Raspberry Pi is planning a London IPO, but its CEO expects “no change” in focus

The business arm of Raspberry Pi is preparing to make an initial public offering (IPO) in London. CEO Eben Upton tells Ars that should the IPO happen, it will let Raspberry Pi's not-for-profit side expand by "at least a factor of 2X." And while it's "an understandable thing" that Raspberry Pi enthusiasts could be concerned, "while I'm involved in running the thing, I don't expect people to see any change in how we do things."

antrosapien ,

RIP RPI

UnaSolaEstrellaLibre ,

No change in current focus, which happens to be the business sector. :)

GissaMittJobb ,

I wouldn't necessarily read too much into this.

I think most people's aversions to the concept of IPOs stems from the fact that it lies at the end of the not-too-uncommon lifecycle of VC-backed companies:

  • Get VC investment
  • Subsidize your product using said investment
  • Grow like hell on account of handing out things at a too-low price
  • Prepare for IPO by worsening the deal for customers to improve financials (also known as enshittification)
  • Use IPO money to pay off VCs and leave both them and founders with a large chunk of money

Post-IPO the company has to abide by the regular rules of being a company, meaning that they never really re-capture what it was like when they had a large stack of free money to make all deals sweeter than the competition.

All this to say is that the damage is done once you raise VC capital. Raspberry Pi has raised one fairly small round, so there's potentially some damage done there, but it's way less than your average tech startup did throughout the years, so this doesn't necessarily have to mean that everything will go to hell now.

And009 ,

Thanks for explaining the cycle, my assumption was that bringing in board members is what ruins everything.

ccunix ,

No, going overnight from running at a massive loss to "time to make loads of cash" is what ruins everything.

AceFuzzLord ,
@AceFuzzLord@lemm.ee avatar

So, when Raspberry Pi is inevitably enshitified if they go through with this, who's gonna be the next big (rather, small) company to get something Pi equivalent to run an OS like Lakka or Recalbox?

I honestly don't know since I don't know of any other companies making these kinds of mini computers.

iknowitwheniseeit ,

There are literally dozens of alternative products to the Raspberry Pi, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Do a web search for "single board computer" or even just "raspberry pi alternatives", and see for yourself.

AceFuzzLord ,
@AceFuzzLord@lemm.ee avatar

Fair enough.

aBundleOfFerrets ,

SBCs are a fairly mature space nowadays. Plenty of options.

CalcProgrammer1 ,
@CalcProgrammer1@lemmy.ml avatar

There are plenty of alternative SBCs out there, many mimicking the RPi form factor as well. Look into Radxa, Banana Pi, Orange Pi, Pine64, ODROID, etc. I picked up an Indiedroid Nova board last year that is RPi form factor but has the more powerful RK3588 processor. Drivers are still WIP but it is quite fast. I also run my home server on a Radxa Rock Pi 4, which has an RK3399 processor and is very comparable to the RPi 4. Drivers for it are pretty solid these days and it doesn't require extra work to set up. Just download an Armbian image and go.

gondezee ,

Any non-rockchip ones tho? Beagle has been dead for a bit.

CalcProgrammer1 ,
@CalcProgrammer1@lemmy.ml avatar

Pretty much all the alternative SBCs are either Rockchip or Allwinner if you want ARM. There are a few RISC-V SBCs now but software support isn't as solid and many of these lack GPUs. There are also a few x86/64 SBCs based on either older Intel Atom or newer mobile parts too.

gondezee ,

Yea in one of my other comments down somewhere here I mentioned riscv as a hopeful future option, maybe with someone like AMD spending some resources to bring another viable solution to market. I know AMD is working on RISCV, they’ve got some low power SOCs already. I’m wondering if they got something in the pipes…

Rayspekt ,

How can the not-for-profit side of business expand with an IPO? People invest specifically to increase their wealth. How's this going to happen with a non-profit business?

Surely those shareholders just fucking love Raspberry Pi so damn much that they just have over their cash no questions asked.

Alimentar , (edited )

You're forgetting that superannuation, 401k, retirement funds that everyone pays for goes into stocks too.

Technically speaking you could be a shareholder.

In an ideal world, the company can use this to further expand without taking on debt.

What raspberry pi will do though, we shall see. But it's not always so black and white.

Onii-Chan ,
@Onii-Chan@kbin.social avatar

"I don't expect to see any change in how we do things."

Oh, this is going to age like fucking milk. You belong to the shareholders now, mate. They'll MAKE you change how you do things, and you'll love it.

Nilz ,

What do we want?
_More profit! _
When do we want it?
Now!

laurelraven ,

Well, I guess I've bought my last pi then, was nice while it lasted

wabafee ,
@wabafee@lemmy.world avatar

RIP Raspberry Pi

milkjug ,

I personally don't know of any company that has gotten better post-IPO than they were before. Would be enlightening it if anyone could suggest examples or personal anecdotes.

experbia ,
@experbia@lemmy.world avatar

I've prepared for you a comprehensive list, here:

milkjug ,

That's a wholly complete list indeed. Must have been tough to put together /s

And009 ,

Reddit

melroy Admin ,
melroy avatar

They always say there is no change after IPO.. But there always is..

tsonfeir ,

So who is the new raspberry pi?

fine_sandy_bottom ,

If people think that an IPO means we're going to … push prices up, push the margins up, push down the feature sets, the only answer we can give is, watch us. Keep watching," he said. "Let's look at it in 15, 20 years' time."

What a fucking lame answer.

RasPi was cool at one time, but that time has long since passed.

wizardbeard ,
@wizardbeard@lemmy.dbzer0.com avatar

Lol, right?

The sheer ego to tell your customers to reserve judgement on a massive, company changing event for over a fucking decade! Delusional.

Especially when they've been completely beat out in their market niche for ages and are now only holding on due to brand recognition. It's easy to have grass roots community support when you were the only product in your niche, but they've been coasting on that for ages with no real work to truly stay relevant.

Fixbeat ,

What features are you referring to?

fine_sandy_bottom ,

There are other cheaper boards with better specs.

billwashere ,

When their focus changed to more corporate aligned interests they became less cool. Victims of their own success I’d guess.

But this a politician’s answer. They just didn’t answer the question at all but implied that if we check back in 15 years we’d see that they had “our” best interests at heart.

Um no company has your back. They are all in it to make as much money as possible. I mean I don’t blame them but I don’t trust the em either.

laurelraven ,

I do blame them. Success does not require obscene profit. A company like that can actually be both successful and not sell themselves out like that.

If profit is a company's only motive, then I'm sorry, but that company has no real value or purpose.

laurelraven ,

"...watch us [do exactly that]. Keep watching [as we do exactly that and worse]. Let's look at it in 15, 20 years' time [long after I've cut and run with my golden parachute and left the rotting corpse of this company get picked apart by vulture investors and am long past caring]"

experbia ,
@experbia@lemmy.world avatar

This is the same answer always given by every sell-out right before they sell out their users/customers, and it always collapses into a silent capitulation to enshittification not long thereafter.

To customers/users of a product or service, IPO should mean only one thing: Last call; FLEE NOW!

gravitas_deficiency ,

They were definitely a pioneer in the SBC market. But there are tons of alternatives out there nowadays. And if you are amenable to upcycling, you can get old 1L-class x86 machines from enterprise companies doing dump/replace cycles for dirt cheap on eBay or Craigslist or FB marketplace.

TL;DR: yes it’s frustrating to see. But as consumers, we have tons of options these days, so it’s not really a catastrophic loss even if Rpi goes down the enshittification path.

GardenVarietyAnxiety ,

RIP Rpi

kittenzrulz123 ,
foggy ,

Raspberry pis were cool when small form factor PC is were not easy to acquire.

If you want to get into Maker stuff get breadboards or an Arduino or something.

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