Despite a tumultuous beginning to 2021, the market is still performing well and some investors are likely trying to determine where to put their money next. Two companies that could make great long-term investments, no matter how the market responds later in 2021, are Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) and Appian Corporation (NASDAQ:APPN)

Both of these tech stocks were laying a strong foundation in their core businesses long before the market began its euphoric rise last year. Here's why they could be great stocks to invest $5,000 in right now. 

A pile of $100 bills.

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1. Okta: Investing in identity security 

You may not have heard of Okta before, but the company is already playing an important role in the identity and access management (AIM) market. I know, it doesn't sound all that interesting but believe me, Okta's software is critical in this space.

Okta helps companies easily set up ways for their employees and other users to access online information. Okta isn't the only company competing in this space, but its spectacular growth proves that it's clearly doing something right. 

In the first nine months of 2020, Okta's customer count grew 27% to 9,400. And not only are customers flocking to Okta's platform, but some of them are spending more with the company, too. Okta's annualized contracts of more than $100,000 jumped 34% in the more recent quarter (reported on Dec. 2).

Okta's sales are growing at a healthy clip as well, with revenue increasing 43% in the first nine months of fiscal 2021, compared to the same period the year before. Okta's management estimates that it will end fiscal 2021 with $882.5 million in sales, up 40% year over year, and that it's on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for 2022. 

Considering Okta's current customer growth, its increasing sales, and the fact that it's tapping into a potential $55 billion identity and access management market, investors would be wise to give Okta's stock strong consideration right now.

2. Appian: Investing in the mobile app boom

Over the past decade, mobile apps have become a part of our daily lives. We use them for everything from checking the weather to booking an international vacations (remember those pre-pandemic days?). Like websites, apps have become ubiquitous tools and nearly every company has at least one. 

The problem is that making apps can be a costly and sometimes complex process, which is where Appian comes in. The company's platform allows people with virtually no coding experience to create apps. Think of it like a website builder that allows people to quickly create professional sites, but for apps. 

Appian's low-code app building platform is tapping into the broader mobile app market that will be worth an estimated $407 billion by 2026. The company is already experiencing significant growth, with cloud subscription revenue increasing 40% in the most recent quarter, which helped sales and earnings outpace Wall Street's consensus estimates for the quarter. 

Appian's management believes there's more growth on the way and estimates that full-year 2020 cloud subscription sales will spike 34%.

As the mobile app market grows, Appian should continue to benefit as more companies look to quickly produce low-code apps.

Just keep this in mind 

Both Okta and Appian experienced massive share price spikes in 2020, with Okta's stock jumping 120% and Appian's spiking 324%. While those are very impressive gains, just don't expect the same returns in 2021. There's still plenty of room for these companies to grow and for their share price gains to beat the market, but it's unlikely that they'll see the same results as last year.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.