You don't need a lot of money to become a successful investor. What you need are some great stocks to invest in and patience to allow those stocks to run.

The best investing alternatives have a solid business model combined with tremendous growth prospects. Here are three of the best stocks to buy with $500 right now.

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1. Nvidia

You'll need nearly half of your initial $500 -- around $220 -- to buy one share of Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). However, investing in this chip stock should pay off nicely over the long term.

The obvious opportunity for Nvidia is in gaming. Its graphics-processing units (GPUs) are the gold standard for gaming apps. Continually increasing processing requirements for new games give Nvidia a steady and growing market.

But gaming represents just one growth driver for the company. Nvidia's GPUs also enjoy strong demand in data centers that power artificial intelligence (AI) apps. If the pending acquisition of Arm is approved by regulators, Nvidia will become an even bigger juggernaut in AI.

Self-driving car technology stands out as one specialized area of AI where Nvidia is already a leader but still has tremendous growth potential. The company's autonomous-vehicle platform is used by a large number of automakers, including Audi, Daimler unit Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and Volvo.

Last but not least, Nvidia has also launched Omniverse -- a platform for virtual collaboration and simulation. Omniverse is the company's entree into the metaverse, which could become the next generation of the internet. 

2. Vertex Pharmaceuticals

A little less than $200 will enable you to buy a share of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX). With Vertex, you get a biotech stock that has both a strong moat and great growth prospects.

Vertex's moat comes from its cystic fibrosis (CF) franchise. The company's four approved drugs are the only available treatments for the underlying genetic cause of CF. While there are other drugmakers developing CF therapies, none of them are beyond phase 2 testing yet.

This CF franchise is also a primary growth driver for Vertex. Nearly 40% of the addressable CF market remains available for the company to target. Vertex mainly needs to secure additional reimbursement deals in key markets and expand its regulatory approvals for existing drugs to expand its market share. 

But the big biotech has its sights set beyond CF, as well. Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics think they're on track to file for approvals of gene-editing therapy CTX001 in treating beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease in 2023. Vertex also has other promising pipeline candidates, notably including its gene therapy targeting type 1 diabetes.

3. Matterport

You won't have much of your $500 left over after buying Nvidia and Vertex shares. However, there'll be enough to also pick up several shares of Matterport (NASDAQ:MTTR). And this mid-cap stock arguably has the most room to run of the group.

Matterport is the pioneer and leader in spatial data. What is spatial data? It's 3D-digital twins of physical spaces, from apartments and homes to office buildings, boats, and more. Perhaps the most well-known use of the technology is in enabling virtual tours of homes for sale or rent. However, there are many other ways digital twins are used, including building design, construction, and facilities management.

The company's subscriber base soared 158% year over year in the second quarter. Matterport has around 5.6 million spaces under management. That's 100 times the rest of the market combined.

There are close to 4 billion buildings with 20 billion separate spaces in the world. If Matterport captures only 1% of this potential market, its annual recurring revenue would be $2.4 billion. The company's market cap currently stands at less than $4.5 billion. Matterport could literally be a growth machine over the next several years.

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.