In case you missed it, GoPro, one of the biggest initial public offerings of a consumer electronics company in more than 20 years, went public to much fanfare, on June 26, 2014. It raised $427 million at a valuation of $2.96 billion in its IPO and shares sky-rocketed past its $24 pricing in its first week.

1.   What is GoPro and why is it so hot right now?

GoPro makes digital “action camcorders” that users can wear, while doing things like sky-diving or playing bass at a concert. The mounted cameras can record angles from the user’s point of view” compared to a traditional camcorder.

Why?  The technology builds on the popularity of the “selfie.”

2.   How much do they cost?

The cameras are pretty affordable with the lowest-end model starting at $199.00, and the highest end version called the Hero3+ Black Edition priced at $399.00 with video resolution up to 12 megapixels.  The company also sells various mounting accessories, from a helmet to a harness so you can get the best shots.  The helmet front mount will set you back just $12.99, while the harness is about $40 bucks.

3.   Who created GoPro?

Nick Woodman is the founder and CEO of the company.  While surfing in Australia and Indonesia he would try to capture his surfing activities on film by attaching a 35 millimeter camera to his palm with a rubber band. After realizing he could fill a void in the market for this, GoPro was born.

To help fund the business, Woodman and his wife purchased a bunch of shell necklaces in Bali for a few dollars, and would resell them from their car along the California coast– for about $60 a pop.

Couple that money making strategy with hundreds of thousands of dollars from his mom and dad, and the company took off from there.

4.   Will GoPro suffer the same fate as Cisco’s Flip Video?

Flip cameras were also portable digital video recorders that could shoot at high quality, but they’re pretty much obsolete.  Cisco Systems bought the company for nearly $600 million in stock, only to shut it down two years later, as sales dropped with smartphones offering more advanced camera features.

Cisco's Flip Video Products

Cisco’s Flip Video Products

It’s very possible GoPro sales could slow down as competitors continue to release similar products.  Garmin has the Virb Elite and Sony already released the Action Cam.

The more competition, the tendency for price wars to heat up.

5.   What sets GoPro apart from the rest?

While many think GoPro will be a one-trick pony, Ben Arnold, a consumer technology industry analyst at The NPD Group said, “They don’t just sell a video camera, they sell the memory of the wave or the ski trip down the slope.”

He adds, “The camera market and especially the camcorder market have been in decline basically since the advent of smartphones, and what GoPro has been able to do is reverse that trend.”

I guess only time will tell.