GoPro (GPRO), the maker of wearable cameras, made its debut on the Nasdaq Thursday after raising $427 million in its offering. The shares opened higher by 19% to $28.65 after pricing at $24 on Wednesday evening.
The company has seen strong growth in recent years, reporting revenue of $986 million last year, up from $526 million in 2012 and $234 million in 2011. Profits for 2013 were $61 million, compared to $32 million in 2012 and $25 million in 2011.
Since their first HD camera debuted in July 2009, the company has sold 8.5 million -- 3.8 million HD cameras were sold in 2013 alone, for about $200-$400 each.
The cameras are commonly used to capture action footage for sports like skiing and surfing. The company is hoping this will result in shareable content, with CEO Nicholas Woodman claiming that over 6,000 GoPro videos are uploaded to YouTube every day.
Woodman, who is also a surfer, told FOX Business that “when you do what you love, you have passion and insights that others don’t.” He had the idea for the company over a decade ago, when he realized he needed a device to record his adventures.
Woodman recorded the IPO roadshow with GoPro cameras and said that he saw strong investor appetite. “They want it as much as consumers as they want it as investors.”
Although GoPro has succeeded in the business of wearable action cameras, it’s unclear whether new entrants to the space will negatively impact their business. Google Glass and other smart glasses may provide competition for GoPro.
Top stakeholders include GoPro Woodman and his wife Jill Woodman, who own a 49% stake in the company. RW Camera holdings owns 16% and Foxteq Holdings owns 10%. Nicholas Woodman’s father, Dean Woodman, also owns a 6% stake.
J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and Barclays co-managed the offering. Some of the stock was also allocated to Loyal3 Securities, which enables consumers to buy into public offerings when they first price.
At 39 years old, Nicholas Woodman is amongst the world’s youngest billionaires. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $1.2 billion.
Shares closed at $31, and maintained in after-hours trade.
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