Long the "Hardware is Hard" Narrative
GoPro Inc. ($GPRO) announced extreme guidance this past week. Extremely bad guidance. The hardware-manufacturer-wouldbe-software-developer-wannabe-content-provider-aspiring-drone-player lowered guidance for revenue and gross margin and offsetting measures like job cuts, exec compensation cuts, and discontinued products (discounted drones anyone?). Disputed reports abound that JPMorgan has been hired by Nick Woodman to shop the company. Doesn’t sound like he’ll be doing many guest Shark Tank appearances anytime soon. The company has a $300mm credit facility and $150mm in converts. With negative operating cash flow and and increasingly bad trends, Woodman may soon be fielding pitches from restructuring bankers.
But at least he's still in business. Luma, a home WiFi system maker reportedly had to effectively sell for parts to First Alert. Investors included Andreesen Horowitz, Accel Partners and, get this, Amazon Alexa Fund. Similarly, Eero, the mesh Wi-Fi router startup, laid off 20% of its workforce. It has raised $90mm in VC. Yes, hardware is hard.
But not all tech is "busted" and not ALL hardware is "hard." Apparently 16% of Americans now own a smart speaker. In case you weren't convinced that "voice" may be a VERY big piece of the future. As we noted around this time last year on PETITION, mass adoption of voice has the potential to disintermediate brands and cause more retail distress.