In no particular order, a few thoughts:
- I'm not sure how defensible this is against AWS or another infrastructure provider cross-selling to existing customers. AWS/Azure already has lots of relationships with buyers and both have the engineering muscle to build a competitive product. Maybe the existing knowledge of the API and general head start will cause people not to switch?
- How large is the addressable market? Can Twilio grow it? Are they planning to do anything beyond their existing "bringing telephony to the Internet" product line?
- Dual-class share structure a concern for any? Interesting that it ceases to exist after a few years.
I'm thinking about buying a few hundred shares as a long-term hold (3+ years at least) but the first-day pop is making me rethink, maybe it'll cool after a few days, who knows?
It's hard to imagine anyone switching. Presumably if Amazon started trying to compete on price then Twilio could lower their prices enough to not make it worthwhile for anyone to switch. Especially given that they're going to be integrated pretty tightly, it shouldn't be too hard for them to not make it worth the cost to switch.
The real question would be if they were able to continue growing if GC, AWS and Azure introduced the functionality. Lots of companies are willing to pay a little more to keep everything in one ecosystem.
The only difference is that integrating with all the mobile carriers is a totally different problem than anything else AWS, GCE and Azure do. It's not just an infrastructure/technology challenge, there is also the relationship building and negotiating which isn't something you have to deal with when you're building out, say, media transcoding as a service.
Twilio's biggest worry is every incumbent IM provider trying to court businesses with replacing telephony.
Their future competitors are therefore Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp (hey, also Facebook!), and anyone else who wants to push their messaging/call platform to replace more and more of what people used to use business-to-consumer and consumer-to-business phone calls and texts.
Uh, AWS already has a competing web services product, it's functionality is just severely lacking when you compare to Twilio: https://aws.amazon.com/sns/
> Their future competitors are therefore Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp (hey, also Facebook!)
Funny enough, Twilio's largest customer is actually WhatsApp. If Facebook wants to increase some margin and can do it more cost effectively than using Twilio as a provider (I don't see why not) then this is a huge threat to Twilio commercially speaking.
With regard to Facebook, I'm talking about initiatives like these    which leverage Facebook's ubiquity and better discoverability tools than PTSN to de-emphasize it for B2C and C2B communication.
Matt Yglesias wrote that amazon is a "charitable institution being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers."
I feel that applies more to Whatsapp than amazon. When you install Whatsapp, you are still presented (with a package in the UI that links to a blog post from 2012(!) about how companies "know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads."
If they pivot to sell services after their lofty position, I would expect significant user anger.
If this were in the grocery store, WhatsApp is the organic, GMO-free product and Facebook Messenger is the mainstream product, but they're both made by Facebook -- a product for every need.