Many technology companies are growing fast and may be good long-term investments. That means it's getting harder to find high-tech companies that truly change the game in their industry and shape the future with cutting-edge technology. When the short-lived wannabes of the world have faded, these are the long-term winners that take up whole chapters in the same books.
To help you find the game changers that are in the early days of their histories, check out how Silvergate Capital (SI) and Fiverr International (FVRR -1.91%) are changing the world, right in front of your eyes.
Silvergate: A crucial piece of the crypto puzzle
As a bank focused on financing cryptocurrency projects of various kinds, Silvergate Capital isn't exactly a technology stock. However, this company is an important part of the crypto industry. Many of the digital currencies and related services you see today wouldn't have existed without Silvergate's financial support. Furthermore, the company is a bit of an innovator. Silvergate runs a digital currency exchange of its own design, with real-time transactions around the clock and support for both digital and fiat currencies.
This bank provides the financial glue -- reserve capital and transaction services -- that is needed in running cryptocurrency exchanges or brokerages. What started as a small regional bank in 1988 quickly embraced the opportunity when early Bitcoin miners and traders started some of the first crypto-trading platforms in 2013.
Nearly a decade later, Silvergate remains a leading provider of banking services for cryptocurrency businesses. The homegrown trading network handled $787 billion of U.S. dollar transfers in 2021, up from $136 million in 2020. And its balance sheet is rock solid with a tier 1 leverage ratio of 9.7% at the end of March. This figure must be at least 6% in order to pass regulatory tests of a bank's financial strength. Silvergate's leverage ratio is higher (and therefore stronger) than those of household names JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America.
In other words, this is a serious and stable bank, with or without its crypto focus. But that unique strategy opens opportunities for Silvergate that simply aren't available to most banks today.
So Silvergate is doing its part in revamping the global financial industry. I'm more than happy to invest in that vision, especially since the big banks are dragging their feet while waiting for proper cryptocurrency regulations.
Fiverr: The gig economy is just getting started
Freelance services specialist Fiverr International jumped into the global spotlight in 2020. As governments around the world issued lockdowns to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves with too much time on their hands and little to do. Furthermore, layoffs and furloughs left some of the same people with limited income or none at all, so it made sense for them to look for freelance opportunities online. At the same time, companies of every stripe, from established giants to brand-new upstarts, kept tight belts on their corporate budgets. As a result, there were unique surges of interest in freelance services from both sides of the buyer-and-seller equation, so Fiverr's business skyrocketed.
The stock followed suit, only to crash back to earth in the summer of 2021. Many investors felt that Fiverr's 15 minutes of fame had already passed and that business would never again be as good as it was in the early days of the pandemic. In July 2022, Fiverr's stock is trading more than 90% below those thrilling highs of early 2021.
But Fiverr's actual business never got that memo. The company's trailing sales have nearly tripled from what was supposed to be the absolute peak of 2020, and free cash flows are 67% richer nowadays.
Fiverr keeps adding additional services, new gig-finding platforms, and more ways to promote your freelancing abilities. This company is a leading force in the so-called gig economy, which received a helpful boost from the pandemic but continues to grow at electrifying speeds even now. Many observers believe that this is the future of work, and that the portion of professional services that contractors and freelancers perform will only grow from here.
I'm thrilled to invest in this enormous market opportunity. Fiverr and friends are nudging the entire concept of work in a new direction, and that sea change seems poised to continue for decades.
It's worth the wait
Investors must be patient as these tech companies shape the future of fundamental concepts like jobs and money. This means that while short-term price increases should be celebrated, you must not give up if a full recovery takes some time or if the stock price drops temporarily. The best way to benefit from these innovative companies is to hold the stock for several years, rather than months. Investing is a marathon, not a sprint.