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This Supercharged Growth Stock Is Up Big This Year -- Can It Continue?

By Trevor Jennewine – Oct 25, 2021 at 6:08PM

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Cloudflare's business is firing on all cylinders.

Digital transformation has been a powerful tailwind for cloud-computing specialist Cloudflare (NET 7.28%), and shareholders have been well compensated. The stock price has skyrocketed 139% since the beginning of 2021 and 225% over the past year. Can that tremendous growth continue?

In this Backstage Pass video, recorded on Oct. 14, 2021, Motley Fool contributor Trevor Jennewine tells investors what to watch when Cloudflare reports third-quarter earnings on Nov. 4.

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Trevor Jennewine: I'm going to talk about Cloudflare -- the ticker is NET -- and Cloudflare is expected to report earnings on the 4th of November. Not too much longer.

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar, but Cloudflare is a cloud services provider and it provides a range of different products that are all aimed at boosting performance, security, and reliability. That's true of external content like websites and applications, but also internal resources like corporate networks and devices. So, the company really plays into digital transformation.

The reason I'm excited about Cloudflare, I think it has a few different strengths. A cloud-agnostic business model, which just means it doesn't prefer any particular public cloud; it accelerates security and performance across all of these different infrastructures. That's what the little picture shows on the right here. It works, hybrid-cloud, multi-cloud environments as well as on-site datacenters, private clouds.

It also has a broad portfolio of products which differentiates it from point solution providers. There are companies that are just focus on content delivery or just focus on security. Cloudflare provides networking services, security services, and the content delivery services.

And because it offers a free tier of service, that brings a lot of traffic onto its platform. In fact Cloudflare powers 18% of the internet, according to W3Tech. And the next closest content delivery network on that list is Fastly with just over 1% -- so, a huge lead.

That allows it to negotiate deals with Internet service providers, whereby it can keep it's equipment directly in their data centers, and that reduces bandwidth and co-location expenses for the company. I think they have a strong business model and they're growing quickly. Last quarter, they surpassed 126,000 customers, that was up 32%. Revenue was $152 million, up 53%. And strong retention rate, 124%. Customers are spending more over time.

Management is guiding for a little bit of a deceleration and the third quarter, looking for $165 million to $166 million, still growing 46% though. The company is not profitable, even on a non-GAP basis, they're expecting a loss of $0.03 to $0.04. But management has talked about reaching breakeven by the first quarter of next year. They're moving in the right direction; they're definitely investing heavily in growth and I think that's the right decision for the company. They have a massive market opportunity and it makes sense to focus on growing the business.

In addition to revenue and customers, the things I'm looking for are, can they maintain that high net retention rate? What does cash from operations look like? Last quarter it was positive $7.5 million -- I'd like to see that figure stay positive. Just as evidence that their business model is funding itself.

Then, also management's commentary on Cloudflare One. This is a product they released last year. There is a comprehensive network as a service. It replaces outdated corporate network architectures and makes everything faster, it makes everything more secure, it allows remote employees to access corporate resources from any device, any location. This bundles a lot of their different products together and it's been a growth driver so far.

Trevor Jennewine owns shares of Fastly. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Cloudflare, Inc. and Fastly. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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