Nick Woodman

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Nicholas D. "Nick" Woodman (born June 24, 1975) is an American businessman, and the founder and CEO of GoPro.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Woodman is the son of Concepcion (née Socarras) and Dean Woodman.[2][3][4][5] His father was born into a Quaker family and co-founded the investment bank Robertson Stephens;[2][6][7] and his mother is of Hispanic descent and re-married Irwin Federman, General Partner of U.S. Venture Partners in 1992.[3] Woodman grew up in Menlo Park, California[8] and Atherton, California,[9] attending the Menlo School, where he graduated in 1993.[10] He earned a B.A. degree in visual arts and a minor in creative writing from the University of California, San Diego in 1997.[11][9][12] After school, Woodman founded two startups, both of which never fully made it off the ground. The first was a website called, which attempted to sell electronic goods for no more than a $2 markup, and the second was Funbug, a gaming and marketing platform that gave users the chance to win cash prizes. Woodman took the lack of success from both companies personally and cites these experiences as his inspiration to perfect GoPro.[13]


While on hiatus in Australia and Indonesia on a surf trip, he used a 35mm camera attached to the palm of his hand by a rubber band to try and capture his surfing activities on film.[12] Seeing that amateur photographers like him - who wanted to capture quality action photos of their activities - had difficulties because either they could not get close enough to the action or were unable to purchase quality equipment at affordable prices, his trip became his inspiration to found GoPro.[12] His solution was to develop a belt that would attach the camera to the body.[12] Woodman and his future wife Jill financed the business by selling shell necklaces they bought in Bali (for $1.90) from their car along the California coast (for $60).[14] His mother loaned him $35,000 and let him borrow her sewing machine, which he used to sew camera straps while experimenting with early designs. His dad loaned him an additional $200,000, which Woodman immediately paid back out of company sales.[2] His desire for a camera system that could capture close up footage inspired the 'GoPro' name.[15][16] The original cameras he developed were point-and-shoot 35mm film cameras which mounted to the user's wrist. The product has since evolved into a compact digital camera that supports WiFi, can be remotely controlled, has waterproof housing, records to a micro SD card, and is affordable to the average action sports enthusiast ($200–$400). In 2004, he made his first big sale when a Japanese company ordered 100 cameras at a sports show.[12][14] Thereafter, sales doubled every year,[11] and in 2012, GoPro sold 2.3 million cameras.[12] In December 2012, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn purchased 8.88% of the company for $200 million which set the market value of the company at $2.25 billion making Woodman, who owned the majority of the stock, a billionaire.[12][14] On June 26, 2014, GoPro went public - closing the day at $31.34 a share.[17]


2013 National Award Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. [18]


The couple donated $500 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in 2014. The gift went towards creating the Jill + Nicholas Woodman Foundation and made Woodman one of the biggest donors in the tech industry last year.[19][20]

On March 7, 2014, Nick was honored for his philanthropic work with BUILD at their 5th annual gala in San Francisco.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Woodman is married to Jill R. Scully[22] and they have two children.[11][12] They live in Woodside, California.[23] Woodman is known as the "mad billionaire" due to his unconventional behavior and eccentricities.[12]

As of 2014, he is worth an estimated US$1.3 billion.[24]


  1. ^ "How GoPro CEO Nick Woodman Let Consumers Lead Him to New Idea". 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  2. ^ a b c Wall Street Journal: "How Family Ties Helped Nick Woodman Make GoPro Click" By Lizette Chapman June 20, 2013 \" With dad Dean Woodman...and stepdad U.S. Venture Partners General Partner Irwin Federman"
  3. ^ a b ACG Silicon Valley: "Irwin Federman, U.S. Venture Partners" retrieved May 26, 2014 | "He [Federman] has been married to the former Concepcion Socarras since 1992"
  4. ^ New York Social Diary retrieved May 26, 2014
  5. ^ Explore San Francisco: "Bay Area Billionaires 2014" retrieved May 26, 2014
  6. ^
  7. ^ Brett, Gavin (February 28, 2015). "How GoPro cameras have made nothing unfilmable, by the man who invented them". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ Robehmed, Natalie (September 30, 2014). "The youngest billionaires on the Forbes 400: 11 under 40". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "The Best Ride of Our Lives". UC San Diego Triton. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ Lipton, Josh (July 26, 2014). "Meet GoPro's thrill-seeking founder Nick Woodman". CNBC. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Forbes; The World's Billionaires - Nicholas Woodman May 2014
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Welcome to the Billionaires' Club" by Orna Taub, Jewish Business News, March 7, 2013
  13. ^ Mac, Ryan (March 13, 2013). "Five Startup Lessons From GoPro Founder And Billionaire Nick Woodman". Forbes. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Business Insider: "Meet The World's Newest Billionaire, A 36-Year-Old 'Surfer Dude' Named Nicholas Woodman" by Alyson Shontell December 23,
  15. ^ "GoPro with Founder/Inventor Nick Woodman". 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  16. ^ Burrows, Peter (2011-06-30). "GoPro's Incredible Small, Durable Camcorder". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  17. ^ Fiegerman, Seth (June 26, 2014). "Lights, Camera, IPO: GoPro Goes Public". Mashable. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Nicholas Woodman, Founder and CEO of GoPro, Named National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2013 Retail and Consumer Products Award Winner." Nicholas Woodman, Founder and CEO of GoPro, Named National EY Entrepreneur... N.p., 17 Nov. 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <>.
  19. ^ Garofoli, Joe (February 9, 2015). "WhatsApp founder among young tech tycoons dominating philanthropy". SF Gate. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  20. ^ Stone, Madeline (April 28, 2015). "The awesome life of GoPro’s Nick Woodman, America’s highest-paid CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ Bravo, Tony (March 9, 2015). "Events: Tech giants gather to help BUILD a new generation". SF Gate. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ Inc Magazine: "The GoPro Army" by Tom Foster January 26, 2012
  23. ^ San Francisco Block Shopper: "Inventor spends $12.5M for Woodside 5BD" December 11, 2011
  24. ^ Forbes Billionaires 2013: Notable Newcomers