Investors love disruptive companies thanks to the potential for game-changing growth. But these are risky businesses, too, as they face major challenges in pioneering new operating models.
In this video clip from "The 5," recorded on Nov. 9 , Fool.com contributors Trevor Jennewine and Zane Fracek highlight two attractive disruptors in this volatile space, AppHarvest (NASDAQ:APPH) and UiPath (NYSE:PATH).
Zane Fracek: For me, I wanted to talk about AppHarvest. I think that's a really interesting company and this is actually my first look into them, the ticker is, APPH, I believe and this is a farming stock, but also a tech stock and really a disruptor and they're trying to disrupt traditional farming.
Taking the operation inside, which has always made sense to me like the whole vertical farming movement makes sense. Because, why would you grow food outside at the mercy of the weather when you can control the condition and be way more efficient inside. I know not all crops can be grown like that, so they are trying to expand that.
But utilizing that third dimension and growing vertically increases output a lot and I think over time we're going to see costs down and these ventures become profitable, so right now, AppHarvest is building and operating these giant indoor greenhouses and just, right now, they're just growing tomatoes in leafy greens and selling them through normal retailers like Walmart and Kroger, so given that they're grown inside, in the super controlled environment, their costs are a lot higher for now, so there's going to be selling more extensively, but they can boast about the environmental benefits that it takes 90 percent less water, use, recycled rainwater, versus traditional fueled farming. They can grow year round.
There's no weather risks. They also use no pesticides and they can grow 30 times more food per acre than fuel farming. This is a company that I'd like for all those reasons, but also because it's a founder-led business and I think they just have a huge opportunity ahead of them. That's what they have been getting crushed this year. Their all-time high was about $30 a share and it's now down to five dollars a share, so leaving them about a $500 million company, very small. I think that's because investors don't see the track to profitability.
Right now. What you can grow in these conditions inside it's pretty limited, like I said, tomatoes and leafy greens. There are other companies in this space. Some are trying strawberries and blueberries, but they're really expensive on the end when the consumer actually gets to them. How they're solving this and incorporating the technology, is there agtech business? It's about trying to produce as much as possible for drive costs down and make it efficient.
They are revolutionizing how you grow food, how you harvest the food, which is really interesting, how you keep pests away, so they're actually building robots and AI for doing that, for example, saying, with no human intervention, it'll be able to tell, based on the soil or whatever factors, this plant needs. This much more water at this time. Or it will be able to use computer vision and harvest without damaging the plant and your spring pesticides exactly where the pesticide is needed, so things like that are really cool to see.
Right now, there are quarterly revenue is about three million dollars, which is up about 50% from Q2 of this same year, so just quarter-over-quarter, 50% revenue growth. But they are still losing a lot of money, so that's my AppHarvest coverage. Trevor, I'm really excited to hear about your company as well.
Trevor Jennewine: Brian, but AppHarvest on my radar a little while ago, I've been interested in that company to definitely some potential there. I'm still in the process of researching and so I can't really speak to it too much, but I like the overview you gave. The company I'm going to talk about is UiPath and they went public.
The company went public earlier this year and it has pretty much gone straight down since then. I think the stock is down about 33 percent from its all-time high.
But so what the company does UiPath specializes in robotic process automation and artificial intelligence and so its platform basically helps companies create these intelligent software robots that are capable of automating a wide variety of tasks. Those bots, because they are infused with AI, they're designed to emulate human behavior, so they basically watch what you're doing.
They can see the computer screen, understand language, make decisions. They watch what you're doing as you're doing it, and they learn to do the same thing. UiPath spots can review, classify, and extract data from documents and then just to give a few examples, banks use the technology to automate portions of the loan application process. Retailers and manufacturers use bots to analyze sales data and then that helps inform decisions about inventory, promotions, and new products.
Then one of the reasons I'm interested in the company is RPA, or robotic process automation is the fastest-growing software market in the world right now, according to Gartner, and UiPath has been recognized as a leader in the RPA industry by several different research companies. Gartner, Forrester Research, the International Data Corporation.
I believe at the end of 2022, I believe the company had 32% market share, and the next closest competitor had about 18 and I think one of the big advantages that UiPath has right now is its partner ecosystem, so its platform natively integrates with products like Microsoft 365, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, and the company they just announced another partnership with CrowdStrike and so basically when clients start using UiPath, they have these pre-built integrations that allow them to build automations very quickly and those other products, so there's a lot of I accelerates the time-to-value.
From a financial perspective, the company's performance looks pretty solid, so far revenue was 196 million in the most recent quarter, that was up 41%. The management likes to measure the business in terms of annualized renewal runway or ARR and that figure was annualized revenue to take out quarterly fluctuations and so that number is 726 million in the most recent quarter and that's up 60%.
The company has an 82 percent gross profit margin over 9,000 customers, and then their revenue retention rate was 144%, so if customers spending a dollar a year ago, then they are spending $1.44 over the most recent year.
So it's good to see that stickiness. Customers are spending more on the platform over time. Then like I said, the RPA is the fastest-growing software market and management puts the addressable opportunity at $60 billion, so I definitely think there's a lot of potential for this company, but still losing money, burning cash right now and the stock has not been a good performer since going public. Do you guys follow this company?
Fracek: No, but I've seen them in the headlines a lot. Now, I feel like I know enough to have a conversation about them, so thank you for that.