Monday, June 26, 2006

Segway close to IPO

Segway sets course for stock market

Although the electric, self-balancing Segway scooter never quite caught on with commuters the way its backers had predicted five years ago, the segway scooter gizmo has found a growing market and very popular niche which include golf courses, law-enforcement agencies (with more than 100 police departments worldwide), and even the government is using them as well.

The segway scooter niche market, and add the highly interest from Europeans struggling with gas prices much higher than in the U.S., and Europeans being more environmentaly friend has brought with them a new fresh life into the Segway.

And Segway Inc. President and Chief Executive James Norrod, hoping to parlay the growth into a payday for the original investors in the scooter, has made grooming the company for an initial public offering in the next few years a top priority. Norrod said he was brought in as CEO last year for just that purpose by Segway's principal investors, Credit Suisse Group and the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, best known for its early investment in Google Inc.

Gauging Segway's prospects in an IPO is difficult, since the company will not reveal its yearly revenue or whether it is profitable. Norrod will only say that "tens of thousands" of Segways have been sold around the world, and that the company's revenue has been growing by at least 50 percent over each of the last few years.

Other factors which is the same old story we are hearing with the whole high fuel prices playing a major role in the potential of big number customers, especially in Europe, and other places where gas can be twice as expensive as it is in the U.S.

The segway scooter international sales were only about 5 percent of the complete segway business about two years ago, the stats are showing that it could be as high was 40 percent by the end of this year. The international segway sales are coming mostly from law-enforcement customers and commuters struggling with high gas prices in Europe. The company also recently set up dealerships in Japan and China.

The segway company is stating that the segway ht (human transporter) gets the equivalent of about 450 miles per gallon, based on the amount of gas it would take to create the electricity needed to run it.

For police and security users, many of whom bought the device with grants from the
Homeland Security Department and other federal agencies, the fuel efficiency is only an added bonus.

The scooters, which travel as fast as 12.5 mph, also allow an officer on patrol to cover a much greater distance than on foot, and go indoors, onto elevators and other places bigger vehicles can't. Blair said the added efficiency allows a force to cut down on the number of patrol officers on each shift and recoup the Segway's cost in as quickly as a month.

In other applications, several bomb squads such as those in Ventura County, Calif., and Little Rock, Ark., are using Segways to transport officers in bombproof and hazardous-material suits that can weigh as much as 100 pounds. The Segway allows them to scoot in and out of a scene quickly, without having to waddle in on foot in the bulky suits. Segway marketing Vice President Klee Kleber said emergency workers responded to the London bombings last year on Segways, as traffic clogged the routes for larger vehicles.

The segway company is also selling its "smart motion" technology — the software and chips that allow a segway to balance on two wheels — to robotic developers at universities and in the military. The technology of the segway will also be used in a robotic toy made by WowWee Ltd., maker of the "Robosapien" toy robot, that is due out later this year.

1 comment:

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