Growth stocks of all descriptions have been beaten down for over a year thanks to a slew of unfavorable economic conditions. At the top of the list are higher interest rates meant to tame soaring inflation. Higher rates mean that the cash flows high-growth businesses promise down the road are worth a lot less in the present.
The moderate-interest-rate environment we’re in now isn’t as conducive to growth-stock investing as the near-zero-rate environment we’re used to. That doesn’t mean we should completely avoid growth stocks, though.
Here, we note two exceptional businesses that are already generating a strong profit. Best of all, there’s a good chance their bottom lines will continue to move in the right direction over the long run.
Doximity (DOCS -2.85%) runs a social media platform for healthcare professionals. The past year has been difficult for the digital ad industry, but Doximity’s unique position has allowed it to buck the trend.
The giants of the digital ad industry, Meta Platforms and Alphabet, both reported declining ad revenue in 2022. Doximity, however, reported revenue that rose 23% year over year to $308 million during the nine months that ended December 31, 2022.
Americans will spend around $4.5 trillion on healthcare this year. Companies attempting to direct the flow of those dollars drove total U.S. healthcare and pharma industry digital ad spending up to $13.9 billion in 2021, according to eMarketer. Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads aren’t going away, but a growing portion of this sum will be rerouted to direct-to-physician ads that show up in physicians’ Doximity feeds.
While it’s just a matter of time before competing social media platforms try to muscle in on Doximity’s turf, the proprietary productivity tools it’s already developed and deployed could keep its members from jumping ship. For example, the company’s telehealth tools were used by 375,000 unique providers during its fiscal third quarter that ended on December 31, 2022.
Doximity’s recent valuation of around 42 times free cash flow implies significant growth over the next several years. Because this company has an enormous addressable market and a small pool of competitors, I believe it can exceed expectations.
Veeva Systems (VEEV -1.47%) provides cloud-based software tailored to the unique demands of the life-sciences industry. The company began by adapting Salesforce‘s customer relationship management (CRM) software to the highly regulated world of pharmaceutical sales. Now, it offers a comprehensive suite of tools for biopharmaceutical companies of all sizes.
A potential recession on the horizon caused many businesses to cancel the online services they’re least dependent on, but strong growth last year suggests Veeva’s tools are one of the last cuts companies are willing to make. During Veeva’s fiscal third quarter, which ended October 31, 2022, subscription service revenues rose 16% year over year.
Veeva’s suite of tools is constantly expanding to meet the changing needs of its clients, and an already-large following makes it fairly easy to launch new products. For example, the Veeva Vault PromoMats service allows companies to use existing brand assets, claims, and references to rapidly produce new sales material for targeted groups of patients. Other cloud vendors offer modular content services, but only Veeva’s is tailored to help drugmakers quickly carry new content through the medical, legal, and regulatory review processes.
Veeva is a strongly profitable business that has increased free cash flow by 229% over the past five years. At its current valuation of around 36 times free cash flow, continuing along its present trajectory for another five years will result in market-beating gains for patient investors. There are no guarantees, but subscription services that get stickier every year have me convinced this company’s best days are still ahead.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Cory Renauer has positions in Doximity. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Doximity, Meta Platforms, Salesforce, and Veeva Systems. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.