- >>> 3 Top Cloud Computing Stocks to Buy Right Now
Looking beyond the cloud leaders can be the difference between mediocre and explosive returns.
by Danny Vena
Nov 5, 2020 https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/11/05/3-top-cloud-computing-stocks-to-buy-right-now/
When the pandemic struck earlier this year, the need for remote access and cloud computing became abundantly clear. This acceleration in adoption of cloud computing wasn't limited to Amazon and its cloud offering, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Businesses that were new to the space quickly found they could rent processing power, as well as accessing software, architecture, platforms, and more from just about anywhere.
With a large and growing list of products and services that are being offered via the cloud, investors have a host of opportunities to prosper from this trend. Let's look at several -- not named Amazon -- that might offer more upside. DocuSign
: Reimagining how agreements are done
The need for social distancing has crimped the ability to sign contracts in person, accelerating the need for consummating agreements from a distance. Given how critical most signed documents are, the importance of using a trusted provider in the space can't be overstated. As the proven leader, with more than 70% of the e-signature market, many turned to DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU).
During the second quarter, DocuSign's revenue grew by 45% year over year, accelerating from the 39% gains in the first quarter. The company's subscription revenue accounted for nearly 95% of the total, giving the company a solid base of recurring revenue on which to build. That leverage pushed more money to the bottom line, as adjusted profits climbed a mind-boggling 17-fold.
Other metrics are equally encouraging. Operating cash flow quadrupled, while free cash flow grew by eight times compared to the prior year quarter. Billings -- which includes sales that have been contracted but not yet included in revenue -- grew 61%, illustrating the strength of DocuSign's future business.
Yet even as the company maintains control of the large and growing e-signature market, it's DocuSign's latest venture that should have investors really excited. The company debuted the DocuSign Agreement Cloud early last year, "a suite of products and integrations for digitally transforming how organizations prepare, sign, act on, and manage agreements."
This could just be the beginning, as DocuSign has only begun to capture the opportunity represented by the e-signature market, which it estimates at about $25 billion. With the addition of the Agreement Cloud, DocuSign's total addressable market jumps to $50 billion, according to management. DocuSign generated just $974 million in revenue in 2019, showing the magnitude of the opportunity that remains. Okta
: Moving to the cloud is only half the battle
One of the key challenges of the massive migration to the cloud has been to ensure the identity
of those remotely accessing critical systems, thereby preventing unauthorized access. That's where Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA) comes in.
The company is the clear leader in the identity and access management
space, attracting waves of new businesses in the transition to remote work. Okta's cloud-based identity management service handles user identification and authentication of employees, contractors, and customers
for more than 8,950 organizations
around the globe.
Perhaps more importantly, it integrates
with more than 6,500 of the most often used business software applications, including Microsoft Office 365, AWS, Salesforce.com, and Slack, among thousands of others. By creating a single, secure login, the company gets remote people to work on all the systems they use quickly and painlessly.
Okta's platform continues to receive industry accolades for its utility and ease of use. The company was named the industry leader in access management
for the third consecutive year by research company Gartner, taking the pole position in its much-cited Magic Quadrant. Forrester Research made a similar call, naming Okta the leading identity-as-a-service
Accelerating adoption has been a key component to its impressive financial performance. For the second quarter, Okta's revenue jumped 43%
year over year, while subscription revenue grew 44%
. At the same time, its remaining performance obligation -- which consists of future revenue that is under contract but has not yet been recognized -- climbed even higher, growing 56%
. Okta also generated adjusted net income, up from a loss in the prior-year quarter.
Okta's has only begun to scratch the surface of its immense opportunity. Revenue of $586 million in 2019 pales in comparison to its total addressable market, which management estimates at about $55 billion
: The first line of communications for software and apps
The ability to communicate with customers in real time has never been more critical, especially in the app-based economy. From ride-hailing to food delivery, from customer service to password resets -- and everything in between -- hinges on the ability to connect.
While investors may not know Twilio (NYSE:TWLO) by name, there's little doubt most have used its services. The company provides the software building blocks that lets developers embed Twilio's communication technology in their apps, messaging systems, emails, and more. It also streamlines the process so it can be accomplished in a matter of hours, rather than weeks or months.
Still not convinced? The update you received regarding you ride from Lyft, the text messages and reservation confirmation you got from Airbnb, the customer service interactions with Disney's Hulu, and the booking confirmation from your restaurant via Yelp? All powered by Twilio's technology.
In the third quarter, Twilio's revenue climbed 52% year over year, while also delivering a surprise profit, swinging from a loss in the prior-year quarter. At the same time, strong customer adoption not only pushed the topline higher, but also provided a foundation for future growth. The company reported 208,000 active customers, up 24% year over year, while expanding its relationship with existing customers, as evidenced by its dollar-based net expansion rate, which rose to 137%.
That's not all. Twilio's recent acquisition of customer data platform Segment will significantly increase its market opportunity from $62 billion to $79 billion. Considering it generated revenue of just $1.1 billion in 2019, the road for future growth looks long.
You get what you pay for
Eagle-eyed investors will note that these high growth stocks come with an equally high price tag, which is not unusual when dealing with high-risk, high-reward opportunities like these. None of these stocks is cheap -- in fact, quite the opposite. Okta, DocuSign, and Twilio currently trade for 40, 37, and 28 times sales, respectively, when a reasonable price-to-sales ratio is generally considered to be between 1 and 2.
That said, the old adage, "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. Each of these stocks has positively crushed the overall gains of broader market so far this year -- and they show no signs of slowing.