There’s a lot to like when it comes to Shopify (SHOP -0.63%). The e-commerce platform gives sellers of all sizes a fighting chance to stand out with their digital storefronts. It has returned to profitability on a reported basis, and it’s generating gobs of free cash flow. Shopify is doing a great job of overcoming the bearish narratives, climbing a wall of worry that finds the stock more than doubling so far in 2023.
It’s not perfect. The stock’s valuation is rich with its $89 billion market cap, and top-line gains have slowed. Revenue growth decelerated sharply to 21% last year. It’s on track to improve that pace to 25% before decelerating again to a 19% increase next year. You may want to explore some internet-fueled platforms that are earlier in their growth cycles.
Rover Group (ROVR -0.12%), Duolingo (DUOL -1.18%), and Eventbrite (EB -0.02%) are three smaller growth stocks hoping to make a difference with their own online platforms. Let’s take a look at the three alternatives to Shopify with market caps between $700 million and $9 billion. It doesn’t mean that all four stocks can’t beat the market.
You can be the undisputed leader in your niche and still command a market cap of just $1.5 billion. Rover is the top dog — pun intended — when it comes to pairing up pet owners with dog walkers, pet sitters, and boarding providers. Revenue rose 30% in its latest quarter, with Rover flexing its scalability muscle.
The number of bookings rose 20% for the quarter, and the value of those 1.8 million reservations rose 25% with pet parents paying up so their pets are taken care of while they travel or return to in-office work. Rover’s top line clawed its way 30% higher as a result of its take rate improving.
The bottom line is running on a bigger leash. Rover reversed a prior-year deficit with a better-than-expected profit. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) soared 72%. It was a beat-and-raise performance, making this the third consecutive time that Rover boosts its full-year guidance.
Like Shopify, Rover stock has more than doubled this year. The upticks have been earned, and with the humanization of pets trend finding more people spoiling their furry companions it’s fair to say that demand for Rover’s services will keep growing for the next few human years.
Shopify and Rover are hot stocks this year, but Duolingo blows them away. The company behind the leading language-learning app has more than tripled in 2023. Popularity is booming for Duolingo, and not just because it scored a surprising cameo in this year’s blockbuster Barbie movie.
There are now 83.1 million monthly active users on the platform, drawn to Duolingo for the same reasons that folks are downloading Rover. Folks are traveling more — for pleasure as well as business — and Duolingo is a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to brush up on a foreign language.
Revenue raced 43% higher in its latest quarter, making this almost a lock to be the fourth straight year of top-line growth topping 40%. Like Shopify and Rover, Duolingo has turned profitable in the last few quarters. With Duolingo branching out to teach music and enhancing its math platform it could be just scratching the surface here.
The smallest of the three companies is Eventbrite with its $700 million market cap that is roughly half the value of Rover’s shares. Shopify provides aspiring online merchants easy access to generating digital storefronts. Eventbrite gives performers and event organizers a way to seamlessly offer tickets to upcoming shows.
Eventbrite’s revenue rose 21% in its latest quarter, the weakest of the companies on this list. It’s also the only one that is not profitable, but it’s getting there. Adjusted EBITDA is positive, climbing 50% in over the past year. The economy has reopened for live local events, and Eventbrite is leading the way for small-to-mid-market gatherings. If you think Shopify, Rover, and Duolingo are out of reach after having big runs this year — a thesis I disagree with — take comfort in knowing that Eventbrite has risen just 20% in 2023. It’s showtime.
Rick Munarriz has positions in Duolingo and Rover Group. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Duolingo, Rover Group, and Shopify. The Motley Fool recommends Eventbrite. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.