Shares of Shopify (SHOP 2.69%), a company that provides an e-commerce platform for merchants, have exploded over the past year, up about 130%. This return was driven by extremely rapid growth, with Shopify growing revenue by a staggering 90% in 2016. Investors are betting that Shopify's platform becomes the standard, and they've been willing to pay a hefty price for the stock.
It's impossible to predict which stocks will provide a similar return over the next year and beyond. But Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO), Paycom Software (PAYC 0.83%), and Baozun (BZUN 6.77%) all have Shopify-like potential.
Make your portfolio healthier with this stock
Dan Caplinger (Tesaro): Shopify shares have more than doubled over the past 12 months, but it's not the only company that has put together that kind of success. Stock in biopharmaceutical company Tesaro has more than tripled over the same time frame, and many see even more potential upside for the company.
Tesaro's gains have stemmed from its recent success with its niraparib cancer treatment, which has turned out extremely favorably in treating certain ovarian cancers. After conducting a successful phase 3 clinical trial in 2016, Tesaro filed for approval for the drug, and niraparib earned a thumbs-up from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just last month.
Some skeptics fear that rising competition might erode Tesaro's advantage. It's true that some competitors are working on ovarian cancer treatments of their own. But one reason to be bullish about Tesaro is that with a first-mover advantage, medical professionals might be more likely to stick with the drug they know even after alternatives become available on the market. With other up-and-coming drugs moving through its pipeline, Tesaro might be only at the beginning of its biggest upward trends. Biotech and pharma stocks are never a sure thing, and there are plenty of reasons for concern, but Tesaro appears to have what it takes to produce continued long-term growth if things go well.
A boring growth stock
Tim Green (Paycom Software): The payroll processing industry may sound boring, but Paycom Software should get every growth investor excited. Paycom has been growing at an impressive rate, with revenue expanding 46% in 2016. Paycom is also already profitable, a rarity among fast-growing software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. Paycom managed a GAAP operating margin of 17.6% in 2016.
Paycom's ability to acquire new customers inexpensively is a major asset, as is its ability to retain those customers. Unlike many small SaaS companies that pour money into sales in order to drive rapid growth at the expense of profits, Paycom spends just a bit more than one-third of its revenue on sales and marketing. The company employs well-trained sales teams stationed in cities across the country, a method that has proven extremely effective. This puts a limit on how fast Paycom can grow, but it also facilitates its impressive bottom line.
The downside to Paycom as an investment is that the stock is expensive. Paycom trades for a whopping 80 times 2016 GAAP earnings, a valuation that bakes in quite a bit of growth going forward. This high price makes the stock risky, and if growth slows down, the stock could take quite a hit. But with Paycom's total addressable market many times its current sales, decades of growth could be ahead.
An international opportunity?
Daniel Miller (Baozun): Finding a stock that can rival Shopify's explosive growth over the past year isn't easy, but Baozun could be an option for investors that can stomach a riskier stock.
If you haven't heard of the company, you aren't alone; Baozun is a leading e-commerce solutions provider in China with capabilities in IT solutions, store operations, digital marketing, customer services, and warehousing, among other things. Essentially, Baozun helps its clients execute e-commerce strategies by selling their goods to consumers online or providing services to help their own e-commerce operations.
In terms of growth, Baozun is still in the early stages. Its gross merchandise value (GMV) jumped 67% year over year in 2016, reaching $1.62 billion, and management believes GMV will grow over 50% during fiscal 2017. Baozun grew its top-line revenue to $488 million last year, a healthy 30% jump compared to 2015. Looking at the bottom line, its adjusted net income jumped a staggering 437% year over year to $17.4 million during 2016.
2016 was a great year for Baozun. It improved its operating efficiency to cut costs, grew its top line, and the fourth-quarter marked three straight years of profitability on an adjusted basis. Its growth story is just getting started, and with a market capitalization of around $775 million, it's a young company with plenty of room for the stock price to run if management can control the cost of products and sales and marketing expenses, as well as grow its top- and bottom-line results.