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Penny Stocks-Timothy Sykes Millionaire Challenge

Top 10 Most Successful Penny Stocks in History

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Reviewed by Friedrich Odermann Fact-checked by Ed Weinberg
Updated 11/24/2023 22 min read

Everyone wants to know about the most successful penny stocks in history … They want to believe in the dream of getting filthy rich on cheap stocks.

They also want to buy big houses and expensive vehicles without doing all the hard work.

Keep dreaming. I’ve been trading penny stocks for over 20 years now. I’ve seen a thing or two in the stock market …

What I rarely see is a penny stock becoming a real, legit company.

That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Sometimes, you’ll find a diamond in the rough.

I’ve seen a few successful penny stocks in my trading career. Companies have to start somewhere. Some of today’s biggest companies were actually penny stocks back in the day. You’ll see a few familiar tickers on this list of the most successful penny stocks in history.

But they’re exceptions. 99% of penny stocks will NEVER see this level of success. In fact, most fail. That’s why I teach my students to trade penny stocks … not invest in them.

To be absolutely clear: I don’t invest in penny stocks or recommend investing in penny stocks.

Yes, these results are impressive, but people back then couldn’t have predicted them. For every ‘most successful penny stock,’ MANY will fail.

And, as you’ll see, some of these stocks took years — decades — to become successful. I don’t want to wait that long! I like to look for volatility and stocks that follow patterns. That’s what has created opportunities for me and my top students.

Still, it’s worth learning from any and every stock. Ready to learn? Let’s review what many consider the most successful penny stocks in history…

Table of Contents

What Are Penny Stocks?

Penny stocks are low-priced shares, typically trading for less than $5, in smaller companies not listed on major markets. These stocks require keen attention to data and charts, as they offer high-risk and high-reward opportunities. While they can yield millions in returns, they demand a sharp mind to navigate their volatile nature.

Trading penny stocks involves a lot of research to make informed decisions and understand the rights associated with these types of shares. Most often, these aren’t the stocks that get featured on CNN — you have to turn over a few rocks to find out what’s really going on with these stocks.

One big advantage of penny stocks — you don’t need a big account to start trading. I’ve seen traders start with just a few hundred bucks and still make it work. The key is to be smart about your trades and keep your risk tight. You don’t need a fortune to start; you need a strategy. If you’re wondering how to trade penny stocks with a small account, I’ve got you covered. Learn how to trade penny stocks with a small account here.

Which Companies Are Eligible for Penny Stock Classification?

Penny stocks refer to small-cap and micro-cap companies with a market value under $300 million. They’re not listed on major exchanges and often lack a long track record. They’re the Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR — defunct), not the Ikeas, of the stock world.

In my years of trading and teaching, I’ve seen all kinds of companies in the penny stock arena. From nutrition companies to tech startups, the range of interests is vast. But remember, just because a company is eligible for penny stock classification doesn’t mean it’s a good investment. Always do your due diligence, check multiple sources of information, and understand the commission and fees involved.

List of Top 10 Most Successful Penny Stocks

The 10 most successful penny stocks include:

What makes a ‘successful’ penny stock?

You might think it’s a company that started as a penny stock and became a ‘real’ company. There’s more to it than that.

A penny stock is any stock that trades under $5 per share. Plenty of billion-dollar companies — companies with big names — once traded at or under $5 per share.

We haven’t seen many penny stock companies becoming large-cap companies lately, but it does happen.

In fact, some of the biggest names on the Nasdaq started as penny stocks! Nasdaq isn’t just for the big players; it’s also a playground for penny stocks. These stocks often come with a bit more legitimacy and are subject to stricter regulations than OTC stocks. If you’re looking to diversify your penny stock portfolio, Nasdaq is a good place to look. Learn more about why you should consider trading NASDAQ penny stocks here.

But remember … Successful companies take years to build — especially if they start small. These companies might be success stories now, but they didn’t make anyone rich fast.

That said, let’s look at some of the craziest penny stock success stories over the years…

True Religion Jeans (used to trade under NASDAQ: TRLG) — The Defunct Penny Stock

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The first successful penny stock on this list is True Religion Jeans (used to trade under NASDAQ: TRLG).

True Religion Jeans used to be one of the great penny stock stories.

It traded under a dollar per share in the early to mid-2000s. But in 2013, the company was acquired by Towerbrook Capital Partners for $32 per share. Long-term investors made a killing as shares appreciated by 5,000%.

TRLG’s story ended the way it ends for most penny stocks. True Religion filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and again in 2020. Even the most successful penny stocks are affected by the boom-and-bust cycle of penny stock land.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) — The Tech Giant Former Penny Stock

The second successful penny stock on this list is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL).

Apple wasn’t always one of the largest tech companies in the world. In fact, hardly anyone knew about the company and its products for years.

Back in the early 2000s, AAPL traded for under 80 cents per share — a legit penny stock.

Of course, that’s ignoring the many stock splits this stock has had since… But in 2003, it got down to a retail price of $6.56.

As of this writing, AAPL shares trade for over $370.

This stock returned over 46,750% — it’s now one of the largest companies in the world.

But there was no way of knowing 20 years ago it would become such a success story. And for every company like Apple, there are hundreds of tech penny stocks that fail.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) — The Fortune 500 Former Penny Stock

The third successful penny stock on this list is Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F).

Ford is a $50 billion company. But it was last a penny stock in 2020.

While it still hovers near penny stock territory price-wise, it’s also one of the most well-known automobile manufacturers in the world.

Why include it in this list? I wanted to give an example of share prices not indicating a company’s performance.

You could consider it a penny stock success story in that it doesn’t seem bound to crash and burn like so many others. Then again, it’s never been a massive mover. It’s not that interesting to me.

I prefer huge spikes like Bravada International Ltd. (OTCPK: BRAV) had in 2020. I traded this first green day OTC play — up on news — for a $612 profit (starting stake $3,937).

Turtle Beach Corporation (NASDAQ: HEAR) — Back in Penny Stock Land

The fourth successful penny stock on this list is Turtle Beach Corporation (NASDAQ: HEAR).

This chart is the exact reason I teach my students to aim for singles and NOT be overly aggressive.

Short selling can be a good strategy with penny stocks for some traders … Many of these scammy low-priced stocks fail. But, like with HEAR, sometimes they don’t.

For short sellers, these trades can lead to account devastation.

Traders from 2018 might remember this ticker… Over-aggressive shorts and legitimate news spiked HEAR from under $2 to over $30 per share in a few months.

It happened all over again in 2021.

Study this chart in order to see exactly what’s possible with penny stocks. Some trades aren’t worth taking.

Don’t go for home runs — especially if you short. The wrong trade could end your trading career forever.

I mostly avoid shorting these days because of crazy short squeezes like HEAR had. Respect the short squeeze!

Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ: MNST) — The Surprising Mega Penny Stock

The fifth successful penny stock on this list is Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ: MNST).

Yep: way back, before it was a standard offering in grocery and convenience stores, Monster Energy Drinks was a crappy penny stock company.

In the early 2000s, it traded for under 6 cents per share…

As of this writing, it trades for over $100 per share. Over the years, this ticker has returned over 166,000%.

A $1,000 investment at its lows would be worth over $1.6 million today. That’s a good contender for the most successful penny stock.

Don’t get FOMO. It took many years for that to grow and easily could have flopped.

Mylan N.V. (used to trade under NASDAQ: MYL) — The Delisted Penny Stock

The sixth successful penny stock on this list is Mylan N.V. (NASDAQ: MYL).

MYL is a pharmaceutical company with a net worth over $8 billion at its height. Its lows were just under $6 per share.

It ran all the way from $6 to over $70 per share before it imploded.

I’m including it as a cautionary tale. Hold and hope is not a winning strategy in penny stock land.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) — The Clean Energy Former Penny Stock

The seventh successful penny stock on this list is Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG).

PLUG is a great example of the potential of penny stocks — especially in this crazy volatile market.

You’ve gotta be prepared for this volatility. Get my no-cost resource, “The Volatility Survival Guide,” and study up!

PLUG is an example of history repeating. In 2014, it made an initial run from 11 cents to almost $12 per share. In 2020 and 2021, it went from $3 to over $65 per share. It’s now worth more than $7 billion, putting it in mid-cap stock range.

Much of the action is thanks to aggressive short sellers. Don’t short a stock like this every time it goes higher. Because sometimes, it doesn’t stop.

And maybe you missed out on PLUG, but you can learn from it…

You can also learn the basics of my approach to penny stocks with my student Jamil’s book, “The Complete Penny Stock Course.” It covers so many questions I get about this niche.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) — The Microchip Maker with Big Penny Stock Potential

The eighth successful penny stock on this list is Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD).

If you like computers, you’ve probably heard of AMD. It’s one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world right now.

Back in 2015, AMD was trading for under $2 per share. Now, it’s almost $100 per share, making it one of the most successful penny stocks in history.

AMD now has a $155 billion market cap — making it a large-cap stock. Penny stocks can become real, legit companies. But you’ve gotta be lucky … and wait 20 years.

I don’t like to try to guess which companies will make it. My plans work better for the 99% that don’t make it… Get my free guide here.

Medifast Inc. (NYSE: MED) — The Telemarketers’ Revenge Former Penny Stock

The ninth successful penny stock on this list is Medifast Inc. (NYSE: MED).

MED is also a contender for the ‘most successful penny stock’ list. After trading at under $2.30 per share in 2005, the company hit an all-time high of $332 per share in 2021.

Its 14,300% move is impressive. But it took 16 years.

In under half that time, my former student Jack Kellogg has made over $12 million in career earnings.

Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) — The Pandemic Play Former Penny Stock

The tenth successful penny stock on this list is Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX).

I saved one of the most successful penny stocks for last. NVAX had a huge run this year.

This pharma play ripped from $3.50 at its low to nearly $300 per share at its highs — all in under a year, thanks to the crazy volatility of the coronavirus market.

The problem? Newbie traders see this and expect all penny stocks and biotechs to do the same thing.

In 2023, NVAX is trading under $6. That’s almost back in penny stock land.

Don’t believe the hype!

Recent Penny Stock Success Stories

My recent penny stock success story picks are:

For every 500 penny stocks on the stock market, maybe one or two are capable of this type of breakthrough. More often than not, these companies raise money for their greedy executives through toxic financings.

These stocks often become the subject of speculation and hype, fueled by social media and online forums.

They’re like Pinocchio — except their nose only grows and grows, and they never become real boys.

Now, let’s change gears and discuss some of the most successful penny stocks currently.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) — The All-Time Meme Penny Stock

The biggest recent penny stock success story is GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME).

Back in 2020, GameStop was a penny stock…

In 2021, it went supernova on one of the greatest short squeezes of all time. It hit an all-time high of $483 before falling.

If you look at its two-year chart, you can see the long-term downtrend it’s been on. I wouldn’t trade GameStop unless there was some big news. But you can learn from a stock like this.

Study this so you can see the patterns in its chart. It could help you spot similar action in another company with similar growth.

How to Find Penny Stocks Before They Explode

You probably won’t find the next Amazon or Apple by sifting through the penny stock market … But you can find securities that can move 100% or more in a single day.

These are the plays that my students and I like to trade.

Over my 20-plus year trading career, I’m up over $7.4 million in trading profits. I didn’t do it by getting lucky with the ‘most successful penny stocks.’

I did it by being prepared and reacting rather than predicting. Many of these stocks are driven by speculation rather than fundamentals, making it essential to do your homework.

It’s also worth noting that these stocks can be subject to regulatory scrutiny and enforcement actions, so tread carefully.

My strategy is to find plays before they make their full move.

My go-to weapon for finding plays? StocksToTrade.This software is essential for trading penny stocks. There are two key tools on StocksToTrade you need to use — check the guides on my site:

These are my secret weapons in finding hot plays every day. The Breaking News chat room alerts me to important news articles in penny stocks and the overall economy, giving me a crucial trading edge.

In fact, roughly half of my recent trades have been direct effects of Breaking News.

Get a 14-day trial of Breaking News Chat here — only $17!

A good stock screener has many tools, which help traders scan for stocks and do research… That’s important for building the watchlists that let you keep an eye on high-potential penny stocks.

Check out this video where I walk you through how to make a watchlist:

I also have some tips for spotting potential breakout penny stock companies. Try to find companies that exhibit these characteristics:

Is a Low-Float Stock

Low-float stocks have less than 10 million shares publicly available that traders can buy. This limited supply can have an effect on big price swings, especially when these stocks have a volume of or exceeding their float.

Shows an Unusual Daily Trading Volume

Stocks with high daily trading volumes tend to be more liquid, which lets you enter and exit positions more easily. This is especially important with volatile stocks like penny stocks.

Is a Former Runner

Stock performance changes over time, but you’ll find clues in the chart. Penny stocks that have run in the past are more likely to run in the future.

Has a Frequent Media Presence

News and press releases often lead to major stock price swings. Find penny stock companies with a strong media presence — news articles are often signs to buy or sell shares.

2 Hot Penny Stocks to Watch in 2023

Here are two penny stocks I’m watching in 2023.

These stocks are often associated with emerging industries, like EV batteries, making them hot targets for traders.

American Battery Technology Co. (OTCQB: ABML) — The EV Battery Penny Stock Play

My first hot penny stock to watch in 2023 is American Battery Technology Co. (OTCQB: ABML).

I’ve traded this stock for $22k in profits since 2020. Even though I haven’t traded it too much recently, it always has a spot on my EV watchlist.

I’m waiting for the EV sector to heat up again. And I think it might in 2023.

Asia Broadband Inc. (OTCPK: AABB) — The Former Supernova True Penny Stock

My second hot penny stock to watch in 2023 is Asia Broadband (OTCPK: AABB).

I’ve traded this former supernova for over $61k since 2020.

This trashy penny stock was one of the stars of 2021…

It went full supernova on a pump surrounding gold-backed crypto. I only kept those gains because I traded safely, and cut my losses quickly.

Now it’s trending again on news that it’s going after market makers for manipulation. It’s joining a weird sector headlined by Genius Group Ltd. (AMEX: GNS) — this other hot penny stock has started a movement of crappy penny stocks accusing the short sellers of the world of illegal short selling…

It’s ridiculous, but it might still lead to big gains.

How Often Do Penny Stocks Succeed?

Penny stocks rarely succeed. The 13 assets discussed in this post — some of which increased by more than 100,000% — are rare.

Here’s a BIG disclaimer: you shouldn’t expect these results from any penny stock.

Benefits of Investing in Penny Stocks

The allure of penny stocks lies in their potential for massive returns. You can double or triple your investments in a short period. But, and it’s a big but, you need to know what you’re doing. I’ve been teaching this content for years, and the first page of my playbook is always about risk management.

The benefits extend beyond just the financial gains. Trading penny stocks can be an excellent way to diversify your portfolio. It allows you to take calculated risks without putting all your funds in one basket. But remember, high returns come with high risks. Always be prepared for the downside.

What Are the Potential Risks Associated with Penny Stocks?

While the upside of penny stocks can be alluring, the risks are equally daunting. These stocks are volatile, subject to market manipulation, and often lack transparency. In some cases, you’re flying blind, relying on scant information to make investment decisions.

I’ve been in this game long enough to know that not every trade will be a winner. That’s why I always emphasize the importance of risk management to my students. You need to set stop-loss orders, diversify your investments, and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

The Bottom Line on the Most Successful Penny Stocks

Penny stocks have insane potential — but few will make it into the ‘most successful penny stock’ hall of fame.

Most penny stocks won’t perform well long-term because of greedy CEOs and sketchy business plans. Then there are promoters and “financial advisors” who pump penny stocks to help get a quick move … then cash out while subscribers are stuck holding a losing stock.

That’s why I teach my students to trade penny stocks — not invest in them.

And I never recommend following alerts. The alerts I send to my students are to teach the process and show what a trading opportunity looks like. My goal is to teach traders to be self-sufficient.

Don’t play guessing games in the market. Instead, learn to day trade and focus on small gains. If you’re dedicated to learning and building experience, consider applying to my Trading Challenge.

What’s the most successful penny stock you’ve ever seen? Let me know in the comments below!


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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (205) 851-0506 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”