What happened

Shares of CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD -0.68%) had jumped 6.6% through 10:20 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.

You can thank the analysts at Stifel Nicolaus (SF 0.51%) for that.

Stock up glowing green arrow climbs on a stock screen

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

This morning, Stifel announced it is upgrading CrowdStrike stock to a buy rating with a $300 price target. Shares cost about $253 right now, so that's an 18.5% potential profit.

According to the analyst, CrowdStrike's subscription customer count passed 11,400 in the first quarter of 2022, up 82% year over year -- and has nearly tripled over the last two years. And yet CrowdStrike is "only scratching the surface of its customer acquisition opportunity," reports StreetInsider.com.

Comparing CrowdStrike's growth trend to that of cybersecurity peer Symantec, for example, the analyst notes that Symantec had more than 100,000 customers by the time it was acquired by Broadcom in 2019. And McAfee still has 50,000 customers to its name, even after its market share has eroded recently.

Now what

Using those two examples for context, Stifel argues that with barely 11,000 customers for CrowdStrike at present, its growth trend is still in its very early days. The company could easily grow several times over from where it stands today, the analyst says, reaching 50,000 to 100,000 customers over time.

Granted, the stock's valuation reflects that fact -- 625 times earnings is far from cheap! But as customer counts grow (and profits along with them), Stifel seems to think that CrowdStrike stock is worth the price.