GoPro shares surge as IPO takes off

 
Nassos Stylianou
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GoPro shares soaring as high as the daredevil enthusiasts that use it (Source: Getty)

Shares in wearable camera maker GoPro have surged by more than 60 per cent above its initial $24 IPO price during the first two days of trading.

The stock rallied by 30 per cent on its market debut and has leapt even further today to above $37 at pixel time, Friday noon in New York. After markets closed on Thursday, the company's market value had shot up by $1bn to almost $4bn.

The company and its shareholders raised $427 million by selling the shares at the top end of its intented price range, $24.

GoPro, famous for producing extremely durable pocket-sized video cameras with the slogan 'Be a Hero', was publicly listed on the Nasdaq in what is considered the biggest initial public offering for a consumer electronics company in the last twenty years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, GoPro's early Wall Street success reflects the rise of a new type of high-end consumer-electronics gear going against the view that hardware businesses are no longer exciting.

While an initial pop in share price is traditionally expected from an IPO, the scale of this rise will have delighted the company's self-made billionaire founder Nick Woodman, who came up with idea for the GoPro camera on a 2004 surfing trip to Australia.

GoPro executives after ringing the Nasdaq opening bell on Thursday (Source: Getty)

Initially marketed to adrenaline junkies with a penchant for capturing their extreme sports exploits on video, GoPro clips have become their own genre as the company has broadened its horizons recently by popularising action cameras for mainstream consumers.

“People have an inherent desire to have footage of themselves doing what they love to do . . . Then it comes down to execution and we are the team to do it. We are responsible with the business, we have strong insights into what consumers want and our track record is great,” said Woodman after ringing Nasdaq's opening bell on Thursday.

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In an era where traditional camera manufacturers have taken a hit as the quality of smartphone cameras has drastically improved, GoPro has made a profit in each of the last three years. In 2013 it sold 3.8m cameras with a revenue of $986m in 2013, up by almost double from the previous year.

The real test for GoPro and Woodman, who owns around half of the company's stock, is whether it can move from generating the significant majority of its revenues from hardware sales to becoming a new age media company, something that constitutes part of its plans for the future.

In its prospectus, GoPro states it is "investing to scale GoPro as a media entity" by using the millions of subscribers it has on social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

Benefiting commercially from deals it has struck with other companies, such as the agreement with Virgin America to show its videos on flights for free, will be crucial. According to the company, plans to produce more original content using the video clips taken by its users also feature in its strategy for the future.

For now though, Woodward and his colleagues can sit back and watch their shares soar as high as the daredevils that put the GoPro to use.

(Source: Getty)

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