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Roku IPO a hit with investors

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NEW YORK - Investors are streaming to Roku.

Shares in the online-video technology soared on Thursday in the company's debut as a publicly listed company. Roku's stock shot up 68 percent, or $9.50, on the day to close at $23.50. The shares priced at $14 each, the top of the company's expected range, suggesting strong demand from investors.  

Roku raised $219 million in the initial public offering. 

The Los Gatos, California, company is known for its boxes and sticks that let users watch Netflix, Hulu and the growing universe of streaming-video options on their TVs. It has the biggest share of the streaming-gadget market, but has deep-pocketed competitors in Amazon, Google and Apple.

Behind Facebook's "Watch" video platform

Roku (ROKU) is unprofitable and has amassed $244 million in losses since it was founded in 2002. The company has more than 15 million accounts, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Most of Roku's revenue comes from sales of its streaming players, but it's seeking to capitalize on its "platform" by building its business of showing ads to users, whether on its home screen or inside video apps.

"Consumers have significantly shifted their TV viewing behavior, and we believe all TV content will be available through streaming," Roku said in registering for an IPO earlier this month. "Therefore, we also believe this presents a large market opportunity for streaming TV advertising."

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