Roku closes up 68% in stock market debut


Roku closes up 68% in stock market debut

Content streaming company Roku saw its shares surge 67.86% on its first day of trading.

After pricing its IPO at $14 and then opening the day at $15.78, Roku shares closed at $23.50. This values the company at almost $2.2 billion.

While this good news for the new investors and is a favorable sign for the company, this actually isn’t ideal. It means that Roku could have sold its shares for a higher price and raised more money.

The IPO raised $219 million after pricing at $14, but if Roku priced at $19, it would have raised about $298 million for the company. And it still would have made a good impression on new investors, who would have made about 24% on the first day.  But, it’s better than going down!

Roku’s primary revenue driver is its hardware devices, which competes with Apple TV and Chromecast. It also licenses its operating systems to smart TV manufacturers.

Founder and CEO Anthony Wood told TechCrunch that “revenue growth has been modest because we’ve been driving down prices.” He’s referring to the $29 Roku Express device, which he calls a “huge success.”

But while it’s a smaller portion of total revenue, the majority of the company’s gross profit is coming from its platform business. This is mostly advertising revenue generated from streaming content from Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. It also includes content distribution fees.

The company brought in $399 million last year, but was unprofitable with losses of $43 million. Revenue was up and relative losses narrowed from 2015, when revenue was $320 million and it was in the red for $38 million.

We think we’re on the right profitability path,” Wood told TechCrunch.

Roku previously raised over $200 million in equity funding since 2008. Menlo Ventures was first investor and largest stakeholder, owning 35.3 percent of the company leading into the IPO. Menlo is selling about 6 million shares. Fidelity was the second-largest stakeholder, owning 12.9 percent.

Roku’s ticker is the aptly-named “ROKU,” and it listed on the Nasdaq. Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were the lead bankers on the IPO.


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