SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) made its eagerly anticipated debut as a public company on June 1 when it merged with special purpose acquisition company Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings V. SOFI stock hit a high above $24 shortly thereafter before turning lower. It briefly made it back to that level in mid-N0vember on general excitement about fintech stocks.
Since then, however, inflation worries have hit the sector hard. In the past month, SOFI stock has fallen nearly 40%. Meanwhile, Block (NYSE:SQ), formerly known as Square, is down around 30%, and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) is down around 12%.
The thinking goes that, with interest rates now due to rise, the money business is not the place to be. But SoFi’s business isn’t just about the money… it’s about the future of money. The company aims to put a financial supermarket inside your phone – banking, brokerage, credit, even crypto. SoFi CEO Anthony Noto has an aggressive agenda and technology investors are taking note.
SoFi is Stronger Than It Appears
They weren’t alone in taking profits. A few days later, Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya, who sponsored the company when it came public through his SPAC, sold 15% of his stake. And activist investor Red Crow Capital dumped about one-fifth of its holdings, or over 10 million shares, in early December.
Now, these sales are not cause for concern. Venture capitalists always cash out of what has worked while they nurture new startups. But it came at a bad time. The broader market topped out on Nov. 22, selling off sharply on concerns that inflation and the omicron coronavirus variant will derail economic growth. Fintech, in particular, was hammered.
Yet, SoFi’s third-quarter earnings report, released Nov. 10, showed the company is still growing fast. Revenue rose 35% year over year, while losses were cut by 30%. The number of members on the platform nearly doubled from a year earlier, to over 2.9 million. The number of financial products offered for sale more than doubled, to 4.2 million.
Despite this, most members currently generate little revenue, as Noto admitted in a profile for The Information. From an operating perspective, SoFi is still a lender, selling loans to consumers, collateralizing them, and then selling the paper. So, investors are paying nearly 14 times sales for what’s basically a bank.
The Bulls Are Pounding the Table for SOFI Stock
People covering the company keep pounding the table for SOFI stock. I know this because I have been one of them. I put my money where my mouth is. So far, I’m down about 11%, and I bought more recently.
You’re probably asking why advocates for small investors are rushing in while the big boys retreat.
I think it’s a question of time frame. Traders want profits today. Investors are looking at tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
The Bottom Line on SOFI Stock
SoFi is the tip of the spear for fintech. Bankers, brokers and even insurance agents are rapidly being turned into apps on a phone. Jobs are disappearing during the transition, but productivity is rising.
Technology is how you beat inflation. A new platform has big advantages over an old one in this environment because it lacks the technology debt of mainframe-based systems. SoFi’s relatively small size is another big advantage. Broad national ambitions mean SoFi’s growth can continue, even at its present rate, for years to come.
I’m certainly not putting all my money into SOFI stock. So far, my stake represents less than 1% of my total funds. But while growth is out of fashion, that’s what I’m going to buy.
On the date of publication, Dana Blankenhorn held a long position in SOFI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Dana Blankenhorn has been a financial journalist since 1978. His latest book is Technology’s Big Bang: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow with Moore’s Law, essays on technology available at the Amazon Kindle store. Follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn.