As signs outside the New York Stock Exchange declared that “Wall Street Is Getting Fit,” activity tracking company Fitbit began public trading today. It quickly surged to 50-plus percent above its IPO price and held steady for the rest of the day.
We were at the floor of stock exchange to capture the start of trading (sadly, we couldn’t stick around for the celebrity workout at lunch). We also interviewed SoftTech VC’s Jeff Clavier, an early investor in Fitbit (while he’s had some big exits, this is his first portfolio company to go public), and Doug Chu, NYSE’s head of Silicon Valley listings.
Today, Clavier said, there’s an ecosystem built up around hardware startups “in a massive way,” but he recalled backing the Fitbit in what he called “the dark ages of hardware investing.”
“Clearly, hardware is super hard,” he said. “There are a ton of design issues, contracts, manufacturing quality, it’s really a completely different playbook. And to be very candid, when I invested in Fitbit, I had no clue as to how hard that was going to be. So I feel very very lucky that we end up today listing on NYSE.”