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>> After a brutal year for big name IPOs like SnapChat and Blue Apron. Roku, one of the first video streaming boxes to help set cord-cutting in motion, showing a strong debut on the NASDAQ. Shares rising over 50% Thursday, their first day of trading, giving the company evaluation of around $2 billion.
But investors will be watching in the days to come, as Snapchat, too, started strong before petering out. Roku saddled with the added challenge of being a hardware maker, in a market that's not taken kindly to many of them, says Reuters reporter Leanna Baker.>> Roku is still an unprofitable company, and they haven't said exactly when they will become profitable.
And some investors may be scared off by the performances of GoPro and Fitbit, which are two hardware IPOs in the past two years. Roku, though, knows about that, and is trying to pivot itself, and present itself as a company that sells ads, that has a platform, that takes a cut of revenue on its streaming service.
And actually, almost half of its revenue is now coming from these non-hardware sources, so that story is playing out.>> The initial public offering comes as competition for video streaming devices heat up. There's Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and many more smaller players. But those who prefer Roku to its rivals point out that the platform has been opened to carrying more TV apps, including Amazon Prime Video.
Apple TV, for example, only recently announced plans to support Amazon's video offerings. Roku has 15 million monthly active users as of end of June, and accounted for nearly half of all video streaming devices in the US last year. It was conceived by Anthony Wood, the inventor of the DVR, while he was working at Netflix, although Netflix doesn't have a stake in Roku.
Roku is also home to Netflix, Hulu, Google Play and Reuters TV.