GoPro is an American brand of high-definition personal cameras, often used in extreme action video photography. They are known for being lightweight, rugged, wearable or mountable in unusual places such as outside planes, cars, boats or army tanks.
The company that develops, manufactures and markets the cameras and equipment is privately owned Woodman Labs based in San Mateo, California.
The company was formed by Nick Woodman. Woodman said he was inspired to start the company following a 2002 Australia surfing trip in which he was hoping to capture quality action photos of his surfing, but could not because amateur photographers could not get close enough, or obtain quality equipment at accessible prices.
His desire for a camera system that could capture the professional angles inspired the 'GoPro' name. The parent company includes financing by several venture capital companies including Steamboat Ventures (affiliated with the Walt Disney Corporation), Riverwood Capital, Sageview Capital, Walden International, and U.S. Venture Partners.
Woodman initially raised money for his company by selling bead and shell belts out of his VW van. Each belt sold for under US$20. While making the belts, he came upon the idea of providing a fashionable strap to attach a camera. At the time most straps were rubber wrist straps that some reviewers found to be awkward, painful, or easily broken.
In 2004, the company sold its first camera system—a 35 mm film version. The cameras evolved, going from 35mm to digital, where it started recording 10-second clips, to 3-megapixel digital cameras, to its current configuration of fixed-lens HD video cameras with a 170-degree angle. Two cameras can now be paired together to create 3D video. The cameras have branched out from the surf crowd to be used for auto racing, skiing, and bicycling as new adapters are created.