After a solid 2020, the tech sector has had a mixed year in 2021.

Many tech companies benefited at the start of pandemic as people adjusted to new ways of living – working from home, shopping online, paying for things over time without paying interest.

While many of these trends continued in 2021, there just wasn’t the same growth as happened last year. Tech has also been hit by fears of rising inflation, which typically deflates high-risk assets.

The average tech stock is up a modest 2% and the ASX 200 Tech Index is unchanged in 2021. This is well under the ASX 200 benchmark of 10%.

 

Tech IPOs in 2021

Code Company Price % Return since Market Cap
FLX Felix Group 0.28 12 $ 30,542,615.60
NNG Nexion Group 0.15 -25 $ 12,036,900.90
EPX Ept Global Limited 0.13 -35 $ 20,771,999.04
X2M X2M Connect Limited 0.19 -24 $ 13,431,167.07
ATV Activeportgroupltd 0.145 -28 $ 12,263,366.25
W2V Way2Vatltd 0.17 -15 $ 23,402,567.20
XPN Xpon Technologies 0.22 10 $ 31,404,940.35
GFN Gefen Int 0.525 -48 $ 31,065,216.90
ATA Atturralimited 0.62 24 $ 124,341,278.38
RWL Rubicon Water 1.42 42 $ 240,639,145.60

The tech IPO space was particularly disappointing with only ten floats and the majority underwater.

Despite being off its all time highs Rubicon Water (ASX:RWL) takes the cake as the best tech IPO of the year.

This company has irrigation automation technology that aims to help with water scarcity and improve the supply of water to farmers.

Another was IT services company Atturra (ASX:ATA) which only listed on Wednesday. Arguably what helped it was a trading update on its opening day which depicted that the company was on track to meet its prospectus forecasts.

 

Here’s a list of all ASX tech stocks in 2021

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop

Looking to the rest of the market, there are 11 companies that gained over 100% throughout the year but only one company went over 200%.

 

 

Best ASX tech stocks in 2021

Novonix (ASX:NVX) was the top tech stock, gaining 714% in 2021.

This company is in the lithium space but sits in the tech sector because it is a battery manufacturer selling to clients including Panasonic, Bosch and Samsung.

Its key achievements in 2021 included winning a US$5.6 million grant from the US Department of Energy, wooing Phillips 66 to invest US$150 million for a 16% stake in the company.

It plans to produce 10,000 tonnes of graphite by 2023, 40,000 tonnes by 2025 and 150,000 tonnes by 2030.

In second spot with a 159% gain is a company which at the start of the year wasn’t even sure if it wanted to be listed.

US tech stock Life360 (ASX:360) listed on the ASX at $4.79 a share in May 2019 and after stagnating for several months hinted at leaving the US either by listing in the US or being acquired.

But it has surged as its revenue, users and app features have expanded and it has undertaken acquisitions. It now has 33.8 million monthly active users, 1.1 million of which are paying users.

The company’s flagship product is a smartphone app that provides information such as where families members are, details on their driving performance including how fast and how quickly they brake, and even how close they might be to a crime scene.

Another US listee, Revasum (ASX:RVS) is in third sport with a 143% gain.

This company is still trading at a discount to its IPO price but, after a board clean out and with the semiconductor industry beginning to shrug off US-China tensions, it has begun to turn things around.

While Janison (ASX:JAN) is not the only edtech on the ASX that gained in 2020, it is one of the few to maintain momentum into 2021 with a 137% gain.

This company provides online school assessments and it has excited investors with acquisitions in the back end of the year.

 

Worst ASX tech stocks in 2021

The worst ASX tech stock in 2021 is IoT sensor tech company Sensera (ASX:SE1), down a whopping 83%.

In 2020 it had a poor start after it reported the loss or deferral of several orders but it appeared to have turned things around after the March market crash, recording solid revenue growth and winning a major contract with US tech firm Triton Systems to utilise its technology.

But it has been a horror year, especially in the last quarter, losing one of its most major customers which led to a poor quarterly report. At the end of November it unveiled a plan to sell its sole operating business.

With the company admitting this would inevitably lead to its ASX suspension for some months with entry only possible if and when it found a new business, more shareholders dashed for the exits.

After a solid 2020 the BNPL sector has retreated. Almost all companies are down with the worst Laybuy (ASX:LBY) shedding 83%.

Even Afterpay (ASX:APT) is down 25% despite being about to be acquired by the Jack Dorsey-led payments giant Block.

Investors in other companies have been spooked by that deal, as well as big financial players (banks and payments companies) all entering the space making it more crowded and difficult to stand out.

While fintech Douugh (ASX:DOU) is still more than double the price it reverse listed at in 2020, it is well down from its all time high of 36 cents in November last year.

Its financial wellness app launched first in the USA but is planning a launch in Australia soon.

Data analytics software Nuix (ASX:NXL) begun the year at $8.25 and went over $11 in January having listed at just over $5 per share.

But it has been a horror year for the company after repeated profit downgrades which sparked allegations that it inflated forecasts in its prospectus, and with it, two class actions and multiple ASIC probes.

The dramas sparked the departure of CEO Rod Vawdrey, CFO Stephen Doyle and co-founder Anthony Castagna.

On top of all this the company’s sales were hit by the extended transition of government in the US and COVID-19 impacts on its customers.

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