Investing in high-growth stocks before they pop can be incredibly rewarding. Yet, truly disruptive growth stocks are often hidden in plain sight behind pricey valuations, sky-high P/E ratios, and largely unproven business models. That's why many investors miss the opportunity to invest in these stocks early in their growth cycle. It takes patience and risk tolerance to invest in high-growth stocks.
Therefore, the goal when investing in these types of stocks is to find companies with sustainable competitive advantages and visionary leadership. To get you started, here are three top growth stocks that offer substantial growth prospects for investors with a long term approach.
The world's most disruptive automaker
Spoiler alert: In just three years, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock has gone from the most shorted stock on the Nasdaq to one of the top performing public companies today. As you can see in the chart below, shares of the electric-car maker are up more than 700% in the past three years, compared to a 45% gain by the S&P 500. However, there could be plenty more upside from here for patient investors.
Tesla is still in the early stages of its growth story. The company's zero emissions Model S sedans are currently selling faster than the California-based company can produce them, both in the U.S. and abroad. This is a good problem to have when you're a niche automaker. Additionally, Tesla has new vehicles and features barreling down the pipeline including its highly anticipated Model X crossover, its newly unveiled dual electric motor production car, and mass market Gen 3.
The company's chief executive, Elon Musk, expects to reach volume production of the Tesla Model X in the second quarter of 2015. Earlier this year, Tesla's visionary leader said the production-ready version of Tesla's Model X would "completely blow people away." If this is in fact the case, it could be Tesla's best-selling EV yet. On top of this, Tesla Motors' planned Gigafactory will enable the EV maker to produce enough lithium-ion cells by 2020 to power 500,000 electric cars. Ultimately, this will allow Tesla to sell its Gen 3 model to the masses.
These are all strong catalysts for the stock going forward. Shares of Tesla Motors may look expensive today trading around $230 apiece. However, it's important for investors to take the long view with this company and remember you're investing in Tesla's future earnings potential.
More than a device maker
Go Pro (NASDAQ:GPRO) is another misunderstood growth stock with a rich valuation today. Shares of GoPro have surged more than 138% since the camera maker's initial public offering in June. However, thanks to massive amounts of consumer-generated content on its GoPro Network, the company is uniquely positioned to unlock even more growth from here.
What began as a hardware business that made mountable and wearable cameras is now transforming into a full-blown media company. If GoPro is able to leverage user-generated content on its network it could become a media powerhouse like Google's YouTube. This could be a significant source of future revenue for GoPro. Google's gross revenue from YouTube was around $3.5 billion last year, according to estimates from Business Insider.
GoPro's customers shared over 2.8 years of video content on YouTube in 2013 while specifically mentioning GoPro in the title. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2014, YouTube recorded more than 6,000 uploads of GoPro content per day, and more than one billion people viewed GoPro content on YouTube during that three-month period.
Nevertheless, GoPro is still in the early stages of licensing this content and it should see more interest from online advertisers and marketers in the quarters ahead. Ultimately, if GoPro proves it can efficiently monetize its massive amounts of user-generated content, then patient investors could see significant upside, even from current levels.
Tapping into the high growth market of consumer electronics
InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) is an integrated chipmaker whose motion processing technology can be found in popular consumer devices such as Apple's latest iPhone 6. With smartphone sales on pace to hit 1.2 billion this year, InvenSense operates in a very lucrative and fast-growing industry. Some are concerned about the state of the company's business relationship with Apple, and have pushed shares of InvenSense lower, with the stock down more than 14% this quarter.
However, this could create a buying opportunity for long-term investors. There are plenty of catalysts for this stock going forward including the likelihood that InvenSense's technology will make it into more Apple devices. During the company's first quarter earnings announcement InvenSense chief executive, Behrooz Abdi, discussed new content opportunities in the mobile device market as well as new applications for motion and audio sensors within the emerging wearables space.
InvenSense is spending heavily on research and development lately -- more than 25% of sales. High R&D spending is a sign of a top growth stock because the company's management is investing in future innovation, thus creating a competitive advantage. InvenSense's decision to acquire two leading sensor algorithm and software companies should enable it to further scale its R&D efforts, according to a company press release. This combined with InvenSense's ongoing relationship with Apple and its expansion in key markets around the globe position the company for many more years of outpaced growth.
Going for growth
The takeaway here for investors is that finding the next big growth stock doesn't need to be challenging. The trick is looking to the future and investing in great companies with sustainable competitive advantages, not just the numbers on their latest earnings reports. Tesla Motors, GoPro, and InvenSense are all well positioned to achieve outsized gains over the next 10 years. It pays to be a patient investor. And these companies stand out as solid growth stocks to own for the next decade.
Tamara Rutter owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends InvenSense and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of InvenSense and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.