February 4, 2021
Every so often, disruptive companies enter the scene bringing innovations to their market segments. These products and services, in essence, disrupt the usual status quo in profound ways that can change processes, organizations, products, and techniques to new norms or create new markets that have a lasting impact. Amazon.com, Inc. (Tii:AMZN)’s e-commerce platform and logistics, Apple Inc. (Tii:AAPL)’s iPhone and Netflix, Inc. (Tii:NFLX)’s video streaming service are just a few examples of this.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic that helped define 2020, disruptive companies were redefining their respective industries’ new normal. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Fiverr International Ltd. (Tii:FVRR)
The gig economy has been around for decades but experienced explosive growth these past few years due to the global pandemic and the shift of people transitioning to self-employment. According to ADP Research Institute, there were 6 million more gig workers in the U.S. in 2020 than a decade ago. Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, projects gross volume of the gig economy to reach $455.2 billion in 2023.
Gig platforms such as Fiverr International connects companies with freelancers. The platform features over 200 work/service categories. Fiverr reported 88% year-over-year topline growth for its third quarter ended September 30, 2020, and projected revenue for the full year to grow 74-75%. So, it seems the company will continue to be a big disrupter on how companies locate workers during and after the pandemic.
Brooks Automation, Inc. (Tii:BRKS)
The robotics industry continues to steam ahead as manufacturers increasingly seek to automate processes – a trend that accelerated as a result of the pandemic. Brooks Automation provides robotic modules, vacuum robots, atmospheric robots, and other automation tools to the life science market segments. The company reported that revenues for its first fiscal quarter of 2021 rose 19% to $250 million – surpassing revenue and earnings expectations. Brooks Automation cited growth in its precision vacuum robotics business as a contributing factor. The company’s shares rose some 115% over the last 12 months on anticipated demand for products, its solid earnings and healthy balance sheet.
QUALCOMM Incorporated (Tii:QCOM)
One of the most talked-about disrupters to the consumer market has been 5G telecommunications. Companies across the tech industry are running full steam to create the components and products to make the 5th Generation mobile network available to consumers worldwide. Qualcomm, whose technologies led to the development of the high-performance 5G network, which is positioned to render older networks obsolete. As one of the largest semiconductors and telecommunications equipment companies, QUALCOMM is rolling out the infrastructure and underlying technology that enables the latest communication network. With its shares rising some 88% over the last 12 months, investors see the earnings potential as consumers and wireless carriers look to upgrade to the latest tech.
Fortinet, Inc. (Tii:FTNT)
With the increase of cyber threats, cybersecurity solutions providers such as Fortinet are highly sought after. Fortinet, which develops and sells cloud-based firewalls, antivirus protection software and endpoint security components, has positioned itself as a disrupter in the network firewall marketplace. The company reports that the FortiGate 4200F, the seventh generation of its custom-built network processor, delivers an average of 10 times the competitors’ performance. This substantially increases the speed, scale, and performance of large enterprise data centers. The company’s shares are up nearly 30% over the last 12 months.
While perhaps not as industry-redefining as some other disrupters, these three pharmaceutical companies are responsible for developing the COVID-19 vaccines that are some 95% effective and exceeded expectations. And let’s not forget the COVID-19 testing equipment manufacturers like Co-Diagnostics, Inc. (Tii:CODX) and clinical lab operators like Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (Tii:DGX). As the coronavirus was the single most disruptive event of 2020, those with a hand at detecting and eliminating – or at least reducing – its impact could certainly be considered disruptive as well. In the largest vaccine rollout in history, more than 104 million doses have been administered across 66 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg.
While it’s uncertain what 2021 will bring, there will undoubtedly be a new generation of disrupters ready to challenge the accepted norms and redefine the status quo.