Technology stocks have been some of the best performers this year, but despite the run-up in share prices, there are still good stocks to buy, particularly among smaller companies. For instance, Impinj Inc. (PI 1.45%), Lumentum Holdings (LITE -1.28%), and Five9, Inc. (FIVN 0.74%) are three lesser-known, fast-growing technology stocks that could still see shares soar because of multi-year revenue catalysts.
Knowledge is power (and profit!)
To make the most of data analysis, you have to have good data, and when it comes to generating data that companies can use to improve their supply chain, RFID tags could be king.
Don't believe me? Ask Amazon.com. The company relies on RFID to track inventory in its heavily automated warehouse.
Impinj's platform relies on RAIN, an RFID standard it pioneered. Its RAIN-enabled products include software, sensors, and readers that allow companies to track inventory in warehouses, Macy's to track apparel in stores, airports to track luggage, and grocers to track the items on their shelves in real time. Readers and disposable sensors communicate bi-directionally to generate data, and software transforms that data into insight. According to research group Frost & Sullivan, retail demand for this kind of technology will grow by a compounded rate of 39% between 2014 and 2020.
Impinj is already riding that tidal wave of growth. Last quarter, its top line zipped 49% higher year over year to $34 million, and its non-GAAP net income totaled $0.11 per share, up from $0.07 a year ago.
Given that its sensors are disposable, and that they account for the majority of its sales, rapid adoption of its technology could provide this company with a very profit-friendly recurring revenue and profit stream.
"Sensing" a big opportunity
Lumentum Holdings could be on to something big. The company is at the forefront of 3-D sensing technology that could soon find its way into the consumer-electronics devices we carry with us every day.
3D sensing isn't new. It's the technology that helped catapult Nintendo's Wii and Xbox Kinect to success years ago. But until recently, developing low-power 3-D sensing technology small enough to fit in hand-held devices such as smartphones has been hard, and that's limited its opportunity.
However, that was then, and this is now. According to Lumentum, it's scored a big order to begin shipping 3D sensors to a leading smartphone maker this fall. We'll leave it to the rumor mill to debate whether this order is for the upcoming Apple iPhone 8 or another device. Regardless, it appears 3D sensing is about to go big time. If it does, it should take Lumentum's shares on a profit-friendly ride higher.
Why? Because 3D sensing represents only a tiny share of Lumentum's sales today, but management expects it to become a significant driver of growth in the coming year. Assuming 3D sensing becomes the norm, not a niche, Lumentum's sales and profit should have a lot of running room.
Capitalizing on communications
Five9's revenue over the past three years has grown from $103.1 million to $162.1 million. Pretty impressive, right? Yet Five9 is only scratching the surface of a $24 billion customer contact market.
Historically, customer-service centers relied on expensive on-premises solutions that were difficult to scale and integrate with newer systems. As a result, companies invested in upgrades only every eight to 10 years. However, advancing technology is creating a lot of disruption in this marketplace, and if companies want to stay on the cutting edge, they're going to need to rethink their customer-service strategy.
Increasingly, customers expect to connect with companies in multiple ways, including by chat, phone, text, and video. Meanwhile, customer data once siloed on mainframes is moving into the cloud, providing companies with access to more useful and relevant information. To make sure customers can connect with data in the manner they want, Five9 has created a cloud-based customer contact center solution. Unlike legacy systems, its solution can be turned on and scaled up quickly, it's updated on the go, and it comes pre-built so that it integrates with leading customer-relationship software, including solutions sold by salesforce.com and Oracle. Five9 already works with 2,000 clients, but only 10% to 15% of the U.S. market has transitioned to the cloud, so there's still a lot of opportunity for growth.
Five9's opportunity, however, isn't limited to America. It hopes to expand internationally soon, and given that the U.S. market represents 93% of its revenue today, and the international market is larger than the U.S. market, an international expansion could be a major source of sales growth.
This year, Five9 expects sales of $192 million at the midpoint of its guidance, and if it hits that target, it will translate into compound annual revenue growth of 35% since 2009. The company's taking big steps toward profitability too. Gross margin has grown to 62% from 52% in 2014, and this year, the top end of management's guidance is for its first full year profit.