Insta360, the GoPro-rival that won awards at the world’s biggest electronics show in 2018, is considering a domestic initial public offering as soon as next year.
The Shenzhen-based maker of 360-degree cameras and virtual reality devices has raised $30 million from investors including Everest Venture Capital, MG Holdings and Huajin Capital, founder Liu Jingkang said. It now plans to deepen research while expanding overseas, he said in a phone interview. Longer term, the startup is pondering a listing but hasn’t made a final decision on venue, which could include China’s upcoming technology board or the existing Growth Enterprises Board in Shenzhen, the founder said.
Founded five years ago, Insta360 is among a handful of Chinese hardware upstarts gunning for GoPro Inc. in the sports camera business. Leveraging its proximity to the Chinese manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, it’s launched a slew of products that’s now siphoning away market share from its U.S. counterpart.
Insta360 is formally known as Shenzhen Arashi Vision Co. and counts IDG, Suning Holdings and Qiming Venture Partners among its backers. Its gadgets include the Insta360 ONE and the $400 ONE X, which use 360-degree imaging and has drawn favorable comparisons to GoPro, the label that catapulted action photography into the mainstream.
GoPro itself is struggling to attract a wider customer base for its cameras beyond outdoor enthusiasts. Rivals offer cheaper models, while smartphone cameras have eaten away at its market. Its shares hit a record low in late 2018, less than five years after going public.
Liu argues that his cameras try to cater to consumers by, among other things, being lighter and easing the editing process. He dismisses the notion that Insta360’s products are carving out market share through price.
“While some other Chinese companies may start from low-end products, we will keep a relatively healthy margin and will not sell products at a significantly lower price than competitors,” he said.