The word "hypergrowth" does not describe the current technology bear market. Many stocks that once grew revenue in the high double or even triple digits suddenly found themselves in decline as business conditions changed.
Nonetheless, specific niches within tech continue to grow rapidly, and in most cases, their stocks sold off just like those of more poorly performing counterparts. Such a change may point to buying opportunities in tech stocks such as SoFi Technologies (SOFI -0.46%) and Zscaler (ZS -1.49%). With that said, here's a closer look at what makes each of these companies appealing today.
1. SoFi continues to find growth opportunities despite challenges
SoFi is a company that may have the pandemic to thank for its hypergrowth. It was once a little-known student lender. Amid the moratorium on student loan payments because of the pandemic, it had to pivot into other areas of finance.
These acquisitions have given investors good reasons for continuing their optimism. The purchase of Golden Pacific Bank gave it a bank charter. This made it one of the few fintech companies that could offer checking, savings, and loans without involving a third party.
Additionally, its purchases of Galileo and Technisys have added the capability to support ACH transactions and payment cards. With these technologies, the company calls itself an "AWS of fintech" as it supports a technology stack that enables its fintech and banking capabilities.
Despite this potential, SoFi faces significant challenges. Another extension of the student loan moratorium (this time until the end of June 2023) leads to questions about when this segment can drive meaningful revenues. The cost of the naming rights to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, while certainly a marketing coup, also may not sit well with some investors. Furthermore, the stock has fallen more than 80% below its all-time high.
Nonetheless, the company has grown despite the student loan moratorium. GAAP net revenue of $424 million surged 56% higher in the latest quarter. Although losses rose compared with last year, the fact that management raised revenue guidance for a third consecutive quarter may ease the near-term profitability concerns.
Additionally, the consumer finance stock sells for 0.8 times its book value, which is a bargain considering SoFi's rapid growth. As the company again boosts its growth outside of the student loan segment, a long-awaited recovery could finally begin.
2. Zscaler has what it takes to rebound
Zscaler provides security to cloud-connected applications. In a world of mobile devices, such protection has become a necessity. Thus, fears about the economy have had little effect on the company's growth.
Its software works on a "zero-trust" platform, meaning it regards every user as a potential attacker. It applies artificial intelligence-driven algorithms and situational factors, such as roles, locations, and devices to determine the level of user privileges allowed. It also utilizes edge computing, meaning it can respond rapidly to any situation.
In the fiscal fourth quarter of 2022, which ended July 31, the company brought in $318 million in revenue -- a 61% increase year over year. That is only marginally less than the 62% revenue growth rate for fiscal 2022.
Still, its quarterly loss of $98 million increased from $81 million the year before. With costs and expenses growing at more than 50%, Zscaler did not reduce its losses.
Buying Zscaler stock does not guarantee you will double your money in 2023. Nonetheless, as the market recovers and the need for security becomes more critical, Zscaler stock can easily recover despite its challenges.