GoPro, Inc.(marketed as GoPro and sometimes stylised as GoPRO) is an American technology company founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman. It manufactures eponymous action cameras and develops its own mobile apps and video-editing software. Founded as Woodman Labs, Inc, the company eventually focused on the connected sport genre, developing its line of action cameras and, later, video editing software. It also developed a quadcopter drone, Karma, released in October 2016.
The company was founded by Nick Woodman in 2002. He was motivated by a surfing trip to Australia in which he was hoping to capture quality action photos, but could not because amateur photographers could not get close enough or buy quality equipment at reasonable prices. His desire for a camera system that could capture the professional angles inspired the 'GoPro' name.
Originally, Nicholas Woodman only has a vision to develop wrist straps that could tether existing cameras to the wrists of surfers. He takes these first prototypes with him on a surf trip to Australian and Indonesia. There, he tests his wrist strap with different cameras, later realizing that he also has to sell the camera and a waterproof housing. After writing the patents and legal documents from his 1971 Volkswagen Van, Woodman creates Woodman Labs, the parent company for what we know today as GoPro. Long before GoPro has HD video capacity, the company starts by selling Chinese-manufactured 35-mm cameras. Reusable and purchased from the manufacturer for $3.05 each, the cameras originally sell for about $30. Woodman sells his first cameras to surf retailers at the Action Sports Retailer Convention in San Diego. In 2005, GoPro sells about $350,000 worth of cameras. Woodman hits this goal by selling to surf shops and specialty sports boutiques as well as appearing on QVC. After being pressed by friends to make the transition to digital, Woodman introduces the Digital Hero in 2006. The camera shoots VGA video in 10 second bursts and has no audio recording ability. The first GoPro with sound, the Digital Hero 3, captures activities with unlimited video and audio. Bradford Schmidt, GoPro’s creative director was one of the first to test the camera. In 2008, GoPro makes two distinct changes with its Digital Hero 5. First, the company installs wide-angle lenses on its newest cameras, giving users that distinct panorama shot that is now one of GoPro’s signatures. The company also begins marketing GoPro’s as mountable devices, allowing people to now film themselves by attaching their cameras to ski poles, car frames and surfboards. The jump to high definition with the Hero HD (1080 P video at 127° wide-angle) opens up new markets for GoPro, which is fast becoming the name-brand camera for unique point-of-view perspective videos. The company ends 2010 with revenues of $64 million, more than tripling sales from the year before. Says Neil Dana, the company’s first hire looking back: “When we started getting into HD that’s when we realized that this could be absolutely massive.” A year after launching its first HD camera, GoPro introduces an improved version with an 11-megapixel camera, improved low-light capability and 1080P video at 30 frames per second. The company ends the year with revenues of $234 million. GoPro continues its yearly product refresh with the smaller, lighter GoPro Hero3. With three different camera types, which features the $400 black edition which now has 12-megapixel photo capability and 1080p video at 60 frames per second. The company ends the year with sales of $521 million.