Snowflake (NYSE:SNOW), a cloud data company, has received a lot of attention from investors lately, following its mid-September IPO. Investors have taken an interest in this tech stock because of its 133% revenue growth in the first half of this year, and the fact that the company believes it has a massive $81 billion total addressable market in the cloud data space.
But despite Snowflake’s potential, there are a handful of other tech stocks that could be better long-term investments. To help you find a few, we asked three Motley Fool contributors for alternative Snowflake investments. They came back with Alteryx (NYSE:AYX), Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM), and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Here’s why.
With access to more data than ever, businesses need a way to make sense of it
Brian Withers (Alteryx): Snowflake’s platform excels in capturing enterprise data and centralizing it in one place for users, but Alteryx takes that process one step further. It has a set of powerful and efficient tools that data analysts can use to make sense of massive amounts of data and derive insights to make informed decisions. Let’s look more closely at the business of this data analytics platform.
Founded in 1997, Alteryx has been serving the needs of its discerning customer base for more than two decades. The company has captured over 6,700 customers and has trailing-12-month revenues of $465 million. Similar to Snowflake, Alteryx’s customers spend more once they are on the platform, as measured by its 126% dollar-based net expansion rate in its most recent quarter. Management estimates Alteryx’s addressable market to be $49 billion, giving it less than a 1% share of this massive opportunity.
Last quarter, Alteryx’s growth hit a speed bump in the face of the coronavirus and companies pulling back on spending. Growth fell sequentially from the first quarter’s solid 43% year-over-year gain to a disappointing 17% in the second quarter. On the earnings call, management indicated that the business environment wouldn’t likely improve for the rest of the year, and projected a 7% to 11% year-over-year growth for the third quarter and 10% to 11% for the full year. This tepid outlook pulled the stock down 36% over the two days following earnings. But things have changed since then.
On Monday, Oct. 5th, after the market closed, the company upped its guidance for Q3 revenue growth to 22% to 24%. Additionally, it announced a leadership change. Co-founder and longtime CEO Dean Stoecker is stepping back from the CEO role and will stay on to serve as executive chairman. Board member and tech industry leader Mark Anderson is taking the helm as CEO. Anderson brings a wealth of experience building and scaling large organizations at Palo Alto Networks and Anaplan. The news propelled the stock up 28% the following day.
The future looks bright for this data analytics platform. The need for companies to do more with less has never been more critical. Data analytics can help uncover hidden operational improvements, new revenue opportunities, or ways to save money, and Altyerx is well-positioned to deliver. Investors are looking to its proven platform, cross-industry appeal, and new energy from an experienced leader to accelerate its growth coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.
The excitement around Snowflake’s IPO has caused its valuation to reach stratospheric heights. Investors looking to profit from the big data trend shouldn’t pay up for the cloud database specialist’s triple-digit price-to-sales ratio, but should consider Alteryx with its more reasonable 15 price-to-sales ratio to play this long-term growth trend instead.
Faster growth at a better price
Danny Vena (Zoom Video Communications): Snowflake is certainly a captivating company with an impressive growth rate, so it’s easy to see why investors would be intrigued. I even briefly considered buying the stock at IPO before the price ran away with itself. Yet for all that Snowflake has going for it, Zoom Video Communications is actually a better buy.
First, there’s the matter of secular tailwinds. Once upon a time, business meetings were held face-to-face, sometimes one-on-one, other times in crowded conference rooms. There was the occasional need for video conferences with geographically distant colleagues or business associates, but those were the exception and not the rule. With the onset of the pandemic, however, all that changed and Zoom became the go-to for a whole generation of businesses and families looking to keep in touch, and that’s unlikely to change — even after the pandemic is a distant memory.
Then there’s the subject of revenue growth. One of the reasons for Snowflake’s parabolic IPO was its impressive top-line growth rate. For the six months leading up to its IPO, Snowflake generated revenue growth of 133% year over year. While that’s certainly a laudable feat, it pales in comparison to Zoom, which generated revenue growth of 270% during the same period.
Snowflake has also booked impressive customer additions in recent years. As of July 31, 2020, its customer base has more than doubled year over year, notching gains of 101%. Not to be outdone, Zoom’s customers with more than 10 employees increased 458%, while those that contributed more than $100,000 in trailing-12-month revenue increased 112%. While it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, Zoom clearly comes out on top.
Finally, there’s profits to consider. During the first half of 2020, Snowflake trimmed its net loss to $171 million from $177 million in the prior-year period. During the same period, Zoom’s net income soared 26-fold to $213 million.
You might also be surprised to find that given its astronomical price tag, Zoom is still cheaper than Snowflake. On a price-to-sales basis, Zoom clocks in at 105 times sales, a bargain compared to Snowflake’s valuation of 129 times sales.
Given its superior revenue growth, profitability, and better valuation, Zoom is clearly a better buy than Snowflake.
An undisputed leader in the cloud computing space
Chris Neiger (Amazon): Yes, I know that Amazon may seem like an odd pick in this list, but if you’re thinking the e-commerce company has no place here, then it’s time to broaden your perspective of how Amazon really makes its money.
While Amazon does make the vast majority of its revenue from its e-commerce business, its the company’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) that brings in the most profit. AWS, the company’s cloud computing company that helps companies of all sizes host their websites and data, brought in $10.8 billion in sales in the most recent quarter, up 29% year over year. And from those sales, the company generated $3.4 billion in operating profit. Compare that to Amazon’s North American e-commerce sales of $55.4 billion with just $2.1 billion in operating profit.
In addition to AWS being Amazon’s most lucrative business segment right now, it’s also tapping into a massive market. Cloud computing services will become a $500 billion market by 2023 and Amazon is already a leader. The company has 33% of the cloud infrastructure market, and its closest competitor, Microsoft, trails with just 18%.
With Amazon’s lead in the massive cloud computing market and the company’s ability to generate profit from this business, investors would be wise to consider this tech stock right now. Amazon is just as innovative and growth-minded as smaller tech companies out there, and the fact that it has already figured out a way to dominate a corner of the cloud computing market is far more than Snowflake can claim right now.