Shares of Roblox (RBLX -8.42%) soared 54% Wednesday, marking a successful first day of trading for the popular video game developer.
Roblox went public via a direct listing, rather than the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process. A direct listing allows a company's existing investors to sell shares directly to the public, without the need for an investment bank to underwrite the offering.
"We love the direct listing for Roblox because we're all going to come together and that first trade is going to be at the same price for everyone," Roblox CEO David Baszucki said during an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The New York Stock Exchange set a direct listing reference price of $45 for Roblox's shares. That valued the game developer at $30 billion -- a steep increase from the $4 billion valuation investors assigned to the company in a funding round in February 2020. Still, investors apparently thought Roblox's shares were worth much more, and they bid their price up another 54% on Wednesday.
Roblox has enjoyed tremendous growth during the coronavirus pandemic, as parents sought out safer forms of entertainment for their children. More than 8 million developers use Roblox's tools to design 3D virtual experiences for the platform's 37 million users. The company's revenue, in turn, rocketed 82% to $923.9 million in 2020.
Looking ahead, Roblox sees its revenue rising as much as 64% to $1.5 billion in 2021. However, it cautions that growth could slow as the COVID-19 crisis subsides and children have more forms of entertainment available to them once again.
"We headed into 2020 with strong organic growth which was further bolstered by social distancing restrictions," CFO Michael Guthrie said on March 2. "As those restrictions ease, we expect the rates of growth in 2021 will be well below the rates in 2020."