2 Hot Stocks That Are Only Beginning to Realize Their Potential

Sometimes a lesser-known stock can be a big winner, so let’s take a look at two relatively un-talked-about companies which have seen their stocks make big moves in recent years…

1. Teladoc

Since smartphones became ubiquitous, a convenience economy has developed in western culture, and those companies that do not adhere to it will become obsolete. With almost everything you could want at your fingertips, people’s time and effort are coming in at an ever-higher premium. Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) streamlines one of the most laborious errands one has to dealt with: going to the doctor’s office. The company allows patients to video-chat with doctors almost instantly, bypassing waiting rooms, exorbitant fees, and scheduling conflicts. It is the founder and leader of the telehealth industry.

For a company providing such a modern solution, Teladoc has been around a lot longer than you’d think. Set up in 2002 by Michael Gorton and former NASA flight surgeon Byron Brooks, Teladoc officially launched (pun intended) in 2005 and by 2007 had over a million members. It hired its current CEO, Jason Gorevic, in 2009 and raised over $100 million in private funding before going public in 2015 with a valuation of $758 million. At the time of the IPO, Teladoc boasted over 8 million members and facilitated 500,000 doctor visits that year. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength, growing membership to an impressive 22.8 million and facilitating 2.6 million visits in 2018, and changing U.S. healthcare for the better to boot. The stock has grown accordingly to just shy of $80 per share and a market cap of $5.8 billion.

Is Teladoc a buy?

All of this is very easy reading for an early investor, but what if you’re only just getting the memo. Teladoc’s share price grew over 13% in October. In the third quarter, the company beat all expectations — revenue was up 24% year over year at $138 million,c ompared to estimates of $136.5 million. It posted a net loss of $0.28 per share while analysts had expected $0.39 per share. Its guidance for the full year is also promising: $546 million to $550 million in revenue and a net loss per share of $1.43 to 1.49, compared to an expected $543.6 million in revenue and $1.55 net loss per share.

From just shy of $60 at the end of August to hovering around $80 as we speak, Teladoc is certainly a hot stock, but we’re looking at the long term. Is Teladoc a stock we can buy and hold ’til we’re gray and old?

The telehealth industry was valued at $49.8 billion and is expected to grow to $266.8 billion by 2026. With this kind of growth comes competition, and it is the one concern that I would have about Teladoc. Telehealth companies are going to become universal in the coming years. Will Teladoc’s time spent as the market leader be enough to maintain its competitive advantage? Is relying on the power of its brand and pre-established relationships enough of an economic moat in an increasingly competitive industry? Will an influx of competitors initiate a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing? These are all questions that must be addressed when considering an investment in Teladoc.

While increased competition provides food for thought, it’s not enough to put us off Teladoc as an investment. Its track record of beating expectations under Jason Gorevic, as well as its moves toward international expansion, bolstered by the acquisition of the French company MedecinDirect back in March, all point to Teladoc continuing to lead the way in the telehealth industry.

2. The Trade Desk

With The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) we have a not-so-simple solution to a not-so-simple problem. In a severely condensed version of its business plan, the programmatic advertising company operates a platform that functions like a stock market for online advertisers to bid on advertising space. Through its large data sets and algorithms, advertisers can…

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