Please forgive me if this whole lithium craze feels like a case of déjà vu.

Let’s wind the clock back 12 months. Small explorers were chasing the next big thing, their target mineral was needed for the new wave of batteries and high end technology.

Sound familiar?

Instead of lithium, it was graphite or graphene and there wasn’t a day where a new discovery wasn’t made, each more magnificent and higher in purity than the last.

Those following the excitement at the time will remember first the announcement of jumbo flakes then super jumbo size flakes. What’s next, you may ask, super planet size flakes?

Just for the record, a super jumbo flake is anything over 500 microns. An Australian explorer Ardiden Ltd (ASX: ADV) recently discovered flakes up to 4,200 microns in Canada.

If you are wondering, I can report (with mild disappointment) that flakes of this size are also classified as super jumbo. Anyway back to my story, one company in particular was flying high Triton Minerals Ltd (ASX:TON).

It had stumbled on a huge graphite deposit in Mozambique. Triton Minerals had even entered into a $2 billion dollar agreement with Yichang Xicheng Graphite Co Ltd for exclusive graphite supply rights. Yes I know what you are thinking, their shareholders must now be on easy street.

Sadly that is not the case with the company entering into voluntary administration in March this year. Shareholders have been left with little to show for their investments other than a decent tax write off for next year. To be fair, Triton Minerals may yet live to trade another day as the administrators run through offers they have received for the business.

Rather than investing in exploration companies, I save my speculative dollars for small cap companies which are actually turning a profit, paying a dividend and growing rapidly.

Paragon Care Ltd. (ASX: PGC)

Paragon Health Care supplies durable medical equipment to hospitals, medical centres and aged care facilities. With a market cap of just over $100 million, this one is small but growing strongly. In the first half of this financial year, revenue was up 185%, EBITDA up 186% and net profit after tax was up 215%.

Melbourne IT Limited (ASX: MLB)

Melbourne IT Limited is an online solutions provider. Services include domain names, web hosting, web design, search engine marketing or online tools for business and management. I believe the recent purchase of InfoReady, a data and analytics provider, will see MLB grow at an increased rate. Recent declines in price make this one very interesting.

INGENIA STAPLED (ASX: INA)

Ingenia owns, manages and develops a portfolio of affordable seniors living communities across Australia. With 77% of single people over 65 relying on the pension as their primary source of income, affordable accommodation is a growing market. EPS (earnings per share) is expected to grow at over 50% this half year from recent acquisitions and optimisation of existing assets.

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Motley Fool contributor Alan Edmunds owns shares of Paragon Care Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.