Even though I don’t regularly invest in IPO’s, I keep a watch on ones I think are interesting.
Here’s one I am thinking about.
• Roku (ROKU) is the market leader for internet TV devices with 37% market share. This is the same as last year and up from 33% two years ago.
• Apple is in second with 15% market share; down from 19% two years ago.
• Google’s chromecast slipped to 14% market share; down from 18% a year earlier and 21% two years ago.
• Of all households with broadband internet, 40% own a TV streaming device; up from 6% in 2010.
Roku’s origin story
Roku has an interesting origin story.
From a 2013 article in Fast Company:
“Roku began life inside Netflix as project Griffin. Netflix wanted to build a player that subscribers could hook up to their TV to stream movies and TV shows from the web.
Netflix believed it could fundamentally change how the company delivered content to its customers, who were used to waiting days for DVDs to arrive by mail.
In December 2007, the device was weeks away from launching and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was having serious second thoughts.”
The problem? Hastings realized that if Netflix shipped its own hardware, it would complicate potential partnerships with other hardware makers. “Reed said to me one day, ‘I want to be able to call Steve Jobs and talk to him about putting Netflix on Apple TV,’” recalls one high-level source. “‘But if I’m making my own hardware, Steve’s not going to take my call.’”
In the end, Hastings decided to spin the company out into a sperate entity called “Roku”.