Sonos (SONO), the company that makes wireless, whole-house speaker systems, went public on Thursday. It priced its IPO at $15 a share, and the stock hit a high of $21 before closing at $19.91. It was trading at over $20 on Friday morning. Nice job there, early investors!
As the new ticker SONO appeared on the NASDAQ boards, I chatted with Sonos VP of Software Antoine Leblond, who was on the scene at NASDAQ headquarters.
I asked him why Sonos is going public now, after 16 years in business. “This allows us to accelerate some of the things we’re working on — maybe look at new partnerships, new products, things like that,” he said.
He mentioned, for example, that the influx of cash might permit the company to make acquisitions and to expand much faster internationally. “But generally speaking, we’re pretty confident in the strategy we’ve been working on, and working towards, for several years now.”
I also asked — just as everyone else is asking — if Sonos really thinks it can withstand the battle against the 8,000-pound gorillas that have recently entered the wireless smart-speaker business: Apple, Google, and Amazon.
“We’re in this with pretty different strategic imperatives,” Leblond said. “If you think of a company like Amazon or Google, they are, just like us, building speakers that have microphones built into them. But what they’re doing this for is an entry point into their services, whether that’s their intelligent assistants, or e-commerce services, or search.
“We, on the other hand, really are focused on the other side of it, which is the listening experience. In that sense, what we do and what they do isn’t so much in competition, but is actually quite complementary. We benefit from each other in a lot of ways, and that’s why you see a company like Amazon, Apple, or Google spending a lot of effort partnering with us.”
(Sonos speakers are the first products to have both Amazon’s…
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