Extreme sports camera-maker GoPro's remarkable ascent from niche startup to video juggernaut continues: today, the company announced it filed for a confidential initial public offering (IPO). The process lets companies keep financial details private until a few weeks before their shares begin public trading, and is the same route pursued by Twitter. Confidential IPOs are a relatively recent phenomena, enabled by new rules from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) designed to make the IPO process cheaper and more manageable and to encourage smaller firms to make the move into public markets.
GoPro last raised $200 million in private funding from Foxconn in December, 2012. That round reportedly valued the company at $2.5 billion, so the IPO would be expected to value the company at several times that figure. Last year, the company did $521 million in gross sales and said it was profitable. It also expects to nearly double revenue this year.
GoPro's story could hardly be more picture perfect for a young hardware startup: the idea was born after founder and current CEO Nick Woodman took a surfing tour in 2002. He wanted to be able to film action shots of himself without spending the money to hire a whole camera crew. So he bootstrapped the initial private capital and built the hardware himself. The first unit was sold in 2004.
GoPro now has its own editing software, but currently makes most of its revenue selling cameras. The company also has a very popular YouTube channel with 1.7 million subscribers and content being generated mostly for free by GoPro owners. GoPro plans to leverage its YouTube presence into a more full-fledged media company, and seems well it on its way toward that goal, recently inking a deal to make the channel available on Microsoft's Xbox One.