In fact, Zebra stock recently reached its all-time intraday high price of $237.15 on April 24. All of these accomplishments can be credited to the steady and persistent innovation that has occurred at Zebra over the last 50 years, as well as the company’s continual transformation.
Zebra had a very humble beginning. In 1969, two young entrepreneurs in Chicago, Illinois – Ed Kaplan and Gary Cless – committed $1,000 of capital to design electromechanical equipment in their spare time. They were successful in selling paper tape punches at the point of sale under the name Data Specialties. Their innovative spirit ultimately led to the first barcode label printer in 1982. In 1986, they changed the company name to Zebra to pay homage to the black and white stripes on their printer labels.
Since then, prudent organic investments and a number of business acquisitions have fueled Zebra’s growth. The most notable being the 2014 transformational acquisition of the Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business, which gave us mobile computing and advanced data capture solutions to complement our successful specialty printing business. This was a truly transformational decision for Zebra, but it wasn’t the only one – and we’ve never strayed from our innovative roots.
Today, Zebra is worth over $14 billion, with more than half of our $4+ billion in sales now generated outside the United States. We have well over 7,000 employees located in more than 45 countries, and a community of 10,000 channel partners fueling our business – and we have no plans to stop growing. We’re investing more than $400 million in annual research and development (R&D) to drive continued innovation and industry leadership. We also continue to make strategic acquisitions, as you’ve seen recently with the Xplore and Temptime acquisitions.
As we reflect on how far we’ve come over the last five decades, it’s important to re-iterate that Zebra remains a forward-thinking company. As Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson noted in his comments at the Nasdaq bell-ringing yesterday: Zebra will continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit upon which Ed and Gary built the company 50 years ago. We are committed to delivering the innovative solutions that help our customers run their businesses smarter and faster through increased operational visibility. This, in turn, will keep us well-positioned to continue to drive shareholder value.
Editor’s Note: Check out Zebra’s Investor Relations page for more information on the company’s financials, and follow Your Edge each week for insights into company innovations, customer successes and expert market insights from around the world.