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Impinj Files for Initial Public Offering

The chip manufacturer filed an IPO this week, seeking up to $100 million to pay for debts and fund further research.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 22, 2011Impinj, a Seattle-based manufacturer of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID chips, has registered for an initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock on the exchange. The company expects to raise up to $100 million. The number of shares to be offered has yet to be determined, nor have timing and price.

The announcement follows what the company calls its largest sales year since its formation a decade ago. According to its S-1 registration statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Impinj reported an annual revenue of $25 million in 2008, $21 million in 2009, and $32 million last year. However, like many startups, the firm has never been reported as profitable. It suffered net losses of $11.9 million in 2008, $9.9 million in 2009, and $11.4 million in 2010.

Michael Liard, director of ABI Research's RFID practice
During the first three months of 2011, Impinj saw a net loss of $1.8 million, bringing its total accumulated loss up to $155.8 million. But the firm anticipates that the incubation period for RFID technology is coming to an end, and that adoption will accelerate over the coming years. In the S-1 filing, Impinj stated, "We believe demand for UHF Gen 2 systems will grow, both by further penetration into existing applications, such as apparel tagging, and by expansion into myriad other high-volume tagging applications."

The company's IC products are sold as part of a technology platform known as GrandPrix, which includes Monza tag ICs, Indy reader ICs and Speedway readers. The technology is often employed by the retail market—including apparel, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages—as well as by technology and logistics companies, and government agencies.

Impinj declined to comment for this story, citing SEC rules. The offering signifies greater confidence in the RFID market on the company's part, says Michael Liard, ABI Research's practice director of RFID. "I think there's a sense in the market that this technology solves business problems, and this [public offering] is a sign of the market growing and stabilizing."

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