Nick Woodman

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Nick Woodman
Nick Woodman 2014.jpg
Woodman in 2014
Born Nicholas D. Woodman
(1975-06-24) June 24, 1975 (age 41)
Residence Woodside, California, US
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, San Diego
Occupation Founder and CEO, GoPro
Net worth $947 Million (November 2016) [1]
Spouse(s) Jill R. Scully
Children 3
Parent(s) Dean Woodman
Concepcion Socarras

Nicholas D. "Nick" Woodman (born June 24, 1975) is an American businessman and philanthropist. Woodman is the founder and CEO of GoPro.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Woodman is the son of Concepcion (née Socarras) and Dean Woodman.[3][4][5][6] His father was born into a Quaker family and co-founded the investment bank Robertson Stephens;[3][7][8] and his mother is of Hispanic descent and re-married Irwin Federman, General Partner of U.S. Venture Partners in 1992.[4] Woodman grew up in Menlo Park, California[9] and Atherton, California,[10] attending the Menlo School, where he graduated in 1993.[11] He developed his interest in surfing during high school and formed the high school's first surfing club. Woodman would sell t-shirts at high school football games to raise money for the surfing club.[12] He earned a bachelor's degree in visual arts and a minor in creative writing from the University of California, San Diego in 1997.[13][10][14] 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.[15] After failing to reach success on his own, Nick went home and received a $235,000 investment from his father,[16] an investment banker in Silicon Valley, [17] and used his parents connections to venture capital to launch his career as the head of GoPro.[18]


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.[14] 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.[14] His solution was to develop a belt that would attach the camera to the body.[14] 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).[19] 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.[3] His desire for a camera system that could capture close up footage inspired the 'GoPro' name.[20][21] The original cameras he developed were point-and-shoot 35mm film cameras which mounted to the user's wrist. Woodman would go about selling his products while using his 1971 Volkwagen Bus that he named 'The Buscuit' as his mobile home.[12] 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). Woodman would often act as the test engineer for their earlier products completing tasks such as attaching a GoPro to a car and driving at speeds of over 130 MPH. In 2004, he made his first big sale when a Japanese company ordered 100 cameras at a sports show.[14][19] Thereafter, sales doubled every year,[13] and in 2012, GoPro sold 2.3 million cameras.[14] In 2005, Woodman appeared on QVC to sell his GoPro Hero. In 2004, GoPro had about $150,000 in revenue which grew to about $350,000 in 2005. 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.[14][19] On June 26, 2014, GoPro went public – closing the day at $31.34 a share. In 2014, Woodman was the highest paid US chief executive, paying himself $235 million.[22][23][24]

In 2015, GoPro developed a partnership with the NHL that would enable the NHL to use GoPro products to improve the viewing experience for fans.[25] Woodman has been invited to speak at various tech conferences and in October 2015, Woodman was a guest on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and wore a GoPro camera for the entirety of the interview.[26] Woodman is set to appear as a shark investor in the sixth season of the show Shark Tank.[27] Woodman has invested $125,000 as of November 2015 on Shark Tank on two investments.[28]

At the beginning of 2016, GoPro started to make a series of job cuts. In January of 2016, Woodman's Company cut 100 jobs, or 7% of his workforce.[29] Later that year, in November 2016, GoPro cut an additional 15% of the GoPro workforce after attempting to branch out beyond its core business of action cameras, as the entertainment division failed to reach profitability.[30]

In December 2016, a class action lawsuit against GoPro was announced. The complaint alleges that GoPro made false and misleading statements to investors and/or failed to disclose flaws in the Company's drones, overstating customer demand, and GoPro's public statements were materially false and misleading. [31][32]

2016 proved to be a tough year for GoPro.[33] With the many changes at and involving GoPro, including numerous job cuts, and falling stock prices, Woodman was listed as one of the year's worst CEOs. [34]


  • 2013 National Award Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • 2014 Winner of the Technology and Engineering Emmy Award in the category of Inexpensive Small Rugged HD Camcorders. Woodman brought his GoPro onstage for his acceptance speech.[23][35]


After a successful IPO, the couple donated 5.8 million shares of GoPro (valued at $500 million) to the Jill + Nicholas Woodman Foundation, a new fund they created at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in 2014. [36] Woodman was one of the biggest donors in the tech industry that year; however, it angered investors. [37][38][39]

In March 2014, Woodman was honored for his philanthropic work with BUILD at their 5th annual gala in San Francisco.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Woodman is married to Jill R. Scully[41] and they have three children.[13][14] They live in Woodside, California.[42] Woodman is known as the "mad billionaire" due to his unconventional behavior and eccentricities.[14] Woodman is a strong believer in following one's passions as a way to success stating, "I’m a big believer that when you’re pursuing your passions, your best ideas come to you. Your passions are a bit like your fingerprints: Everybody has them; everybody’s are different. One’s passions may just be a guidebook to one’s life.”[27] In 2015, Woodman hosted an AMA on Reddit. Woodman has often cited his fear of failure as a catalyst for his success stating, "When I got out of college, I gave myself till I was 30 to invent a product. If I couldn't do it by then, I would just get a real job. And that fear – the fear of a real job – motivated me to be an entrepreneur."[43]

In December 2015, Woodman commissioned a 180-foot yacht, estimated to cost between $35 million and $40 million. The boat, expected to be delivered in 2017, is four decks high and comes with a Jacuzzi pool, swim platform, sweeping sun decks, and dining areas. [44]


  1. ^ "GoPro CEO Nick Woodman Is No Longer A Billionaire (Again) As GoPro Stock Drops 20% After Hours". 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  2. ^ "How GoPro CEO Nick Woodman Let Consumers Lead Him to New Idea". July 9, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ 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"
  4. ^ 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"
  5. ^ "San Francisco Social Diary". New York Social Diary. January 14, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Bay Area Billionaires 2014 – Explore San Francisco Blog". February 13, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Alum gives Moses Brown $5 million for performing-arts, community center". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ Brett, Gavin (February 28, 2015). "How GoPro cameras have made nothing unfilmable, by the man who invented them". The Telegraph. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Robehmed, Natalie (September 30, 2014). "The youngest billionaires on the Forbes 400: 11 under 40". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "The Best Ride of Our Lives". UC San Diego Triton. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ Lipton, Josh (July 26, 2014). "Meet GoPro's thrill-seeking founder Nick Woodman". CNBC. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b ""The Biscuit:" Nick Woodman's 1971 Volkswagen Bus – In Photos: The Early Years of GoPro and Founder Nicholas Woodman". Forbes. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c Forbes; The World's Billionaires – Nicholas Woodman September 2016
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Welcome to the Billionaires' Club" by Orna Taub, Jewish Business News, March 7, 2013
  15. ^ Mac, Ryan (March 13, 2013). "Five Startup Lessons From GoPro Founder And Billionaire Nick Woodman". Forbes. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  16. ^ Leo Sun (2015-04-27). "Is GoPro Inc. CEO Nick Woodman Worth $285 Million? - San Antonio Express-News". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  17. ^ "Woodman's Family Became Millionaires". Business Insider. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  18. ^ Chapman, Lizette (2013-06-20). "How Family Ties Helped Nick Woodman Make GoPro Click - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  19. ^ 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,
  20. ^ "GoPro with Founder/Inventor Nick Woodman". January 5, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  21. ^ Burrows, Peter (June 30, 2011). "GoPro's Incredible Small, Durable Camcorder". BusinessWeek. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  22. ^ Egan, Matt (2015-04-17). "GoPro's CEO is now the highest paid U.S. executive - Apr. 17, 2015". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  23. ^ a b "The awesome life of GoPro's Nick Woodman, America's highest-paid CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  24. ^ Fiegerman, Seth (June 26, 2014). "Lights, Camera, IPO: GoPro Goes Public". Mashable. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  25. ^ "GoPro and NHL: New Partnership Will Change the Way You Watch Hockey". GoPro. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  26. ^ "From Surfer To Billionaire: GoPro CEO Nick Woodman Chats With Stephen Colbert". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Nick Woodman". Shark Tank Blog. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Nick Woodman's Shark Tank track record". Sharkalytics. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  29. ^ Robert Frank (December 22, 2015). "GoPro CEO's new toy: A 180-foot yacht". CNBC. 
  30. ^ Wells, Georgia (2016-11-30). "GoPro to Cut 15% of Jobs Amid Restructuring". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  31. ^ "EQUITY ALERT: Khang & Khang LLP Announces Securities Class Action Lawsuit against GoPro, Inc. and Reminds Investors with Losses In Excess of $100,000 to Contact the Firm". 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  32. ^ "GoPro, Inc.: Rosen Law". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  33. ^ Dave Lee (2016-09-21). "GoPro or go home! Crunch time for the 'mad billionaire'". BBC. Retrieved 2017-02-20. 
  34. ^ Steve Tobak (2016-12-21). "The Worst CEOs of 2016". Fox Business. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  35. ^ "Nicholas Woodman, Founder and CEO of GoPro, named National EY Entrepreneur...". November 17, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  36. ^ Michael Gentilucci. "One Hint and Many Questions About How GoPro's Founders Will Give Away $500 Million — Inside Philanthropy". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  37. ^ Lobosco, Katie (2014-10-02). "GoPro angers investors with charity gift of 5.2 million shares - Oct. 2, 2014". Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  38. ^ Garofoli, Joe (February 9, 2015). "WhatsApp founder among young tech tycoons dominating philanthropy". SF Gate. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  39. ^ Stone, Madeline (April 28, 2015). "The awesome life of GoPro's Nick Woodman, America's highest-paid CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  40. ^ Bravo, Tony (March 9, 2015). "Events: Tech giants gather to help BUILD a new generation". SF Gate. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  41. ^ Tom Foster (January 26, 2012). "The GoPro Army". Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Inventor spends $12.5M for Woodside 5BD | San Francisco". Retrieved January 27, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Nick Woodman Quotes at". BrainyQuote. Retrieved November 21, 2015. 
  44. ^ "Wearable camera maker GoPro cutting about 100 jobs after 4th-qtr sales fall more than expected". US News. January 13, 2016.