SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year period ended December 31, 2021
☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________________to ___________________
Commission file number: 001-38703
VELODYNE LIDAR, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
|5521 Hellyer Avenue|
San Jose, CA
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code: (669) 275-2251
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common stock, par value $0.0001 per share||VLDR|
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
|Warrants, each exercisable for three-quarters of one share of common stock||VLDRW|
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
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, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☒||Accelerated filer||☐||Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐||Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2021, the last day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $1,134,000,000 (based on the closing price for shares of the registrant’s Common Stock as reported by the NASDAQ Global Select Market on June 30, 2021).
As of February 21, 2022, the registrant had 198,141,550 shares of common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Information required in response to Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K is hereby incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Except as expressly incorporated by reference, the registrant’s Proxy Statement shall not be deemed to be a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The registrant intends to file its definitive Proxy Statement within 120 days after its fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
VELODYNE LIDAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
Table of Contents
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws and particularly in Item 7: “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These statements are based on the expectations and beliefs of management of Velodyne Lidar, Inc. (“Velodyne”, “Velodyne Lidar” or the “Company”) in light of historical results and trends, current conditions and potential future developments, and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements about the future performance and opportunities of Velodyne; statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations of Velodyne; and statements regarding future market opportunities, economic conditions or performance. Forward-looking statements may contain words such as “will be,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “continue,” “project,” “believe,” “plan,” “could,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “pursue,” “should,” “target,” “likely” or similar expressions, and include the assumptions that underlie such statements.
The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements:
•Velodyne’s future performance, including Velodyne’s revenue, costs of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, and operating expenses;
•the sufficiency of Velodyne’s cash and cash equivalents to meet its operating requirements;
•Velodyne’s ability to sell its products to new customers;
•supply chain constraints in the semiconductor industry;
•the success of Velodyne’s customers in developing and commercializing products using Velodyne’s solutions, and the market acceptance of those products;
•the amount and timing of future sales;
•Velodyne’s ability to meet technical and quality specifications;
•Velodyne’s future market share;
•competition from existing or future businesses and technologies;
•the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Velodyne’s business and the business of its customers;
•the market for and adoption of lidar and related technology;
•Velodyne’s ability to effectively manage its growth and future expenses;
•Velodyne’s ability to compete in a market that is rapidly evolving and subject to technological developments;
•Velodyne’s ability to maintain, protect, and enhance its intellectual property;
•Velodyne’s ability to comply with modified or new laws and regulations applying to its business;
•the attraction and retention of qualified employees and key personnel;
•Velodyne’s ability to introduce new products that meet its customers’ requirements and to continue successfully transitioning the manufacturing of its products to third-party manufacturers;
•Velodyne’s anticipated investments in and results from sales and marketing and research and development; and
•the increased expenses associated with Velodyne being a public company.
The foregoing list of important factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other risk factors herein discussed under Item 1A: “Risk Factors.” Forward-looking statements reflect current views about Velodyne’s plans, strategies and prospects, which are based on information available as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Except to the extent required by applicable law, Velodyne undertakes no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on those statements, which speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
PART I. Financial Information
Item 1. Business
Velodyne is a global leader in lidar technology providing real-time 3D vision for autonomous systems. Our lidar-based smart vision solutions are advancing the development of safe automated systems throughout the world, empowering the autonomous revolution by allowing machines to see their surroundings. Our solutions are deployed in many applications, including autonomous mobile robots, unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”)/drones, last-mile delivery, precision agriculture, advanced security systems, and smart city initiatives, as well as for automotive applications. In automotive applications, our products improve roadway safety by providing perception data for reliable object avoidance and safe path-planning. To improve roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian safety, we sell automotive solutions to the expanding Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (“ADAS”) market, which will incrementally address the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) 5-Star Safety Ratings System. In the past, purchases of our solutions in these markets have been primarily focused on research and development projects. We are now seeing growth within this sector of the industry as many of our non-automotive customers move into commercial production with their offerings.
Through our direct sales team as well as through distributors, we sell to both automotive customers, including top automotive OEMs, system integrators, and last-mile delivery providers, as well as to non-automotive customers, who are providing an array of applications, including industrial, drone, and security applications.
We believe that our lidar technologies can significantly reduce the number of lives lost in vehicle crashes and substantially reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. Beyond the automotive industry, our technology can also help reduce injuries in areas such as factories, construction sites, mines, oil rigs and ports. Lidar technology can also enhance public welfare through security and smart city applications. In addition, our solutions are being used in applications such as touchless delivery, sanitation and physical distance tracking, which are advancing safety and health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On September 30, 2020, Graf Industrial Corp. (“Graf”), the Company’s predecessor and a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), consummated a business combination with the pre-combination Velodyne Lidar, Inc. (the “Business Combination”). On September 30, 2020, Velodyne Lidar’s common stock and warrants began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “VLDR” and “VLDRW,” respectively.
Our Technology Platform
Our hardware and software solutions center around our proprietary lidar sensor technology, which enables real-time, three-dimensional vision of the surrounding environment for a breadth of autonomous and intelligent systems.
To perceive the environment in 3D, our sensors emit a series of laser pulses, typically millions of pulses each second, which bounce off objects in the environment and return to the sensors. Our devices measure the time each pulse traveled and uses highly sophisticated, real-time algorithms to create digital, machine-readable maps of the surrounding environment. These maps have up to centimeter-level precision and capture rich detail around the sensors. Since the maps are continually refreshed every few milliseconds, they can be used to perceive both static and dynamic objects. Unlike cameras that are two-dimensional and radar that is not capable of high-definition imaging, our lidar captures a precise, high definition, three-dimensional view of the environment. These characteristics make our lidar technology an ideal sensor platform for cars, robots and other autonomous machines to perceive the world as they move through it.
Our Product Portfolio
Using an array of eye-safe lasers, our lidar solutions measure distances in the environment at the speed of light. Unlike camera-based solutions, lidar solutions allow machines to see in 3D by providing precise distance measurements of surrounding objects. Lidar also performs better than cameras in low light conditions and produces fewer errors. Compared to radar, lidar provides better resolution, perceiving objects’ shapes for superior object detection and classification. Lidar also performs better than cameras in darkened conditions and produces fewer errors. Lidar systems currently being tested can detect pedestrians equally well during daytime and nighttime conditions because the systems provide self-illumination by means of laser beams. Together with lower computing power requirements, these features enable autonomous platforms to make fast and accurate decisions to mitigate collisions. Velodyne’s proprietary lidar-based hardware and software solutions combine class-leading range, up to centimeter-level accuracy and lower power consumption with high-grade reliability.
Surround View Lidar
We offer a broad lineup of surround-view lidar to support numerous end applications, including autonomous vehicles, drones, security, mobile robots and mapping.
Alpha Prime (VLS-128) is our flagship surround-view lidar capable of 300-meter range, specifically made for autonomous driving and advanced vehicle safety at highway speeds. The lidar sensor incorporates 128 lasers and provides real-time 3D data up to 0.1-degree vertical and horizontal resolution. The Alpha Prime provides a superior combination of range, resolution and precision to enable Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles to function both at highway speeds as well as in low-speed urban environments. We were recognized with the Pace Automotive Award for this product.
Ultra Puck (VLP-32) is the third generation of the Puck family. The high-density, long-range image generated by the Ultra Puck makes it a desirable solution for robotics, mapping, security, driver assistance and autonomous navigation. The Ultra Puck also enables our Intelligent Infrastructure Solutions (IIS) discussed below under “-Software.” Ultra Puck uses 32 lasers to double the range and resolution of its predecessor at a range of up to 200 meters. Ultra Puck also introduces firing exclusion and advanced features designed to minimize false positives. The compact design is small and light enough to be placed below a car’s side-view mirror and reduces the cost of the system required for a fully-autonomous vehicle.
Puck (VLP-16) offers 16 lasers and a 100-meter range. Developed with mass production and affordability in mind, the Puck retains the multi-laser design of our other sensors while offering lower power consumption, lighter weight and a more compact footprint at an attractive price point, making it suitable for low speed autonomy and driver assistance applications.
Puck Hi-Res (VLP-16 Hi-Res) is a further iteration of the original Puck and is designed for applications requiring high image resolution. While retaining surround view and 100-meter range, this sensor compresses the vertical field-of-view from 30 degrees to 20 degrees for a tighter laser distribution spaced at 1.33 degrees instead of 2.00 degrees. This design delivers more details in the 3D image at longer ranges and enables the host system to not only detect but also better identify objects at these greater distances.
Puck LITE (VLP-16 LITE) weighs 590 grams and was designed expressly to address the exacting requirements of the UAV and aerial 3D mapping markets. Puck LITE achieves the performance of the original Puck while reducing the sensor weight by approximately 30 percent, enabling longer flight times. This lightweight, high-performance sensor retains 360-degree surround view to capture real-time 3D lidar data.
HDL-32E was released in response to demand for a more compact and lighter sensor and Velodyne’s second-generation 3D lidar solution extends the core 360-degree technology developed for the HDL-64E, the world’s first commercially available real-time 3D lidar. The HDL-32E features 32 lasers aligned over a 40-degree vertical field-of-view, and can generate up to 1.39 million points per second. The HDL-32E measures 5.7 inches high by 3.4 inches wide, weighs less than 2 kilograms and is developed to meet stringent military and automotive environmental specifications.
Solid State Lidar
Our solid state lidar technology combines the reliability and lifetime of traditional micro electro-mechanical systems (“MEMS”) solutions while also providing longer sensing range.
Velarray M1600 is designed for autonomous applications in sidewalk, commercial and industrial settings, the Velarray M1600 provides outstanding near-field perception at a range of 0.1 to 30 meters for safe navigation in diverse environmental conditions. The Velarray M1600’s optimal combination of data-rich resolution and broad field-of-view enables precise mapping and obstacle avoidance. With a durable design, this sensor is aesthetically well-suited for external mounting and easily embeddable in a robot’s sensor compartment. The Velarray M1600 features our micro-lidar array (“MLA”) architecture, a robust and reliable design for mass production.
Velarray H800 delivers a solid state lidar sensor for ADAS and autonomous applications. The Velarray H800’s range – from .01 to 200 meters – combined with wide horizontal field of view (“FOV”) detect objects early to enable safe stopping distances in urban driving scenarios and collision avoidance on curves and turns. Its vertical FOV can provide detection of near-range small and overhead objects, while covering corner use-cases including sloping roads. The Velarray H800’s range enables advanced highway ADAS features such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking. With a configurable frame rate, the Velarray H800 offers point cloud density for high resolution mapping and object classification tasks. The Velarray H800 also features our MLA architecture.
Vella Development Kit (VDK) provides access to Velodyne’s lidar-based perception software paired with Velodyne’s world-class sensors. VDK demonstrates Velodyne’s software capabilities, allowing customers to plug in Velodyne’s lidar with an off-the-shelf library of functions, advancing solution development for ever-evolving applications, and accelerating time to market. VDK is capable of functioning across multiple operational design domains (ODD), initially for urban and highway roadway ODDs and will target warehouse and sidewalk environments in the future.
Intelligent Infrastructure Solution (IIS) is designed to solve some of the most challenging and pervasive infrastructure problems. Paired with our lidar sensors and combined with Bluecity’s AI software, users can monitor traffic networks and public spaces to generate real-time data analytics and predictions, which is designed to enable improve traffic and crowd flow efficiency, advancing sustainability and protecting vulnerable road users in a wide range of weather and lighting conditions.
Products under Development
The following products are under development and are not yet available for commercial shipment to customers. There are risks associated with developing and producing these new products. See Item 1A: “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Velodyne’s Business—The markets in which Velodyne competes are characterized by rapid technological change, which requires it to continue to develop new products and product innovations, and could adversely affect market adoption of its products” as well as other factors described in Item 1A.
Solid State Lidar
Velabit will bring Velodyne’s performance and design to an embedded solution that can be hidden around or inside the vehicle. Aimed at satisfying a growing set of price-sensitive applications, Velabit is designed to retain 100 meter range and high precision while being packaged in our smallest form factor. The Velabit will be our lowest-priced sensor.
Vella is designed to offer a full software ADAS solution built around lidar. The Vella software solution is designed to deliver a rich set of safety and autonomy applications to any vehicle that utilizes a Velarray lidar. For automotive applications, Vella interprets lidar point cloud data to perform obstacle detection and tracking for avoiding and mitigating crashes with dynamic and static objects, including vulnerable road users and vehicles. Through predictive collision monitoring, Vella compares an object’s trajectory with that of the ego vehicle, in order to identify and avoid imminent crash scenarios.
We believe Vella will provide an opportunity for us to monetize our data assets, providing us with a potential new source of revenue through a data and software services model.
Customers, Sales and Distribution
We currently have, and are actively developing, several multi-year contracts for ADAS and autonomous vehicle programs. We work closely with major autonomous vehicle development programs around the world. In addition, companies across a wide range of non-automotive end markets are increasingly adopting our lidar-based technologies into their systems. Our customers deploy our smart vision technology in various applications across markets, including in autonomous vehicles, ADAS, UAVs, mapping, industrial automation, self-driving rovers, autonomous vessels, smart city initiatives and robotics. Additionally, we provide account management, product management, and technical support experts to form deep, collaborative relationships with strategic customer research and development organizations. These teams focus on assisting with rapid first installations, mass production supply agreements and post-sales support.
In 2021, 2020 and 2019, approximately 300 customers, including distributors who sell our products to additional over 150 end customers, purchased lidar solutions from us. Approximately 200 of those customers were in non-automotive markets. In 2021, 2020 and 2019, two customers each accounted for more than 10% of our revenue. We define the number of customers as the number of customers for which we have received an order for one or more of our products. A single organization or customer may represent multiple customers due to separate divisions, segments or subsidiaries.
We have various multi-year agreements with customers, including non-automotive customers and automotive customers such as OEMs and system integrators. These agreements generally provide for one-year demand forecasts, with quarterly volumes and prices for the year. After the first year, we and the customer have the ability to evaluate need and price for subsequent forecasts. These agreements provide unit discounts for both volume commitments and marketing commitments. These multi-year agreements also provide terms and conditions of sale that are negotiated based on price and volume commitment.
We have built an extensive ecosystem in the markets we serve. We have distribution partners in Asia and Europe to address growing market opportunities in these regions and beyond. In North America, we sell directly to most of our customers as well as through three national distributors who are also our customers and integrators. We also sell our solutions through our customer service hubs around the world, such as Germany and China, where we maintain offices and staff.
We have dedicated teams focused on manufacturing processes, such as those that include proprietary alignment and calibration techniques. Our teams leverage automation steps to lower manufacturing times, improve yield and position us and our manufacturing partners to produce at increasing scale as our customers’ requirements increase. We expect to reduce our in-house manufacturing and increasingly leverage the experience of our current and future manufacturing partners. We plan to expand our manufacturing partnerships in 2022 to include VLS-128 and Velarray by transferring these products currently manufactured in-house to qualified external manufacturing partners.
Industry and Competition
There is an increasing demand for lidar to help advance automated systems with the goal of increasing safety, improving efficiency and enhance productivity. Lidar’s status as a critical sensor in many applications gives us the opportunity to add higher value to customers by providing comprehensive solutions. There is increasing adoption of lidar across a wide variety of industries, some of which are accelerating in a post-COVID world.
For the automotive industry, SAE International has published a taxonomy with detailed definitions for six levels of driving automation, ranging from no automation to full automation. To increase road safety and respond to regulatory requirements, we believe automotive manufacturers are proactively adopting ADAS technology. As industry participants develop active safety features, standards defining the increasing levels of sophistication in these features are required. We are working with SAE International and other major professional and standardization organizations to guide the relevant regulations that address public safety.
Additionally, we believe businesses are actively exploring the use of autonomous trucks, drones and robots to help create more efficient and less expensive delivery infrastructure to meet consumer demand for fast and cost-efficient delivery
solutions. As a result, we believe there is a continual need for precise 3D mapping information to understand the surrounding environment and movement patterns to improve transportation logistics and enhance traffic efficiency.
The market for perception solutions for autonomous applications is an emerging market, with many potential applications in the development stage. As a result, we face competition from a range of companies seeking to have their products incorporated into these applications that are being developed and it may take a long period of time for our primary competitors to emerge. Our competitors are also working to advance technology, reliability and innovation in their development of new and improved solutions. Although we believe that we have market-leading technology, we continue to face competition from existing competitors and new companies emerging in the lidar, camera and radar industries. It is our belief that it will take most of these new smaller companies a substantial period of time to gain the recognition and trust of top-tier automotive OEMs, as well as customers and partners in other non-automotive industries. Many of our competitors offer products targeted for niche applications. Some competitors are currently selling products that offer lower levels of performance in ADAS and new markets. In the ADAS market, a number of competitors have already achieved substantial market share using camera and radar-based perception sensing solutions, although we believe we offer a higher performance product that empowers higher performance ADAS systems, which we believe have the potential to displace current offerings and increase our market share.
Our technology enables autonomy and can create new markets. Traditionally, many autonomous and 3D vision-based sensing applications were developed by utilizing non-lidar sensors; however, as the benefits of lidar-based solutions are becoming more widely recognized, we believe there are significant market opportunities available for our technology. As autonomous and 3D vision-based applications continue to grow more complex, we believe our technologies will become increasingly adopted due to our innovation, leadership, scale, and commercial readiness.
We expect demand in the automotive market to be driven by regulatory and customer demand for lidar solutions. Based on third party data, we estimate that the total market size for vehicles deploying lidar technology will be approximately over three million vehicles by 2026. Generally, the number of lidar sensors to be deployed on each vehicle in the market depends on the level of autonomy and the type of lidar sensors utilized, which we expect to range from one to four sensors. We believe that, in most cases, more lidar sensors, or at least lidar sensors with greater functionality, will be required as the level of autonomy increases towards full autonomy. In addition to the automotive market, we believe there are significant market opportunities available for our technology in the industrial, drones, autonomous mobile robots and 3D mapping end-markets that we are actively engaging with customers on. Within the industrial sector there are four primary drivers of lidar adoption:
–Logistics, which includes Port Terminal AGV, autonomous trucks, warehouse AMRs and AGVs, delivery robots, construction and mining. Based on third party estimates from Yole, we believe logistics will be a strong growth driver, with double digit unit growth expected through 2026, yielding over 250,000 lidar units annually by that time.
–Smart Infrastructure, which includes traffic monitoring, security, airport security, smart infrastructure, automated doors and automated retail. All of these applications are in early development and are largely unexplored and emerging, which we refer to as greenfield applications; however, we believe that, with the current government infrastructure spending, this market can grow rapidly over the next five years and, according to Yole, the market is expected to scale to over 200,000 lidar units by 2026.
–Manufacturing, which includes factory automation and smart farming applications, in which lidar is used to aid in autonomous machine maneuvering and operation. We believe this is a rapidly growing segment as supply chains and workforces remain impacted globally.
–Mapping, which includes applications such as aerial, indoor and underground mapping, construction, digital twins, disaster recovery, forestry, safety and survey inspections. According to Global Market Insights, the lidar in mapping market size is expected to exceed $4.0 billion by 2026. The expected market growth reflects the increasing demand for autonomous vehicles and drones, which is creating the need for accurate mapping data.
Sales and Marketing
We continue expanding our sales and marketing efforts to attract new customers and grow orders from existing customers. We have developed a global network of active distributors to sell, install and support our solutions. Our channel partner ecosystem helps develop emerging applications for our lidar technology.
We have launched the Automated with Velodyne program, our integrator ecosystem aimed to commercialize next generation autonomous solutions using our lidar technology. Through the program, we help companies by supporting innovation, promoting applications and creating lasting customer and business relationships. The program reflects our focus on accelerating market adoption of 3D lidar innovations and driving revenue growth for our partners around the world. In addition to a broad portfolio of groundbreaking, versatile lidar sensors, we provide technical, sales and distribution channel service and support. The program includes joint marketing activities to promote partner brands and customer success at trade shows, social and owned media channels, and more. There are over 100 companies in the Automated with Velodyne program. They have used our lidar technologies to build solutions in application areas that include ADAS, autonomous vehicles, mapping, industrial, smart city, drone/UAV, robotics and security.
Through our marketing efforts and strategic relationships, we also continue to expand our global network of customers and channel partners. We are well known to global automotive OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and customers that use 3D lidar for non-automotive use cases, including mapping applications, UAVs, robotics, smart cities and industrial applications. These relationships allow us to continue to reach additional customers and partners globally. We also leverage opportunities to present and speak at conferences, executive events, trade shows and industry events to further develop our brand and reputation. These opportunities also allow us to showcase our technology and attract additional customer and channel partner interest. Through industry events and strategic relationships, we continue to identify the evolving needs of our customers and, as a result, develop new and improved solutions. In addition, we have a robust social media presence and are investing in various digital marketing strategies and tools to further reach customers as well as build our brand.
Research and Development
We have invested a significant amount of time and expense into research and development of lidar-based technologies. Our ability to maintain our leadership position depends in part on our ongoing research and development activities. Our research and development team is responsible for the design, development, manufacturing and testing of our products. We focus our efforts on development in the areas of novel lidar architecture, advanced product design, innovative manufacturing technologies and advanced algorithms. In addition, we are transitioning from field programmable gate arrays to application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) in order to further improve performance of our products, lower costs and reduce reliance on any key suppliers.
Our research and development is largely conducted at our headquarters in San Jose, California. As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 187 full time employees engaged in our research and development activities.
Our ability to be at the forefront of innovation in the lidar market depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain patents and other proprietary rights relating to our key technology, and our ability to successfully enforce these rights against third parties. We currently have proprietary intellectual property, including in our embedded software, real-time 3D vision for autonomous systems, manufacturing processes and calibration methodology, which we believe is strongly protected by our registered patents. We have also filed patents and trademark applications in order to further secure these rights and strengthen our ability to defend against third parties who may infringe on our rights. We also protect our proprietary rights through agreements with our customers and channel partners.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 35 issued and 3 allowed U.S. patents and 59 pending U.S. patent applications. These issued patents begin expiring in 2027. We also have in the aggregate 247 issued non-U.S. patents, pending Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications and non-U.S. national stage applications corresponding to various U.S. patent applications described above.
The applications and issued patents cover a broad range of system level and component level aspects of lidar technology. We do not know whether any of our pending patent applications will result in the issuance of patents or whether the
examination process will require us to narrow our claims. Even if granted, there is no assurance that these pending patent applications will provide us with protection.
We are subject to the requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 that will require us to diligence, disclose and report whether our products contain conflict minerals. The implementation of these requirements could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of the materials used in the manufacture of components used in our products.
In addition, our operations are subject to various international, federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the occupational health and safety of our employees and wage regulations. We are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as amended, (“OSHA”), and comparable international, state and local laws that protect and regulate employee health and safety.
At both the federal and state level, the U.S. has provided a positive legal environment to permit safe testing and development of autonomous functionality. We do not anticipate any near-term standards that would impede the foreseeable deployments of our lidar technology.
As the principal legal and regulatory authority for vehicle safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) establishes Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (the “FMVSS”) for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. The Agency oversees the actions that manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment are required to take regarding the reporting of information related to defects or injuries related to their products and the recall and repair of vehicles and equipment that contain safety defects or fail to comply with the FMVSS.
As the vehicles that carry our sensors go into production, we are subject to existing stringent requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (the “Vehicle Safety Act”), including a duty to report safety defects with our products. The Vehicle Safety Act imposes potentially significant civil penalties for violations including the failure to comply with such reporting requirements. We are also subject to the existing U.S. Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (“TREAD”), which requires equipment manufacturers to comply with “Early Warning” requirements by reporting certain information to the NHTSA, such as information related to defects or reports of injury related to their products. TREAD imposes criminal liability for violating such requirements if a defect subsequently causes death or bodily injury. In addition, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes NHTSA to require a manufacturer to recall and repair vehicles that contain safety defects or fail to comply with U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards. Sales into foreign countries may be subject to similar regulations. As the development of federal, state, and international regulation of autonomous systems and vehicles continues to evolve, we may be subject to additional regulatory schemes.
In addition, we are subject to the Electronic Product Radiation Control Provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These requirements are enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). Electronic product radiation includes laser technology. Regulations governing these products are intended to protect the public from hazardous or unnecessary exposure. Manufacturers are required to certify in product labeling and reports to the FDA that their products comply with applicable performance standards as well as maintain manufacturing, testing, and distribution records for their products.
In order for us to operate in international markets outside the U.S., we may also be required to comply with relevant federal and foreign legal regulations regarding autonomous vehicles as well as technology export control, data security, cybersecurity, the International Traffic in Arms Regulation promulgated under the Arms Export Control Act (“ITAR”), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the anti-boycott provisions of the U.S. Export Administration Act and other related regulations that apply to global technology companies. We have developed compliance processes and procedures related to these regulatory requirements and believe that we are in compliance with such requirements. We do not believe there are any regulatory restrictions that would materially restrict our ability to operate in our key markets.
Human Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 407 people. We also engage numerous consultants and contractors to supplement our permanent workforce. None of our employees are represented by a labor union or covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe we have strong and positive relations with our employees. We are focused on aligning our valued human capital resources to our strategic priorities with a strong focus on leadership development, employee engagement and company culture. As part of our commitment to employee development, we make ongoing investments in our team, including hiring a Chief People Officer in October 2020 to lead our global human resources organization.
Our company culture is focused on honesty, integrity, dignity and respect, and our Code of Conduct is designed to help us achieve the right results, the right way. The code establishes high standards of honesty and integrity for all employees, officers and directors, and expects the same high standards of contractors, consultants, suppliers and agents. The specific policies set forth in the code help ensure that we conduct our business fairly and ethically in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
You should carefully consider the risks described below in addition to the other information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Item 7: Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations section and the consolidated financial statements and related notes. Our business, prospects, financial condition, operating results or the trading price of our securities could be harmed by any of these risks, as well as other risks not known to us or that we consider immaterial.
Summary of Principal Risk Factors
•Since many of the markets in which we compete are new and rapidly evolving, it is difficult to forecast long-term end-customer adoption rates and demand for our products.
•We depend on our ability to attract and retain key management and technical personnel.
•Our products must meet demanding technical and quality specifications.
•Current supply chain constraints, including in the semiconductor market, could adversely affect our growth, increase costs, and adversely affect our financial results.
•We continue to implement strategic initiatives designed to grow our business. These initiatives may prove more costly than anticipated and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue in an amount sufficient to offset the costs of these initiatives and to achieve and maintain profitability.
•Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
•Because our sales have been primarily to customers making purchases for research and development projects and our orders are project-based, we expect our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
•Our transition to an outsourced manufacturing business model may not be successful, which could harm our ability to deliver products and recognize revenue.
•Adverse conditions in the automotive industry or the global economy more generally could have adverse effects on our results of operations.
•Although we believe that lidar is the industry standard for autonomous vehicles and other emerging markets, market adoption of lidar is uncertain. If market adoption of lidar does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than we expect, our business will be adversely affected.
•Our investments in educating our customers and potential customers about the advantages of lidar and our applications may not result in sales of our products.
•Despite the actions we are taking to defend and protect our intellectual property, we may not be able to adequately protect or enforce our intellectual property rights or prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering our solutions. Our efforts to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights and prevent third parties from violating our rights may be costly.
•The failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the market price of our common stock.
Risks Related to Our Business
Any projections we may provide about our business or expected future results may differ significantly from actual results.
From time to time we have shared our views in press releases or SEC filings, on public conference calls and in other contexts about current business conditions and our expectations as to our future results of operations, including our previously announced projected revenues. Correctly identifying the key factors affecting business conditions and predicting future events is inherently an uncertain process. Given the complexity and volatility of our business, the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on our business and that of our customers and partners, uncertainty overall global economic conditions, it is likely that our prior forecasts for periods subsequent to 2021 will prove to be incorrect. We offer no assurance that such predictions or analysis will ultimately be accurate, and investors should treat any such predictions or analysis with appropriate caution. If any analysis or forecast that we make ultimately proves to be inaccurate, our stock price may be adversely affected.
Any financial projections we have provided, including projections related to our future revenues, reflect numerous qualitative estimates and assumptions including assumptions with respect to general business, economic, market, regulatory and financial conditions and various other factors, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. The projections are not predictive of our actual future results and should not be construed as financial guidance for any future period. In addition, any projections should be read in conjunction with the accounting policies included in Note 1. “Description of Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and with these risk factors.
Since many of the markets in which we compete are new and rapidly evolving, it is difficult to forecast long-term end-customer adoption rates and demand for our products.
We are pursuing opportunities in markets that are undergoing rapid changes, including technological and regulatory changes, and it is difficult to predict the timing and size of the opportunities. For example, autonomous driving and lidar-based ADAS applications require complex technology and long lead times for development. Because these automotive systems depend on technology from many companies, commercialization of autonomous driving or ADAS products could be delayed or impaired on account of certain technological components of Velodyne or others not being ready to be deployed in vehicles. Although some companies have released systems and vehicles using our products, others may not be able to commercialize this technology in the near future, or at all. Regulatory, safety or reliability developments, many of which are outside of our control, could also cause delays or otherwise impair commercial adoption of these new technologies, which will adversely affect our growth. Our future financial performance will depend on our ability to make timely investments in the correct market opportunities. If one or more of these markets experience a shift in customer or prospective customer demand, our products may not compete as effectively, if at all, and they may not be designed into commercialized products. Given the evolving nature of the markets in which we operate, it is difficult to predict customer demand or adoption rates for our products or the future growth of the markets in which we operate. This also creates supply issues, as we have had difficulty meeting demand for certain products due to constrained manufacturing capacity. As a result, the financial projections we have made or may in the future make necessarily reflect various estimates and assumptions that may not prove accurate. If demand does not develop or if we cannot accurately forecast customer demand, the size of our markets, inventory requirements or our future financial results, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
We depend on our ability to attract and retain key management and technical personnel.
For our business to be successful, we need to attract and retain highly qualified key management and technical personnel. Competition for highly-skilled personnel is often intense, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where we are located, and we may incur significant costs to attract them. We had in the past been dependent on David Hall, our former executive chairman. Mr. Hall resigned as executive chairman in January 2021 and as a member of our Board in March 2021. We have been expanding our management team as well as other key areas of our business, including product development. Subsequent to the removal of Mr. Hall as the chair of our Board and these resignations, Mr. Hall has made statements to the press and in a Schedule 13D criticizing our Board and management. Furthermore, on June 9, 2021, we initiated an arbitration proceeding against David Hall, alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of our confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information. On September 7, 2021, the arbitrator issued a preliminary injunction against Mr. Hall enjoining him from retrieving or accessing information on his devices that contain Velodyne property, as well as enjoining him from using anything he created or worked on for Velodyne during the time of his employment. This publicity could make it more difficult for us to attract and retain key personnel. Any actual or perceived uncertainties as to our relationship with Mr. Hall, who holds voting rights with respect to a significant amount of our voting stock, or persons aligned with Mr. Hall, may make it more difficult to attract and retain our qualified personnel and directors.
We may not be successful in attracting, integrating, or retaining qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. We also have, from time to time, experienced, and we expect to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. In addition, job candidates and existing employees often consider the value of the equity awards they receive in connection with their employment. If the perceived value of our equity is not higher than other companies with which we compete for employees, it may adversely affect our ability to retain highly skilled employees. If we fail to attract new personnel or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, our business and future growth prospects could be adversely affected.
We continue to implement strategic initiatives designed to grow our business. These initiatives may prove more costly than we currently anticipate and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue in an amount sufficient to offset the costs of these initiatives and to achieve and maintain profitability.
We continue to make investments and implement initiatives designed to grow our business, including:
•investing in research and development;
•expanding our sales and marketing efforts to attract new customers across industries;
•improving our manufacturing processes;
•investing in new applications and markets for our products;
•further enhancing our manufacturing processes and partnerships;
•pursuing litigation to protect our intellectual property; and
•investing in legal, accounting, and other administrative functions necessary to support our operations as a public company.
These initiatives may prove more expensive than we currently anticipate, and we may not succeed in increasing our revenue, if at all, in an amount sufficient to offset these higher expenses and to achieve and maintain profitability. Although we generated net income of $15.8 million for 2017, we have incurred net losses in the past, including net losses of $212.2 million for 2021, $149.9 million for 2020 and $67.2 million for 2019. The market opportunities we are pursuing are at an early stage of development, and it may be many years before the end markets we expect to serve generate demand for our products at scale, if at all. Our revenue may be adversely affected for a number of reasons, including the development and/or market acceptance of new technology that competes with our lidar products, if certain automotive OEMs or other market participants change their autonomous vehicle technology, failure of our customers to commercialize autonomous systems that include our smart vision solutions, our inability to effectively manage our inventory or manufacture products at scale, our inability to enter new markets or help our customers adapt our products for new applications or our failure to attract new customers or expand orders from existing customers or increasing competition. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict the size and growth rate of our target markets, customer demand for our products, commercialization timelines, developments in autonomous sensing and related technology, the entry of competitive products, or the success of existing competitive products and services. For these reasons, we do not expect to achieve profitability over the near term. If our revenue does not
grow over the long term, our ability to achieve and maintain profitability may be adversely affected, and the value of our business may significantly decrease.
Current supply chain constraints, including in the semiconductor market, could adversely affect our growth, increase costs, and adversely affect our financial results.
We rely on third-party manufacturers to produce our custom ASICs, and we have been informed that certain ASICs are being discontinued by our suppliers. We have made considerable investments to develop our proprietary ASICs and our smart vision solutions depend on them. While we are working with our third-party manufacturers to minimize the impact of the shortage, we expect that these supply chain shortages will have a near-term impact on our ability to meet increased demand on certain products and have a negative impact on our operating results if we are not successful in locating alternate supplies, particularly for the discontinued ASICs, or if the shortage continues. If third-party manufacturers of our custom ASICs experience interruptions, delays or disruptions in supplying our ASICs or if there are work stoppages, production delays or facility closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to ship our smart vision solutions will be delayed and we may be unable to meet customer demand.
Our products must meet demanding technical and quality specifications. Defects, errors or interoperability issues with our products, the failure of our products to operate as expected, or undue difficulty in deploying our products in actual operations could affect our reputation, result in significant costs to us and impair our ability to sell our products.
Our products must meet demanding customer specifications for quality, reliability and performance. Our customers may discover errors, defects or incompatibilities in our products, including after deploying them. We also may have difficulty identifying and correcting the problems when third parties are combining, incorporating or assembling our products.
If we are unable to fix errors or other problems, we could experience:
•loss of customers;
•loss of market share;
•damage to our brand and reputation;
•increased service costs;
•increased insurance costs; and
•inability to achieve market acceptance.
Given the technical and business requirements against which end users evaluate our products, our business results and prospects could suffer if we are unable to produce our products with consistent quality and reliability. Although our agreements typically contain provisions that purport to limit our liability for damages resulting from defects in our products, such limitations and disclaimers may not be enforceable or otherwise effectively protect us from claims. We may be required to indemnify our customers against liabilities arising from defects in our products or in their solutions that incorporate our products. These liabilities may also include costs incurred by our channel partners or end users to correct problems or replace our products.
The costs we incur correcting product defects or errors may be substantial and could adversely affect our operating results. Although we test our products for defects or errors prior to product release and during production, our customers still occasionally catch defects or errors that we miss. Such defects or errors have occurred in the past and may occur in the future. To the extent product failures are material, they could adversely affect our business, operating results, customer relationships, reputation and prospects. Compatibility issues between our products and the protocol, or among different products that nominally conform to the protocol, could disrupt our customers’ operations, hurt our customer relations and materially adversely affect our business and prospects.
Our transition to an outsourced manufacturing business model may not be successful, which could harm our ability to deliver products and recognize revenue.
We are transitioning from a manufacturing model in which we primarily manufactured and assembled our products at our California location, to one where we rely on third-party manufacturers. We currently have agreements with strategic partners to provide contract manufacturing of certain of our products. We believe the use of third-party manufacturers will have benefits, but in the near term, while we are beginning manufacturing with new partners, we may lose revenue, incur increased costs and harm our customer relationships.
Our ASICs may have defects or other issues if our third-party manufacturers have quality control or other problems in their operations. These defects may delay our ability to fulfill customer orders, which would have a negative effect on our brand and operating results. If we need to change manufacturers of our ASICs for any reason, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a replacement manufacturer willing to produce our custom ASICs at a price it deems appropriate, or at all.
Reliance on third-party manufacturers reduces our control over the manufacturing process, including reduced control over quality, product costs and product supply and timing. For example, in the second half of 2021 we experienced capacity constraints as we worked with our third-party manufacturers to overcome component constraints in the supply chain and increase production, and as a result of the semiconductor shortage, we expect this trend to continue in the near term. We may experience delays in shipments or issues concerning product quality from our third-party manufacturers. If any of our third-party manufacturers experience interruptions, delays or disruptions in supplying our products, including by natural disasters, the global COVID-19 pandemic or work stoppages or capacity constraints, our ability to ship products to distributors and customers would be delayed. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions in our manufacturing operations and production delays. For example, our personnel have not been able to travel to Thailand to meet with a key manufacturing partner. Additionally, if any of our third-party manufacturers experience quality control problems in their manufacturing operations and our products do not meet customer or regulatory requirements, we could be required to cover the cost of repair or replacement of any defective products. These delays or product quality issues could have an immediate and material adverse effect on our ability to fulfill orders and could have a negative effect on our operating results. In addition, such delays or issues with product quality could adversely affect our reputation and our relationship with our channel partners. If third-party manufacturers experience financial, operational, manufacturing capacity or other difficulties, or experience shortages in required components, or if they are otherwise unable or unwilling to continue to manufacture our products in required volumes or at all, our supply may be disrupted, we may be required to seek alternate manufacturers and we may be required to re-design our products. It would be time-consuming, and could be costly and impracticable, to begin to use new manufacturers and designs and such changes could cause significant interruptions in supply and could have an adverse effect on our ability to meet our scheduled product deliveries and may subsequently lead to the loss of sales. While we take measures to protect our trade secrets, the use of third-party manufacturers may also risk disclosure of our innovative and proprietary manufacturing methodologies, which could adversely affect our business.
We operate in a highly competitive market and some market participants have substantially greater resources. We compete against a large number of both established competitors and new market entrants.
The markets for sensing technology applicable to autonomous and other solutions across numerous industries are highly competitive. We compete against a large number of companies, including established competitors and new market entrants, in all of the markets we serve. Our future success will depend on our ability to continue to develop and protect from infringement of our advanced lidar technology in a timely manner and to stay ahead of existing and new competitors. Our competitors are numerous and they compete with us directly by offering lidar products and indirectly by attempting to solve some of the same challenges with different technology. We face competition from camera and radar companies, other developers of lidar products, Tier 1 suppliers and other technology and automotive supply companies, some of which have significantly greater resources than we do. Today, we believe there are more than 50 such companies including Luminar, Innoviz, Ouster, Aeva, AEye, Valeo, Hesai, Robosense, Quanergy, Cepton and others, as well as from many lower-end lidar offerings. In the automotive market, our competitors have commercialized non-lidar-based ADAS technology which has achieved market adoption, strong brand recognition and may continue to improve. Other competitors are working towards commercializing autonomous driving technology and either by themselves, or with a publicly announced partner, have substantial financial, marketing, research and development and other resources. Some of our customers in the autonomous vehicle and ADAS markets have announced development efforts or made acquisitions directed at creating their own lidar-based or other sensing technologies, which would compete with our smart vision solutions. We do not know how close these competitors are to commercializing autonomous driving systems or novel ADAS applications. In markets outside of the automotive industry, our competitors, like Velodyne, seek to develop new sensing applications across industries. Even in these emerging markets, we face substantial competition from numerous competitors seeking to prove the value of their technology. Additionally, increased competition may result in pricing pressure and reduced margins and may impede our ability to increase the sales of our products or cause it to lose market share, any of which will adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Because our sales have been primarily to customers making purchases for research and development projects and our orders are project-based, we expect our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis, which could cause our stock price to fluctuate or decline.
Our quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and may vary significantly in the future, and our revenue has declined in three consecutive fiscal years. As such, historical comparisons of our operating results may not be
meaningful. In particular, because our sales to date have primarily been to customers making purchases for research and development, sales in any given quarter can fluctuate based on the timing and success of our customers’ development projects. Accordingly, the results of any one quarter should not be relied upon as an indication of future performance. Our quarterly financial results may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control and may not fully reflect the underlying performance of our business. These fluctuations could adversely affect our ability to meet our expectations or those of securities analysts or investors. If we do not meet these expectations for any period, the value of our business and our stock price could fluctuate or decline significantly. Factors that may cause these quarterly fluctuations include, without limitation, those listed below:
•The timing and magnitude of orders and shipments of our products in any quarter.
•Pricing changes we may adopt to drive market adoption or in response to competitive pressure.
•Our ability to retain our existing customers and attract new customers.
•The duration of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the time it takes for economic recovery.
•Our ability to develop, introduce, manufacture and ship in a timely manner products that meet customer requirements.
•Disruptions in our sales channels or termination of our relationship with important channel partners.
•Delays in customers’ purchasing cycles or deferments of customers’ purchases in anticipation of new products or updates from us or our competitors.
•Fluctuations in demand for our products.
•The mix of products sold in any quarter.
•The timing and rate of broader market adoption of autonomous systems utilizing our smart vision solutions across the automotive and other market sectors.
•Market acceptance of lidar and further technological advancements by our competitors and other market participants.
•The ability of our customers to commercialize systems that incorporate our products.
•Any change in the competitive dynamics of our markets, including consolidation of competitors, regulatory developments and new market entrants.
•Our ability to effectively manage our inventory.
•Changes in the source, cost, availability of and regulations pertaining to materials we use.
•Adverse litigation, judgments, settlements or other litigation-related costs, or claims that may give rise to such costs.
•General economic, industry and market conditions, including trade disputes.
Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted and affected our business. We have a global customer base operating in a wide range of industries that has been impacted in different ways by the pandemic. We also depend on suppliers and manufacturers worldwide. Depending upon the duration of the pandemic, the associated business interruptions and the recovery, our customers, suppliers, manufacturers and partners may suspend or delay their engagement with us. If the pandemic worsens, if the economic recovery is delayed or if there are further business interruptions or changes in customer purchasing behavior, our business, results of operations and ability to raise capital may be materially and adversely affected. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic may prove to be inadequate and we may be unable to continue our operations in the manner it had prior to the outbreak, and may endure further interruptions, reputational harm, delays in our product development and shipments, all of which could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition. In addition, when the pandemic subsides, we cannot assure you as to the timing of any economic recovery, which could continue to have a material adverse effect on our target markets and our business.
Adverse conditions in the automotive industry or the global economy more generally could have adverse effects on our results of operations.
While we make our strategic planning decisions based on the assumption that the markets we are targeting will grow, our business is dependent, in large part on, and directly affected by, business cycles and other factors affecting the global automobile industry and global economy generally. Automotive production and sales are highly cyclical and depend on general economic conditions and other factors, including consumer spending and preferences, changes in interest rates and credit availability, consumer confidence, fuel costs, fuel availability, environmental impact, governmental incentives and regulatory requirements, and political volatility, especially in energy-producing countries and growth markets. In addition, automotive production and sales can be affected by our automotive OEM customers’ ability to continue operating in response to challenging economic conditions and in response to labor relations issues, regulatory requirements, trade agreements and other factors. The volume of automotive production in North America, Europe and the rest of the world has fluctuated, sometimes significantly, from year to year, and we expect such fluctuations to give rise to fluctuations in the demand for our products. Any significant adverse change in any of these factors may result in a reduction in automotive sales and production by our automotive OEM customers and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Although we believe that lidar is the industry standard for autonomous vehicles and other emerging markets, market adoption of lidar is uncertain. If market adoption of lidar does not continue to develop, or develops more slowly than we expect, our business will be adversely affected.
While our lidar-based smart vision solutions can be applied to different use cases across end markets, approximately 34%, 57% and 45% of our revenue during 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, was generated from automotive applications. Despite the fact that the automotive industry has engaged in considerable effort to research and test lidar products for ADAS and autonomous driving applications, the automotive industry may not introduce lidar products in commercially available vehicles. We continually study emerging and competing sensing technologies and methodologies and we may add new sensing technologies such as radar and cameras to our offering to, for example, address lidar’s relative deficiencies in detecting colors and low reflectivity objects and performing in extreme weather conditions. However, lidar products remain relatively new and it is possible that other sensing modalities, or a new disruptive modality based on new or existing technology, including a combination of technology, will achieve acceptance or leadership in the ADAS and autonomous driving industries. Even if lidar products are used in initial generations of autonomous driving technology and certain ADAS products, we cannot guarantee that lidar products will be designed into or included in subsequent generations of such commercialized technology. In addition, we expect that initial generations of autonomous vehicles will be focused on limited applications, such as robo-taxis, and that mass market adoption of autonomous technology may lag behind these initial applications significantly. The speed of market growth for ADAS or autonomous vehicles is difficult if not impossible to predict, and it is more difficult to predict this market’s future growth in light of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the time mass market adoption of autonomous vehicle technology is achieved, we expect competition among providers of sensing technology based on lidar and other modalities to increase substantially. If commercialization of lidar products is not successful, or not as successful as we or the market expects, or if other sensing modalities gain acceptance by developers of autonomous driving systems or ADAS, automotive OEMs, regulators and safety organizations or other market participants by the time autonomous vehicle technology achieves mass market adoption, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
We are investing in and pursuing market opportunities outside of the automotive markets, including in UAVs, self-driving rovers, industrial and security robots, mapping applications for topography and surveying and smart city initiatives. We believe that our future revenue growth, if any, will depend in part on our ability to expand within new markets such as these and to enter new markets as they emerge. Each of these markets presents distinct risks and, in many cases, requires us to address the particular requirements of that market.
Addressing these requirements can be time-consuming and costly. The market for lidar technology outside of automotive applications is relatively new, rapidly developing and unproven in many markets or industries. Many of our customers outside of the automotive industry are still in the testing and development phases and it cannot be certain that they will commercialize products or systems with our lidar products or at all. We cannot be certain that lidar will be sold into these markets, or any market outside of automotive market, at scale. Adoption of lidar products, including our products, outside of the automotive industry will depend on numerous factors, including: whether the technological capabilities of lidar and lidar- based products meet users’ current or anticipated needs, whether the benefits of designing lidar into larger sensing systems outweigh the costs, complexity and time needed to deploy such technology or replace or modify existing systems that may have used other modalities such as cameras and radar, whether users in other applications can move beyond the testing and development phases and proceed to commercializing systems supported by lidar technology and whether lidar developers such as Velodyne can keep pace with rapid technological change in certain developing markets and the global response to the
COVID-19 pandemic and the length of any associated work stoppages. If lidar technology does not achieve commercial success outside of the automotive industry, or if the market develops at a pace slower than we expect, our business, results of operation and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
Our investments in educating our customers and potential customers about the advantages of lidar and our applications may not result in sales of our products.
Educating our prospective customers, and to a lesser extent, our existing customers, about lidar, our advantages over other sensing technologies and lidar’s ability to convey value in different industries and deployments is an integral part of developing new business and the lidar market generally. If prospective customers have a negative perception of, or experience with, lidar or a competitor’s lidar products they may be reluctant to adopt lidar in general or specifically our products. Adverse statements about lidar by influential market participants may also deter adoption. Some of our competitors have significant financial or marketing resources that may allow them to engage in public marketing campaigns about their alternative technology, lidar or our solutions. Our efforts to educate potential customers and the market generally and to counter any adverse statements made by competitors or other market participants will require significant financial and personnel resources. These educational efforts may not be successful and we may not offset the costs of such efforts with revenue from the new customers. If we are unable to acquire new customers to offset these expenses or if the market accepts such adverse statements, our financial condition will be adversely affected.
The markets in which we compete are characterized by rapid technological change, which requires us to continue to develop new products and product innovations, and could adversely affect market adoption of our products.
While we intend to invest substantial resources to remain on the forefront of technological development, continuing technological changes in sensing technology, lidar and the markets for these products, including the ADAS and autonomous driving industries, could adversely affect adoption of lidar and/or our products, either generally or for particular applications. Our future success will depend upon our ability to develop and introduce a variety of new capabilities and innovations to our existing product offerings, as well as introduce a variety of new product offerings, to address the changing needs of the markets in which we offer our products. For example, we are currently working on developing our Vella software, which is a data curation software platform, as well as several other new lidar products. We cannot guarantee that the Vella software or the new products will be released in a timely manner, or at all, or achieve market acceptance. For example, in 2019 we experienced delays in acceptance of certain of our new lidar products as it worked with our customers to identify, define and meet product requirements, and we may be unable to sell these or future products at scale until these issues are resolved. Delays in delivering new products that meet customer requirements could damage our relationships with customers and lead them to seek alternative sources of supply. In addition, our success to date has been based on the delivery of our smart vision solutions to research and development programs in which developers are investing substantial capital to develop new systems. Our continued success relies on the success of the research and development phase of these customers as they expand into commercialized projects. While some customers already have achieved commercialization, most of our automotive customers are just beginning on the path to commercialization. As autonomous technology reaches the stage of large scale commercialization we will be required to develop and deliver smart vision solutions at price points that enable wider and ultimately mass-market adoption. Delays in introducing products and innovations, the failure to choose correctly among technical alternatives or the failure to offer innovative products or configurations at competitive prices may cause existing and potential customers to purchase our competitors’ products or turn to alternative sensing technology.
If we are unable to devote adequate resources to develop products or cannot otherwise successfully develop products or system configurations that meet customer requirements on a timely basis or that remain competitive with technological alternatives, our products could lose market share, our revenue will decline, we may experience operating losses and our business and prospects will be adversely affected.
We expect to incur substantial research and development costs and devote significant resources to identifying and commercializing new products, which could significantly reduce our profitability and may never result in revenue to us.
Our future growth depends on penetrating new markets, adapting existing products to new applications and customer requirements, and introducing new products that achieve market acceptance. We plan to incur substantial and potentially increasing, research and development costs as part of our efforts to design, develop, manufacture and commercialize new products and enhance existing products. Our research and development expenses were $77.9 million, $88.1 million and $56.9 million during 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and are likely to grow in the future. Because we account for research and development as an operating expense, these expenditures will adversely affect our results to operations in the future. Further,
our research and development program may not produce successful results, and our new products may not achieve market acceptance, create additional revenue or become profitable.
As part of growing our business, we may make acquisitions. If we fail to successfully select, execute or integrate our acquisitions, then our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected and our stock price could decline.
From time to time, we may undertake acquisitions to add new products and technologies, acquire talent, gain new sales channels or enter into new markets or sales territories. Acquisitions involve numerous risks and challenges, including relating to the successful integration of the acquired business and our key personnel, entering into new territories or markets with which we have limited or no prior experience, establishing or maintaining business relationships with new customers, channel partners, vendors and suppliers, unexpected liabilities and potential post-closing disputes.
To date, we have limited experience with acquisitions and the integration of acquired technology and personnel. Failure to successfully identify, complete, manage and integrate acquisitions could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and could cause our stock price to decline.
We may need to raise additional capital in the future in order to execute our business plan, which may not be available on terms acceptable to us, or at all.
In the future, we may require additional capital to respond to technological advancements, competitive dynamics or technologies, customer demands, business opportunities, challenges, acquisitions or unforeseen circumstances and we may determine to engage in equity or debt financings or enter into credit facilities for other reasons. In order to further business relationships with current or potential customers or partners, we may issue equity or equity-linked securities to such current or potential customers or partners. We may not be able to timely secure additional debt or equity financing on favorable terms, or at all. If we raise additional funds through the issuance of equity or convertible debt or other equity- linked securities or if it issues equity or equity-linked securities to current or potential customers to further business relationships, our existing stockholders could experience significant dilution. Any debt financing obtained by us in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us, when we require it, our ability to continue to grow or support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited.
We currently have and target many customers that are large corporations with substantial negotiating power, exacting product standards and potentially competitive internal solutions. If we are unable to sell our products to these customers, our prospects and results of operations will be adversely affected.
Many of our customers and potential customers are large, multinational corporations with substantial negotiating power relative to us and, in some instances, may have internal solutions that are competitive to our products. These large, multinational corporations also have significant development resources, which may allow them to acquire or develop independently, or in partnership with others, competitive technologies. Meeting the technical requirements and securing design wins with any of these companies will require a substantial investment of our time and resources. We cannot assure you that our products will secure design wins from these or other companies or that we will generate meaningful revenue from the sales of our products to these key potential customers. If our products are not selected by these large corporations or if these corporations develop or acquire competitive technology, it will have an adverse effect on our business.
If our lidar products are not selected for inclusion in autonomous driving systems or ADAS by automotive OEMs or their suppliers, our business will be materially and adversely affected.
Automotive OEMs and their suppliers design and develop autonomous driving and ADAS technology over several years. These automotive OEMs and suppliers undertake extensive testing or qualification processes prior to placing orders for large quantities of products because our lidar products will function as part of a larger system or platform and must meet certain other specifications. We spend significant time and resources to have our products selected by automotive OEMs and their suppliers, which is known as a design win. In the case of autonomous driving and ADAS technology, a design win means our lidar product has been selected for use in a particular vehicle model. If we do not achieve a design win with respect to a particular vehicle model, we may not have an opportunity to supply our products to the automotive OEM for that vehicle model for a period of many years. In many cases, this period can be as long as five to seven or more years. If our products are
not selected by an automotive OEM or our suppliers for one vehicle model or if our products are not successful in that vehicle model, it is unlikely that our product will be deployed in other vehicle models of that OEM. If we fail to win a significant number of vehicle models from one or more of automotive OEMs or their suppliers, our business, results of operations and financial condition will be materially and adversely affected.
The discontinuation, lack of commercial success, or loss of business with respect to a particular vehicle model or technology package for which we are a significant supplier could reduce our sales and adversely affect our profitability.
If we are able to secure design wins and our smart vision solutions are included in these autonomous driving and ADAS products, we expect to enter into supply agreements with the relevant customer. Market practice dictates that these supply agreements typically require us to supply a customer’s requirements for a particular vehicle model or autonomous driving or ADAS product, rather than supply a set number of products. These contracts can have short terms and/or can be subject to renegotiation, sometimes as frequently as annually, all of which may affect product pricing, and may be terminated by our customers at any time. Therefore, even if we are successful in obtaining design wins and the systems into which our products are built are commercialized, the discontinuation of, the loss of business with respect to, or a lack of commercial success of a particular vehicle model or technology package for which we are a significant supplier could mean that the expected sales of our products will not materialize, materially and adversely affecting our business.
Continued pricing pressures, automotive OEM cost reduction initiatives and the ability of automotive OEMs to re-source or cancel vehicle or technology programs may result in lower than anticipated margins, or losses, which may adversely affect our business.
Cost-cutting initiatives adopted by our customers often result in increased downward pressure on pricing. We expect that our agreements with automotive OEMs may require step-downs in pricing over the term of the agreement or, if commercialized, over the period of production. In addition, our automotive OEM customers often reserve the right to terminate their supply contracts for convenience, which enhances their ability to obtain price reductions. Automotive OEMs also possess significant leverage over their suppliers, including us, because the automotive component supply industry is highly competitive, serves a limited number of customers and has a high fixed cost base. Accordingly, we expect to be subject to substantial continuing pressure from automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to reduce the price of our products. It is possible that pricing pressures beyond our expectations could intensify as automotive OEMs pursue restructuring, consolidation and cost- cutting initiatives. If we are unable to generate sufficient production cost savings in the future to offset price reductions, our gross margin and profitability would be adversely affected.
Our business could be materially and adversely affected if we lost any of our largest customers or if they were unable to pay their invoices.
Although we have and continue to pursue a broad customer base, we are dependent on a collection of large customers with strong purchasing power. In 2021, 2020 and 2019, our top 20 customers represented 79%, 81% and 83% of our revenue, respectively. There were two customers that each accounted for more than 10% of our revenue in 2021, 2020 and 2019. The loss of business from any of our major customers (whether by lower overall demand for our products, cancellation of existing contracts or product orders or the failure to design in our products or award us new business) could have a material adverse effect on our business.
To the extent autonomous vehicle and ADAS systems become accepted by major automotive OEMs, we expect that we will rely increasingly for our revenue on Tier 1 suppliers through which automotive OEMs procure components. We expect that these Tier 1 suppliers will be responsible for certain hardpoint and software configuration activities specific to each OEM, and they may not exclusively carry our smart vision solutions.
There is also a risk that one or more of our major customers could be unable to pay our invoices as they become due or that a customer will simply refuse to make such payments if it experiences financial difficulties. If a major customer were to enter into bankruptcy proceedings or similar proceedings whereby contractual commitments are subject to stay of execution and the possibility of legal or other modification, we could be forced to record a substantial loss.
The period of time from a design win to implementation is long and we are subject to the risks of cancellation or postponement of the contract or unsuccessful implementation.
Prospective customers, including those in the automotive industry, generally must make significant commitments of resources to test and validate our products and confirm that they can integrate with other technologies before including them in any particular system, product or model. The development cycles of our products with new customers varies widely depending on the application, market, customer and the complexity of the product. In the automotive market, for example, this development cycle can be five to seven or more years. The development cycle in certain other markets can be months to one or two years. These development cycles result in us investing our resources prior to realizing any revenue from the commercialization. Further, we are subject to the risk that customers cancel or postpone implementation of our technology, as well as that we will not be able to integrate our technology successfully into a larger system with other sensing modalities. Further, our revenue could be less than forecasted if the system, product or vehicle model that includes our lidar products is unsuccessful, including for reasons unrelated to our technology. Long development cycles and product cancellations or postponements may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The complexity of our products could result in unforeseen delays or expenses from undetected defects, errors or bugs in hardware or software which could reduce the market adoption of our new products, damage our reputation with current or prospective customers, result in product returns or expose us to product liability and other claims and adversely affect our operating costs.
Our products are highly technical and very complex and require high standards to manufacture. These products have in the past and will likely in the future experience defects, errors or bugs at various stages of development. We may be unable to timely release new products, manufacture existing products, correct problems that have arisen or correct such problems to our customers’ satisfaction. Additionally, undetected errors, defects or security vulnerabilities, especially as new products are introduced or as new versions are released, could result in serious injury to the end users of technology incorporating our products, or those in the surrounding area; our customers never being able to commercialize technology incorporating our products; litigation against us; negative publicity and other consequences. These risks are particularly prevalent in the highly competitive autonomous driving and ADAS markets. Some errors or defects in our products may only be discovered after they have been tested, commercialized and deployed by customers. If that is the case, we may incur significant additional development costs and product recall, repair or replacement costs. Furthermore, we could also experience higher levels of product returns in such cases, which could adversely affect our financial results in a particular quarter. These problems may also result in claims against us by our customers or others. Our reputation or brand may be damaged as a result of these problems and customers may be reluctant to buy our products, which could adversely affect our ability to retain existing customers and attract new customers, and could adversely affect our financial results.
In addition, we could face material legal claims for breach of contract, product liability, tort or breach of warranty as a result of these problems. Defending a lawsuit, regardless of its merit, could be costly and may divert management’s attention and adversely affect the market’s perception of Velodyne and our products. In addition, our business liability insurance coverage could prove inadequate with respect to a claim and future coverage may be unavailable on acceptable terms or at all. These product-related issues could result in claims against us and our business could be adversely affected.
If we do not maintain sufficient inventory or if we do not adequately manage our inventory, we could lose sales or incur higher inventory-related expenses, which could negatively affect our operating results.
To ensure adequate inventory supply, we must forecast inventory needs and expenses, place orders sufficiently in advance with our suppliers and manufacturing partners and manufacture products based on our estimates of future demand for particular products. Fluctuations in the adoption of lidar products may affect our ability to forecast our future operating results, including revenue, gross margins, cash flows and profitability. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products could be affected by many factors, including the rapidly changing nature of the markets in which we operate, including the autonomous driving, ADAS and mapping markets, the uncertainty surrounding the market acceptance and commercialization of lidar technology, the emergence of new markets, an increase or decrease in customer demand for our products or for products and services of our competitors, product introductions by competitors, the COVID-19 pandemic and any associated work stoppages or interruptions, unanticipated changes in general market conditions and the weakening of economic conditions or consumer confidence in future economic conditions. If our lidar products are commercialized in autonomous driving, ADAS or other applications experiencing rapid growth in demand, we may face challenges acquiring adequate supplies to manufacture our products and/or we and our manufacturing partners may not be able to manufacture our products at a rate necessary to satisfy the levels of demand, which would negatively affect our revenue. This risk may be
exacerbated by the fact that we may not carry or be able to obtain for our manufacturers a significant amount of inventory to satisfy short-term demand increases. If we fail to accurately forecast customer demand, we may experience excess inventory levels or a shortage of products available for sale.
Inventory levels in excess of customer demand may result in inventory write-downs or write-offs and the sale of excess inventory at discounted prices, which would adversely affect our financial results, including our gross margin, and have a negative effect on our brand. Conversely, if we underestimate customer demand for our products, we, or our manufacturing partners, may not be able to deliver products to meet our requirements, and this could result in damage to our brand and customer relationships and adversely affect our revenue and operating results.
We rely on third-party suppliers and because some of the raw materials and key components in our products come from limited or sole sources of supply, we are susceptible to supply shortages, long lead times for components, and supply changes, any of which could disrupt our supply chain and could delay deliveries of our products to customers.
All of the components that go into the manufacture of our smart vision solutions are sourced from third-party suppliers. To date, we have produced our products in relatively limited quantities for use in research and development programs. We do not have any experience in managing our supply chain to manufacture and deliver our products at scale. Some of the key components used to manufacture our products come from limited or sole sources of supply. We are therefore subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of these components and the risk that our suppliers discontinue or modify components used in our products. We have a global supply chain and the COVID-19 pandemic may adversely affect our ability to source components in a timely or cost effective manner from our third-party suppliers due to, among other things, work stoppages or interruptions. For example, our products depend on lasers and we currently consume a substantial portion of the available market. Any shortage of these lasers could materially and adversely affect our ability to manufacture our smart vision solutions. In addition, the lead times associated with certain components are lengthy and preclude rapid changes in quantities and delivery schedules. We have in the past experienced and may in the future experience component shortages and price fluctuations of certain key components and materials, and the predictability of the availability and pricing of these components may be limited. Component shortages or pricing fluctuations could be material in the future. In the event of a component shortage, supply interruption or material pricing change from suppliers of these components, we may not be able to develop alternate sources in a timely manner or at all in the case of sole or limited sources. Developing alternate sources of supply for these components may be time-consuming, difficult, and costly and we may not be able to source these components on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all, which may undermine our ability to meet our requirements or to fill customer orders in a timely manner. Any interruption or delay in the supply of any of these parts or components, or the inability to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, would adversely affect our ability to meet our scheduled product deliveries to our customers. This could adversely affect our relationships with our customers and channel partners and could cause delays in shipment of our products and adversely affect our operating results. In addition, increased component costs could result in lower gross margins. Even where we are able to pass increased component costs along to our customers, there may be a lapse of time before we are able to do so such that we must absorb the increased cost. If we are unable to buy these components in quantities sufficient to meet our requirements on a timely basis, we will not be able to deliver products to our customers, which may result in such customers using competitive products instead of Velodyne’s.
The average selling prices of our products could decrease rapidly over the life of the product, which may negatively affect our revenue and gross margin.
We have substantially reduced the price of certain of our products to accelerate market adoption and solidify our position as a market leader. We expect the average selling prices of our products generally to continue to decline as our customers seek to commercialize autonomous systems at prices low enough to achieve market acceptance. In order to sell products that have a falling average unit selling price and maintain margins at the same time, we will need to continually reduce product and manufacturing costs. To manage manufacturing costs, we must engineer the most cost-effective design for our products. In addition, we continuously drive initiatives to reduce labor cost, improve worker efficiency, reduce the cost of materials, use fewer materials and further lower overall product costs by carefully managing component prices, inventory and shipping cost.
We also need to continually introduce new products with higher sales prices and gross margin in order to maintain our overall gross margin. If we are unable to manage the cost of older products or successfully introduce new products with higher gross margin, our revenue and overall gross margin would likely decline.
Changes in our product mix may impact our financial performance.
Our financial performance can be affected by the mix of products it sells during a given period. If our sales include more of the lower gross margin products than higher gross margin products, our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected. There can be no guarantees that we will be able to successfully alter our product mix so that we are selling more of our high gross margin products. If actual results vary from this projected product mix of sales, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Our management team has limited experience managing a public company.
Many of the 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. Additionally, many members of our management team were recently hired or assumed new roles. Our management team may not successfully or efficiently manage their new roles and responsibilities, our transition to being a public company subject to significant regulatory oversight and reporting obligations under the federal securities laws and the continuous scrutiny of securities analysts and investors. In addition, we will need to implement and continue to operationalize many of the policies and controls needed to operate as a public company. These new obligations and constituents will require significant attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
We may experience difficulties in managing our growth and expanding our operations.
We expect to experience significant growth in the scope and nature of our operations. Our ability to manage our operations and future growth will require us to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls, compliance programs and reporting systems. We are currently in the process of strengthening our compliance programs, including our compliance programs related to export controls, privacy and cybersecurity and anti-corruption, as well as controls related to human resources. We may not be able to implement improvements in an efficient or timely manner and may discover deficiencies in existing controls, programs, systems and procedures, which could have an adverse effect on our business, reputation and financial results.
Our sales and operations in international markets expose us to operational, financial and regulatory risks.
International sales comprise a significant amount of our overall revenue. Sales to international customers accounted for 65%, 66% and 54% of our revenue during 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. We are committed to growing our international sales, and while we have committed resources to expanding our international operations and sales channels, these efforts may not be successful. International operations are subject to a number of other risks, including:
•Exchange rate fluctuations.
•Political and economic instability (including an outbreak or escalation of a regional conflict, such as the current situation in Ukraine) , international terrorism and anti-American sentiment, particularly in emerging markets.
•Global or regional health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
•Potential for violations of anti-corruption laws and regulations, such as those related to bribery and fraud.
•Preference for locally branded products, and laws and business practices favoring local competition.
•Potential consequences of, and uncertainty related to, the “Brexit” process in the United Kingdom, which could lead to additional expense and complexity in doing business there.
•Increased difficulty in managing inventory.
•Delayed revenue recognition.
•Less effective protection of intellectual property.
•Stringent regulation of the autonomous or other systems or products using our products and stringent consumer protection and product compliance regulations, including but not limited to General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, European competition law, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive, the Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive and the European Ecodesign directive that are costly to comply with and may vary from country to country.
•Difficulties and costs of staffing and managing foreign operations.
•Import and export laws and the impact of tariffs.
•Changes in local tax and customs duty laws or changes in the enforcement, application or interpretation of such laws.
The occurrence of any of these risks could negatively affect our international business and consequently our business, operating results and financial condition.
Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, floods and other natural catastrophic events, global pandemics, and interruptions by man-made problems, such as network security breaches, computer viruses or terrorism. Material disruptions of our business or information systems resulting from these events could adversely affect our operating results.
A significant natural disaster, such as an earthquake, fire, flood or significant power outage or other similar events, such as infectious disease outbreaks or pandemic events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced meaningful operational challenges and we expect to continue to experience disruptions in our business during 2021. COVID-19 has heightened many of the other risks described herein, such as the demand for our products, our ability to achieve or maintain profitability and our ability to raise additional capital in the future. Despite the implementation of network security measures, our networks and lidar products also may be vulnerable to computer viruses, break-ins and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering with our solutions. Both our corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for seismic activity. In addition, natural disasters, acts of terrorism or war could cause disruptions in our remaining manufacturing operations, our or our customers’ or channel partners’ businesses, our suppliers’ or the economy as a whole. We also rely on information technology systems to communicate among our workforce and with third parties. Any disruption to our communications, whether caused by a natural disaster or by manmade problems, such as power disruptions, could adversely affect our business. We do not have a formal disaster recovery plan or policy in place and does not currently require that our suppliers’ partners have such plans or policies in place. To the extent that any such disruptions result in delays or cancellations of orders or impede our suppliers’ ability to timely deliver product components, or the deployment of our products, our business, operating results and financial condition would be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters
Changes to trade policy, tariffs and import/export regulations may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in global political, regulatory and economic conditions or in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development and investment in the territories or countries where we currently purchase our components, sell our products or conduct our business could adversely affect our business. The U.S. has recently instituted or proposed changes in trade policies that include the negotiation or termination of trade agreements, the imposition of higher tariffs on imports into the U.S., economic sanctions on individuals, corporations or countries, and other government regulations affecting trade between the United States and other countries where we conduct our business. A number of other nations have proposed or instituted similar measures directed at trade with the U.S. in response. As a result of these developments, there may be greater restrictions and economic disincentives on international trade that could adversely affect our business. For example, such changes could adversely affect the automotive market, our ability to access key components or raw materials needed to manufacture our products (including, but not limited to, rare-earth metals), our ability to sell our products to customers outside of the U.S. and the demand for our products. It may be time-consuming and expensive for us to alter our business operations to adapt to or comply with any such changes, and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have in the past and may become involved in legal and regulatory proceedings and commercial or contractual disputes, which could have an adverse effect on our profitability and consolidated financial position.
We may be, from time to time, involved in litigation, regulatory proceedings and commercial or contractual disputes that may be significant. These matters may include, without limitation, disputes with our suppliers and customers, intellectual
property claims, stockholder litigation, government investigations, class action lawsuits, personal injury claims, environmental issues, customs and VAT disputes and employment and tax issues. In addition, we have in the past and could face in the future a variety of labor and employment claims against it, which could include but is not limited to general discrimination, wage and hour, privacy, ERISA or disability claims. In such matters, government agencies or private parties may seek to recover from us very large, indeterminate amounts in penalties or monetary damages (including, in some cases, treble or punitive damages) or seek to limit our operations in some way. These types of lawsuits could require significant management time and attention or could involve substantial legal liability, adverse regulatory outcomes, and/or substantial expenses to defend. Often these cases raise complex factual and legal issues and create risks and uncertainties. No assurances can be given that any proceedings and claims will not have a material adverse impact on our operating results and consolidated financial position or that our established reserves or our available insurance will mitigate this impact.
We are subject to, and must remain in compliance with, numerous laws and governmental regulations concerning the manufacturing, use, distribution and sale of our products. Some of our customers also require that we comply with their own unique requirements relating to these matters.
We manufacture and sell products that contain electronic components, and such components may contain materials that are subject to government regulation in both the locations where we manufacture and assemble our products, as well as the locations where we sell our products. For example, certain regulations limit the use of lead in electronic components. Since we operate on a global basis, this is a complex process which requires continual monitoring of regulations and an ongoing compliance process to ensure that we and our suppliers are in compliance with all existing regulations. If there is an unanticipated new regulation that significantly impacts our use of various components or requires more expensive components, that regulation could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our products are also used for autonomous driving and ADAS applications, which are subject to complicated regulatory schemes that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. These are rapidly evolving areas where new regulations could impose limitations on the use of lidar generally or our products specifically. If we fail to adhere to these new regulations or fails to continually monitor the updates, we may be subject to litigation, loss of customers or negative publicity and our business, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
Concerns over environmental pollution and climate change have produced significant legislative and regulatory efforts on a global basis, and we believe this will continue both in scope and in the number of countries participating. These changes could directly increase the cost of energy, which may have an effect on the way we manufacture products or utilize energy to produce our products. In addition, any new regulations or laws in the environmental area might increase the cost of raw materials or key components we use in our products. Environmental regulations require us to reduce product energy usage, monitor and exclude an expanding list of restricted substances and to participate in required recovery and recycling of our products. We are unable to predict how any future changes will impact it and if such impacts will be material to our business.
We are subject to, and must maintain compliance with, the regulatory requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As a lidar technology company, we are subject to the Electronic Product Radiation Control Provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These requirements are enforced by the FDA. Electronic product radiation includes laser technology. Regulations governing these products are intended to protect the public from hazardous or unnecessary exposure, including eye safety. Manufacturers are required to certify in product labeling and in reports to the FDA that their products comply with applicable performance standards as well as maintain manufacturing, testing, and distribution records for their products. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in enforcement action by the FDA, which could require us to cease distribution of our products, recall or remediate products already distributed to customers, or subject us to FDA enforcement.
Our business may be adversely affected by changes in automotive safety regulations or concerns that drive further regulation of the automobile safety market.
Government vehicle safety regulations are an important factor for our business. Historically, these regulations have imposed ever-more stringent safety regulations for vehicles. These safety regulations often require, or customers demand that, vehicles have more safety features per vehicle and more advanced safety products.
While we believe increasing automotive safety standards may present a market opportunity for our products, government safety regulations are subject to change based on a number of factors that are not within our control, including new scientific
or technological data, adverse publicity regarding the industry recalls and safety risks of autonomous driving and ADAS, accidents involving our products, domestic and foreign political developments or considerations, and litigation relating to our products and our competitors’ products. Changes in government regulations, especially in the autonomous driving and ADAS industries could adversely affect our business. If government priorities shift and we are unable to adapt to changing regulations, our business may be materially and adversely affected.
Federal and local regulators impose more stringent compliance and reporting requirements in response to product recalls and safety issues in the automotive industry. As the cars that carry our sensors go into production, we are subject to existing stringent requirements under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, or the Vehicle Safety Act, including a duty to report, subject to strict timing requirements, safety defects with our products. The Vehicle Safety Act imposes potentially significant civil penalties for violations including the failure to comply with such reporting actions. We are also subject to the existing U.S. Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, or TREAD, which requires equipment manufacturers, such as Velodyne, to comply with “Early Warning” requirements by reporting certain information to the NHTSA, such as information related to defects or reports of injury related to our products. TREAD imposes criminal liability for violating such requirements if a defect subsequently causes death or bodily injury. In addition, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes NHTSA to require a manufacturer to recall and repair vehicles that contain safety defects or fail to comply with U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards. Sales into foreign countries may be subject to similar regulations. If we cannot rapidly address any safety concerns or defects with our products, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued regulations in 2016 that require manufacturers of certain autonomous vehicles to provide documentation covering specific topics to regulators, such as how automated systems detect objects on the road, how information is displayed to drivers, what cybersecurity measures are in place and the methods used to test the design and validation of autonomous driving systems. As cars that carry our sensors go into production, the obligations of complying with safety regulations could increase and it could require increased resources and adversely affect our business.
Failures, or perceived failures, to comply with privacy, data protection, and information security requirements in the variety of jurisdictions in which we operate may adversely impact our business, and such legal requirements are evolving, uncertain and may require improvements in, or changes to, our policies and operations.
Our current and potential future operations and sales subject it to laws and regulations addressing privacy and the collection, use, storage, disclosure, transfer and protection of a variety of types of data. For example, the European Commission has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation and California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, both of which provide for potentially material penalties for non-compliance. These regimes may, among other things, impose data security requirements, disclosure requirements, and restrictions on data collection, uses, and sharing that may impact our operations and the development of our business. While, generally, we do not have access to, collect, store, process, or share information collected by our solutions unless our customers choose to proactively provide such information to us, our products may evolve both to address potential customer requirements and to add new features and functionality. Therefore, the full impact of these privacy regimes on our business is rapidly evolving across jurisdictions and remains uncertain at this time.
We may also be affected by cyber attacks and other means of gaining unauthorized access to our products, systems, and data. For instance, cyber criminals or insiders may target us or third-parties with which we have business relationships in an effort to obtain data, or in a manner that disrupts our operations or compromises our products or the systems into which our products are integrated.
We are assessing the continually evolving privacy and data security regimes and measures it believes are appropriate in response. Since these data security regimes are evolving, uncertain and complex, especially for a global business like ours, we may need to update or enhance our compliance measures as our products, markets and customer demands further develop and these updates or enhancements may require implementation costs. The compliance measures we do adopt may prove ineffective. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with current and future regulatory or customer-driven privacy, data protection, and information security requirements, or to prevent or mitigate security breaches, cyber attacks, or improper access to, use of, or disclosure of data, or any security issues or cyber attacks affecting us, could result in significant liability, costs (including the costs of mitigation and recovery), and a material loss of revenue resulting from the adverse impact on our reputation and brand, loss of proprietary information and data, disruption to our business and relationships, and diminished ability to retain or attract customers and business partners. Such events may result in governmental enforcement actions and
prosecutions, private litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, and could cause customers and business partners to lose trust in us, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business.
Regulations related to conflict minerals may cause us to incur additional expenses and could limit the supply and increase the costs of certain metals used in the manufacturing of our products.
We are subject to the requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, or the Dodd-Frank Act, that will require it to determine, disclose and report whether our products contain conflict minerals. The implementation of these requirements could adversely affect the sourcing, availability and pricing of the materials used in the manufacture of components used in our products. In addition, we will incur additional costs to comply with the disclosure requirements, including costs related to conducting diligence procedures to determine the sources of conflict minerals that may be used in or necessary to the production of our products and, if applicable, potential changes to products, processes or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. It is also possible that our reputation may be adversely affected if we determine that certain of our products contain minerals not determined to be conflict-free or if we are unable to alter our products, processes or sources of supply to avoid use of such materials.
We may be subject to product liability or warranty claims that could result in significant direct or indirect costs, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.
Our customers use our smart vision solutions in autonomous driving, ADAS and other applications that present the risk of significant injury, including fatalities. We may be subject to claims if a product using our lidar technology is involved in an accident and persons are injured or purport to be injured. Any insurance that we carry may not be sufficient or it may not apply to all situations. Similarly, our customers could be subjected to claims as a result of such accidents and bring legal claims against us to attempt to hold it liable. In addition, if lawmakers or governmental agencies were to determine that the use of our products or autonomous driving or certain ADAS increased the risk of injury to all or a subset of our customers, they may pass laws or adopt regulations that limit the use of our products or increase our liability associated with the use of our products or that regulate the use of or delay the deployment of autonomous driving and ADAS technology. Any of these events could adversely affect our brand, relationships with customers, operating results or financial condition.
We typically provide a limited-time warranty on our products. The occurrence of any material defects in our products could make us liable for damages and warranty claims. In addition, we could incur significant costs to correct any defects, warranty claims or other problems, including costs related to product recalls. Any negative publicity related to the perceived quality of our products could affect our brand image, partner and customer demand, and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition. Also, warranty, recall and product liability claims may result in litigation, the occurrence of which could be costly, lengthy and distracting and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Risks Related to Intellectual Property
Despite the actions we are taking to defend and protect our intellectual property, we may not be able to adequately protect or enforce our intellectual property rights or prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering our solutions. Our efforts to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights and prevent third parties from violating our rights may be costly.
The success of our products and our business depends in part on our ability to obtain patents and other intellectual property rights and maintain adequate legal protection for our products in the United States and other international jurisdictions. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, service mark, trademark and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual restrictions, to establish and protect our proprietary rights, all of which provide only limited protection. We cannot assure you that any patents will be issued with respect to our currently pending patent applications or that any trademarks will be registered with respect to our currently pending applications in a manner that gives us adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages, if at all, or that any patents issued to us or any trademarks registered by us will not be challenged, invalidated or circumvented. We have filed for patents and trademarks in the United States and in certain international jurisdictions, but such protections may not be available in all countries in which we operate or in which we seek to enforce our intellectual property rights, or may be difficult to enforce in practice. Our currently issued patents and trademarks and any patents and trademarks that may be issued or registered, as applicable, in the future with respect to pending or future applications may not provide sufficiently broad protection or may not prove to be enforceable in actions against alleged infringers. We cannot be certain that the steps we have taken will prevent unauthorized use of our
technology or the reverse engineering of our technology. Moreover, others may independently develop technologies that are competitive to us or infringe our intellectual property.
Protecting against the unauthorized use of our intellectual property, products and other proprietary rights is expensive and difficult, particularly internationally. We believe that our patents are foundational in the area of lidar products and intends to enforce the intellectual property portfolio we have built over the years. Unauthorized parties may attempt to copy or reverse engineer our smart vision solutions or certain aspects of our solutions that it considers proprietary. Litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to prevent unauthorized parties from copying or reverse engineering our solutions, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to block the importation of infringing products into the U.S.
For example, we recently achieved a favorable result in two proceedings before the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) where the PTAB upheld the validity of our patent claims that were being challenged as unpatentable by one of our competitors.That decision was appealed to the Federal Circuit court, who upheld the validity of the patent. There is also litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and we cannot guarantee a favorable outcome in the litigation.
Additionally, to protect our intellectual property, we filed patent infringement cases in August 2019 with the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Hesai Photonics Technology Co., Ltd. (“Hesai”) and Suteng Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. (“RoboSense”). We resolved our disputes with Hesai in June 2020 and resolved our disputes with RoboSense in September 2020.
Any such litigation, whether initiated by us or a third party, could result in substantial costs and diversion of management resources, either of which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Even if it obtains favorable outcomes in litigation, we may not be able to obtain adequate remedies, especially in the context of unauthorized parties copying or reverse engineering our smart vision solutions or certain aspects of our solutions that we consider proprietary. Further, many of our current and potential competitors have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to defending intellectual property infringement claims and to enforcing their intellectual property rights than we have. Attempts to enforce our rights against third parties could also provoke these third parties to assert their own intellectual property or other rights against us, or result in a holding that invalidates or narrows the scope of our rights, in whole or in part. Effective patent, trademark, service mark, copyright and trade secret protection may not be available in every country in which our products are available and competitors based in other countries may sell infringing products in one or more markets. An inability to adequately protect and enforce our intellectual property and other proprietary rights or an inability to prevent authorized parties from copying or reverse engineering our smart vision solutions or certain aspects of our solutions that we consider proprietary could seriously adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition and prospects.
In addition to patented technology, we rely on our unpatented proprietary technology, trade secrets, processes and know-how.
We rely on proprietary information (such as trade secrets, know-how and confidential information) to protect intellectual property that may not be patentable or subject to copyright, trademark, trade dress or service mark protection, or that we believe is best protected by means that do not require public disclosure. We generally seek to protect this proprietary information by entering into confidentiality agreements, or consulting, services or employment agreements that contain non-disclosure and non-use provisions with our employees, consultants, contractors and third parties. However, we may fail to enter into the necessary agreements, and even if entered into, these agreements may be breached or may otherwise fail to prevent disclosure, third-party infringement or misappropriation of our proprietary information, may be limited as to their term and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure or use of proprietary information. We have limited control over the protection of trade secrets used by our current or future manufacturing partners and suppliers and could lose future trade secret protection if any unauthorized disclosure of such information occurs. In addition, our proprietary information may otherwise become known or be independently developed by our competitors or other third parties. To the extent that our employees, consultants, contractors, advisors and other third parties use intellectual property owned by others in their work for Velodyne, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how and inventions. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection for our proprietary information could adversely affect our competitive business position. Furthermore, laws regarding trade secret rights in certain markets where we operate may afford little or no protection to our trade secrets. We also rely on physical and electronic security measures to protect our proprietary information, but it cannot provide assurance that these security measures will not be breached or provide adequate protection
for our property. There is a risk that third parties may obtain and improperly utilize our proprietary information to our competitive disadvantage. We may not be able to detect or prevent the unauthorized use of such information or take appropriate and timely steps to enforce our intellectual property rights.
Third-party claims that we are infringing intellectual property, whether successful or not, could subject us to costly and time-consuming litigation or expensive licenses, and our business could be adversely affected.
Although we hold key patents related to our products, a number of companies, both within and outside of the lidar industry, hold other patents covering aspects of lidar products. In addition to these patents, participants in this industry typically also protect their technology, especially embedded software, through copyrights and trade secrets. As a result, there is frequent litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights. We have received, and in the future may receive, inquiries from other intellectual property holders and may become subject to claims that it infringes their intellectual property rights, particularly as we expand our presence in the market, expands to new use cases and faces increasing competition. In addition, parties may claim that the names and branding of our products infringe their trademark rights in certain countries or territories. If such a claim were to prevail, we may have to change the names and branding of our products in the affected territories and we could incur other costs.
We currently have a number of agreements in effect pursuant to which we have agreed to defend, indemnify and hold harmless our customers, suppliers, and channel partners and other partners from damages and costs which may arise from the infringement by our products of third-party patents or other intellectual property rights. The scope of these indemnity obligations varies, but may, in some instances, include indemnification for damages and expenses, including attorneys’ fees. Our insurance may not cover all intellectual property infringement claims and our indemnity obligations. A claim that our products infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights, even if untrue, could adversely affect our relationships with our customers, may deter future customers from purchasing our products and could expose us to costly litigation and settlement expenses. Even if we are not a party to any litigation between a customer and a third party relating to infringement by our products, an adverse outcome in any such litigation could make it more difficult for us to defend our products against intellectual property infringement claims in any subsequent litigation in which we are a named party. Any of these results could adversely affect our brand and operating results.
Our defense of intellectual property rights claims brought against Velodyne or our customers, suppliers and channel partners, with or without merit, could be time-consuming, expensive to litigate or settle, divert management resources and attention and force us to acquire intellectual property rights and licenses, which may involve substantial royalty or other payments and may not be available on acceptable terms or at all. Further, a party making such a claim, if successful, could secure a judgment that requires us to pay substantial damages or obtain an injunction. An adverse determination also could invalidate our intellectual property rights and adversely affect our ability to offer our products to our customers and may require that we procure or develop substitute products that do not infringe, which could require significant effort and expense. Any of these events could adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition and prospects.
Risks Related to Tax and Accounting Matters
Changes in tax laws or exposure to additional income tax liabilities could affect our future profitability.
Factors that could materially affect our future effective tax rates include but are not limited to:
•Changes in tax laws or the regulatory environment.
•Changes in accounting and tax standards or practices.
•Changes in the composition of operating income by tax jurisdiction.
•Our operating results before taxes.
Because we do not have a long history of operating at our present scale and we have significant expansion plans, our effective tax rate may fluctuate in the future. Future effective tax rates could be affected by operating losses in jurisdictions where no tax benefit can be recorded under GAAP, changes in the composition of earnings in countries with differing tax rates, changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws.
Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited.
As of December 31, 2021, we had $367.3 million of U.S. federal and $107.2 million of state net operating loss carryforwards available to reduce future taxable income, which will be carried forward indefinitely for U.S. federal tax purposes and will expire beginning in 2028 through 2039 for state tax purposes. It is possible that we will not generate taxable income in time to use these net operating loss carryforwards before their expiration or at all. In addition, the federal and state net operating loss carryforwards and certain tax credits may be subject to significant limitations under Section 382 and Section 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), respectively, and similar provisions of state law. Under those sections of the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” the corporation’s ability to use our pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset our post-change income or tax may be limited. In general, an “ownership change” will occur if there is a cumulative change in our ownership by “5% shareholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws. We completed an analysis and determined that the Business Combination did not result in an “ownership change” for purposes of Section 382 and Section 383 of the Code.
Unanticipated changes in effective tax rates or adverse outcomes resulting from examination of our income or other tax returns could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and other jurisdictions, and our tax liabilities will be subject to the allocation of expenses in differing jurisdictions. 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 the 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
•lower than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated future earnings in jurisdictions where we have higher statutory tax rates.
In addition, we may be subject to audits of our income, sales and other transaction taxes by taxing authorities. Outcomes from these audits could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the market price of our common stock.
On April 12, 2021, the Acting Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Acting Chief Accountant of the SEC together issued a statement regarding the accounting and reporting considerations for warrants issued by SPACs entitled “Staff Statement on Accounting and Reporting Considerations for Warrants Issued by Special Purpose Acquisition Companies” (the “SEC Statement”). As a result of the SEC Statement, we re-evaluated the accounting treatment of our warrants and concluded that certain warrants should have been classified as a liability measured at fair value, for the 30-day period from September 29, 2020 to October 29, 2020. As part of the re-evaluation process, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting related to the accounting for certain of our warrants. Accounting for these warrants as a liability instead of equity would have reduced non-operating expense and net loss by $1.6 million for 2020. Additionally, a corresponding $1.6 million adjustment would have been made to reduce our accumulated deficit with an offsetting adjustment to additional paid in capital in our equity accounts at December 31, 2020. Accounting for these warrants as a liability instead of equity would not have any effect on Velodyne’s previously reported revenues, assets, liabilities, total equity, or cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2020. We have concluded the effects of accounting for the warrants as a liability instead of equity were immaterial to the previously issued financial statements. We have made an immaterial adjustment to our equity accounts for the effects of the accounting for the warrants in our consolidated statement of stockholders’ equity and balance sheet at December 31, 2021 by decreasing our accumulated deficit by $1.6 million with an offsetting decrease to our additional paid in capital.
As of December 31, 2020, our management determined that we did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting as a result of identifying a material weakness related to our process and controls over tracking and reporting
whistleblower complaints and litigation matters, which was remediated in the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition, management identified a material weakness in connection with our failure to adequately review revenue schedules associated with non-standard revenue arrangements, which resulted in misstatements of revenue and deferred revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2020. These misstatements have been corrected as of the end of 2021.
A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis.
The material weaknesses identified above have been remediated as of December 31, 2021. We have incurred significant costs to remediate these weaknesses, primarily personnel costs and external consulting and legal fees. However, completion of remediation does not provide assurance that our controls will operate properly or that our financial statements will be free from error, which may undermine our ability to provide accurate, timely and reliable reports on our financial and operating results. There may be additional undetected material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, as a result of which we may not detect financial statement errors on a timely basis. Further, to the extent we identify additional material weaknesses, we will not be able to fully assess whether corrective measures will remediate the material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting until we have completed our implementation efforts and sufficient time passes in order to evaluate their effectiveness. In addition, if we identify additional errors that result in material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis and our financial statements may be materially misstated. Moreover, in the future we may engage in business transactions, such as acquisitions, reorganizations or implementation of new information systems that could negatively affect our internal control over financial reporting and result in material weaknesses.
If we identify additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we may be late with the filing of our periodic reports, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected. This could cause investors to lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities.
We may face litigation and other risks as a result of prior material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting.
Following the issuance of the SEC Statement and after consultation with our independent registered public accounting firm, we concluded that it was appropriate to re-evaluate certain of our warrants as liability measured at fair value, for the 30-day period from September 29, 2020 to October 29, 2020. As part of the re-evaluation process, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting related to the accounting for certain of our warrants. As of December 31, 2020, our management determined that we did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting as a result of identifying a material weakness related to our process and controls over tracking and reporting whistleblower complaints and litigation matters, which was remediated in the fourth quarter of 2020. In addition, management identified a material weakness in connection with our failure to adequately review revenue schedules associated with non-standard revenue arrangements, which resulted in misstatements of revenue and deferred revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2020. These misstatements have been corrected as of the end of 2020.
As a result of such material weaknesses, the change in accounting for our warrants, the failure to adequately review revenue schedules associated with non-standard revenue arrangements, the failure to track and report whistleblower complaints and litigation and other matters raised or that may in the future be raised by the SEC, we face the potential for litigation or other disputes which may include, among others, claims invoking federal and state securities laws, contractual claims or other claims arising from the re-evaluation of our warrants, the material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and the preparation of our financial statements. We can provide no assurance that such litigation or dispute will not arise in the future. Any such litigation or dispute, whether successful or not, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable regulations could be adversely affected.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”), and the rules and regulations of Nasdaq. We expect that the requirements of these rules and regulations will continue to increase our legal, accounting and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming and costly, and place significant strain on our personnel, systems and resources.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. We are continuing to develop and refine our disclosure controls, internal control over financial reporting and other procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by us in the reports that we file with the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in SEC rules and forms, and that information required to be disclosed in reports under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our principal executive and financial officers.
Our current controls and any new controls that we develop may become inadequate because of changes in conditions in our business. Further, we have previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and additional such weaknesses may be discovered in the future. See “—We previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the market price of our common stock.” Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement, could adversely affect our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal controls also could adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we are required to include in our periodic reports we will file with the SEC under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial and other information.
In order to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, we have expended and anticipate that we will continue to expend significant resources, including accounting-related costs, and provide significant management oversight. Any failure to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, or consequent inability to produce accurate financial statements on a timely basis, could increase our operating costs and could materially and adversely affect our ability to operate our business. In the event that our internal controls are perceived as inadequate or that we are unable to produce timely or accurate financial statements, investors may lose confidence in our operating results and our stock price could decline. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to maintain our listing on Nasdaq.
Risks Related to Ownership of our Common Stock
Resales of the shares of common stock could depress the market price of our common stock.
We had approximately 197.3 million shares of common stock outstanding as of December 31, 2021, and there may be a large number of shares of common stock sold in the market. The shares held by our public stockholders are freely tradable, and the shares of common stock held by other investors are also freely tradable, subject to compliance with Rule 144 under the Securities Act. In addition, there are an additional up to 39,594,032 shares issuable upon exercise of a warrant held by Amazon, which will be registered for resale. Such sales of shares of common stock or the perception of such sales may depress the market price of our common stock. If the market price of our common stock declines for any reason, including due to resales of shares of our common stock in the open market, it is possible that we may become subject to securities class action litigation. Securities litigation against us could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns, which could seriously harm our business.
Our only significant asset is our ownership interest in our Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. subsidiary and such ownership may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock.
We are a holding company with no direct operations and no significant assets other than our ownership of Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. We will depend on Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. for distributions, loans and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations, including our expenses as a publicly traded company and pay any dividends with respect to our common stock. The financial condition and operating requirements of Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. may limit our ability to obtain cash from Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. The earnings from, or other available assets of,
Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. may not be sufficient to pay dividends or make distributions or loans to enable us to pay any dividends on our common stock or satisfy our other financial obligations.
The ability of Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. to make distributions, loans and other payments to us for the purposes described above and for any other purpose may be limited by credit agreements to which Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. is party from time to time, including the existing loan and security agreement described in Item 7: “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”, and will be subject to the negative covenants set forth therein. Any loans or other extensions of credit to us from Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. will be permitted only to the extent there is an applicable exception to the investment covenants under these credit agreements. Similarly, any dividends, distributions or similar payments to us from Velodyne Lidar USA, Inc. will be permitted only to the extent there is an applicable exception to the dividends and distributions covenants under these credit agreements.
A market for our securities may not continue, which would adversely affect the liquidity and price of our securities.
The price of our securities may fluctuate significantly due to the market’s reaction to the developments in our business and general market and economic conditions. An active trading market for our securities may not be sustained. In addition, the price of our securities can vary due to general economic conditions and forecasts, our general business condition and the release of our financial reports. You may be unable to sell your securities when desired or at an acceptable price unless an active trading market can be sustained.
If we do not meet the expectations of investors, stockholders or financial analysts, the market price of our securities may decline.
If we do not meet the expectations of investors or securities analysts, the market price of our securities may decline. In addition, fluctuations in the price of our securities could contribute to the loss of all or part of your investment. If an active market for our securities develops and continues, the trading price of our securities could be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Any of the factors listed below could have a material adverse effect on your investment in our securities and our securities may trade at prices significantly below the price you paid for them. In such circumstances, the trading price of our securities may not recover and may experience a further decline.
Factors affecting the trading price of our securities may include:
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial results or the quarterly financial results of companies perceived to be similar to us;
•changes in the market’s expectations about our operating results;
•the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;
•speculation in the press or investment community;
•announcements of technological innovation, new products, acquisitions, strategic alliances, significant agreements by us or competitors;
•success of competitors;
•our operating results failing to meet the expectation of securities analysts or investors in a particular period;
•changes in financial estimates and recommendations by securities analysts concerning us or the market in general;
•operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;
•our ability to market new and enhanced products on a timely basis;
•changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•commencement of, or involvement in, litigation;
•changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of securities or the incurrence of additional debt;
•the volume of shares of our common stock available for public sale;
•any major change in our Board or management;
•sales of substantial amounts of common stock by our directors, officers or significant stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur;
•the expiration of existing market stand-off or contractual lock-up agreements;
•the realization of any of the risk factors presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K;
•additions or departures of key personnel;
•failure to comply with the requirements of Nasdaq;
•failure to comply with SOX or other laws or regulations;
•actual, potential or perceived control, accounting or reporting problems;
•changes in accounting principles, policies and guidelines; and
•general economic and political conditions such as recessions, COVID-19, interest rates, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations and acts of war or terrorism.
Broad market and industry factors may materially harm the market price of our securities irrespective of our operating performance. The stock market in general and Nasdaq have experienced price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the particular companies affected. The trading prices and valuations of these stocks, and of our securities, may not be predictable. A loss of investor confidence in the market for the stocks of other companies which investors perceive to be similar to us could depress our stock price regardless of our business, prospects, financial conditions or results of operations. A decline in the market price of our securities also could adversely affect our ability to issue additional securities and our ability to obtain additional financing in the future.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been initiated against companies following periods of volatility in their stock price. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, and could also require us to make substantial payments to satisfy judgments or to settle litigation.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish or cease publishing research or reports about us, our business, or our market, or if they change their recommendations regarding our common stock adversely, then the price and trading volume of our common stock could decline.
The trading market for our common stock will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. Securities and industry analysts do not currently, and may never, publish research on Velodyne. If no securities or industry analysts commence coverage of Velodyne, our stock price and trading volume would likely be negatively impacted. If any of the analysts who may cover us change their recommendation regarding our stock adversely, or provide more favorable relative recommendations about our competitors, the price of our common stock would likely decline. If any analyst who may cover us were to cease coverage or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.
We may redeem unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to warrant holders, thereby making their public warrants worthless.
We have the ability to redeem outstanding public warrants at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per public warrant; provided that the last reported sales price of our common stock equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like) for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading-day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we give notice of such redemption to the warrant holders. Redemption of the outstanding Warrants could force the Warrant holders: (i) to exercise their Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for them to do so; (ii) to sell their Warrants at the then-current market price when they might otherwise wish to hold their Warrants; or (iii) to accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, is likely to be substantially less than the market value of their Warrants.
Warrants and other shares underlying equity awards could increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
As of December 31, 2021, we had outstanding warrants exercisable for 5,973,870 shares of common stock at $11.50 per share. The shares of our common stock issued upon exercise of our Warrants will result in dilution to the then existing holders of common stock and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Anti-takeover provisions contained in our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation contains provisions that may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that stockholders may consider to be in their best interests. We are also subject to anti-takeover provisions under Delaware law, which could delay or prevent a change of control. Together, these provisions may make more difficult the removal of management and may discourage transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices for our securities. These provisions include:
•no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
•a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which could delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of the Board;
•the requirement that directors may only be removed from the Board for cause;
•the right of our Board to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of our Board or the resignation, death or removal of a director in certain circumstances, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our Board;
•a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;
•a prohibition on stockholders calling a special meeting and the requirement that a meeting of stockholders may only be called by a majority of the Board, the chairman of the Board or the chief executive office and may not be called by any other person, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;
•the requirement that changes or amendments to certain provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation must be approved by holders of at least two-thirds of our common stock;
•advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our Board or to propose matters to be acted upon at a meeting of stockholders, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of Velodyne; and
•an opt out from Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the DGCL) and, instead, inclusion of a provision in the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation that is substantially similar to Section 203 of the DGCL.
We are no longer a “controlled company” under the corporate governance rules of Nasdaq. However, during the applicable phase-in periods we may continue to rely on exemptions from certain corporate governance standards, which limit the presence of independent directors on our Board of Directors or committees of the Board of Directors.
Prior to the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, David Hall controlled the votes of the majority of our common stock. As a result, we were a “controlled company” for purposes of the Nasdaq corporate governance rules and were exempt from certain governance requirements otherwise required by Nasdaq, including requirements:
•that a majority of our Board of Directors consist of independent directors;
•that we have a nominating and corporate governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and
•that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities.
We are no longer a “controlled company” under the corporate governance rules of Nasdaq. Under the Nasdaq listing requirements, a company that ceases to be a “controlled company” must comply with the independent board committee requirements as they relate to the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees no later than the following phase-in schedule: (1) one independent committee member at the time it ceases to be a controlled company, (2) a majority of independent committee members within 90 days of the date it ceases to be a controlled company and (3) all independent committee members within one year of the date it ceases to be a controlled company. Additionally, the Nasdaq listing requirements provide a 12-month phase-in period from the date a company ceases to be a “controlled company” to comply with the majority independent board requirement. At this time, the majority of our directors are independent, as are a majority of the members of each of our committees. Until we are fully subject to these requirements, however, our stockholders will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of Nasdaq.
David Hall will have control over key decision making because he holds voting rights with respect to a significant amount of our voting stock.
David Hall, our former chairman and CEO, holds voting rights with respect to an aggregate of approximately 80.8 million shares of common stock, which represented approximately 40.9% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock as of December 31, 2021. In addition to the approximately 59.5 million shares of common stock currently held by Mr. Hall, which represented approximately 30.1% of the voting power of our capital stock as of December 31, 2021, stockholders holding approximately 21.3 million shares of common stock, including Marta Hall, a member of our Board, and certain other family members of Mr. Hall, have entered into agreements granting Mr. Hall an irrevocable proxy to vote such stockholders’ shares at Mr. Hall’s sole discretion on all matters to be voted upon by stockholders. As a stockholder, Mr. Hall is entitled to vote his shares in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally and could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Compliance obligations under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act may require substantial financial and management resources.
As a public company, we are required to comply with the SEC’s rules implementing Sections 302 and 404 of SOX, which require management to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports and provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. To comply with the requirements of being a public company, we have undertaken and expect to continue to undertake various actions, such as implementing additional internal controls and procedures and hiring additional accounting or internal audit staff. Additionally, we have previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. We remediated one material weakness in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the rest in 2021. See “—We previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and the failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could harm our business and negatively impact the market price of our common stock.” Our management has devoted significant time, attention and resources to these remedial efforts and intends to hire additional personnel as part of our remediation plan.
Testing and maintaining these controls can divert our management’s attention from other matters that are important to the operation of our business. If our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that stockholders may initiate, which could limit a stockholder’s ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and federal court within the State of Delaware will be exclusive forums for any:
•derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;
•action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to Velodyne or our stockholders;
•action asserting a claim against Velodyne arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation or bylaws; or
•other action asserting a claim against Velodyne that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.
This choice of forum provision does not apply to actions brought to enforce a duty or liability created under the Exchange Act. Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation also provides that the federal district courts of the United States are the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. We intend for this provision to apply to any complaints asserting a cause of action under the Securities Act despite the fact that Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for the federal and state courts over all actions brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. There is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce such a provision with respect to claims under the Securities Act, and stockholders will not be deemed to have waived compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of the Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation described above.
These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is located in San Jose, California, consisting of approximately 205,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space. We also lease offices in Alameda, California, Riisselsheim, Germany, Beijing, China, and Bengaluru, India. We believe that our office space is adequate for our current needs and, should we need additional space, we believe we will be able to obtain additional space on commercially reasonable terms.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The information set forth under the “Legal Proceedings” section in Note 16, Commitments and Contingencies, in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of Part II of this Report, is incorporated herein by reference.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
PART II. Other Information
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Velodyne common stock and warrants are listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbols “VLDR” and “VLDRW”, respectively. Prior to the consummation of the Business Combination, our common stock was listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GRAF.”
As of February 21, 2022, there were 60 holders of record of our common stock and one holder of record of our warrants.
We have not paid any cash dividends on our common stock to date. We may retain future earnings, if any, for future operations, expansion and debt repayment and have no current plans to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Any decision to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of the Board and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that the Board may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends may be limited by covenants of any existing and future outstanding indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur. We do not anticipate declaring any cash dividends to holders of our common stock in the foreseeable future.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Stock Performance Graph
This performance graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act), or incorporated by reference into any filing of Velodyne Lidar, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.
The following graph shows a comparison from September 30, 2020 (the first trading day of VLDR) through December 31, 2021, of the cumulative total return for our common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index, and the Russell 2000 Index. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance. Data for The NASDAQ Composite Index and the Russell 2000 Index assumes an investment of $100 on September 30, 2020 and reinvestment of dividends. We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock nor do we anticipate paying any such cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
Item 6. [Reserved]
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion of Velodyne’s results of operations and financial condition should be read in conjunction with the information set forth in Velodyne’s financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements based upon our current expectations, estimates and projections that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements due to, among other considerations, the matters discussed under “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and Item 1A: “Risk Factors.”
The following section of this Form 10-K generally discusses 2021 and 2020 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2021 and 2020. Discussions of 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019 are not included in this Form 10-K, and can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 17, 2021.
Velodyne is a global leader in lidar technology providing real-time 3D vision for autonomous systems. Our lidar solutions are advancing the development of safe automated systems throughout the world, thereby empowering the autonomous revolution by allowing machines to see their surroundings. Our lidar-based smart vision solutions are also deployed in many non-automotive applications, including autonomous mobile robots, UAVs, drones, last-mile delivery, precision agriculture, advanced security systems, and smart city initiatives.
We also license our technology and provide development services to customers and business partners. In 2021, we generated over half of our revenue from sales to customers deploying our smart vision solutions in non-automotive applications. In addition, we are transitioning from field programmable gate arrays to ASICs in order to further improve performance of our products, lower costs and reduce reliance on any key suppliers.
On September 30, 2020, Graf consummated a business combination with the pre-combination Velodyne Lidar, Inc. The aggregate consideration for the Business Combination and related transactions was approximately $1.8 billion, consisting of (i) $222.1 million in cash at the closing of the Business Combination, net of transaction expenses, and (ii) 150,277,532 shares of common stock valued at $10.25 per share, totaling $1.5 billion. For additional information regarding the Business Combination, see Note 1. “Description of Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” and Note 2. “Business Combination and Related Transactions” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Impact of COVID-19
The extensive impact of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has resulted and will likely continue to result in significant disruptions to the global economy, as well as businesses and capital markets around the world.
The timing of customer orders and our ability to fulfill orders we received was impacted by various COVID-19 related government mandates across our worldwide operations. We witnessed certain current and prospective customers delaying purchases based on budget constraints or project delays related to COVID-19. While the broader and long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on our workforce, operations and supply chain, customer demand, results of operations and overall financial performance remain uncertain, we continued to experience disruptions to our business due to the COVID-19 pandemic during 2021.
The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread have been impactful and continue to affect our business in several ways.
•Operations and supply chain. As a result of COVID-19, we experienced some production delays throughout 2021 due to travel restrictions to Thailand, the location of one of our key manufacturing partners. The San Jose factory continued to produce the major lidar products to support customer demand, augmented by our contract manufacturing partners. The San Jose factory confirmed several cases of COVID-19 from external exposure. As part of our continuing COVID-19 mitigation efforts, we perform audits of our supply chain and work with key suppliers to proactively mitigate potential supply constraints. Supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 has been minimal, however, the global supply of certain components, especially in the semiconductor space, requires ongoing vigilance as both lead times and prices reflect demand exceeding industry supply, and our plans to transition production from our San Jose factory to our contract manufacturing partners have experienced delays as a result of travel restrictions.
•Demand for our products. While we continue to engage with current and potential customers, we believe some customers may delay purchases from us because their development programs may also be delayed as a result of COVID-19.
•Positive customer trend in the pandemic. The global pandemic accelerated a few key robotic programs, which partially offset the impact of some of our customers’ delayed purchasing decisions. The accelerated programs include robots that disinfect the air and surfaces, providing more sanitized environments, and touchless delivery robots for food and medical supplies.
•Liquidity, working capital, and the CARES Act. On March 27, 2020, the U.S. government enacted the CARES Act. On April 8, 2020, we received loan proceeds of $10.0 million under the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program to help us offset delays in production and customer purchases. We filed a request for PPP loan forgiveness, and the approval was granted on June 30, 2021.
See Item 1A: “Risk Factors” for further discussion of the possible impact of COVID-19 on our business.
Factors Affecting Our Performance
Design wins. We are developing our smart vision solutions as a key enabling technology for OEMs in automotive and other applications. Because our solutions must be integrated into a broader platform by the OEM, it is critical that we achieve design wins with these customers. The time necessary to achieve design wins varies based on the market and application. The
design cycle in the automotive market tends to be substantially longer and more onerous than in other markets. Even within the automotive market, achieving a design win with an automotive OEM takes considerably longer than a design cycle for an aftermarket application. We consider design wins to be critical to our future success, although the revenue generated by each design win and the time necessary to achieve such a win can vary significantly, making it difficult to predict our future financial performance.
Pricing, product cost and margins. Our pricing and margins will depend on the volumes and the features of the solutions we provide to our customers. To date, most of our revenue has been generated by selling our smart vision solutions that have cost less for us to manufacture and that incorporate new features. In general, solutions incorporated into development-phase products require more complex configurations, have higher prices and higher gross margins. As our markets reach maturity and commercialization, we expect prices and margins will generally decrease. Our commercial-stage customers will require that our smart vision solutions be manufactured and sold at per-unit prices that enable mass market adoption. To meet the technological and pricing needs of customers reaching commercial scale, we are making significant investments in new solutions for both cost improvements and new features. Our ability to compete in key markets will depend on the success of these investments and our efforts to efficiently and reliably produce cost-effective smart vision solutions for our commercial-stage customers. We have customers with technologies in various stages of development. We anticipate that our prices will vary by market and application due to market-specific supply and demand dynamics and product lifecycles.
Commercialization of lidar-based applications. Our revenue has been subject to significant fluctuations. Our customers in pre-commercial development phase may have purchased their requirements of our products in earlier periods and we do not expect them begin purchasing again in volume unless and until they reach commercial deployments. As a number of our target markets reach commercialization, we expect there to be a shift towards higher unit volume at lower per-unit prices, with more predictable customer demand. We expect that our results of operations, including revenue and gross margins, will continue to fluctuate on a quarterly basis for the foreseeable future as our customers continue research and development projects and begin to commercialize autonomous solutions that rely on lidar technology. As more customers reach the commercialization phase and as the market for lidar solutions matures, these fluctuations in our operating results may become less pronounced. However, in the near term, our revenue may not grow as we expect until more customers commercialize their products.
End market demand. We sell our products to customers in a number of end markets. We believe our entry into new markets will continue to facilitate revenue growth and customer diversification. While we will continue to expand the end markets we serve, we anticipate that sales to a limited number of end markets will continue to account for a significant portion of our total revenue for the foreseeable future. Success in an end market, or commercialization, is uncertain and may develop differently in each case, with unique pricing, volume and cost dynamics. Additionally, as production scales in order to meet the demands of commercialization, pricing pressure increases and the amount of that pressure is expected to vary by market.
Sales volume. A typical design win can generate a wide range of sales volumes for our solutions, depending on the end market demand for our customers’ products. This can depend on several factors, including the reputation of the end customer, market penetration, product capabilities, size of the end market that the product addresses and our end customers’ ability to sell their products. In addition to end market demand, sales volumes also depend on whether our customer is in the development, commercialization or production phase. In certain cases, we may provide volume discounts on sales of our solutions, which may or may not be offset by lower manufacturing costs related to higher volumes.
Continued investment and innovation. We believe that we are the industry-leading lidar provider with proven designs, extensive product offerings and advanced manufacturing capabilities. Our financial performance is significantly dependent on our ability to maintain this leading position. This is further dependent on the investments we make in research and development. We must continually identify and respond to rapidly evolving customer requirements, develop and introduce innovative new products, enhance and service existing products and generate active market demand for our products. If we fail to do this, our leading market position and revenue may be adversely affected, and our investments in that area will not be recovered.
Critical Accounting Estimates
We prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates, assumptions and
judgments that can significantly impact the amounts we report as assets, liabilities, revenue, costs and expenses and the related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances. Our actual results could differ significantly from these estimates under different assumptions and conditions. We believe that the accounting estimates discussed below are critical to understanding our historical and future performance as these estimates involve a greater degree of judgment and complexity.
Revenue is recognized upon transfer of control of promised products and to a small extent services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration that we expect to receive in exchange for those products and services.
We enter into contracts that can include various combinations of products and services, which are generally capable of being distinct and accounted for as separate performance obligations; however, determining whether products or services are considered distinct performance obligations that should be accounted for separately versus together may sometimes require significant judgment.
Transaction price is allocated to each performance obligation on a relative standalone selling price (SSP) basis. Judgment is required to determine SSP for each distinct performance obligation. We use a range of amounts to estimate SSP when products and services are sold separately. In instances where SSP is not directly observable, we determine SSP using information that may include other observable inputs available to us.
Accounting for contracts recognized over time involves the use of various techniques to estimate total contract revenue and costs. Due to uncertainties inherent in the estimation process, it is possible that estimates of costs to complete a performance obligation will be revised in the near-term. We review and update our contract-related estimates regularly, and record adjustments as needed. For those performance obligations for which revenue is recognized using a cost-to-cost input method, changes in total estimated costs, and related progress towards complete satisfaction of the performance obligation, are recognized in the period in which the revisions to the estimates are made.
Changes in judgments with respect to these assumptions and estimates could impact the timing or amount of revenue recognition.
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or estimated net realizable value. Costs are computed under the standard cost method, which approximates actual costs determined on the first in, first out basis. We record write-downs of inventories which are obsolete or in excess of anticipated demand. Significant judgment is used in establishing our forecasts of future demand and obsolete material exposures. We consider marketability and product life cycle stage, product development plans, component cost trends, demand forecasts, historical revenue, and assumptions about future demand and market conditions in establishing our estimates. If the actual component usage and product demand are significantly lower than forecast, which may be caused by factors within and outside of our control, or if there were a higher incidence of inventory obsolescence because of rapidly changing technology and our customer requirements, we may be required to increase our inventory writedowns. A change in our estimates could have a significant impact on the value of our inventory and our results of operations.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which has subsequently been amended by ASU No. 2018-19, ASU No. 2019-04, ASU No. 2019-05, ASU No. 2019-11, ASU 2020-02 and ASU 2020-03 to provide additional guidance on the credit losses standard. The objective of the guidance in ASU 2016-13 is to allow entities to recognize estimated credit losses in the period that the change in valuation occurs. ASU 2016-13 requires an entity to present financial assets measured on an amortized cost basis on the balance sheet net of an allowance for credit losses. Available for sale and held to maturity debt securities are also required to be held net of an allowance for credit losses. For smaller reporting companies, the standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted. We expect to adopt the new standard in the first quarter of 2023 and are currently evaluating the impact this standard will have on our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures.
In October 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-10, Codification Improvements, which updates various codification topics by clarifying or improving disclosure requirements to align with the SEC’s regulations. ASU 2020-10 is effective for public companies, other than smaller reporting companies, for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020. For all other entities, ASU 2020-10 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021, and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2022. We expect to adopt ASU 2020-10 beginning January 1, 2022, and do not expect the adoption to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements and related footnote disclosures.
Results of Operations
The results of operations presented below should be reviewed in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The following table sets forth our consolidated results of operations data for the periods presented:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Product||$||48,002 ||$||68,355 ||$||81,424 |
|License and services||13,922 ||27,007 ||19,974 |
|Total revenue||61,924 ||95,362 ||101,398 |
|Cost of revenue:|
|67,313 ||69,115 ||69,903 |
|License and services||525 ||1,131 ||1,727 |
Total cost of revenue(1)
|67,838 ||70,246 ||71,630 |
|Gross profit (loss)||(5,914)||25,116 ||29,768 |
|Research and Development||77,863 ||88,080 ||56,850 |
|Sales and Marketing||68,025 ||31,753 ||21,873 |
|General and administrative||70,307 ||65,732 ||20,058 |
|Gain on sale of assets held-for-sale||— ||(7,529)||— |
|Restructuring||— ||984 ||— |
|Total operating expense||216,195 ||179,020 ||98,781 |
|Interest income||448 ||152 ||1,146 |
|Other income (expense), net||10,150 ||(90)||35 |
Loss before income taxes
|Provision for (benefit from) income taxes||645 ||(4,084)||(683)|
The following table sets forth the components of our consolidated statements of operations data as a percentage of revenue for the periods presented (the table may not foot due to rounding difference):
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Product||78 ||%||72 ||%||80 ||%|
|License and services||22 ||28 ||20 |
|Total revenue||100 ||100 ||100 |
|Cost of revenue:|
|Product||109 ||72 ||69 |
|License and services||1 ||1 ||2 |
|Total cost of revenue||110 ||74 ||71 |
|Gross profit (loss)||(10)||26 ||29 |
|Research and Development||126 ||92 ||56 |
|Sales and Marketing||110 ||33 ||22 |
|General and administrative||114 ||69 ||20 |
|Gain on sale of assets held-for-sale||— ||(8)||— |
|Restructuring||— ||1 ||— |
|Total operating expense||349 ||188 ||97 |
|Interest income||1 ||— ||1 |
|Interest expenses||— ||— ||— |
|Other income (expense), net||16 ||— ||— |
|Loss before income taxes||(342)||(161)||(67)|
|Provision for (benefit from) income taxes||1 ||(4)||(1)|
|(1) Includes stock-based compensation expense as follows:|
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Cost of revenue||$||2,050 ||$||7,417 ||$||— |
|Research and Development||12,787 ||37,030 ||97 |
|Sales and Marketing||46,259 ||14,773 ||— |
|General and administrative||26,007 ||32,280 ||38 |
|Total stock-based compensation expense||$||87,103 ||$||91,500 ||$||135 |
Prior to the Business Combination, compensation expense related to RSAs and RSUs granted under the pre-combination Velodyne’s stock incentive plans remained unrecognized because the performance vesting condition, which is (i) an initial public offering, or (ii) a Company sale event, was not probable of being met. In connection with the Business Combination, the Board waived the liquidity event vesting condition applicable to the pre-combination Velodyne's RSUs and RSAs on October 30, 2020 and May 18, 2021, respectively. As such, the outstanding RSUs and RSAs vested to the extent the applicable service condition was satisfied as of such dates. The vesting of the RSUs and RSAs resulted in approximately $77.5 million and $45.1 million of incremental stock-based compensation expense in the fourth quarter of 2020 and second quarter of 2021, respectively.
Comparison of 2021 to 2020
|Year Ended December 31,||$ Change||% Change|
|($ in thousands)||2021||2020||2021/2020||2021/2020|
|Products||$||48,002 ||$||68,355 ||$||(20,353)||(30)||%|
|License and services||13,922 ||27,007 ||(13,085)||(48)|
|Total||$||61,924 ||$||95,362 ||$||(33,438)||(35)|
|Revenue by geographic location:|
|North America||$||23,313 ||$||41,228 ||$||(17,915)||(43)||%|
|Asia and Pacific||25,977 ||39,310 ||(13,333)||(34)|
|Europe, Middle East and Africa||12,634 ||14,824 ||(2,190)||(15)|
|Total||$||61,924 ||$||95,362 ||$||(33,438)||(35)|
The majority of our revenue comes from the sale of our lidar sensors directly to end users and through our network of U.S. and international distributors. Product revenue is recognized when control of the products is transferred to the customer, which is generally upon shipment. For custom products that require engineering and development based on customer requirements, revenue is recognized over time using an output method based on units of product shipped to date relative to total production units under the contract. We also generate a portion of our revenue from intellectual property licensing, royalties and the sale of services related to product development, validation, extended warranty and product repair services. License revenue is recognized upon delivery of the intellectual property if there are no substantive future obligations to perform under the arrangement. Royalties are recognized at the later of the period the sales occur or the satisfaction of the performance obligation to which some or all of the royalties have been allocated. As our manufacturing partners to whom we have licensed our technology start selling to customers, we expect royalty revenue to increase. Service revenue is recognized as the services are performed.
2021 vs. 2020
Total revenue decreased by $33.4 million, or 35%, to $61.9 million for 2021 from $95.4 million for 2020. The $20.4 million decrease in product revenue reflected a $11.1 million nonrecurring stocking fee in 2020 and a decrease of $16.3 million related to reduction in average selling price for lidar sensors, partially offset by an increase of $7.0 million in the volume and mix of sensors and parts sold. The timing of customer orders and our ability to fulfill orders we received was impacted by various COVID-19 related government mandates across our worldwide operations. The reduction in average selling price reflected our continued objective to drive additional adoption of our smart vision solutions in multiple end markets. Our revenue has been subject to significant fluctuations. Our customers in pre-commercial development phase may have purchased their requirements of our products in earlier periods and are not expected to begin purchasing again in volume unless and until they reach commercial deployments. As a number of our target markets reach commercialization, we expect there to be a shift towards higher unit volume at lower per-unit prices, with more predictable customer demand. The $13.1 million decrease in license and service revenue reflected primarily a $10.1 million decrease in nonrecurring license revenue from the patent cross-license agreements entered into during the second and third quarter of 2020, and a $3.7 million non-recurring engineering services revenue in 2020 that did not recur in 2021.
The $17.9 million decrease in North America revenue for 2021 was due to a $11.1 million nonrecurring stocking fee, a $3.7 million non-recurring engineering services revenue in 2020 that did not recur in 2021 and a decrease of $3.2 million related to reduction of average selling price of units sold. The $13.3 million decrease in Asia-Pacific revenue was primarily due to a $10.1 million decrease in license revenue from our patent cross license agreements, a decrease of approximately $6.5 million due to reduction of average selling price of units sold, partially offset by an increase of approximately $3.3 million related the volume and mix of units sold. The $2.2 million decrease in Europe, Middle East and Africa revenue reflected a decrease of $6.5 million due to reduction of average selling price, partially offset by an increase of $4.4 million related to volume and the mix of sensors sold.
Cost of Revenue and Gross Margin
|Year Ended December 31,||$ Change||% Change|
|($ in thousands)||2021||2020||2021/2020||2021/2020|
|Cost of revenue:|
|Product||$||67,313 ||$||69,115 ||$||(1,802)||(3)||%|
|License and services||525 ||1,131 ||(606)||(54)|
|Total cost of revenue||$||67,838 ||$||70,246 ||$||(2,408)||(3)|
|Gross margin||(10)||%||26 ||%|
Cost of revenue includes the manufacturing cost of our lidar sensors, which primarily consists of personnel-related costs directly associated with our manufacturing organization, and amounts paid to our third-party contract manufacturers and vendors. Our cost of revenue also includes depreciation and amortization, cost of component inventory, product testing costs, costs of providing services, an allocated portion of overhead, facility and IT costs, warranty costs, excess and obsolete inventory and shipping costs.
Our gross margin varies by product and depends on a variety of factors, including market conditions that may impact our pricing, including our desire to broaden customer adoption of lidar across multiple industries and markets; product mix changes between established products and new products and licenses; excess and obsolete inventories; our cost structure for manufacturing operations, including supply constraints for certain commodities during the next fiscal year, third-party manufacturers, relative to volume; and product support obligations. We also believe our transition to an outsourced manufacturing model will favorably impact our gross margin over time. In addition, our license revenue has lower cost, and therefore it contributes to higher gross margin. We expect our gross margins to fluctuate over time, depending on the factors described above.
2021 vs. 2020
Cost of revenue decreased by $2.4 million, or 3%, to $67.8 million for 2021 from $70.2 million for 2020. The $1.8 million product cost decrease was primarily driven by a decrease of $5.4 million in stock-based compensation and cost savings of $6.8 million as a result of our transition to building products at our contract manufacturers, partially offset by increases of $10.9 million cost related to volume and mix of units sold.
Gross margin decreased from 26% for 2020 to (10)% for 2021, primarily reflecting the timing of high margin license and services revenues and reductions in the average selling price for sensors. We expect to decrease manufacturing labor and overhead costs as we outsource production to our contract manufacturing partners, with the objective of reducing the per unit cost of revenue.
|Year Ended December 31,||$ Change||% Change|
|($ in thousands)||2021||2020||2021/2020||2021/2020|
|Research and development||$||77,863 ||$||88,080 ||$||(10,217)||(12)||%|
|Sales and marketing||68,025 ||31,753 ||36,272 ||114 ||%|
|General and administrative||70,307 ||65,732 ||4,575 ||7 ||%|
|Gain on sale of assets held-for-sale||— ||(7,529)||7,529 ||(100)||%|
|Restructuring||— ||984 ||(984)||(100)||%|
|Total operating expenses||$||216,195 ||$||179,020 ||$||37,175 ||21 ||%|
Research and Development
Research and development expenses consist primarily of personnel-related costs directly associated with our research and development organization, with the remainder being prototype expenses, third-party engineering and contractor costs, an allocated portion of facility and IT costs and depreciation. Our research and development efforts are focused on enhancing and developing additional functionality for our existing products and on new product development, including new releases
and upgrades to our lidar sensors. We expense research and development costs as incurred. We expect our research and development expenses to increase in absolute dollars as we increase our investment in software development to broaden the capabilities of our solutions and introduce new products and features.
2021 vs. 2020
Research and development expenses decreased by $10.2 million, or 12%, to $77.9 million for 2021 from $88.1 million for 2020. The decrease was primarily due to a decrease of $24.2 million in stock-based compensation expense, partially offset by increases of $4.2 million in personnel related costs, $6.2 million in outside services and engineering fees, and $2.0 million in prototype costs.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel-related costs directly associated with our sales and marketing activities. These include the cost of sales commissions, marketing programs, trade shows, consulting services, promotional materials, demonstration equipment, an allocated portion of facility and IT costs and depreciation. We expect that our sales and marketing expenses will increase in absolute dollars over time as we hire additional sales and marketing personnel, increase our marketing activities, grow our domestic and international operations, and build brand awareness.
2021 vs. 2020
Sales and marketing expenses increased by $36.3 million, or 114%, to $68.0 million for 2021 from $31.8 million for 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase of $31.5 million in stock-based compensation expense related to the vesting of RSAs in May 2021, and $3.9 million related to increased investment in sales and marketing personnel.
General and Administrative
General and administrative expenses primarily consist of personnel-related expenses associated with our general and administrative organization, professional fees for legal, accounting, and other consulting services, an allocated portion of facility and IT costs and depreciation. We expect to continue to incur additional general and administrative expenses as a result of operating as a public company, including expenses related to compliance with the rules and regulations of the SEC and stock exchange listing standards, additional insurance expenses (including directors’ and officers’ insurance), investor relations activities and other administrative and professional services. We also expect to increase the size of our general and administrative function to support the growth of our business.
2021 vs. 2020
General and administrative expenses increased by $4.6 million, or 7%, to $70.3 million for 2021 from $65.7 million for 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to increases of $4.6 million in personnel-related costs, $3.7 million in professional services, $3.3 million in insurance expense and $1.8 million in bad debt reserves, partially offset by a decrease of $6.3 million in stock-based compensation expense and non-recurring IPO related expenses of $3.5 million in 2020.
Gain on Sale of Assets Held-for-Sale
On July 2, 2020, we sold our Morgan Hill properties to a third-party buyer for $12.3 million and recorded a gain of $7.5 million in our operating expenses.
Restructuring expenses primarily consist of costs of employee termination benefits incurred in connection with our restructuring plan to downsize the manufacturing function and related engineering and administrative functions in our California locations in March 2020. The purposes of this plan were to align resource requirements with our initiatives to lower our cost structure and to increase our production capacity by outsourcing a majority of manufacturing activities. The plan included a reduction of workforce and has been completed as of December 31, 2020. As a result of the restructuring program, we incurred restructuring charges totaling $1.0 million for 2020, primarily related to employee severance related costs.
Interest Income, Interest Expense and Other Expense, Net
|Year Ended December 31,||$ Change||% Change|
|($ in thousands)||2021||2020||2021/2020||2021/2020|
|Interest income||$||448 ||$||152 ||$||296 ||195 ||%|
|Interest expense||(80)||(106)||26 ||(25)||%|
|Other income (expense), net||10,150 ||(90)||10,240 ||(11,378)||%|
Interest income consists primarily of income earned on our cash equivalents and investments in marketable securities. These amounts will vary based on our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investment balances, and also with market rates. Interest expense consists primarily of interest on our equipment financing leases and credit facility.
2021 vs. 2020
Interest income increased by $0.3 million, or 195%, for 2021 as compared to 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to increases of our average cash equivalent and short-term investment balances in 2021.
Interest expense was primarily related to our capital leases and was insignificant for all periods presented.
Other income, net for 2021 was primarily related to the $10.1 million gain from forgiveness of our PPP loan and related interest under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economics Security Act (the CARES Act). Other changes were primarily related to foreign exchange gain or loss resulting from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations during the periods presented.
|Year Ended December 31,||$ Change||% Change|
|($ in thousands)||2021||2020||2021/2020||2021/2020|
|Loss before income taxes||$||(211,591)||$||(153,948)||$||(57,643)||37 ||%|
|Provision for (benefit from) income taxes||645 ||(4,084)||4,729 ||(116)||%|
|Effective tax rate||(0.3)||%||2.7 ||%|
Our provision for income taxes consists of federal, state and foreign current and deferred income taxes. As we expand the scale and scope of our international business activities, any changes in the United States and foreign taxation of such activities may increase our overall provision for income taxes in the future.
We have a full valuation allowance for our net deferred tax assets, including federal and state net operating loss carryforwards and research and development credit carryforwards. We expect to maintain this valuation allowance until it becomes more likely than not that the benefit of our federal and state deferred tax assets will be realized by way of expected future taxable income.
We believe that we have adequately reserved for our uncertain tax positions, although we can provide no assurance that the final outcome of these matters will not be materially different. To the extent that the final outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences will affect the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made and could have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
2021 vs. 2020
We are subject to income taxes in the United States, China, Germany and India. Our effective tax rate changed from 2.7% in 2020 to (0.3)% in 2021. The change in income taxes was primarily due to the $6.7 million tax benefit related to the release of a valuation allowance in the first quarter of 2020 associated with carrying back a portion of our 2019 net operating losses to 2017 that is allowed by the CARES Act, partially offset by a $2.5 million tax expense related to a Chinese foreign income withholding tax.
Enacted on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act provides emergency assistance and health care response for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act, among other things, permits net operating loss carryovers and carrybacks to offset 100% of taxable income for taxable years beginning before 2021. Additionally, the CARES Act allows net operating losses incurred in 2018, 2019 and 2020 to be carried back to each of the five preceding taxable years to generate a refund of previously paid income taxes. In May 2020, we received a $7.1 million tax refund related to the carryback of a portion of our 2019 net operating losses to 2017. As of December 31, 2021, we had $367.3 million of U.S. federal and $107.2 million of state net operating loss carryforwards available to reduce future taxable income, which will be carried forward indefinitely for U.S. federal tax purposes and will expire beginning in 2028 through 2039 for state tax purposes. Based on our analysis, the relief provisions will not have additional material impact on our future consolidated financial statements.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Sources of Liquidity
As of December 31, 2021, we had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaling $294.4 million, which were held for working capital purposes. Our cash equivalents and short-term investments are comprised of money market funds, U.S. government and agency securities, corporate debt securities and commercial paper. To date, our principal sources of liquidity have been payments received from sales to customers and the net proceeds we received through the Business Combination, PIPE offering, private placements of the pre-combination Velodyne convertible preferred stock, public warrant exercises, employee option exercises and ESPP share purchases, and sales to customers. As of December 31, 2021, we received an aggregate of $227.0 million in net proceeds from the Business Combination and PIPE offering, and an aggregate of $163.0 million in net proceeds from the exercises of our public warrants.
We have a loan and security agreement with a financial institution that expires on February 24, 2023. The credit agreement, which was entered into in September 2020 and last amended in February 2022, provides a $25.0 million revolving line of credit, with a $5.0 million letter of credit sublimit. The agreement includes an option to increase the credit limit up to an additional $15.0 million with the bank’s approval. The advances under the credit facility bear interest at a rate per annum equal to the prime rate plus an applicable margin of 1.5% for prime rate advances, or the SOFR rate plus an applicable margin of 2.5% for SOFR advances. The unused revolving line facility fee is 0.15% per annum of the average unused portion of the credit facility. The revolving line of credit is secured by certain assets of the Company. As of December 31, 2021, we were compliant with all associated covenants in the agreement. No amounts were drawn against this credit facility during any of the periods presented.
On April 8, 2020, we received loan proceeds of $10.0 million under the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We filed for the forgiveness of the PPP loan and were approved for forgiveness of such loan and interest on June 30, 2021.
We have incurred negative cash flows from operating activities and significant losses from operations in the past as reflected in our accumulated deficit of $526.3 million as of December 31, 2021. We expect to continue to incur operating losses at least for the next 12 months due to the investments that we intend to make in our business and, as a result, we may require additional capital resources to grow our business. We believe that current cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and available borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility will be sufficient to fund our operations, including capital expenditures and purchase commitments, for at least the next 12 months. For additional information regarding our cash requirements from lease obligations and contractual obligations, see Note 6. “Leases” and Note 16. “Commitments and Contingencies” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our future capital requirements, however, will depend on many factors, including our lidar sales volume, the timing and extent of spending to support our research and development efforts in smart vision technology, the expansion of sales and marketing activities, and market adoption of new and enhanced products and features. We may in the future enter into arrangements to acquire or invest in complementary businesses, services, and technologies, including intellectual property rights. From time to time, we may seek to raise additional funds through equity and debt. If we are unable to raise additional capital when desired and on reasonable terms, our business, results of operations, and financial condition be adversely affected.
Cash Flow Summary
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods presented:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Net cash provided by (used in):|
|Financing activities||72,788 ||347,726 |
During 2021, operating activities used $120.7 million in cash. The primary factors affecting our operating cash flows during this period were our net loss of $212.2 million, impacted by our non-cash net adjustments of $92.5 million primarily consisting of stock-based compensation of $87.1 million, depreciation and amortization of $8.5 million, provision for doubtful accounts of $2.3 million, reduction in carrying amount of the ROU assets of $3.1 million, gain on extinguishment of PPP loan of $10.1 million and accretion on short-term investments of $1.7 million. The cash used in changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $12.5 million was primarily due to an increase of $5.0 million in contract assets, an increase of $1.1 million in prepaid expenses, a decrease of $2.8 million in accounts payable and a decrease of $0.6 million in accrued expenses and other liabilities due to timing of payments, and a decrease of $3.0 million in contract liabilities due to the timing of billings and cash received in advance of revenue. These amounts were partially offset by cash provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $11.5 million which primarily consists of a decrease of $8.8 million in inventory primarily due to timing of inventories received, and a decrease of $2.5 million in accounts receivable due to the timing of billings and cash received.
During 2020, operating activities used $68.4 million in cash. The primary factors affecting our operating cash flows during this period were our net loss of $149.9 million, impacted by our non-cash net expense of $96.6 million primarily consisting of stock-based compensation of $91.5 million, depreciation and amortization of $8.4 million, write-off of deferred IPO costs of $3.5 million and provision for doubtful accounts of $0.5 million, partially offset by a gain of $7.5 million from sale of assets held-for-sale. The cash used in changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $20.6 million which primarily consists of an increase of $2.6 million in accounts receivable, a decrease of $6.7 million in accrued expenses and other liabilities due to timing of payments, and an increase of $11.3 million in unbilled receivables from a licensing arrangement with a customer. These amounts were partially offset by cash provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities of $5.4 million was primarily due to an increase of $9.0 million in contract liabilities primarily due to deferred revenues from a licensing arrangement, partially offset by a decrease of $6.1 million in customer deposit. The cash provided from changes in our operating assets and liabilities also included a decrease of $1.6 million in inventories due to timing of inventories received, a decrease of $0.2 million in prepaid and other current assets and an increase of $0.7 million in accounts payable due to timing of payments.
During 2021, cash used in investing activities was $132.7 million, which was primarily used to purchase short-term investments of $341.0 million, purchase property, plant and equipment of $5.6 million and invest in notes receivable of $0.8 million, partially offset by proceeds from sales and maturities of short-term investments of $214.6 million.
During 2020, cash used in investing activities was $134.5 million, which was primarily used to purchase short-term investments of $145.7 million and purchase property, plant and equipment of $3.3 million, partially offset by proceeds from the sale of our Morgan Hill building of $12.3 million and sales and maturities of short-term investments of $2.2 million.
Our machinery and equipment is depreciated over a useful life of approximately five years.
During 2021, cash provided by financing activities was $72.8 million, consisting primarily of net proceeds of $89.3 million from exercises of public warrants and $3.6 million from employee option exercises and ESPP share purchases, partially offset by $20.0 million cash paid for transaction costs related to the Business Combination.
During 2020, cash provided by financing activities was $347.7 million, consisting primarily of net proceeds of $247.0 million from the Business Combination and PIPE offering, $73.7 million from exercises of public warrants, $19.9 million from issuance of preferred stock and proceeds of $10.0 million from the PPP loan, partially offset by $1.1 million cash paid for IPO costs and $1.8 million cash paid for repurchases of common stock.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
We are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. Market risk represents the risk of loss that may impact our financial position due to adverse changes in financial market prices and rates. Our market risk exposure is primarily the result of fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates.
We do not believe that inflation has had a material effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition. Nonetheless, if our costs were to become subject to significant inflationary pressures, we may not be able to fully offset such higher costs. Our inability or failure to do so could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition.
Interest Rate Risk
As of December 31, 2021, we had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of approximately $294.4 million, which are comprised of money market funds, corporate debt securities and commercial paper, which carries a degree of interest rate risk. A hypothetical 10% change in interest rates would not have a material impact on our financial condition or results of operations due to the short-term nature of our investment portfolio.
Foreign Currency Exchange Risk
Our results of operations and cash flows are subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Substantially all of our revenue is generated in U.S. dollars. Our expenses are generally denominated in the currencies of the jurisdictions in which we conduct our operations, which are primarily in the U.S. and to a lesser extent in Asia and Europe. Our results of operations and cash flows are, therefore, subject to fluctuations due to changes in foreign currency exchange rates and may be adversely affected in the future due to changes in foreign exchange rates. The effect of a hypothetical 10% change in foreign currency exchange rates applicable to our business would not have a material impact on our historical consolidated financial statements. To date, we have not engaged in any hedging strategies. As our international operations grow, we will continue to reassess our approach to manage our risk relating to fluctuations in currency rates.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Velodyne Lidar, Inc.
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and Board of Directors
Velodyne Lidar, Inc.:
Opinions on the Consolidated Financial Statements and Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Velodyne Lidar, Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021 based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.
Change in Accounting Principle
As discussed in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company has changed its method of accounting for leases as of January 1, 2021 due to the adoption of Financial Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 842, Leases.
Basis for Opinions
The Company’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management's Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures
that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
As discussed in Notes 3 and 17 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company recorded $61.9 million of total revenue for the year-ended December 31, 2021. The majority of the Company’s revenue is generated from product sales of lidar sensors to direct customers and distributors. Certain product sales revenue is recognized at a point in time when control of the goods are transferred to the customer, generally occurring upon shipment or delivery dependent upon the terms of the underlying contract. The Company’s license and services revenue consist primarily of product development, validation and repair services, intellectual property (IP) license and royalties revenue. The obligation to provide services is generally satisfied over time, with the customer simultaneously receiving and consuming the benefits as the Company satisfies its performance obligations. License revenue recognition is dependent on the nature and terms of each agreement and is recognized upon delivery of the IP if there is no substantive future obligations to perform under the arrangement.
We identified the evaluation of revenue recognition for certain sources of revenue as a critical audit matter. Specifically, significant audit effort was required in evaluating the proper timing and accuracy of revenue recognition for product sales of lidar sensors. In addition, challenging auditor judgment was required to evaluate the proper timing and accuracy of revenue recognition from certain license revenue arrangements due to the nature of specific revenue contracts and the complexity of the underlying terms and conditions.
The following are the primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter. We evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of certain internal controls related to the Company’s revenue recognition process for contracts with customers, including controls related to the accurate recording of revenue for product sales of lidar sensors and license revenue arrangements. For a selection of customer contracts, we read the contracts and evaluated the Company’s assessment of the contract terms impacting the timing of revenue recognition. For a selection of contracted customer transactions, we compared the amount of revenue recognized for consistency with the terms of the underlying documentation, including contracts with customers. For a sample of product sales revenue, we evaluated the proper timing and amount of revenue recognized by inspecting the underlying contracts, shipping documents and invoices. For a sample of license revenue, we evaluated the proper timing and amount of revenue recognized by inspecting the underlying contracts and invoices.
/s/ KPMG LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2015.
Santa Clara, California
March 1, 2022
VELODYNE LIDAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||24,064 ||$||204,648 |
|Short-term investments||270,357 ||145,636 |
|Accounts receivable, net||8,881 ||13,979 |
|Inventories, net||9,299 ||18,132 |
|Prepaid and other current assets||14,822 ||22,319 |
|Total current assets||327,423 ||404,714 |
|Property, plant and equipment, net||14,710 ||16,805 |
|Goodwill||1,189 ||1,189 |
|Intangible assets, net||724 ||627 |
|Contract assets||12,962 ||8,440 |
|Other assets||18,413 ||937 |
|Total assets||$||375,421 ||$||432,712 |
|Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity|
|Accounts payable||$||5,105 ||$||7,721 |
|Accrued expense and other current liabilities||35,651 ||50,349 |
|Contract liabilities||6,348 ||7,323 |
|Total current liabilities||47,104 ||65,393 |
|Long-term tax liabilities||443 ||569 |
|Other long-term liabilities||28,611 ||25,927 |
|Total liabilities||76,158 ||91,889 |
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 16)|
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value; 25,000,000 shares authorized, zero shares issued and outstanding
|— ||— |
Common stock, $0.0001 par value; 2,250,000,000 shares authorized; 197,346,675 and 175,912,194 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively
|20 ||18 |
|Additional paid-in capital||825,988 ||656,717 |
|Accumulated other comprehensive loss||(412)||(230)|
|Total stockholders’ equity||299,263 ||340,823 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity||$||375,421 ||$||432,712 |
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
VELODYNE LIDAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except share and per share data)
|Year Ended December 31,|
|$||48,002 ||$||68,355 ||$||81,424 |
|License and services||13,922 ||27,007 ||19,974 |
|Total revenue||61,924 ||95,362 ||101,398 |
|Cost of revenue:|
|Product||67,313 ||69,115 ||69,903 |
|License and services||525 ||1,131 ||1,727 |
|Total cost of revenue||67,838 ||70,246 ||71,630 |
|Gross profit (loss)||(5,914)||25,116 ||29,768 |
|Research and development||77,863 ||88,080 ||56,850 |
|Sales and marketing||68,025 ||31,753 ||21,873 |
|General and administrative||70,307 ||65,732 ||20,058 |
|Gain on sale of assets held-for-sale||— ||(7,529)||— |
|Restructuring||— ||984 ||— |
|Total operating expenses||216,195 ||179,020 ||98,781 |
|Interest income||448 ||152 ||1,146 |
|Other income (expense), net ||10,150 ||(90)||35 |
|Loss before income taxes||(211,591)||(153,948)||(67,909)|
|Provision for (benefit from) income taxes||645 ||(4,084)||(683)|
|Net loss per share:|
|Basic and diluted||$||(1.09)||$||(1.01)||$||(0.50)|
|Weighted-average shares used in computing net loss per share:|
|Basic and diluted||193,982,168 ||148,088,589 ||133,942,714 |
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
VELODYNE LIDAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax:|
|Changes in unrealized gain on available for sale securities||(|