For many investors, 2022 was tough. The year was marred by rising interest rates, geopolitical uncertainty, historically high inflation, and the worst market downturn since the Great Recession. As a result, each of the major market indexes plunged into a bear market and even the most resilient growth stocks met a similar fate. In fact, some of the highest flyers were among those hardest hit, as investors fled to safety, abandoning stocks burdened with high valuations or those that lacked profits.

Yet the cloudy economic outlook has a silver lining. Every bear market in history has been succeeded by a raging bull market. Investors with the fortitude to stand their ground and buy quality stocks at discount prices have ultimately been rewarded when a recovery gains traction.

With that as a backdrop, I put my money where my mouth is. Let's look at five incredible growth stocks I added to my own portfolio in February.

Fashionably dressed person smiling and scattering $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

Shopify

The current downturn notwithstanding, Shopify (SHOP -1.59%) long ago earned its growth stock credentials. Over the past 10 years, the stock has soared as much as 8,944% driven by revenue that surged 2,400%. The company is the unrivaled provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools used by merchants to sell their goods online.

Its successful history didn't insulate Shopify from macroeconomic headwinds that send the stock plunging, currently down 75% from its peak. History suggests that a robust rebound is likely on the horizon.

Just prior to the start of the downturn, Shopify's 2021 third-quarter revenue grew 46% year over year, fueled by merchant solutions revenue that climbed 51%, while subscription solutions grew 37%. More recently, however, things haven't been as rosy. The company closed out 2022 with fourth-quarter revenue that grew 26%, or 28% in constant currency. 

Yet, if Shopify can maintain double-digit growth in the face of prevailing headwinds, imagine how much more it can do once the economy regains its footing. History suggests that once the bull market starts to run, so too will Shopify. In fact, green shoots may have begun to emerge. Shopify stock is already up 67% since early October. 

Finally, the company is chasing a large and growing opportunity. While Shopify generated revenue of $5.6 billion in 2022, management estimates its total addressable market is roughly $153 billion, giving the company a vast opportunity to come.  

HubSpot

HubSpot (HUBS -1.23%) turned traditional advertising on its head, pioneering the field of inbound marketing by attracting customers rather than chasing them. The company has since expanded its offerings to include every aspect of customer relationship management, all of which has been wildly successful. In fact, since its debut in late 2014, HubSpot stock soared as much as 3,308%, driven by revenue that surged 893%. 

Those bona fides didn't protect the company from a downturn-induced shellacking, with its shares currently down 53% from their peak. But, as the old saying goes, "This too shall pass," and when it does, HubSpot should rebound with a vengeance.

While its growth has decelerated, it's still robust by any measure. Fourth-quarter revenue grew 27%, while adjusted earnings per share (EPS) surged 86%. Fueling the results were a customer count that increased 24%, while the average revenue per customer edged 3% higher. 

In 2022, HubSpot generated $1.7 billion in revenue, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Management estimates its market opportunity at roughly $72 billion, so there's plenty of growth yet to be had. 

HubSpot stock will continue to be volatile, but has risen 58% from its trough late last year. That said, given its history of outperformance, the stock has a long runway ahead.

Roku

Roku (ROKU -3.96%) rose from obscurity to quickly become the world's most popular streaming platform. Since the company's initial public offering in late 2017, the stock had risen as much as 3,325%, fueled by revenue growth of 547%, making it a rock star among growth stocks. 

Unfortunately, that didn't protect Roku from the ensuing economic headwinds, slowing growth, and supply chain challenges, which sent the stock crashing down, currently 87% off its peak. But there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Powerful secular tailwinds will carry Roku to new heights once the economy finds its footing. Audiences continue to ditch cable in record numbers and the trend shows no signs of slowing. In fact, in 2022, the major pay-TV providers lost 5.9 million cable subscribers, according to information provided by Leichtman Research Group. This new figure even exceeded the record-setting defections that occurred in 2020. Many of these viewers will no doubt turn to streaming video for their in-home entertainment needs, helping fuel Roku's rebound.

Furthermore, Roku generates the vast majority of revenue from the digital advertising that appears on its platform. It's well documented that marketers slash ad spending during periods of economic uncertainty, which is playing out with all the high-profile digital advertisers. History shows that when the economy recovers, marketing is quick to follow, which suggests Roku's recovery is only a matter of time.

Investors (myself included) are increasingly optimistic that Roku will prosper, which has sent its stock up 53% so far this year. 

Okta

Headlines in recent years make it abundantly clear that preventing large-scale security breaches is no longer a luxury. Users are the first line of defense, a fact that Okta (OKTA -1.46%) knows all too well. Since its public debut in early 2017, the cloud-based identity management and authentication service rode the changing cybersecurity landscape to gains of as much as 1,616%, driven by revenue that climbed 454%.  

Unfortunately, the post-pandemic return-to-office trend, followed by the worst downturn in more than a decade, sent the stock skidding, currently down 71% from its peak. Yet a peek under the hood shows this growth engine continues to purr like a kitten. 

In the fourth quarter, Okta's revenue grew 33% year over year, fueled by subscription revenue that grew 34%. While the company continued to generate operating and net losses, those were balanced by record operating cash flow and free cash flow -- which illustrates that consistent profits are only a matter of time. 

Okta generated revenue of $1.86 billion in 2022, but that's a drop in the bucket compared to its total opportunity, which management estimates at $80 billion. 

The company's strong performance in the face of macroeconomic headwinds has buoyed investor confidence, lifting the stock more than 91% since November. There's likely more where that came from.

Alphabet

Alphabet (GOOGL -0.77%) (GOOG -0.76%) is truly a company that needs no introduction, as Google is the preferred search engine worldwide, fueling its equally dominant digital advertising business. This one-two punch helped fuel the company's rise to growth stock stardom, up as much as 6,951%. 

The company's industry-leading position didn't make Alphabet immune to the downturn and subsequent fall-off in ad spending -- pushing the stock down as much as 44% from its high. 

Yet, it's important to put those declines in context. Google currently controls 93% of the worldwide search market. This acts as a funnel for the company's industry-leading digital advertising, which controls roughly 30% of worldwide digital ad spending, according to industry publication Digiday. Let's not forget Google Cloud, the fastest-growing of the major cloud infrastructure providers, growing 36% year over year to control 10% of the market in the fourth quarter. This was faster than No. 1 Amazon Web Services and No. 2 Microsoft Azure, which grew by 32% and 23%, respectively, according to research firm Canalys. 

Furthermore, investors have begun to wise up to the probable upside, driving up Alphabet shares by 13% so far in 2023. Given the significant growth drivers and position in the various industries, the potential gains will likely be much higher.

OKTA PS Ratio (Forward 1y) Chart

Data by YCharts

You get what you pay for

I noted at the beginning that stocks with high valuations took a hit over past several years -- and these companies were among them. In fact, some investors might still balk at the somewhat lofty valuations of these stocks, which are currently selling at 2.3 to 7.9 times next year's sales, when most experts agree a reasonable price-to-sales ratio is between 1 and 2.

That said, valuation should never be the only consideration. Instead, it should be viewed in the context of a company's historical performance and potential for future growth.

Each of these industry disruptors is a leader in its respective field, making them all worthy of a premium. That's why I added to my position in each and every one of these growth stocks during the month of February.