Fitbit’s Fitness Open To Scrutiny With IPO Filing

One of the downsides for a young company filing to go public is that it has to start revealing all its secrets to the world.

So far, though, observers dissecting Fitbit’s IPO bid have been impressed by the financial numbers disclosed today in the company’s S-1, the registration statement lodged with the SEC for an initial public offering.

“Fitbit Files For IPO, Reveals Surprising Profits,” was the headline for Lauren Gensler’s article in Forbes.

The San Francisco-based pioneer in wearable fitness tracking devices turned profitable in 2014, Fitbit’s filing shows. After the company lost $52 million on revenues of $271 million in 2013, it cleared a net income of $132 million on revenues of $745 million in 2014.

The growth continued in the first three months of 2015, when Fitbit realized $48 million in net income on $348 million in revenues. In the SEC filing, Fitbit said it aims to raise $100 million in the IPO, though it could revise that number.

Of course, commenters immediately started to pick away at the favorable picture. The success of Fitbit, founded in 2007, has only encouraged a host of tech industry heavyweights—Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google—to pile into the fitness arena, wrote Yoree Koh in the Wall Street Journal.

A number of kibitzers noted Fitbit’s specific reference to the recent debut of the Apple Watch as one of its competitive threats.

“Fitbit is clearly worried about Apple” was how Business Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco titled her story.

Fitbit says its rivals also include a bevy of hungry startups, including Jawbone, Garmin, and Misfit. But are these wearable devices only a passing fad?

“42% of people stop wearing fitness trackers after six months. Any growth left for Fitbit is just people who haven’t tried, discarded it yet” tweeted Christopher Mims, Technology columnist at @WSJ.
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Fitbit, however, says it’s vying for a share of a wearables market where revenues could reach more than $33 billion worldwide by 2018, according to estimates by International Data Corporation.

One of my favorite comments came from Alex Fitzpatrick, Deputy Tech Editor at @TIME. He must have pored over the S-1 more diligently than anyone else to find this nugget.

“Fun Fact: Every Fitbit in the world will vibrate when the stock ends the day up,” Fitzpatrick tweeted.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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