Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Compelling Small-Cap Stocks With Big-Cap Potential

By Neha Chamaria - May 8, 2021 at 7:25AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

From renewable energy to cannabis to software, these little-known small-cap stocks could be on their way to much bigger things.

Small-cap stocks, with their market capitalization between $300 million and $2 billion, can be risky bets, but they can also create huge wealth for you, as evidenced by the Russell 2000 Index's recent performance. This popular small-cap stock index is up nearly 75% in the past year.

Of course, not every small-cap stock succeeds. But if you can find potential winners early in their game, it wouldn't take much for them to become big caps, just like the three small-cap stocks we'll look at that are showing a lot of promise.

Betting on the future of energy

TPI Composites' (TPIC 13.78%) market cap raced past the $2 billion mark earlier this year, but the stock has lost substantial ground since and has a market cap of around $1.8 billion as of this writing. The company's last provided outlook for 2021 didn't sit well with the market, but it's a near-term blip that's overshadowing the massive potential ahead of the renewable-energy stock.

2020 was a big year for the global wind energy market, with record capacity addition, driven by China and the United States. According to the Energy Department, wind capacity in the U.S. alone could jump more than threefold by 2050. That positions TPI Composites in a sweet spot, thanks to its unparalleled hold in the wind industry: TPI is the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbine blades, and supplies wind blades to most of the world's leading wind turbine original equipment manufacturers, such as Vestas, General Electric Wind, Nordex, and Siemens Gamesa under long-term supply agreements.

An arrow rising over a stack of coins, representing income growth.

Image source: Getty Images.

TPI is a typical growth stock; the company has been investing heavily into expanding capacity and global footprint in recent years. So although it hasn't made a profit in the past few years, TPI's revenue is growing steadily and rapidly. In fact, TPI offers incredible revenue visibility to investors as it starts production only after a customer commits to purchase a minimum annual volume of wind blade sets (consisting of three wind blades). So as of the end of Feb. 4, TPI had secured minimum commitment of around $2.8 billion and projected potential revenue of $4.6 billion through 2024 under its existing supply agreements. For perspective, TPI generated $1.67 billion in sales in 2020.

In short, TPI may not remain a small-cap stock for long, given President Biden's clean energy goals and the global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

A promising cannabis newcomer 

Marijuana stocks have been on fire of late, but they've also been volatile. Village Farms International (VFF -1.57%) is no different: The stock more than doubled in one year, but it has given up almost 32% value in just the past three months. Yet the cannabis market has huge potential, and Village Farms is already making its mark even as it has a resilient core business to fall back on.

Village Farms is a Canada-based greenhouse produce grower that stands out for four broad reasons: It is a vertically integrated company, owns the top-selling dried flower brand in Ontario, aims to become a key player in the hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) market in the U.S., and is already making profits and generating positive cash flows. That's incredible for any marijuana stock, but for Village Farms, cannabis is a relatively new business, and its success thus far can be attributed to its core agriculture business that produces tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.

So while its produce business should continue to offer stability, cannabis should put Village Farms on a growth track. Village Farms took a big leap into the cannabis space late last year, when it acquired a full stake in Pure Sunfarms. Pure Sunfarms recently launched branded real-fruit gummies, adding to its existing suite of products comprising of dried flower, vapes, pre-rolls, edibles, and oils. And thanks to its existing extensive greenhouse facilities in Texas, Village Farms has already set itself up to expand into the U.S. CBD market.

Of course, it's a hugely competitive market and Village Farms is still a tiny player, but Pure Sunfarms' dominance in Ontario's dried-flower market is a huge competitive advantage, and management's focus on the U.S. a big part of its growth plan, suggesting this marijuana stock has what it takes to become a big-cap stock.

A fiery software stock you've never heard of

Some of the largest global companies, including tech giants Facebook and Twitter, are adopting the work-from-home culture like never before. Meanwhile, global spending on cloud computing is projected to grow as much as 23.1% in 2021 and 47.2% in 2022 off 2020 base, according to research firm Gartner. The two -- remote work and cloud computing -- go hand in hand, but there's a third part of the equation that's equally important -- cybersecurity to keep data on the cloud safe. The setting is perfect for Absolute Software (ABST 2.91%).

ABST Chart

Absolute Software shares have jumped nearly 80% in the past one year, but there's plenty of room to run. Absolute is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) stock and sells its cloud-based solutions through long-term subscriptions, most of which are paid up front and are nonrefundable. The recurring subscription revenue model offers great top-line stability.

Importantly, Absolute's patented Persistence technology self-repairs devices and is already built into personal computers manufactured by some of the world's largest companies. As of the end of fiscal 2020, Absolute had more than 13,000 commercial customers across the globe, including 200 Fortune 500 companies. Microsoft, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and Acer are just some of its notable customers.

Here's the real deal: In an industry where most companies are yet to break even, Absolute is already profitable and even pays a dividend. That affirms Absolute's product viability, and with a multibillion-dollar addressable market to exploit, Absolute Software shares look well-set to leap past small-cap territory.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Neha Chamaria has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Village Farms International Inc, and Village Farms International, Inc. The Motley Fool recommends Absolute Software Corporation and TPI Composites. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Absolute Software Corporation Stock Quote
Absolute Software Corporation
ABST
$10.25 (2.91%) $0.29
TPI Composites Stock Quote
TPI Composites
TPIC
$21.38 (13.78%) $2.59
Village Farms International, Inc. Stock Quote
Village Farms International, Inc.
VFF
$3.13 (-1.57%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
377%
 
S&P 500 Returns
123%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/08/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.