TrueCar (TRUE 6.17%) is changing the game for car buyers and dealerships with its innovative market information platform for new and used vehicles. The company is growing sales again after a few years of declining revenue, inspiring investors to drive share prices 140% higher over the last 52 weeks.
We asked three top Motley Fool contributors to share some investment ideas that could match TrueCar's fantastic gains. Read on to see how in-flight networking specialist Gogo (GOGO 2.21%), cloud-based human resources software builder Paycom Software (PAYC 4.34%), and burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG -0.96%) could live up to those lofty expectations.
A small fish in a big pond
Tim Green (Paycom Software): TrueCar is a growing company, and the stock has soared over the past year. But it's not profitable, posting a $42 million net loss in 2016. Paycom Software, a provider of payroll processing and other human capital management cloud-based software, is not only growing faster than TrueCar, but it's solidly in the black. And while the stock is also up considerably over the past year, it could go much higher if growth remains on track
Paycom grew its revenue by 46% in 2016 to $329 million. While most fast-growing software-as-a-service companies must spend big in order to drive double-digit growth, Paycom is an exception. The company enjoyed an operating margin of 17.6%, a testament to the efficiency and effectiveness of its customer acquisition process.
Paycom expects to continue growing in 2017, with its guidance calling for revenue growth around 30%. One of the giants in the human capital management market is ADP, a company valued at $45 billion, more than 10 times the size of Paycom. If Paycom can grow into one of the major players in its industry, the stock could soar over the next decade as it closes the gap between itself and the market leaders.
Hungry for a turnaround
Steve Symington (Chipotle Mexican Grill): With TrueCar up big over the past two years, it's easy to forget that things weren't always looking so bright for investors in the automotive pricing and information website. Recall that TrueCar stock plunged around 60% in 2015, including a 36% single-day drop when the company suffered execution challenges that left its second-quarter 2015 results well below Wall Street's expectations. And even now, TrueCar shares still sit around 20% below their 2015 highs even after rebounding in a big way on broad-based improvement.
To that end, I think Chipotle Mexican Grill offers investors a similar opportunity today. Shares of the fast-casual restaurant chain plummeted in late 2015 after multiple food-borne illness scares devastated its same-store sales. And though Chipotle is up more than 25% so far in 2017 as of this writing -- namely as Chipotle demonstrated significant improvement in last quarter's revenue (up 28.1%), cash flow (up 144%), comps (up 17.8%), and profits (with EPS of $1.60 per share, compared to a loss of $0.88 per share in last year's Q1) -- the stock would still need to climb nearly 60% to revisit those 2015 highs.
If Chipotle's turnaround is taking hold, as its most recent results seem to indicate, and as the company steadily grows its restaurant base (it's on track to open around 200 new locations this year), I think investors with the foresight to buy Chipotle stock now won't be left hungry for market-beating gains.
Go, go, satellite-based Wi-Fi gadgets!
Anders Bylund (Gogo): The provider of in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi services looks expensive right now, sporting negative earnings and cash flows over the last four quarters. The buildup to this point has been expensive for both the company and its investors; Gogo shares have taken a nearly 50% haircut over the past two years.
That drop happened while Gogo found traction with several airlines, grew sales by 44%, and started installing a next-generation Wi-Fi system based on satellite signals in what's known as the Ku band.
The new satellite network, known as 2Ku, will boost Gogo's in-flight internet speeds tenfold at first. Later on, the system should be able to support 5G wireless technologies and receive another speed boost. This is a game-changer and the reason why airlines are falling over themselves to sign a Gogo contract.
But the hardware installation is capital-intensive up front. Gogo is not only leasing new wireless space from satellite partners Intelsat and SES S.A., but also installing receiver hardware in every airplane that needs a 2Ku connection. The costs add up, and Gogo's cash flows have been negative for a couple of years. That's why share prices plunged in 2015.
The rebound has started as analysts and investors begin to get a grip on the return Gogo expects from its 2Ku investment. CEO Michael Small recently stated that free cash flows should turn positive in 2019, a full year ahead of earlier guidance, thanks to accelerated 2KU installations.
The stock has nearly kept up with TrueCar's surging price trend in 2017, rising 35% year to date. Doubling from here does not look impossible as the cash flow picture clears up.