5 worst ASX 200 tech shares of 2021

Remember how hot 'buy now, pay later' shares were? That's a distant memory as we usher in 2022, industry consolidation and higher interest rates

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Despite the threat of persistent inflation and rising interest rates hanging over the sector's head, the S&P/ASX All Technology Index (ASX: XTX) managed to eke out a 3.72% return out of 2021.

But of course, some of those ASX shares fared better than others.

We've already taken a look at the 5 best-performing ASX tech shares from last year

Now it's time for the dreaded worst performing stocks from 2021.

Whether it's due to governance scandals, financial downgrades, industry consolidation, or COVID-19 impacts, these businesses have copped the proverbial cold shoulder from investors as the year wore on.

Here are the 5 worst tech shares from 2021 from the ASX All Tech index:

Company2021 share price change
Laybuy Holdings Ltd (ASX: LBY)(82.31%)
Splitit Ltd (ASX: SPT) (80.69%)
Bill Identity Ltd (ASX: BID) (79.32%)
Damstra Holdings Ltd (ASX: DTC) (77.77%)
Nuix Ltd (ASX: NXL) (73.33%)

Foreign BNPL businesses bleeding badly on the ASX

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) started 2021 as the hot sector with limitless potential.

While that might still be the case for the concept, investors have cooled on BNPL shares since the revelation in August that US giant Block Inc (NYSE: SQ) would wholly acquire market leader Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT).

That's been the turbulent background for New Zealand's Laybuy Holdings Ltd's (ASX: LBY) listed life since floating on the ASX in September 2020.

This ASX tech share landed on the bourse with high hopes and an initial public offer price of $1.41 per share.

But after a shocking 82% fall over last year, Laybuy stocks closed 2021 at 24 cents.

At the time of listing, founder and managing director Gary Rohloff told The Motley Fool his company's payment cycle would be its competitive edge.

"We're the only buy now, pay later provider in the market that offers a weekly payment option," he said.

"We're very simply weekly pay in 6 [payments]. We own that weekly space in New Zealand, I'd argue we own it in Australia, and we definitely own it in the UK."

Another BNPL provider, New York's Splitit Ltd (ASX: SPT), was not far behind Laybuy as the worst ASX tech share of 2021.

The stock price had plunged an eye-watering 81% over the year, leaving it with a market capitalisation of just $117.34 million.

Coverage is scarce on the business. But according to CMC Markets, at least Canaccord Genuity analysts currently rate it as a "strong buy" based on its bargain share price of 25 cents.

'The market appears to have lost short-term confidence'

Microcap Bill Identity Ltd (ASX: BID) saw its share price fall more than 79% over 2021, leaving it to say goodbye to the year at 24 cents.

The Melbourne business automates bill payment processes through its cloud software.

Rounding out the worst 5 honour roll are Damstra Holdings Ltd (ASX: DTC) and Nuix Ltd (ASX: NXL), which saw their shares shrink 78% and 73% respectively.

At its annual general meeting in November, Damstra's language was far from positive.

The workplace management software company stated "the market appears to have lost short-term confidence" in the business and that it is sharing "the disappointment in [its] share price performance with other investors".

Yikes.

Nuix's problems have been all over the front page of not just financial publications like The Motley Fool, but also mainstream newspapers.

After a much-hyped listing in December 2020, the shares peaked at $11.86 in late January.

It's all been downhill since for this ASX tech share, with a series of governance scandals, alleged insider trading, and financial underperformance. In November, Nuix's own shareholders started suing it.

The stock farewelled the forgettable year at $2.20.

Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo owns Block, Inc. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended Afterpay Limited, Block, Inc., and Damstra Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has recommended Nuix Pty Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended Afterpay Limited and Damstra Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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