Inflation is soaring, interest rates are rising, and the stock market is in decline. It's entirely normal for an investor to feel challenged in this environment. The most positive thing to do in such a situation is to focus on the long term because history proves that, given enough time, the broader markets tend to recover to new highs. With that said, it can be helpful to identify companies that have significant future growth potential but can also weather difficult economic periods.

That could mean they have strong balance sheets, are profitable, or are simply growing rapidly in the face of these challenging times. Three Motley Fool contributors were asked which tech stocks are doing this. Datadog (DDOG 3.66%), Veeva Systems (VEEV 0.48%), and PayPal Holdings (PYPL -2.07%) were their answers. Here's what they had to say about these stocks and why they are great options to buy on the dip.

1. A crucial piece of the cloud-based future

Anthony Di Pizio (Datadog): Cloud computing technology is playing an increasingly important role in the corporate sector. It's revitalizing age-old business practices by shifting them online to increase efficiency and unlock hidden value. Not to mention, it allows large organizations to connect their teams not only across departments, but across borders. 

The cloud does come with its own challenges -- though they're not necessarily drawbacks. As more parts of a business migrate online, mountains of data are being generated. Companies often struggle to manage that data, let alone go a step further and leverage it to make more money. Enter Datadog, a platform that can deliver actionable insights from data gathered across digital platforms like mobile applications and websites.

Take an e-commerce business, for example. Datadog can be used to monitor infrastructure to provide real-time insights into the customer experience online, or to immediately alert the business of any technical issues, which can dramatically reduce response times. For a high-traffic event like Cyber Monday, Datadog can assist with running load tests and historical analysis in advance, to learn from past challenges and prevent them from reoccurring. 

But what makes Datadog stock safe? A couple of things. First, it's in a hot industry and the company's growth is soaring even in this difficult economy. Second, the company is on the verge of profitability, which significantly de-risks it as an investment. Datadog expects to generate up to $1.63 billion in revenue during 2022, an increase of 58% compared to 2021. And halfway through the year, it has delivered positive net income of $4.8 million, which might seem insignificant, but it's an improvement over a loss in the year-ago period, and it marks an important milestone on the way to full-year profits. 

Datadog stock represents an opportunity to buy into an important part of the cloud-based future, at a 55% discount to its all-time high right now. 

2. A stable cash machine trading at a bargain

Jamie Louko (Veeva Systems): Veeva Systems is perhaps one of the safest tech stocks on the market today. Veeva provides software and data management tools for the life sciences space, and it is the far-and-away leader. 

The company has software tools ranging across an entire pharmaceutical company's lifespan, from data management tools to operate clinical drug trials, to customer relationship management tools to help sell those drugs. With over 1,200 customers, including some of the leading pharma companies on the market today, Veeva is the dominant player in the space. Considering no other player has an offering as extensive as Veeva's, the company will likely continue to dominate the market.

This leadership has helped the company remain relatively resilient during 2022, both stock-wise and operationally. In terms of the company's stock, shares have fallen just 18% over the past six months versus the Nasdaq Composite index's drop of 24%. 

Operationally, Veeva has continued to post stable results despite inflation and tightening business budgets. Veeva posted 16% and 17% year-over-year revenue growth in the first and second quarters, respectively, and the company continued to gush cash. Over the trailing 12 months, Veeva generated more than $741 million in free cash flow and $394 million in net income, producing margins of 37% and 20%, respectively.

With this immense cash flow, Veeva has invested in developing new products to further its stability and dominance, making it an increasingly safer tech stock to own for the long haul. While Veeva might not be the fastest-growing tech stock out there, its high switching costs and hard-to-replicate leadership could allow the company to post steady results over the long term. At 35 times free cash flow, Veeva's valuation is near an all-time low since the company went public in 2013. Therefore, investors can buy this safe stock close to its cheapest valuation in almost a decade. 

3. A leader in digital payments

Trevor Jennewine (PayPal Holdings): Several factors have beaten PayPal down over the past year, including high inflation and the loss of eBay as a partner. Those obstacles caused top-line growth to decelerate while operating costs continued to climb quickly, which led to a loss under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the most recent quarter. More broadly, PayPal's underwhelming financial results in the last few quarters have caused some investors to lose confidence in the company, and that sent shares tumbling. The stock currently trades 67% off its high.

Fortunately, the skies are starting to clear for PayPal. The migration of eBay away from the platform will cease to be a headwind in the second half of the year, and CEO Dan Schulman said on the earnings conference call in August that the company will see cost savings of $900 million in 2022 and $1.3 billion in 2023 as it works to rein in operating expenses. Schulman also noted that PayPal will reinvest that cash across three areas where it has a "tremendous advantage" due to scale: digital wallets, PayPal checkout, and Braintree.

PayPal is the most accepted digital wallet in North America and Europe, and it ranked as the most-downloaded mobile finance app worldwide in the first half of 2022, according to Apptopia. Moreover, the trust inspired by its reliable payments platform actually boosts conversion rates for merchants. According to management, consumers are nearly three times more likely to complete a purchase when PayPal is available at checkout. In light of those advantages, investors have good reason to believe PayPal can regain its momentum.

In the near term, the launch of Pay with Venmo on Amazon is a particularly exciting development, and it builds on partnerships with other retailers like Booking Holdings and Revolve. And in the long term, the continued adoption of e-commerce and digital wallets should be a powerful growth driver for PayPal.

On that note, management puts its market opportunity at $110 trillion, meaning this fintech company has only scratched the surface of its full potential. And with shares trading at 4.1 times sales -- a sizable discount compared to its three-year average of 9.5 times sales -- this tech stock looks like a relatively safe investment for patient investors.