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GoPro rugged camera maker files for $100 million IPO

The portable videocamera company's filing shows it generated revenue of nearly $986 million in 2013.

The GoPro Hero 3 and 3+. Sarah Tew/CNET

While it's not exactly news that GoPro was planning to go public, it's now official.

The portable videocamera company filed for its initial public offering Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, saying it plans to raise $100 million and will list on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "GPRO."

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which makes rugged videocameras that show the exploits of skiers, bikers, surfers, and even toddlers and dogs, documented in its filing that it's profitable. In 2013, GoPro generated revenue of $985.7 million, which is up from $526 million in 2012 and $234.2 million in 2011. In the first quarter of 2014, GoPro made $235.7 million.

While these numbers demonstrate positive growth, the filing shows that from quarter to quarter the company's revenue is not quite consistent. For instance, revenue in the first quarter of 2014 was lower than the same period in 2013, when it generated $255 million. GoPro wrote that production issues caused this discrepancy.

Other investment risks GoPro outlined in its filing include depending on sales for its revenue, a likely slowed growth rate in the future, high reliance on its CEO, and being involved in a "highly competitive market."

For decades, Japanese companies like Canon, Olympus, Pentax, and Nikon have dominated the camera market, with only modest adjustments as consumer electronics companies like Samsung and Sony arrived. But GoPro, something of an underdog, has found a strong niche in the market even as smartphones have steadily replaced cameras in many people's lives.

The GoPro cameras are compact, no-fuss devices that dispense with manual controls and other distractions. Instead, their primary virtue is that they fit in housings that can endure all manner of abuse and that can be clamped onto helmets, handlebars, surfboards, and more. That lets the extreme-sports athletes, real or aspiring, record and share their exploits.

GoPro announced in February that it had filed its initial paperwork to hold an IPO. The company declined to comment when contacted by CNET for more information on its SEC filing.