government’s difficulty in having a majority in the National Congress could result in a deadlock, political unrest and massive demonstrations and/or strikes, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Uncertainties regarding the current government’s implementation of changes in monetary, fiscal and social security policies, as well as the relevant legislation, may contribute to economic instability. These uncertainties and new measures may increase the volatility of the Brazilian securities market.

The president of Brazil has the power to establish policies and perform governmental acts related to the conduction of the Brazilian economy and, consequently, affect the operations and financial performance of companies, including ourselves. We cannot predict which policies the President will adopt, much less whether such policies or changes in current policies could have an adverse effect on us or on the Brazilian economy.

 

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Additionally, on November 19, 2023, the second round of the general Argentina presidential elections took place and candidate Javier Milei was elected over the current Argentine Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa. Javier Milei took office on December 10, 2023 and after a series of proposed measures during his candidacy, which included plans to dollarize the Argentine economy and closing the local Central Bank, one of his first immediate official actions was the devaluation of Argentine peso of 54% against the U.S. dollar, which could substantially impact Argentine inflation and economy. See “—Inflation and certain government measures to curb inflation may have adverse effects on the economies of the countries where we operate, our business and the price of our Class A common shares.” We cannot predict what other controversial measures Javier Milei will effectively adopt, which could have a material adverse effect on the Argentine economy and could affect our financial condition and results of our operations.

Any of the above factors may create additional political uncertainty, which could harm the Brazilian and other Latin American countries’ economy and, consequently, our business, and could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and the trading price of our Class A common shares.

Uncertainty and instability resulting from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the recent attack by Hamas on Israel from the Gaza Strip could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operations.

Global markets have recently experienced volatility and disruption following the escalation of geopolitical tensions, the start of military conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the recent attack by Hamas on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

In late February 2022, Russian military forces launched significant military action against Ukraine, and continued sustained conflict and disruption in the region is likely. It is not possible to predict the broader or longer-term consequences of this conflict, which could include further sanctions, embargoes, regional instability, geopolitical shifts and adverse effects on macroeconomic conditions, security conditions, currency exchange rates and financial markets. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and several other countries have imposed or are imposing far-reaching sanctions and export control restrictions on Russian entities and individuals. These and any additional sanctions, as well as any counter responses by the governments of Russia or other jurisdictions, and prolonged unrest, intensified military activities and/or the implementation of more extensive sanctions could adversely affect the global financial markets generally and levels of economic activity as well as increase financial markets volatility.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants and members of other terrorist organizations infiltrated Israel’s southern border from the Gaza Strip and conducted a series of terror attacks on civilian and military targets. Thereafter, these terrorists launched extensive rocket attacks on Israeli population and industrial centers located along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. Shortly following the attack, Israel’s security cabinet declared war against Hamas. The intensity and duration of Israel’s current war against Hamas is difficult to predict, as are the implications such war’s economic implications on our business and operations and on the global geopolitical instability, particularly if the war expands to other fronts, such as Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

Although we do not have any employees, staff, consultants, operations, materials or equipment located in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, or Israel, some of our customers, suppliers and partners may have employees, staff, consultants, operations, materials or equipment located in Ukraine, Russia or Belarus which could adversely affect our business or the services being provided to us.

Cybersecurity organizations in many countries have published warnings of increased cybersecurity threats to businesses, and external events, like the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, may increase the likelihood of cybersecurity attacks. We or our customers, suppliers and partners may be subject to retaliatory cyberattacks perpetrated by Russia or others at its direction in response to economic sanctions and other actions taken against Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. In addition, we are taking additional extensive measures of monitoring any potential abnormal behavior coming from Russia, Ukraine or Belarus that may directly or indirectly affect us. Any failure or security breach of information systems or data could result in a violation of applicable privacy and other laws, significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation or a loss of confidence in our security measures, which could also adversely affect our business.

 

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These and other global and regional conditions may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Inflation and certain government measures to curb inflation may have adverse effects on the economies of the countries where we operate, our business and the price of our Class A common shares.

Most Latin American countries have historically experienced, and may continue to experience in the future, high rates of inflation, which could lead to further government intervention in the economy, including the introduction of government policies that could adversely affect our results of operations. In countries with high rates of inflation, such as Brazil, or with hyperinflation, such as Argentina, we may not be able to adjust the price of our services sufficiently to offset the effects of inflation on our cost structures. A high inflation environment would also have negative effects on the level of economic activity, employment and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In the past, Brazil has experienced extremely high rates of inflation. Inflation and some of the measures taken by the Brazilian government in an attempt to curb inflation have had significant negative effects on the Brazilian economy generally. Inflation policies adopted to curb inflationary pressures and uncertainties regarding possible future governmental intervention have contributed to economic uncertainty and heightened volatility in the Brazilian capital markets.

According to the National Consumer Price Index (Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo), or IPCA, which is published by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), or IBGE, Brazilian inflation rates were 4.6%, 5.8% and 10.1% for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively. Brazil may experience high levels of inflation in the future and inflationary pressures may lead to the Brazilian government’s intervening in the economy and introducing policies that could harm our business and the price of our Class A common shares. One of the tools used by the Brazilian government to control inflation levels is its monetary policy, specifically in regard to the official Brazilian interest rate. An increase in the interest rate restricts the availability of credit and reduces economic growth, and vice versa. During recent years, there has been significant volatility in the official Brazilian base interest rate, which ranged from 14.25%, on December 31, 2015 to 2.00% on December 31, 2020, increasing to 9.25% on December 31, 2021, 13.75% on December 31, 2022 and 11.75% on December 31, 2023. As of the date of this annual report, the official Brazilian base interest rate is 11.75%. This rate is set by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Brazil (Comitê de Política Monetária), or COPOM. Any change in interest rate, in particular any volatile swings, can adversely affect our growth, indebtedness and financial condition.

In recent years, Argentina’s foreign debt rating has been downgraded on multiple occasions based on concerns regarding economic conditions and rising fears of increased inflationary pressures and their ability to serve their debt obligations. The IMF and the Argentine authorities have reached an understanding on key policies as part of their ongoing discussions of an IMF-supported program in order to renegotiate the principal maturities of the US$44.1 billion under a stand-by arrangement. On March 25, 2022, the IMF approved the execution of the financing agreement (the “IMF Agreement”) with Argentina for a total amount of US$44.0 billion, which includes a disbursement of US$9.6 billion. We cannot assure that the conditions of the IMF Agreement will not affect Argentina’s ability to implement reforms and public policies and boost economic growth, nor the impact that the IMF Agreement may have in Argentina’s ability to access international capital markets (and indirectly in our ability to access those markets). Moreover, the long-term impact of these measures and any future measures taken by the government on the Argentine economy remains uncertain. It is possible that reforms could be disruptive to the economy and adversely affect the Argentine economy and our business, results of operations and financial condition. We are also unable to predict the measures that the Argentine government may adopt in the future, and how they will impact on the Argentine economy and our results of operations and financial condition.

The increasing level of inflation in Argentina has generated pressure for further depreciation of the Argentine peso, which depreciated against the U.S. dollar by 22.0% and 72.5% in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Argentina’s newly elected president, Javier Milei, took office on December 10, 2023, and one of his first official measure as president was to devaluate the Argentine peso in 54% against the U.S. dollar, making the official exchange rate reach 800 Argentine pesos per US$1.00, from 365 Argentine pesos per US$1.00, in the day immediate following the adoption of the measure. As a result, accumulated depreciation of the Argentine peso

 

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against the U.S. dollar was of 356.5% in 2023. This strategy, however, was adopted without any plans from the Argentine government to contain price increases, which could potentially lead to extreme inflation levels in the near future. If the current Argentine government is unable to address Argentina’s structural inflationary imbalances, the prevailing high rates of inflation may continue, which would have an adverse effect on Argentina’s economy and our business.

Any further downgrading of the credit rating of Brazil or of other countries in which we operate could reduce the trading price of our Class A common shares.

We may be harmed by investors’ perceptions of risks related to the sovereign debt credit rating. Rating agencies regularly evaluate the credit rating of the countries in which we operate and their respective sovereign ratings, which are based on a number of factors, including macroeconomic trends, fiscal and budgetary conditions, indebtedness metrics and the perspective of changes in any of these factors. In recent years, the sovereign credit ratings of some of the countries in which they operate have experienced negative trends, with ratings deteriorating in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

As of December 31, 2023, the sovereign credit ratings for Argentina were CCC-, Ca and CCC-, as set by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, respectively.

As of December 31, 2023, the sovereign credit ratings for Brazil were BB, Ba2 and BB, as set by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, respectively.

As of December 31, 2023, the sovereign credit ratings for Colombia were BB+, Ba2 and BB+, as set by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, respectively.

Sovereign credit ratings of Argentina, Brazil and Colombia are currently rated below investment grade by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch credit rating agencies; Argentina and Brazil are currently rated below investment grade by Moody’s and Colombia is currently rated as investment grade by it. Consequently, the prices of securities offered by companies with significant operations in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia have been negatively affected. A prolongation or worsening of the current economic and political, among other factors, could lead to ratings downgrades. Any downgrade of Argentina, Brazil and Colombian sovereign credit ratings, or of any other country in which we operate, could heighten investors’ perception of risk and, as a result, cause the trading price of our Class A common shares to decline.

Infrastructure and workforce deficiency in many of the countries in Latin America in which we operate may impact economic growth and have a material adverse effect on us.

Our performance currently depends on the overall health and growth of the economies in which we operate in Latin America. On an aggregate, real GDP growth in FX Neutral of Latin American countries has fluctuated over the past few years, with a 2.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, according to Fitch. Growth is limited by inadequate infrastructure, including potential energy shortages and deficient transportation, logistics and telecommunication sectors, general strikes, the lack of a qualified labor force (particularly developers), and the lack of private and public investments in these areas, which limit productivity and efficiency. Any of these factors could lead to labor market volatility and generally impact income, purchasing power and consumption levels, which could limit growth and ultimately have a material adverse effect on us.

Developments and the perceptions of risks in other countries, including other emerging markets, the United States and Europe, may harm the economy of Brazil and the other countries in which we operate and the trading price of our Class A common shares.

The market for securities offered by companies with significant operations in Brazil and Latin America is influenced by political, economic and market conditions in the region and, to varying degrees, market conditions in other emerging markets, as well as the United States, Europe and other countries. To the extent the conditions of the global markets or economy deteriorate, the business of companies with significant operations in Brazil and Latin America may be harmed. The weakness in the global economy has been marked by, among other adverse factors,

 

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lower levels of consumer and corporate confidence, decreased business investment and consumer spending, increased unemployment, reduced income and asset values in many areas, reduction of China’s growth rate, currency volatility and limited availability of credit and access to capital. Developments or economic conditions in other emerging market countries have at times significantly affected the availability of credit to companies with significant operations in Latin America and resulted in considerable outflows of funds from Latin American countries, decreasing the amount of foreign investments in the region.

Crises and political instability in other emerging market countries, the United States, Europe or other countries, including increased international trade tensions and protectionist policies, could decrease investor demand for securities offered by companies with significant operations in Brazil and Latin America, such as our Class A common shares. For example, in 2019, political and social unrest in Latin American countries, including Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia, sparked political demonstrations and, in some instances, violence. In October 2019, presidential elections were held in Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. Controversial outcomes in Bolivia and Uruguay led to violent protests and claims of fraudulent elections in Bolivia and a runoff election in Uruguay. Similarly, Chile experienced political unrest and social strife, including a wave of protests and riots, beginning on October 18, 2019, sparked by an increase in the subway fare of the Santiago Metro and widened to reflect anger over living costs and inequality. In June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum in which the majority voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (so called “Brexit”). The exit officially occurred on January 31, 2020. Brexit has created significant economic uncertainty in the UK and in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In addition, the terms of Brexit could potentially disrupt the markets we serve and the tax jurisdictions in which we operate and adversely change tax benefits or liabilities in these or other jurisdictions, and may cause us to lose investors, investment opportunities and employees. In addition, Brexit may lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. These developments, as well as potential crises and other forms of political instability or any other as of yet unforeseen development, may harm our business and the trading price of our Class A common shares. Additionally, Joseph Biden assumed office as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. The U.S. president has considerable influence, which may materially and adversely affect global economy and political stability. We cannot ensure that the Biden administration will adopt policies designed to promote macroeconomic stability, fiscal discipline, as well as domestic and foreign investment, which may materially and adversely impact the trading price of securities of Brazilian issuers, including our Class A common shares. In addition, the U.S. presidential elections are scheduled to take place in November 2024. The result of elections may lead to changes in government policies which may materially and adversely impact the trading price of our Class A common shares. We cannot give you any assurance as to whether any such changes will occur or as to their timing, nor can we estimate the impact they may have on our business. Growing economic uncertainty and news of a potentially recessive economy in the United States may also create uncertainty in the Brazilian economy. These developments, as well as potential crises and forms of political instability arising therefrom or any other as of yet unforeseen development, may harm our business and the price of our Class A common shares. See “—Our business is susceptible to risks associated with international sales and the use of our platform in various countries.”

Further increases in interest rates in other countries, especially the United States, may reduce global liquidity and investors’ interest in securities issued by companies with significant operations in Latin America, adversely affecting the price of our Class A common shares. Interest rates have increased rapidly in the United States in the year ended December 31, 2022. For instance, in March 2022, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark federal funds rate by 0.25% to a range between 0.25% and 0.50%, the first increase since December 2018. Throughout 2022 and 2023, the U.S. Federal Reserve increased rates 11 times as a measure to curb inflation. Since the last raise in July 2023, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised the benchmark federal funds to a range between 5.25% and 5.50%. This, in turn, may redirect the flow of capital from emerging markets into the United States because investors may be able to obtain greater risk-adjusted returns in larger or more developed economies. Thus, companies in emerging market economies could find it more difficult and expensive to borrow capital and refinance existing debt. This may negatively affect our potential for economic growth and our ability to refinance our existing debt and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, prospects and the market price of our shares. Technology companies have been sensitive to the effects as investors may look to higher yield short-term investment options rather than wait for technology companies to generate long-term growth and expected future cash flows.

 

 

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Furthermore, global markets are currently operating in a period of economic uncertainty, volatility and disruption, including as a result of the current war between Ukraine and Russia and the war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip. The Ukraine war has caused market turmoil and led oil prices to soar, reaching the highest level in almost 14 years, thus affecting the market commodities and energy in Brazil and in the world, which could raise our operational costs and consumer expenses and, therefore, adversely affect our operational results and financial condition. In addition, the war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip, an escalation in political tensions between the United States, Iran and Iraq, as well as other related conflicts in the Middle East, and imposition of additional sanctions from the United States, Iran, Iraq and European countries could cause the price of oil to increase even further. Further, trade disputes between countries, in particular the current dispute between the United States and China, crisis in the United States, the European Union or in emerging countries and global tensions, including conflicts involving the occurrence of Brexit, have generated political and economic instability around the world, producing several effects that, directly or indirectly, adversely impact the Latin American capital markets and economy, such as fluctuations in the price of securities issued by listed companies, reductions in the supply of credit, deterioration of the economy, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and inflation, among others.

The weakness in the global economy has been marked by, among other adverse factors, lower levels of consumer and corporate confidence, decreased business investment and consumer spending, increased unemployment, reduced income and asset values in many areas, reduction of China’s growth rate, currency volatility and limited availability of credit and access to capital, in addition to the global financial systems crisis in early 2023.

Given our exposure to Latin American economies, any such factors can reduce investor interest in our securities. Developments, crises, political instability or economic conditions in other countries may significantly affect the perceptions of risks inherent to Latin America and the availability of credit to companies with significant operations in Latin America, which could result in considerable outflows of funds from Latin America and make it more difficult for us to access the capital markets and finance our operations in the future.

Certain Risks Relating to Our Class A Common Shares

An active trading market for our Class A common shares may not be sustainable. If an active trading market is not maintained, investors may not be able to resell their shares and our ability to raise capital in the future may be impaired.

Although our Class A common shares are listed and being traded on the NYSE, an active trading market for our Class A common shares may not be maintained. Consequently, investors may not be able to sell our Class A common shares at prices equal to or greater than the price paid by such investor. In addition to the risks described above, the market price of our Class A common shares may be influenced by many factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

 

   

technological innovations by us or competitors;

 

   

the failure of financial analysts to cover our Class A common shares after our initial public offering or changes in financial estimates by analysts;

 

   

actual or anticipated variations in our operating results;

 

   

changes in financial estimates by financial analysts, or any failure by us to meet or exceed any of these estimates, or changes in the recommendations of any financial analysts that elect to follow our Class A common shares or the shares of our competitors;

 

   

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts or acquisitions;

 

   

future sales of our shares;

 

   

investor perceptions of us and the industries in which we operate; and

 

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difficulties experienced by our parent company and/or by any of our associate companies in Brazil, or direct or indirect subsidiaries of our parent company.

In addition, the stock market in general has experienced substantial price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of particular companies affected. These broad market and industry factors may materially harm the market price of our Class A common shares, regardless of our operating performance. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of certain companies’ securities, securities class action litigation has been instituted against these companies. Any such litigation, if instituted against us, could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. If a market does not develop or is not maintained, the liquidity and price of our Class A common shares could be materially adversely affected.

The market price of our shares may be volatile or may decline sharply or suddenly, regardless of our operating performance, and we may not be able to meet investors’ or analysts’ expectations. Investors may not be able to resell their shares at a price equal or greater than the price paid by such investor and may lose all or part of their investment.

The market price of our Class A common shares may fluctuate or decline significantly in response to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, but not limited to:

 

   

actual or forecast fluctuations in revenue or in other operating and financial results;

 

   

variations between our actual operating results and the expectations of securities analysts, investors and the financial community;

 

   

action by securities analysts who begin or continue to cover us, changes in the financial estimates of any securities analysts who follow our company or our failure to meet these estimates or investors’ expectations;

 

   

announcements by us or by our competitors of significant products or features, technical innovations, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

   

negative media coverage or publicity affecting us or our parent company, whether true or not;

 

   

changes in the operating performance and stock market valuations of SaaS ecommerce companies in general, including our competitors;

 

   

fluctuations in the price and volume of the stock market in general, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;

 

   

threats of lawsuits and actions brought against us or decided against us;

 

   

developments in the legislation or regulatory action, including interim or final decisions by judicial or regulatory bodies;

 

   

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations or principles;

 

   

any significant changes to our board of directors or management;

 

   

any security incidents or public reports of security incidents that occur in our platform or in our sector;

 

   

statements, comments or opinions from public officials that our product offerings are or may be illegal, regardless of interim or final decisions of judicial or regulatory bodies; and

 

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other events or factors, including those resulting from war, terrorist incidents, natural disasters or responses to such events.

In addition, price and volume fluctuations in the stock markets have affected and continue to affect the stock prices of many CPaaS companies. Often, their stock prices fluctuate in ways that are unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies. In some instances, shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit after periods of market volatility. If we are involved in litigation regarding securities, this could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and management attention from our business and seriously undermine our business. In addition, the occurrence of any of the factors listed above, along with others, may cause our share price to drop significantly and there is no guarantee that our share price will recover. As a result, investors may not be able to sell their Class A common shares at a price equal or greater than the price paid by such investor and may lose some or all of their investment.

Requirements associated with being a public company in the United States demand significant company resources and management attention.

We have incurred, and expect to continue incurring, significant additional legal, accounting, reporting and other expenses as a result of having publicly traded Class A common shares. We also have incurred, and expect to continue incurring costs, including, but not limited to, directors’ fees, increased directors’ and officers’ insurance, investor relations, and various other costs of a public company.

We have incurred, and expect to continue incurring, costs associated with corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and the Consumer Protection Act, listing requirements and other rules and regulations applying to companies with publicly listed securities. We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some management and corporate governance activities more difficult, time consuming and costly, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” increasing the demands on our systems and resources. Among other things, the SEC rules applying to us, require we file annual and current reports on our business and operating results.

These rules and regulations may make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. This could have an adverse impact on our ability to recruit and bring on a qualified independent board.

Most members of our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company, interacting with public company investors and complying with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies in the United States. The additional demands associated with being a public company in the United States may disrupt regular operations of our business by diverting the attention of some of our senior management team away from revenue producing activities to management and administrative oversight, adversely affecting our ability to attract and complete business opportunities and increasing the difficulty in both retaining professionals and managing and growing our businesses. Our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage our transition to being a public company subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the U.S. federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors.

In addition, the public reporting obligations associated with being a public company in the United States may subject us to litigation as a result of increased scrutiny of our financial reporting. If we are involved in litigation regarding our public reporting obligations, this could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and management attention from our business and seriously undermine our business.

 

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Our controlling shareholders, in the aggregate, directly or indirectly hold 66.0% of our outstanding Class B common shares, and approximately 61.6% of the voting power of our issued capital and 38.6% of our total equity ownership, and control all matters requiring shareholder approval. Our controlling shareholders also have the right to nominate a majority of our board of directors and consent rights over certain corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership limits investors’ ability to influence corporate matters.

Our controlling shareholders directly or indirectly hold 66.0% of our Class B common shares, resulting in their ownership of 38.6% of our outstanding shares and 61.6% of the combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common shares. See “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Shareholders.” These shareholders may control a majority of our voting power and have the ability to control matters affecting, or submitted to a vote of, our shareholders. As a result, these shareholders may be able to elect the members of our board of directors and set our management policies and exercise overall control over us. In addition, the rights granted pursuant to our Articles of Association mean that our controlling shareholders may be able to appoint a majority of our board despite owning a non-proportionate number of shares until they own less than 25.0% of the total voting power. See “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Description of Share Capital.” for more information.

The interests of these shareholders may conflict with, or differ from, the interests of other shareholders. For example, our current controlling shareholders may cause us to make acquisitions that increase the amount of our indebtedness or outstanding shares, sell revenue-generating assets or inhibit change of control transactions that benefit other shareholders. Our controlling shareholders’ decisions on these matters may be contrary to your expectations or preferences, and they may take actions that could be contrary to your interests. Our controlling shareholder will be able to prevent any other shareholders from blocking these actions. For further information regarding shareholdings in our company, see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Shareholders.” So long as these shareholders continue to own a substantial number of our shares, they will significantly influence all our corporate decisions and together with other shareholders, they may be able to effect or inhibit changes in the control of our company.

The disparity in voting rights among classes of our shares may have a potential adverse effect on the price of our Class A common shares, and may limit or preclude the investors’ ability to influence corporate matters.

Each Class A common share will entitle its holder to one (1) vote per share on all matters submitted to a vote of our shareholders. Each holder of our Class B common shares will be entitled to ten (10) votes per Class B common share so long as the Class B common shares represent is at least 10% of our outstanding shares. The difference in voting rights could adversely affect the value of our Class A common shares by, for example, delaying or deferring a change of control or, if investors view or any potential future purchaser of our company views, the superior voting rights of the Class B common shares have value. Given the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B ordinary and Class A common shares, the holders of our Class B common shares collectively will continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our shares and therefore be able to control all matters submitted to our shareholders so long as the Class B common shares represent at least 10% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common shares in addition to certain other rights to which our controlling shareholders are entitled (see risk factor immediately above and “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Description of Share Capital.” This concentrated control will limit or preclude the investors’ ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

Future transfers by holders of Class B common shares will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common shares, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected to permitted transferees (including certain transfers between our controlling shareholders) or for estate planning or charitable purposes as well as transfers between our controlling shareholders. The conversion of Class B common shares to Class A common shares will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common shares who retain their shares in the long term. For a description of our dual class structure, see “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Description of Share Capital.”

Our Class A common shares may not be a suitable investment for all investors, as investment in our Class A common shares presents risks and the possibility of financial losses.

The investment in our Class A common shares is subject to risks. Investors who wish to invest in our Class A common shares are thus subject to asset losses, including loss of the entire value of their investment, as well as other risks, including those related to our Class A common shares, us, the sector in which we operate, our shareholder structure and the general macroeconomic environment in Brazil, among other risks.

 

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Each potential investor in our Class A common shares must therefore determine the suitability of that investment in light of its own circumstances. In particular, each potential investor should:

 

   

have sufficient knowledge and experience to make a meaningful evaluation of our Class A common shares, the merits and risks of investing in our Class A common shares and the information contained in this annual report;

 

   

have access to, and knowledge of, appropriate analytical tools to evaluate, in the context of its particular financial situation, an investment in our Class A common shares and the impact our Class A common shares will have on its overall investment portfolio;

 

   

have sufficient financial resources and liquidity to bear all of the risks of an investment in our Class A common shares;

 

   

understand thoroughly the terms of our Class A common shares and be familiar with the behavior of any relevant indices and financial markets; and

 

   

be able to evaluate (either alone or with the help of a financial adviser) possible scenarios for economic, interest rate and other factors that may affect its investment and its ability to bear the applicable risks.

Class A common shares eligible for future sale may cause the market price of our Class A common shares to drop significantly.

The market price of our Class A common shares may decline as a result of sales of a large number of our Class A common shares in the market after our initial public offering (including Class A common shares issuable upon conversion of Class B common shares) or the perception that these sales may occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate.

As of December 31, 2023 we had 77,392,906 outstanding Class A common shares and 106,634,102 Class B common shares.

Our controlling shareholders or entities controlled by them or their permitted transferees will be able to sell their shares in the public market from time to time without registering them, subject to certain limitations on the timing, amount and method of those sales imposed by regulations promulgated by the SEC. If our controlling shareholders, the affiliated entities controlled by them or its permitted transferees were to sell a large number of Class A common shares, the market price of our Class A common shares may decline significantly. In addition, the perception in the public markets that sales by them might occur may also cause the trading price of our Class A common shares to decline.

We may lose our foreign private issuer status which would then require us to comply with the Exchange Act’s domestic reporting regime and cause us to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses.

In order to maintain our current status as a foreign private issuer, either (a) more than 50% of our Class A common shares must be either directly or indirectly owned of record by nonresidents of the United States or (b)(1) a majority of our executive officers or directors may not be U.S. citizens or residents, (2) more than 50% of our assets cannot be located in the United States and (3) our business must be administered principally outside the United States. If we lose this status, we would be required to comply with the Exchange Act reporting and other requirements applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, which are more detailed and extensive than the requirements for foreign private issuers. We may also be required to make changes in our corporate governance practices in accordance with various SEC rules and regulations. The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws if we are required to comply with the reporting requirements applicable to a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly higher than the costs we will incur as a foreign private issuer.

 

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Our status as a controlled company and a foreign private issuer exempts us from certain of the corporate governance standards of the NYSE, limiting the protections afforded to investors.

We are a “controlled company” and a “foreign private issuer” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards. Under the rules, a controlled company is exempt from certain corporate governance requirements. In addition, a foreign private issuer may elect to comply with the practice of its home country and not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that (1) a majority of the board of directors consists of independent directors, (2) a nominating and corporate governance committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, (3) a compensation committee be established that is composed entirely of independent directors and has a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, and (4) an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees be undertaken. Although we have similar practices, they do not entirely conform to the requirements; therefore, we currently use these exemptions and intend to continue using them. Accordingly, investors will not have the same protections provided to shareholders of companies that are subject to all corporate governance requirements.

Our Articles of Association contain anti-takeover provisions that may discourage a third party from acquiring us and adversely affect the rights of holders of our Class A common shares.

Our Articles of Association contain certain provisions that could limit the ability of others to acquire our control, including a provision that grants authority to our board of directors to establish and issue from time to time one or more series of preferred shares without action by our shareholders and to determine, with respect to any series of preferred shares, the terms and rights of that series. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of the opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over the prevailing market price by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain our control in a tender offer or similar transactions.

We have not adopted a dividend policy with respect to future dividends. If we do not declare any dividends in the future, investors will have to rely on the price appreciation of our Class A common shares in order to achieve a return on their investment.

We have not adopted a dividend policy with respect to future dividends. The amount of any distributions will depend on many factors such as our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, prospects and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors or, where applicable, our shareholders. We may retain our future earnings, if any, for the foreseeable future, to fund the operation of our business and future growth.

Accordingly, if we do not declare dividends in the future, investors will most likely have to rely on sales of their Class A common shares, which may increase or decrease in value, as the only way to realize cash from their investment. There is no guarantee that the price of our Class A common shares will ever exceed the price that investors pay.

Our dual-class structure may result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common shares. Our dual-class capital structure means our shares will not be included in certain stock indices. We cannot predict the impact this may have on our Class A common share price.

We cannot predict whether our dual-class structure, combined with the concentrated control of our Company (see “Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Shareholders.”) will result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common shares or in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. FTSE Russell, S&P Dow Jones and MSCI announced changes to their eligibility criteria for the inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices, namely, to exclude companies with multiple classes of common shares. FTSE Russell requires greater than five percent of the company’s voting rights (aggregated across all of its equity securities, including, where identifiable, those not listed or trading) in the hands of public shareholders whereas S&P Dow Jones announced that companies with multiple share class structures, such as ours,

 

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will not be eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600, which together comprise the S&P Composite 1500. MSCI also announced its review of no-vote and multi-class structures and temporarily barred new multi-class listings from its ACWI Investable Market Index and U.S. Investable Market 2500 Index; however, MSCI has since announced its decision to include equity securities “with unequal voting structures” in its indices and to launch a new index that specifically includes voting rights in its eligibility criteria. We cannot guarantee that other stock indices will not take a similar approach to FTSE Russell, S&P Dow Jones and MSCI in the future. Pursuant to these policies, our dual-class structure makes our Class A common shares ineligible for inclusion in such indices and mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not invest in our stock. Any such exclusion from indices could result in a less active trading market for our Class A common shares and depress the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from the indices compared to those of similar companies that are included. In addition, several shareholder advisory firms have announced their opposition to the use of multiple share class structures. As a result, our dual-class structure may cause shareholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance practices or otherwise seek to cause us to change our capital structure. Any actions or publications by shareholder advisory firms critical of our corporate governance practices or capital structure could also adversely affect the value of our Class A common shares.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish reports, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable reports about our business, the price of our Class A common shares and our trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common shares will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. Securities and industry analysts currently cover our parent company, but they do not, and may never, publish research on our company. If no or too few securities or industry analysts commence coverage of our company, the trading price for our Class A common shares would likely be negatively affected. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade their target price for our Class A common shares or publish inaccurate or unfavorable reports about our business, the price of our Class A common shares would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our Class A common shares could decrease, which might cause the price of our Class A common shares and trading volume to decline.

We may need to raise additional capital in the future by issuing securities, use our Class A common shares as acquisition consideration, or may enter into corporate transactions with an effect similar to a merger, which may dilute investors’ interest in our share capital, change the nature of our business and/or affect the trading price of our Class A common shares.

We may need to raise additional funds to grow our business, including through acquisitions, and implement our growth strategy going forward by engaging in public or private issuances of common shares or securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common shares, which may dilute investors’ interest in our share capital or result in a decrease in the market price of our common shares. Any fundraising through the issuance of shares or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares, the use of our Class A common shares as acquisition consideration, or the participation in corporate transactions with an effect similar to a merger, may dilute investors’ interest in our share capital, change the nature of our business from the business that investors originally invested in (including as a result of merger or acquisition transactions) and/or result in a decrease in the market price of our Class A common shares.

As a foreign private issuer and an “emerging growth company” (as defined in the JOBS Act), we will have different disclosure and other requirements from U.S. domestic registrants and non-emerging growth companies. We may take advantage of exemptions from certain corporate governance regulations of the NYSE, and this may result in less protection for the holders of our Class A common shares.

As a foreign private issuer and emerging growth company, we may be subject to different disclosure and other requirements than domestic U.S. registrants and non-emerging growth companies. For example, as a foreign private issuer, in the United States, we are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as a domestic U.S. registrant under the Exchange Act, including the requirements to prepare and issue quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or to file current reports on Form 8-K upon the occurrence of specified significant events, the proxy rules applicable to domestic U.S. registrants under Section 14 of the Exchange Act or the insider reporting and short swing profit rules applicable to domestic U.S. registrants under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. In addition, we intend to rely on exemptions from certain U.S. rules which will permit us to follow Cayman Islands legal requirements rather than certain of the requirements that are applicable to U.S. domestic registrants.

 

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We will follow Cayman Islands laws and regulations that are applicable to Cayman Islands companies. However, Cayman Islands laws and regulations applicable to Cayman Islands companies do not contain any provisions comparable to the U.S. proxy rules, the U.S. rules relating to the filing of reports on Form 10-Q or 8-K or the U.S. rules relating to liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time, as referred to above.

Furthermore, foreign private issuers are required to file their annual report on Form 20-F within 120 days after the end of each fiscal year, while U.S. domestic issuers that are accelerated filers are required to file their annual report on Form 10-K within 75 days after the end of each fiscal year. Foreign private issuers are also exempt from Regulation Fair Disclosure, aimed at preventing issuers from making selective disclosures of material information, although we will be subject to Cayman Islands laws and regulations having substantially the same effect as Regulation Fair Disclosure. As a result of the above, even though we are required to file reports on Form 6-K disclosing the limited information which we have made or are required to make public pursuant to Cayman Islands law, or are required to distribute to shareholders generally, and that is material to us, investors may not receive information of the same type or amount that is required to be disclosed to shareholders of a U.S. company.

In addition, according to the equity rules of the NYSE, listed companies are required, among other things, to have a majority of independent board members, and to have independent director oversight of executive compensation, nomination of directors and corporate governance matters. As a foreign private issuer, however, we are permitted to, and we will, follow home country practice in lieu of the above requirements. For more information, see the section “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Description of Share Capital.”

The JOBS Act contains provisions that, among other things, relax certain reporting requirements for emerging growth companies. Under this act, as an emerging growth company, we will not be subject to the same disclosure and financial reporting requirements as non-emerging growth companies. For example, as an emerging growth company we are permitted to, and intend to, take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. Also, we will not have to comply with future audit rules promulgated by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB (unless the SEC determines otherwise), and our auditors will not need to attest to our internal controls under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may follow these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. As a result, our shareholders may not have access to certain information that they deem important. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering, (b) in which we have total annual revenue of at least US$1.235 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our Class A common shares that is held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700.0 million as of the prior June 30, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than US$1.00 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period. Accordingly, the information about us available to investors will not be the same as, and may be more limited than, the information available to shareholders of a non-emerging growth company. We could be an “emerging growth company” for up to five years, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if the market value of our Class A common shares held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of any June 30 (the end of our second fiscal quarter) before that time, in which case we would no longer be an “emerging growth company” as of the following December 31 (our fiscal year end).

We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common shares and the price of our Class A common shares may be more volatile.

 

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Our shareholders may face difficulties in protecting their interests because we are a Cayman Islands exempted company.

Our corporate affairs will be governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, or Articles of Association, the Companies Act (Revised) of the Cayman (“Companies Act”) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. We will also be subject to the federal securities laws of the United States. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are different from what they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a different body of securities laws as compared to the United States, and certain states, such as Delaware, may have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law.

While Cayman Islands law allows a dissenting shareholder to express the shareholder’s view that a court sanctioned reorganization of a Cayman Islands company would not provide fair value for the shareholder’s shares, Cayman Islands statutory law does not specifically provide for shareholder appraisal rights in connection with a merger or consolidation of a company that takes place by way of a scheme of arrangement. This may make it more difficult for investors to assess the value of any consideration investors may receive in a merger or consolidation that takes place by way of a court approved scheme of arrangement or to require that the acquirer gives investors additional consideration if investors believe the consideration offered is insufficient. However, Cayman Islands statutory law provides a mechanism for a dissenting shareholder in a merger or consolidation that does not take place by way of a scheme of arrangement to apply to the Grand Court for a determination of the fair value of the dissenter’s shares if it is not possible for the company and the dissenter to agree on a fair price within the time limits prescribed.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies (such as us) have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records and accounts or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders. Our directors have discretion under our Articles of Association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for investors to obtain information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

Subject to limited exceptions, under Cayman Islands law, a minority shareholder may not bring a derivative action against the board of directors. Our Cayman Islands counsel is not aware of any reported class actions having been brought in a Cayman Islands court.

United States civil liabilities and certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. In addition, the majority of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. A substantial portion of the assets of these persons is located outside of the United States. As a result, it may be difficult to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons. It may also be difficult to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors who are not resident in the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets are located outside of the United States.

We have been advised by our Cayman Islands legal counsel, Campbells LLP, that the courts of the Cayman Islands are unlikely (1) to recognize or enforce against us judgments of courts of the United States predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any State; and (2) in original actions brought in the Cayman Islands, to impose liabilities against us predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any State, to the extent that the liabilities imposed by those provisions are penal in nature. In those circumstances, although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of

 

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