Investors often associate shares trading under $1 as being high-risk, high-reward opportunities that are best left to speculative traders.

While there is a significant part of the micro-cap market that meets the criteria (think gold exploration and start-up biotechnology companies), investors shouldn’t be too quick to write off the sector altogether. In fact, some of the best opportunities for growth investors reside in this part of the market.

With that in mind, here are four fast-growing companies that growth investors could consider with further research:

Australian Vintage Limited (ASX: AVL) – share price 57 cents

Currently trading at around 57 cents per share, Australian Vintage is a winemaker with a market capitalisation of $134 million. While significantly smaller than Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE), the company appears to be following a similar growth strategy by promoting its branded wines both in Australia and abroad. Australian Vintage is also in the process of making significant cost savings with the benefits expected to flow through from FY18 onwards.

RXP Services Ltd (ASX: RXP) – share price 80 cents

Currently trading at 80 cents per share, RXP is an information & communications technology (ICT) company with a market capitalisation of $111 million. It operates across a diverse range of industries and has shown superb earnings momentum over the past three years. The outlook for RXP is positive with double-digit revenue growth expected across FY17 and FY18.

Mobile Embrace Ltd (ASX: MBE) – share price 29 cents

Currently trading at 29 cents per share, Mobile Embrace is a mobile payments and advertising company with a market capitalisation of $131 million. Although the company operates in a very competitive segment of the market, it has delivered surprisingly consistent growth in revenue and earnings over the past five years. With the mobile market becoming the most important e-commerce channel globally, Mobile Embrace is certainly well placed for further growth.

Compumedics Limited (ASX: CMP) – share price 61 cents

Trading at 61 cents per share, Compumedics is a developer and manufacturer of medical devices with a market capitalisation of around $105 million. The company is already the market leader in supplying sleep diagnostic devices in Australia, Japan and China and is now focusing more of its attention to growing its market share in the very lucrative US and German markets. Impressively, Compumedics is still being led by its founder after 26 years and I believe this bodes well for prospective investors.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of RXP Services 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.