Roku IPO Priced at $14, Values Firm at $1.3B

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Local TV streaming startup Roku popped in its public market debut Thursday morning, with its shares climbing almost 30 percent.

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. Roku revenue comes from the sale of Roku TV streaming devices, from advertising and subscription revenue.

To compete better, the California-based firm has opened its platform to more TV apps than its peers, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Google Play, allowing it to offer over 3,000 channels internationally. Founded by Anthony Wood, the "father of the DVR" who still leads the company as CEO, Roku has more than held its own against tech behemoths Apple, Google and Amazon.

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"We depend on a small number of content publishers for a majority of our streaming hours, and if we fail to monetize these relationships, directly or indirectly, our business could be harmed", the company said in the filing. For its 2016 fiscal year, Roku generated $398.5 million of revenue which was an increase of more than 25% compared to its fiscal year 2015.

Roku's advantage is that it doesn't make any of its own content.

Tech IPOs have hit something of a lull but as Business Insider reports, "Roku's revenue is growing fast as cord-cutters and other consumers snap up its devices, the cheapest model of which sells for $30".

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Snap was the biggest technology company to go public this year, but since its much-hyped IPO, its stock value has been cut nearly in half as investors saw how easily Facebook (FB - Free Report) 's Instagram could simply copy Snapchat's most popular features. Users streamed more than 6.7 billion hours on the Roku platform in the six months ended in June 2017, 62% growth from the six months ended June 2016.

"There's too much money chasing too few good ideas", Smith said.

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