GoPro cameras have become the go-to item for filming extreme sports. The small, high quality video cameras–made by the privately held Woodman Labs–can be strapped onto the bodies of surfers, skydivers and skiers to capture high-definition video footage like never before. The runaway success of the product has now turned Woodman Labs’ namesake and founder, Nicholas Woodman, 36, into a billionaire.
On Tuesday, Taiwan-headquartered electronics manufacturer Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.), purchased an 8.88% stake in Woodman Labs for $200 million, valuing the San Mateo, Calif. company at $2.25 billion. According to a source close to Woodman Labs, Nicholas Woodman owns a majority of the company; at a minimum 51% ownership, he now has a net worth of at least $1.15 billion. Woodman Labs would not comment on its founder’s stake.
“GoPro and Foxconn share a vision of the future where content capture, creation and sharing will become an increasingly important form of communication,” Woodman said to FORBES.
Known as the manufacturer of Apple iPhones, Sony Playstation and other popular electronic devices, Foxconn will also take a seat on the GoPro board. That seat will be occupied by Foxconn founder and billionaire CEO Terry Gou, who called the investment a “great opportunity” in a press release.
“The first time I saw Nick Woodman, I immediately knew he was an outstanding entrepreneur who has the caliber to be very successful in this business,” Gou also said.
Prior to Foxconn’s purchase, there was only one other reported round of investment in GoPro. In May, the company received an undisclosed investment from Riverwood Capital, Steamboat Ventures, Sageview Capital, Walden International and US Venture Partners.
GoPro cameras are a favorite with extreme sports enthusiasts. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner wore several of the devices when he made his record-breaking supersonic freefall from 39 kilometers above the earth in October. The cameras range in price from $200 to $400.
Since selling its first camera in 2004, GoPro has expanded at a vast pace and now has a 32% share of the pocket camcorder market according to Chris Chute, an analyst at IDC. Chute says he expects the global market for these types of camcorders to grow 67% from the 2.7 million units shipped in 2011 to 4.5 million units in 2012.
Soruce: Ryan Mac, Forbes Staff on http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanmac/2012/12/20/foxconn-buys-stake-in-camera-maker-gopro-turning-founder-into-a-billionaire/