The founder of GoPro gave almost five million of his own shares back to the San Mateo, Calif.-based company this week — to fulfil a commitment he made years ago to its first employee.

More than a decade ago, Nick Woodman had promised to give Neil Dana 10 per cent of any money he made from selling the camera company he had founded.

In addition to being GoPro's first employee and now director of music and specialty sales, Dana was Woodman's roommate at the University of Southern California at San Diego in the early 2000s.

By 2011, the tiny camera company had grown by leaps and bounds, and was on the way towards an initial public offering that raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

So that year, at Woodman's request, the management of the company granted Dana more than six million stock options to officially live up to that 10 per cent promise, which Woodman said he would cover out of his own holdings whenever Dana chose to exercise those options.

GoPro Ipo camera diving

Action camera company GoPro went public in an IPO last year that raised hundreds of millions of dollars. (Associated Press)

Dana did just that last week. 

So this week, according to a regulatory filing, Woodman made good on his pledge and transferred 4,678,180 of his own stock back to GoPro on May 11 to repay the company for granting the options to Dana in the first place.

Based on the value of GoPro shares on Wednesday, Woodman's donation to his company is worth almost $230 million US. 

Despite the manoeuvre, Woodman's net worth is doing just fine.

According to Bloomberg data, he is still worth more than $2.3 billion, mainly in GoPro shares, and the company he leads took in more than $1.4 billion in revenue last year.


  • An earlier version of this story spelled the GoPro CEO's former college roommate as Neal Dana. In fact, it's Neil Dana.
    May 14, 2015 11:12 AM ET