The world is plagued with uncertainty, so it's understandable that people would want to hang on to most of their hard-earned cash. The pandemic is nowhere near contained as cases spike across the globe and unemployment in the U.S. is still near historic highs. Even in the face of these unprecedented challenges, however, it's important to remember that things will turn around, with plenty of reasons to invest for the future.
You don't need the riches of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates to get started. Even small sums invested regularly over time can generate long-term wealth, despite the present remaining mired in uncertainty. Stocking your portfolio with disruptive companies with significant market opportunities is one way to jump-start your way to an enviable nest egg.
If you have as little as $1,000 (or less) in cash that you don't need for immediate expenses or to augment your emergency fund, buying shares in these companies with impressive growth prospects could be sheer genius.
Datadog: Take this dog for a walk
There's little doubt the information age is upon us, and much of the data that powers everyday business has taken up residence in the cloud. The pandemic accelerated a dynamic shift that was already in motion, as remote work highlighted the need for employees to have access to systems wherever they may be. It also became vitally important to monitor these employee and customer-facing systems and ensure they stay up and running. That's where Datadog (DDOG -8.63%) comes in.
The cloud-native platform-as-a-service provider offers a wide variety of monitoring services that reach across a customer's cloud assets, pulling the data into a single dashboard, and alerting developers when there's an anomaly that could result in crucial downtime. The system's ability to break down silos and integrate fragmented data makes it a top choice among developers.
But don't take my word for it. Gartner just revealed that Datadog was cited as the 2020 Customers' Choice among application performance monitoring systems. Even more telling, a whopping 91% of these customers and IT professional recommend Datadog products and services.
This loyal customer base and positive word-of-mouth have done wonders for Datadog's financial results. Last year, revenue grew 83% year over year, setting a high bar for performance. For the second quarter, Datadog still delivered revenue growth of 68%, eking out a profit for the second consecutive quarter -- a rare feat among young, high-flying companies.
It's the remaining opportunity that should have investors most excited. Datadog's revenue last year totaled a mere $363 million, and management estimates that its total addressable market clocks in at about $35 billion, showing that it's barely scratched the surface of a massive opportunity.
NVIDIA: Your one-stop shop for gaming, cloud computing, AI, and more
Once upon a time, when investors bought NVIDIA (NVDA -2.81%), they were buying into the notion that the company provided best-in-class graphics processing units (GPUs) that were the first choice for serious gamers. While that is certainly still true, over the past several years, the company has expanded, establishing a beachhead into several large and lucrative markets.
Researchers found that parallel processing (the ability to run multiple complex mathematical calculations simultaneously), which allowed GPUs to render lifelike images in video games, worked equally well for the unique demands of artificial intelligence (AI). The accelerating shift to cloud computing made NVIDIA GPUs a staple in data centers, used by all the world's largest cloud providers.
This was clearly evident in the company's most recent quarterly results. NVIDIA generated record revenue that surged 50% year over year, driven by data center revenue that soared 167%. At the same time, adjusted net income jumped 79%.
NVIDIA recently announced it was buying mobile-chip designer Arm Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion, further expanding the company's already sizable market opportunity.
Management now estimates that with the combination of gaming, cloud computing, and AI, NVIDIA is targeting an addressable market of $250 billion by 2023. Considering the company generated revenue of $11.7 billion during fiscal 2020, the road ahead is long.
Zoom Video Communications: The next best thing to being there
It wasn't long ago that very few people were acquainted with Zoom Video Communications (ZM -3.98%). When the pandemic struck, however, the company went from relative obscurity to being a household name in just a few months. Its videoconferencing software has become so widespread, in fact, that it made the rare move to becoming a verb: "Let's Zoom."
Many investors initially assumed that once the world began to work through the pandemic and things returned to normal, demand would drop off, and Zoom would fade into the obscurity of corporate boardrooms. Additionally, there was a widespread belief that Zoom's free-to-use tier would fail to translate to paying users. Things haven't worked out quite the way many believed.
Zoom reported second-quarter revenue that grew 355% year over year, accelerating from 169% growth in the first quarter. The number of enterprise customers generating trailing-12-month revenue of $100,000 or more jumped by 112%, also accelerating from a 90% increase in Q1. The number of customers with more than 10 employees soared 458%, up from 354% growth sequentially.
This could be just the tip of the iceberg, however. Zoom said early last year that it was targeting a market opportunity of $43 billion by 2022. For context, total revenue last year was $623 million, an amount the company has already exceeded during the first six months of 2020.
It's worth noting that management's estimates merely addressed the enterprise market. The pandemic made clear that individual users were keeping in touch with family and friends, many across great distances, a factor that significantly increases Zoom's total addressable market.
The fine print
It's worth noting that high-growth stocks like those above come with trade-offs. As with many similar highfliers, these companies have plenty of equally high expectations built in. NVIDIA, Datadog, and Zoom sport forward valuations of 21, 55, and 61, respectively, when a price-to-sales ratio between 1 and 2 is considered reasonable.
That said, I've always been a firm believer in the old saw, "You get what you pay for." The fact that each of these stocks has generated substantial revenue growth over the past year makes their high sticker price much more palatable.