Global-e Online (NASDAQ:GLBE) has been a hot stock since its IPO in May. It's been a public concern for two months as of this writing, and share prices have more than doubled since making their publicly traded debut.

The timing could be all wrong for a stock purchase right now. (I prefer to wait no less than a quarter after a company's IPO before making an initial purchase.) However, if you plan on buying now and then leaving that investment alone indefinitely, Global-e could be a worthwhile place for some cash. This is still a very small player in the massive global e-commerce industry.

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Hung up by valuation?

Global-e's run after just a couple of months as a public concern has been impressive. If the company's roughly $3.5 billion enterprise value (market cap minus cash and equivalents) gave you pause back in May, it's now valued at over $8 billion. This is hardly a tiny, yet-to-be-discovered name in e-commerce anymore.  

However, there's a good reason for Global-e's rapid rise. First-quarter 2021 earnings were released in June, and gross merchandise value (GMV) sold using Global-e's platform rose 133% from a year ago to $267 million. Full-year 2021 GMV was forecast to be $1.23 billion at the midpoint of guidance, implying about 59% growth over 2020.

But GMV is not the same as revenue. Global-e's actual sales based on GMV in Q1 were $46.2 million, and the midpoint of full-year revenue guidance is calling for about $211 million in sales. That works out to an impressive 55% growth rate, but that values this stock at a whopping 36 times expected full-year 2021 sales to enterprise value. Though it's still a small player among giants in global-digital commerce, it is profitable. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) are anticipated to be at least $16.2 million in 2021. But based on financials alone, Global-e is an expensive stock at this juncture.

Another decade of digital-commerce growth lies ahead

Current valuation doesn't paint the whole picture, though. This is a high-growth outfit, and its niche within worldwide e-commerce is actually quite large. It operates in the cross-border commerce space, helping merchants sell their wares in countries outside of their own. Various services include website browsing and chat in local languages, payments and local tax calculations, shipping and logistics, marketing, and more. According to a report from tech researcher Forrester, spending on cross-border e-commerce is expected to reach $736 billion in 2023.

With an expected $1.23 billion in GMV for 2021, Global-e commands a fraction of a percent of the total cross-border e-commerce market. Its rapid pace of expansion could thus continue for the foreseeable future if it can woo more online sellers with its software suite. A recent tag team with Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) that integrates Global-e's services seamlessly with Shopify's could help. Shopify is a powerhouse with nearly 2 million merchants worldwide. The company itself is still enjoying a rapid pace of expansion, and it has a vested interest in Global-e's success. It invested $193 million in its smaller peer before the IPO, so fostering more adoption of cross-border selling would be a win for both of these technologists.

Of course, there's a risk that Global-e is too much of a niche company. If international movement of goods doesn't continue to advance, then it's also possible Global-e's growth could stall. But e-commerce is still in the early stages of developing in most countries, and Global-e could be an integral part of breaking down some of the barriers that have so far prevented some developing economies from making the jump to online consumer activity (like businesses utilizing mobile websites and delivery logistics). Global-e is armed with $431 million in cash it raised from its IPO, so it's well-positioned to help advance the e-commerce cause.  

Is Global-e a millionaire-maker stock?

Global-e could certainly help an investor build wealth even after quickly doubling in size since going public. After all, doubling once isn't a millionaire-maker, but stocks that can double many times over are. And even with an enterprise value of about $8 billion, this is a tiny business as worldwide retailing is worth many trillions of dollars every single year. Harboring a fast-growing segment of a fast-growing secular trend, Global-e is worth a spot in investors' portfolios if hyper-growth companies are what you're looking for. Just bear in mind that a volatile stock price comes with fast expansion and a steep price tag. If you're interested in taking a position here, start small (I usually start with a buy worth less than 1% of my portfolio value), so you can buy more over time.

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.