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Raspberry Pi’s tiny, non-flashy $15 computers could usher in new tech IPO hope for London

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Raspberry Pi’s claim to fame is simple: it makes cheap, unassuming personal computers. Oh, and they’re also the size of your credit card at best.

If you look at one of their PCs, it looks like a mechanical, exposed component of a laptop that you’d otherwise take no interest in.

But that’s exactly Raspberry Pi’s goal—to teach people about computing and coding. The Cambridge-based group, founded 16 years ago, is now gearing up for an IPO that’s set to give the London Stock Exchange a much-needed boost. Its shares have been priced at £2.80 ($3.56) apiece, fetching a market capitalization of about £542 million ($688 million).

The shares will start trading on June 14.

“In an ever-more-connected world, the market for Raspberry Pi’s high-performance, low-cost computing platforms continues to expand,” Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton said.

What is Raspberry Pi anyway?

Raspberry Pi had a humble start to life as a charity in Cambridge, where a team of engineers and computer scientists came together to create a PC unique from others.

It was made to “withstand the rough and tumble of childhood,” as the University of Cambridge puts it, and the company has now sold over 60 million PCs worldwide since it first went on sale in 2012.

Raspberry Pi’s secret sauce has four easy yet critical criteria—the PCs must be programmable, fun, affordable, and robust.

Today, the cheapest Raspberry Pi computer costs just $15.

People use Raspberry Pi to understand programming and test hardware projects and other factory machinery.

“As we recognised the potential for affordable technology to make a meaningful difference, not just in education but in countless other contexts, the scale of our ambition grew,” Upton told the Financial Times.

In the last 12 years, Raspberry Pi has released several models, with the profits going towards the eponymous foundation—a shareholder with a 73% stake in the company—to support children’s education. The Raspberry Pi Foundation also offers free resources and educational programs tailored to young people.

The commercial company’s revenue jumped 41% in 2023 to $266 million compared to a year earlier, doubling profits to $38 million.

A registration document in November valued the company at nearly $600 million, including the new funds raised, just as chipmaker Arm bought a minority stake in the company.

Raspberry Pi’s personal computer with its logo.

Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Raspberry Pi goes public

The ultra-niche computer maker’s IPO has been in the works for a few months.

Among the reasons it’s being watched closely is the boost it could bring the London Stock Exchange, which has seen prominent listings slip by despite being within its grasp (including Arm’s). In particular, London has lost its allure in the tech world in recent years.

It’s not been a great look for LSE, which has seen some companies wind down their listings just as IPOs in other European markets have amped up—such as Switzerland’s Galderma Group and Spain’s Puig beauty group.

Indeed, Raspberry Pi could be a great poster child for reasserting London’s attractiveness as a key European home of tech. The company has users across different age groups and industries, it’s purpose-driven, and has generated significant revenue due to the quality of its products. 

“Strategically, Raspberry Pi’s listing is incredibly important as it would add an established, profitable technology company to the UK market,” Dan Ives, investment analyst at AJ Bell, said in a note last month.

“London is extremely underweight tech companies versus the US and anything to address this problem is a step in the right direction. In a best-case scenario, if Raspberry Pi’s share price soars at IPO, it could open the floodgates for more tech firms to list in London as it would demonstrate investor enthusiasm for the sector and a willingness to back UK tech champions.”

Raspberry Pi reminds us never to underestimate the power of a simple yet effective product. Whether that can help the U.K.’s stock markets in an equally effective way remains to be seen.

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