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Raspberry Pi eyes public markets in landmark London IPO seeking growth

Raspberry Pi eyes public markets in landmark London IPO seeking growth
Image c: DepositPhotos/chetroni

Raspberry Pi, the beloved single-board computer known for fueling innovation in the tech hobbyist and education sectors, is making a historic move – a potential initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). 

Backed by tech giant Sony, Raspberry Pi could become the first major tech IPO in Europe this year, a region that has seen a significant decline in such activity. According to PitchBook, European tech IPO fundraising in the first half of 2024 reached just €7.9 billion ($8.8 billion), a steep decline from €32.6 billion ($36.3 billion) during the same period in 2023.

Just a few days back, we also reported about how India’s unicorn insurtech Go Digit raised $141M a day before IPO.

From humble beginnings to global phenomenon

Founded in 2012 by Eben Upton, a University of Cambridge computer scientist, Raspberry Pi was born out of a desire to democratise access to computing for educational purposes. 

The credit-card sized computer offered impressive processing power at a low cost, quickly capturing the imagination of hobbyists, educators, and tinkerers worldwide. By 2023, Raspberry Pi had sold over 20 million units globally, solidifying its position as a dominant force in the single-board computer market.

Fueling innovation for hobbyists and educators

Raspberry Pi’s impact extends far beyond hobbyist tinkering. The low-cost computer has been instrumental in educational initiatives around the globe, equipping students with valuable coding and hardware skills. 

A 2023 study by the Raspberry Pi Foundation found that 40% of UK schools use Raspberry Pi in their curriculum, demonstrating its widespread adoption in educational settings. From robotics projects to building media servers, Raspberry Pi’s versatility has fostered a vibrant community of creators and learners estimated at over 8 million active users worldwide.

IPO aims to fuel expansion and secure future

The potential IPO on the LSE marks a significant step for Raspberry Pi. According to the CNBC report, the company aims to raise $40 million through the offering, with the proceeds used for engineering advancements, supply chain improvements, and “general corporate purposes.” 

As per the IPO filing, a portion of the proceeds will also be used for employee stock ownership plans, potentially further incentivizing the Raspberry Pi team. This funding could fuel research and development efforts for future iterations of the Raspberry Pi, ensuring its continued relevance in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

The timing of the Raspberry Pi IPO is noteworthy. Europe has seen a significant decline in tech IPO activity in 2024, with rising interest rates and global economic uncertainty dampening investor enthusiasm. 

If successful, Raspberry Pi’s IPO could be a positive signal for the European tech sector, demonstrating continued investor interest in innovative companies with established user bases. However, the success of the IPO will likely hinge on Raspberry Pi’s ability to convince investors of its long-term growth potential in a challenging economic climate.

What are the challenges and questions that remain

Despite its widespread popularity, Raspberry Pi faces some challenges. The increasing affordability of other single-board computers like the Arduino or the Orange Pi could erode its market share. Additionally, the company will need to clearly articulate its growth strategy to potential investors, demonstrating how it plans to maintain market dominance in the face of growing competition. 

Furthermore, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a registered charity that owns the Raspberry Pi trademark and intellectual property, will remain a separate entity from the publicly traded company. Investors will need to understand the governance structure and how it will impact decision-making within the Raspberry Pi ecosystem.

What we think about Raspberry Pi’s potential IPO

Raspberry Pi’s potential IPO marks a significant shift, aiming to leverage public funding for future innovation and long-term success. However, navigating the public market and retaining its unique tech ecosystem position will be key hurdles. 

Crucially, the separate Raspberry Pi Foundation will maintain its focus on global computer science education, ensuring affordability and access remain core principles. Even so, the IPO could bolster the Foundation’s efforts. This unique dual approach – a for-profit company driving innovation alongside a non-profit education pillar – could be a winning formula. 

Raspberry Pi’s legacy of democratising computing and fostering a global creative community positions it well. The IPO presents an opportunity to secure resources and continue this innovation journey. As Raspberry Pi embarks on this new chapter, it will be fascinating to see how it adapts to public markets while staying committed to education and its passionate user base. The Raspberry Pi story is far from over, and its impact on the future of computing is sure to continue for years to come.

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