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GoPro Leaps Towards IPO

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According to a Company press release, San Mateo based video camera maker GoPro has filed for an IPO. The Company had previously raised ~$288MM, $88MM from Riverwood Capital, Steamboat Ventures, Sageview Capital, Walden International, and US Venture Partners in May 2011 and then $200 from Foxconn in December 2012. The round in 2012 valued GoPro at $2.25Bn so we would expect the valuation to be significantly higher. CEO Nicholas Woodman, age 38, is rumored to own a majority stake in the Company. According to Dealbook, JPMorgan is the lead investment bank on the offering.

Woodman has said that GoPro (whose parent company is actually Woodman Labs), “has been profitable since day one” and was bootstrapped initially. Last year, the company generated $521MM in gross sales by selling 2.3MM cameras and was profitable. It expects to double revenue this year and exceed $1Bn according to a Bloomberg TV interview last October. Reuters had reported that GoPro was seeking a $300MM to $500MM IPO back in 2012. The Company is trying to position itself beyond just a camera maker into a larger media company, with Woodman saying,

“If we can become the de facto standard for image capture of unique perspectives around the world, we have a lot of growth ahead of us.”

GoPro also has its own editing software, but most of the revenue is from the  cameras. The Company’s YouTube channel has 1.7MM subscribers and has the benefit of free user generated content that is used for marketing. They also recently signed a deal to make the channel available on Microsoft’s Xbox One.

The news comes just days after the Company announced that it has hired former Qualcomm executive Jack Lazar as its new CFO to replace Kurt Amundson. We’d be somewhat concerned about hiring a new CFO after you’ve already filed initial documents with the CEO. Typically you’d like to see the CFO be at a Company at least a year before filing, but Lazar is an experienced CFO so hopefully everything will work out fine.

Woodman’s story as an entrepreneur is a great one and worth reading more about. He’s talked about the difficulties in fundraising for a hardware startup and the benefits of bootstrapping despite the current popularity of crowdfunding platforms. He began with $64K of his own capital and was aided by $100K from his father, which allowed him to start the business with a clear and singular vision.

According to a Forbes article after the December 2012 funding, since 2004, GoPro has grown rapidly and accounts for 32% of the pocket camcorder market, according to IDC analyst Chris Chute. Chute said he expected the global market to grow 67% from 2.7MM units shipped in 2011 to 4.5MM units in 2012.

Christopher Chiou

Bay Area based for 12 years and originally from the NYC area. My career has been spent as a technology dealmaker, advising clients on M&A and capital raising, and as a principal investor backing great companies and teams. I'm passionate about technology trends, traveling, sports, politics, Knowledge, and Duke basketball.

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