Buy a piece of Raspberry Pi?
This article does not contain investment advice. You should contact a licenced investment advisor for more information.
The various companies and organisations that supply our community have achieved differing levels of success, with some staying as kitchen-table operations and others reaching the giddy heights of multinational commerce.
Perhaps none has risen so far as Raspberry Pi though, as there are reports that the developer of single board computers might be seeking a £400m listing on the London Stock Exchange some time next year. The news is that they have sought the advice of investment bankers over the possibility of a float, seeking to secure further investment to further develop their product portfolio.
We’re not investment advisers here at Hackaday so we’re not going to suggest whether or not to bet your shirt on Pi shares, instead our interest lies in what this might mean for their family of products. It’s an inevitable process for any start-up that achieves major success that it will over time progress from being directed by vision to being directed by commerce, and perhaps a listing could be the culmination of this process.
It’s fair to say that we tinkerers probably represent less of a market than education or industry to the Pi folks, so how might we win or lose when the suits take the helm?
Perhaps the most interesting movements from the company over recent years have been the development of their own silicon in the RP2040 and the new Pi Zero 2, the success of the Compute Module 4, and the Pi 400 all-in-one. We’d expect the last product line to expand into a line of all-in-one computers or appliances for the education and home markets, the Compute Module series to be developed further with industrial customers in mind, and fresh new semiconductor devices to be at their heart.
From this we could still expect new boards with extra capabilities to keep us happy, but we should watch out for any commercially-driven moves towards closed-source or locked-down hardware.
Whatever happens in Cambridge over the next few years we’ll as always be very interested to see what fresh products the Pi folks have in store for us. It’s an impressive achievement to stably go from ten thousand boards unpacked in a garage to a potential stock market listing in under a decade, they’ve come a long way since that leap day morning in 2012.
We can only hope that after nine years the Raspberry Pi foundation can spin into a for-profit organisation that has the capabilities to meet the demand of their products with a greater supply. Their arbitrary limitations on supply seems counterintuitive to their goals of computer education for all.
We suggest that the foundation or whatever they morph into embraces manufacturing in other regions to meet their product demands. They may also need to dial back on their half-arsed wokeness as well. Interesting times ahead.