While Everyone Watches Groupon, Boingo Files for IPO


Wireless hotspot provider Boingo filed paperwork for an initial public offering today as it looks to capitalize on the growth of mobile devices. While the number of shares offered and the price range haven’t been determined, the company said in its S-1 registration statement that it hopes to raise $75 million through the sale of common stock.

A successful public offering by Boingo would bring more attention to the IPO market, which has been cool lately but is starting to heat up again. Word that Groupon was preparing for a possible $15 million IPO has set tongues wagging and hopes high that 2011 will be a big year.

Boingo runs a worldwide, commercial, Wi-Fi network, consisting of over 211,000 hotspots in 100 countries. The company said it has direct relationships with over 1.3 million users who’ve paid for mobile Internet services in the past year. The company increased revenue from $56.7 million in 2008 to $65.7 million in 2009 and recorded $59 in revenue million through September 2010. The company also made $5.7 million through the first nine months of last year after posting a loss for the same period the year before.

Boingo is looking to take advantage of the boom in wireless devices that need connectivity. The Wi-Fi provider is also positioning itself as a partner for cellular carriers as they look to offload some of their data needs on Boingo’s network. The company said some of the risks it faces is its dependence on venue partners, who may not perform well or may shut out Boingo, limiting expansion plans. The company must also adapt to new wireless technologies that could affect consumers reliance on Wi-Fi.

The IPO is good news overall and suggests Wi-Fi is going to play a big role in the coming mobile boom. Even with the roll out of 4G, Wi-Fi is going to be a critical part of the wireless story.

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