Fitbit, a company best known for its wearable health trackers, went public this morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares were priced at $20, but immediately jumped to over $30 a piece, giving the company a market cap of roughly $6.3 billion. It will be trading under the ticker symbol FIT.
The company is making the jump to the public markets at a critical time for wearable computing. Google's Android Wear and Apple's recently introduced smartwatch offers many of the same basic fitness-tracking options, like a heart rate monitor and step counter, along with a raft of more advanced features akin to what you find on a smartphone. Of course, you do need a iPhone to really use your Apple Watch, while the FitBit can operate on its own. It is also cheaper and with a seven-day battery life, can be worn more often and while in bed to track sleep.
Fitbit is on pace to generate over $1 billion in annual revenue
Fitbit is on pace to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year, and close to $200 million in profits. The majority of that money comes from its hardware business, but the subscription software the company offers has also been a fast-growing opportunity.
In the run up to the IPO, FitBit was the target of several lawsuits from rival Jawbone, which accused it of stealing trade secrets and infringing on its patents. With the IPO FitBit now has over $700 million in cash to fight that legal battle. Meanwhile, it has been crushing the competition in the open market.
Jawbone has been aggressively attacking Fitbit in court
As NPD analyst Ben Arnold told The Verge, the company has been extending its lead over its industry competitors. "Every time I look at our data they have a larger and larger share of our digital fitness market," said Arnold. "For the most recent 12 months through March they have 74 percent of that fitness tracker market. A year ago it was 62 percent. They are growing their share in a growing market."