Companies that are early in their growth phase usually don't pay a dividend. They prefer to retain their earnings to expand their operations.

However, as they mature and start generating excess cash, they could use some of that money to pay a dividend. Here are five cash-gushing companies that don't currently pay a dividend, but certainly could in the future.

Waiting for the next stage of maturity

Arista Networks (ANET -8.55%) does an excellent job turning revenue into cash. The leader in data-driven networking equipment topped the $1 billion revenue milestone in the first quarter, a 20% year-over-year increase. It generated $101 million in cash from operations in the quarter, helping grow its cash balance to $2.9 billion against zero debt.

It used some of its cash to repurchase stock -- it bought back $483.7 million in the quarter and $693 million since authorizing its $1 billion program last October -- and made two acquisitions totaling $158.9 million. While Arista doesn't yet pay a dividend, it sees them in its future as the business matures. 

Rapidly expanding free cash flow

CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD -2.75%) is cashing in on the growing demand for cybersecurity services. The company's cloud-based protection platform generates recurring revenue and a growing free cash flow stream. Revenue surged 61% in its fiscal second quarter to $487.8 million, while free cash flow came in at $157.5 million, a more than 34% year-over-year increase. That pushed the cybersecurity company's cash balance to $2.15 billion against only $740 million of long-term debt.

CrowdStrike is still firmly in growth mode, aiming to grow its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from its current level of around $2 billion to $5 billion by 2026. However, a business already generating lots of recurring free cash flow that should continue growing rapidly has the potential to be a great dividend growth stock in the future. 

Cashing in on payroll

Paycom Software (PAYC -3.19%) generates lots of recurring revenue and cash flow by selling subscription-based software to help companies manage their human resources. The payroll company's revenue surged 30.9% in the first quarter to $316.9 million. It's generating free cash and has a strong cash-rich balance sheet, ending the second quarter with $279 million of cash and equivalents against $29 million of total debt.

Paycom is currently using its cash flow to grow the business and repurchase shares, recently boosting its authorization to $1.1 billion. Because of that, a dividend doesn't seem likely in the near term. However, with a strong balance sheet and a cash-gushing business, Paycom is the type of company that could become a great dividend growth stock as it matures. 

Starting to produce gobs of cash

Zscaler (ZS -1.82%) shares many similarities with CrowdStrike Holdings. It's also capitalizing on growing cybersecurity threats with a cloud-based security platform that generates recurring revenue and free cash flow. The company's revenue soared 63% in its fiscal third quarter to $286.9 million. Meanwhile, free cash flow came in at $43.7 million, or 15% of its revenue. That helped boost its cash balance to nearly $1.7 billion against $954.6 million of convertible senior notes.

Zscaler is very early in its growth stage, hitting the $1 billion ARR milestone this year. It has ambitions to grow its ARR to $5 billion in the future, setting the stage for it to produce an even bigger gusher of free cash flow that it could one day use to pay a dividend.

Zooming in on free cash flow

Zoom Video Communications (ZM -1.42%) is a cash-flow machine. The company's subscription-based video conferencing software generates recurring revenue and cash flow. Zoom's sales grew 12% in the first quarter to nearly $1.1 billion. Meanwhile, the company converted almost $0.50 of every dollar of revenue into free cash flow in the quarter, as adjusted free cash flow came in at an impressive $501 million. That boosted Zoom's cash and marketable securities to $5.7 billion on its debt-free balance sheet.

The company has already started returning some cash to shareholders, authorizing a $1 billion share repurchase program earlier this year to buy back some of its beaten-down stock. While the initiation of a dividend seems like a long way off, Zoom has the cash and cash flow to pay an attractive dividend in the future. 

The potential to grow into great dividend stocks

Arista Networks, CrowdStrike Holdings, Paycom Software, Zscaler, and Zoom Video Communications are all still early in their growth phases. Because of that, they likely won't pay a dividend anytime soon.

However, dividend investors with a view toward the future should keep an eye on these stocks. They generate lots of recurring cash flow and have cash-rich balance sheets, which are ideal characteristics for dividend-paying stocks. Because of that, they have the makings of one day becoming great dividend growth stocks when they reach that stage of their business maturity.