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The gaming firm Roblox is submitting an IPO prospectus after a gross sales leap of 91%

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David Baszucki, Roblox CEO

Roblox

Roblox, whose online gaming software was hugely popular with children during the pandemic, filed its IPO prospectus on Thursday and joined a growing number of companies trying to go public before the end of the year.

Revenue for the third quarter rose 91% year over year to $ 242.2 million, Roblox said on the file. The net loss more than doubled to $ 48 million. Roblox's platform contains millions of games that can be played on Apple, Google, and Amazon devices, as well as consoles.

Airbnb, DoorDash and online lender Affirm also filed for an IPO last week to capitalize on the post-election rally in U.S. stocks and investor demand for high-growth tech names. The companies are trying to get to market between Thanksgiving and Christmas, people familiar with their plans told CNBC last week.

Roblox was founded in 2006 but has never seen a year like 2020. Daily active users almost doubled to 36.2 million in the period up to September. A metric the company calls "hours busy" has more than doubled to 8.7 billion.

Welcome to Bloxburg

Roblox

Most popular with kids, Roblox allows users to create an avatar that they can use to move across titles. Games are free to play, and the company sells Robux, a digital currency that can be used to purchase virtual goods and upgrade characters. Roblox also generates revenue by letting users rent servers to hold virtual birthday parties and other gatherings that were particularly popular during the pandemic.

"We saw rapid growth for the three months ended June 30, 2020, September 30, 2020, and for a portion of the three months ended March 31, 2020, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic as our users grew more were online as a result of COVID-19 global guidelines for on-site protection, "the company said in the filing.

Roblox's filing is in the hands of investors just over two months after gaming software company Unity went public. If investors value Roblox versus Unity, the company expects a high debut.

Unity's third quarter revenue grew 53% to $ 200.8 million and was valued at $ 32 billion. Roblox is bigger and growing faster. Based on a comparable multiple of annual sales, Roblox would be worth over $ 37 billion. This comes from a $ 4 billion funding round earlier this year led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Roblox said that for the first three quarters of the year, 34% of its revenue was from Robux sales on Apple devices, while 18% was from the Google Play Store. According to the prospectus, 72% of users are on mobile devices, 25% on desktop computers and 3% on consoles.

Altos Ventures is Roblox's largest shareholder with 21%. Co-founder and CEO David Baszucki owns 12%. Meritech Capital controls 10%, Index Ventures 9.9% and Tiger Global 7.3%.

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Katherine Clark