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Roku connects with investors in debut, shares spike

Shares of Roku Inc

, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, rose as much as 16.6 percent in their market debut on Thursday, giving the U.S. IPO market a much-needed shot in the arm.

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The U.S. IPO market is struggling to finish 2017 on a high note even though it has already raked in more money so far this year than it did in 2016. (

Snapchat owner Snap Inc

, and meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron Holdings Inc

, which listed in the first-half of the year are trading well below their listing prices.

At $16.33, Roku had a market capitalization of $1.55 billion.

A pioneer in helping consumers cut the cord from traditional cable, Roku made one of the first devices to offer streaming content such as Netflix over TVs.

But the market has since become more competitive, with Apple Inc

, Alphabet Inc’s Google

, Inc

and others offering their own devices.

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.

The company licenses its software to companies such as Sharp and Hitachi and gets a cut of the advertising revenue from media companies with apps on its platform.

In six months ended June 30, Roku had around 15.1 million active accounts, with around 6.74 billion hours of content streamed, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Those numbers however haven’t translated into profitability as the company pumps in cash into marketing and R&D.

In the quarter ended June 30, the company posted a net loss of $15.5 million, bigger than $14.1 million loss in the year-ago quarter.

“I don’t like that they are losing cash but, if you wait for a cash flow positive tech company, you may have to wait for a full solar eclipse to come around again,” Brian Hamilton, chairman and founder, data firm Sageworks said.

Roku’s shareholders include Menlo Ventures, Fidelity and Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox.

The 15.67 million Class A share offering was priced at $14 per share, the upper end of Roku’s proposed $12 to $14 range, raising about $219.35 million in proceeds. ( (

(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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