GoPro’s Newest Adventure Is Its IPO


GoPro Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GPRO) newest adventure is in the stock market.

The company behind the tough little cameras favored by extreme sports enthusiasts, adventurous filmmakers and unique perspectives began its latest financial adventure, an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, with a bang. No parachutes or surfboards required.

The stock jumped by more than 30 percent its first day and stayed high through its first trading week. The successful IPO is even being credited with helping boost tech stocks in general. And it all started with a video taken on a surfboard by GoPro founder Nicholas Woodman in 2004. The original GoPro used 35 mm film. Now that initial camera and its digital successors have made its inventor a billionaire.

GoPro’s success is due in part to its successful brand building. The camera is associated with adventure, travel and being a tough little device. This reputation for being durable enough to take on adventures helped boost the brand’s profile as several videos shot on mounted GoPro cameras made their way to YouTube, providing a cache of film displaying the cameras’ capabilities

Turner Investments Analyst Eric Turner told The Wall Street Journal that that branding helps GoPro. “They’re a consumer-hardware company, but obviously have an edge because of that brand and that loyalty they’ve managed to build,” he said.

Brand loyalty is a pretty important factor in a company’s success. Apple owes much of its success to its very loyal customer base. The GoPro is similar to Apple in this respect, as its cameras have a pretty devoted following. These fans are valuable since they not only buy the products; they further build the brand through posting YouTube videos and social media. Some analysts have drawn this comparison between the two, comparing GoPro now to Apple during the release of the iPod. Like the iPod or the iPhone, the GoPro camera is one of the company’s signature products. And like an Apple product, the camera is ubiquitous with the brand. A GoPro camera is associated with an adventure, usually started by mounting the camera on a helmet or other piece of equipment using more GoPro gear.

That brand is pretty successful. GoPro sold more than 3.8 million cameras last year. The company just had an IPO considered successful by many, although the final word on the IPO’s success will not be available until GoPro releases its financial reports, of the quarterly and annual variety. Also not everyone agrees that the IPO was a success. Forbes and MarketWatch both posted commentary critical of investors caught up in the hype of GoPro’s IPO.

After the IPO comes the regular day-to-day trading that continues after the hype of the IPO is gone. GoPro then gets to ride the rough waves of the financial markets.

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