Tech stocks often fall into two categories: blue-chip stalwarts that generate slow but stable growth from mature technologies, and higher-growth companies that focus on younger and more volatile markets.

Earlier this month, I highlighted a few reliable tech stalwarts that are naturally insulated from inflation and other macro headwinds. Today, I'll focus on three higher-growth companies that might appeal to investors who are more interested in forward-thinking technologies instead.

1. Impinj

Impinj (PI 2.12%) is one of the world's leading producers of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, chip readers, and software. RFID chips are used by a wide range of industries to optimize their supply chains, track shipments, and analyze long-term sales trends.

A visualization of wireless connections across a city.

Image source: Getty Images.

Throughout the "retail apocalypse" over the past decade, many brick-and-mortar retailers started to tag their products with RFID chips to analyze their sales patterns and optimize their inventories. The recent supply chain crisis also highlights the importance of tracking shipments with RFID chips.

Impinj's revenue declined 9% in 2020 as the pandemic disrupted retail sales. But this year, analysts expect its revenue to surge 33% as those headwinds wane and companies tag more products. That's an impressive growth rate for a company that trades at eleven times this year's sales.

Impinj isn't profitable yet, but its gross margins are expanding and its net losses are narrowing. Over the long term, this $2.05 billion company could grow much larger as the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) market prompts more companies to digitally track their products with its RFID chips.

2. C3.ai

C3.ai (AI -5.39%) develops artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that can be integrated into a company's existing software and services. It also provides pre-built AI applications that can be accessed as stand-alone services.

C3.ai only serves large enterprise and government customers. Its top clients -- which include the oil field services giant Baker Hughes and the French utility company Engie -- use its services to streamline their operations, cut costs, improve employee safety, detect fraud, and make better data-driven decisions.

C3.ai's revenue rose 71% in fiscal 2020, which ended in April of that year, but grew just 17% in fiscal 2021 as the pandemic disrupted its business. But this year, C3.ai expects its revenue to rise 35%-36% as those headwinds wane. It could also raise that forecast in the near future to reflect its new $500 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

C3.ai remains unprofitable and its net losses are widening. However, its adjusted gross margins are also expanding, and the stock doesn't look terribly expensive at 14 times this year's sales.

3. PayPal

PayPal (PYPL -2.02%) owns one of the world's largest digital payment platforms. It also owns the peer-to-peer (P2P) payments app Venmo.

PayPal ended its latest quarter with 416 million active accounts, and it expects that figure to soar to 750 million in 2025. It also expects its annual revenue to rise from about $25.4 billion this year to $50 billion by 2025.

PayPal expects to achieve those ambitious goals by expanding its new "super app", which unites its digital wallet, savings accounts, P2P payments, bill payments, direct deposits, cryptocurrency services, BNPL (buy now, pay later) tools, and other financial features on a single platform.

PayPal's stock declined nearly 20% this year after it posted two mixed quarters and alarmed investors with its rumored interest in buying Pinterest for about $45 billion. However, the stock now looks more reasonably valued at 36 times forward earnings, and it remains one of the best long-term plays on the booming fintech market and the ongoing war on cash.