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Roku to make $219m debut

29 September 2017

Snap, Inc., the biggest tech company to have an initial public offering in 2017, has seen its shares slashed nearly in half in value as investors realized that Instagram could use its huge amount of resources, with Facebook being its parent, to simply copy the features on Snapchat.

Shares of Roku Inc. blasted off in their stock market debut Thursday, trading up as much as 65% to add to the streaming device company's initial $1.3 billion valuation. Apple, Amazon, and Google are all selling streaming hardware, and both Amazon and Google have partnered with TV makers to get their software operating systems on brand-new sets.

A pioneer in helping consumers cut the cord from traditional cable, Roku made one of the first devices to offer streaming content such as Netflix over TVs.

Based in Los Gatos, California, Roku is known for those tiny little black boxes that you can access Netflix (NFLX - Free Report), and unsurprisingly, it makes most of its money from selling its streaming video players. As of June 30, Roku had 15.1 million active accounts.

Buttressing that success, Dawson said, is the fact Roku users aren't locked into any one ecosystem; it offers everything. According to research firm EMarketer, Roku claims 32.6% of the country's 150 million connected TV users in 2016, ahead of Google at 29.9%, Amazon at 26.3%, and Apple at 19.9%.

"They're like the Switzerland of the streaming box world", Dawson said.

In its last quarter, it reported a net loss of $15.5 mllion, up from a $14.1 million loss in the same period a year ago.

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Roku officially filed for IPO earlier this month, and at the time told potential investors that it was going to price its shares between $12 and $14. This includes ad sales on advertising-supported channels, but also licensing fees, fees for placement in the Roku channel store and more.

Roku's revenues are weighted towards the hardware side of the business. Although it lacks the deep pockets of competitors such as Apple and Amazon, Roku has received financial backing from a bevy of media conglomerates including 21st Century Fox, Viacom and the Britain's Sky.

Roku previously raised more than $200 million in capital since 2008.

Roku is actually losing money on its hardware even though it generates such a large percentage of the company's revenue.

The company brought in $399 million in revenue in 2016, but lost $43 million.

Roku announced that it had generated revenue of just over $199.6 million during the six-month period ending on June 30. Blue Apron shares have slumped almost 40% since it went public in June.

Roku to make $219m debut