Nick Woodman, who was a guest Shark, is known for creating the GoPro camera. He started it because he wanted to have a camera that he could take with him while surfing and not have it be unwieldy or hard to use.
Over the course of the years, he has ridden the highest waves of success and also nearly crashed. But he has always been determined to stick it out and enjoy the fruits of his work while giving people cool things to use and preserve their own memories.
The GoPro is used for all kinds of unique videos. There have been ones where people put them on dogs and then let them loose. The results are amazing. People have put GoPros on their skydiving helmets to give a view of what it is like to fall toward the ground from a great height and wind up parachuting in for a landing.
Woodman has helped give people that. While the company has struggled at times, he still has much of his wealth – though he may slip in and out of the Billionaires Club – just like he slips in and out of a wave.
It started off with some pretty simple technology, too. He used a regular 35mm camera and had it mounted on his wrist. Now the GoPro is digital and can support Wi-Fi. It is enjoyed by many people with adventurous spirits. Woodman raised money by selling shell belts and also got a loan from his parents.
This was actually his third attempt at a start-up. The first two were unsuccessful. But as the saying goes – the third time is the charm. The GoPro made Nick Woodman a household name as someone who generated a lot of business buzz for his unconventional thinking and ideas.
Shark Tank Appearances
What did Woodman do when he was on the show? Who did he invest with? Did he make any deals? Did he put a GoPro on Kevin O’Leary’s head to show his perspective as he looked out at the people pitching their business ideas? Well, the last one would have been a good idea.
The answer to the first question is that he wound up investing in two companies. One was Shark Wheel and the other was Kitchen Safe. He didn’t invest alone with either of those. Woodman joined with O’Leary and Mark Cuban on Shark Wheel and with Lori Greiner on Kitchen Safe.
So … What Were The Deals?
These were the two that Woodman liked out of the eight that he saw – the show usually features four pitches per episode. So, the other six that he saw didn’t knock his socks off.
The first one that he invested in might have had applications that piqued his interest in action sports. The second might have just appealed to him in some way and he also liked that another Shark was willing to go in on the deal.
What was Shark Wheel? It was not a wheel that looked like a shark. Instead, it was a wheel that was in a Q shape rather than being round. It was visualized for being used on skateboards, among other things.
When Woodman partnered with O’Leary and Cuban, he got a 2% stake in the company and was supposed to get 10% royalties on sales until $500,000 was recouped. Woodman invested $75,000.
Ktichen Safe was a self-locking container where you could set timers to have it unlocked. People who wanted to quit smoking could lock their cigarettes for days or weeks at a time. Greiner loved the idea and she partnered with Woodman on the deal. He got a 10% stake in the company and invested $50,000.
Did He Become a Shark or Bait With These Deals?
It’s hard to decide how good or bad these deals were. The main thing is that Woodman shielded himself from being completely on the hook for either of the investments he made since he partnered with other Sharks.
Cuban and O’Leary could comfortably take any loss with Shark Wheel and Greiner has literally mopped up millions of dollars with her investments in things like Scrub Daddy and Squatty Potty, so if either of those were a bust, those three Sharks could just shrug and move on.
Woodman did invest $125,000 overall, but when you’re talking about someone whose net worth fluctuates from $300 million to $1 billion, that is like a normal person investing $1.25 or so. It’s not going to hurt his bottom line.
But he surely must have had fun learning about the other various business ventures that were being pitched on the show. Remember, the pitches that we see there are heavily edited. They don’t last 10 minutes. They can last up to two or three hours. Which might explain why Mr. Wonderful gets so prickly sometimes.
If there is someone who knows how fickle the market can be when it comes to selling products, it is Woodman. He has seen his GoPro stock go up and down depending on what the news said. So he fully knew the risks that were inherent when he did decide to invest.
He likely wouldn’t have paid any of his own money if it was just going to be a solo Shark investment – but you never know what could go through his mind at any given time. Since he likes surfing, he has to be unafraid of possibly wiping out on a big wave.
Woodman, who is married and has three kids, is the living testament to how one great idea can change the trajectory of a life. He went from taking a camera with a rubber band on it to a company that makes millions and millions of dollars. He could always find himself back in the guest Shark seat.