By Barbara Wood | Special to the Almanac
Nick Woodman. (Photo courtesy GoPro Inc.)
The initial public offering of GoPro stock was announced in February, but on June 11 the company said it has taken steps to allow ordinary investors, such as fans of the cameras, to take part. Part of the offering will be made through an online company called Loyal3, which allows any investor to purchase initial public offering stocks through the website, Loyal3.com, without fees.
"At GoPro, we realize that it's the people who love our products and what we do who are the real heroes here, and it just made sense for us to level the playing field and include them in our IPO," said Mr. Woodman, CEO of GoPro Inc.
The GoPro camera, which is rugged and waterproof and designed to be strapped on to just about anything from the users' chest to the handlebars of a bike or a firefighter's helmet, takes both still and video images, and can be purchased for under $300. It is a favorite of sports enthusiasts who want to document their daring deeds.
Mr. Woodman, who graduated from Menlo School in 1993, founded the company in 2002 at the age of 26, using mostly money he borrowed from his parents. His original idea was to develop a camera that could make surfers look like professionals.
In 2012, the company sold an 8.8 percent interest to FoxConn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, for $200 million, valuing GoPro at $2.2 billion.
On June 11, in an updated filing filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GoPro said the company and shareholders plan to sell a total of 17.8 million shares, with the price anticipated to be between $21 and $24 per share, valuing the company at nearly $3 billion at the top end. GoPro reported 2013 sales of $986 million with a profit of $60.6 million.
The company's success has come while other camera makers have lost sales to smartphones. Part of GoPro's success has been attributed to the huge number of videos made with the camera and posted on YouTube, where some get millions of views. GoPro often uses these videos in its advertising, including a 2013 Superbowl commercial of a baby learning to walk and being tossed in the air.
● Click here to see June 11 updated financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.