Business software developer Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP) is a big company with 2,000 workers, $428 million in annual sales, and a 14-year operating history. The stock rose by 133% in 2019 and has gained another 123% so far in 2020. You would expect a market-crushing growth stock like Coupa to generate miles and miles of column inches as investors strive to keep up to date on this amazing company.
But Coupa is not getting intense media attention. The news feed for Coupa on popular investment information sites runs slowly, and the few entries are typically press releases directly from the company itself. At least 20 Wall Street analyst firms follow the business spend management specialist's stock, but they rarely issue full reports or change their opinion on Coupa.
And we are not innocent of ignoring Coupa here at the Fool. We have mentioned the company roughly once a month in 2020, and even less if you're looking for the company name in the actual headlines.
Why isn't this market-stomping company and stock hogging the limelight right now? Here's what I think.
Coupa's clients sure are talking about it
Several companies have brought up Coupa in recent earnings calls. Chief among them was credit reporting agency TransUnion (NYSE:TRU), a large specialist in financial services. This company should know better than most what to look for in a modern business spending management platform, and TransUnion selected Coupa over alternatives from larger rivals such as SAP (NYSE:SAP) and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL).
"We started by renegotiating our 20 largest contracts and are implementing a full lifecycle procure-to-pay system from Coupa, allowing complete spend visibility globally," CEO Chris Cartwright said in TransUnion's second quarter earnings call. "We will roll this tool out in August in the US and Canada and follow with our remaining regions over time."
So Coupa is indeed inspiring some of its clients to talk about the company. The silence is less deafening if you look beyond the mass media outlets.
There are so many winners in this sector right now
Coupa's cloud-based tools are a perfect fit for this era of work-from-home policies and other coronavirus mitigation efforts. You can use Coupa's procurement, invoicing, payment, and financial analysis tools from anywhere, as long as you have a decent internet connection.
But the company is far from alone in this catbird seat, and many other companies in the cloud computing space are easier to plug into an eyeball-magnet headline. Business spending tools just aren't as obviously game-changing as Shopify's (NYSE:SHOP) e-commerce platform or the video conferences you get from Zoom Communications (NASDAQ:ZM). So Shopify and Zoom get tons of headline space while Coup is left on the sidelines, despite nearly keeping pace with the best-performing cloud computing stocks on the market this year.
Well, what do you really have to say?
Everybody already knows that Coupa is a leader in its chosen field. Market researchers keep mentioning Coupa as a market-defining winner in procurement and payment solutions. And analysts may not talk about it much, but their ratings of Coupa's stock are overwhelmingly positive. You don't need to say a whole lot when you've already published a rosy analysis of the company.
Now, high-octane growth stocks like Coupa are not every investor's cup of tea. The stock is trading at nosebleed valuations such as 1,100 times forward earnings and 48 times trailing sales. But sales are growing at an annual clip of 47% and the company generates positive free cash flows on a consistent basis. This stock is skyrocketing for good reasons, seen from a growth investor's point of view.