In 1997, Nick Woodman graduated with a Bachelor degree in visual arts from the University of San Diego.
Nicholas or Nick Woodman grew up in middle-class suburbs of California. There, he quickly discovered a passion for surfing. As he says himself, the main reason for applying to the University of San Diego was that the campus was situated close to the beach. His passion for this extreme sport had later guided him towards success. But before that finally happened, Nick Woodman was just a young man who dreamt of starting his own business with an office in the Silicon Valley. After graduation, Nick Woodman launched his first startup: the website named EmpowerAll.com. The idea was to sell electronics for less than $2. However, the concept failed. In 1999, 24-year-old Nick Woodman founded his second company, Funbug. The idea of the business was a mix of a gaming and a marketing platform where potential users could earn money and then spend on other partner sites. Nick managed to attract a number of investors to launch this business, and collected in total $ 3.9 million. But a year later, in April 2001, the site was still not online and suddenly, the dot-com bubble exploded… The famous dot-com crisis is now memorialized in the annals of Silicon Valley history.
In 2002, at the age of 26, Nick Woodman decided to spend five months surfing in Australia. In his luggage, he had a waterproof camera and a Velcro strap. His idea was to create a surfing video. However, he quickly realized that it could also become his new business! When he arrived back to the USA, he locked himself in his garage, just like some other big names in computing history had done 25 years before him. There, he designed and produced his first camera, investing all the money he had and borrowing some from his parents. The first GoPro camera became available in 2005. In the beginning, Nick Woodman was the only employee in his own company. He travelled throughout California with his Volkswagen Kombi, selling his cameras to surf shops and professional athletes. In the first year, the camera brought him 250,000 Euro, and the adventure began! Few years later, Nick Woodman became a CEO of a company with over 860 employees. In 2013, he was included into the list of the world’s millionaires.
Funding of Nick Woodman’s first mini camera prototype came from a very unusual source. When he travelled to Indonesia, he discovered creative artisan shell belts. As a natural born businessman, he decided to import them to the USA. He and his wife Jill managed to sell nearly 600 belts on California beaches, for the price of... 60 USD each!