Have you ever helped a friend out and constantly heard that you would be repaid “eventually?” Most of the time, you will never see that money ever again, but that’s not the case if you’re a founder of a multi-billion dollar empire. That’s what happened when Nick Woodman, the founder of GoPro (the digital camera that records video on the run) made a deal with his college roommate.
10 years ago while attending the University of California, San Diego, Woodman was trying to get his business off of the ground. Woodman worked with his roommate, Dana, and for Dana this would turn out to be a lucrative decision. Dana was hired as the first ever employee of the company, and his recent payoff is now worth the effort he made a decade ago.
Woodman’s GoPro company has made him filthy rich, and he is now being referred to as the highest paid CEO in the United States. This came about when GoPro went public last summer and instantly made Woodman nearly $300 million. That was enough to get his net worth elevated to more than $2.3 billion, making him one of the youngest billionaires in America. Not too shabby for someone who started so small.
That immense wealth wasn’t the case when they started, As with most billionaire stories, Woodman’s was a humble beginning that started with a promise. Woodman was only able to pay Dana with the promise that he would be getting 10 percent of the sales he received from the public transaction (which didn’t even seem like a possibility 10 years ago). Back in 2011, GoPro had given Dana more than 6.2 million stocks and options which would be cashed out during the public transaction: what was once just paper would become gold.
Woodman came through on his promise, and Dana made $229 million in return for his efforts and patience. Dana is still working with GoPro as the director of specialty sales and music for the young company. While there have been countless instances of company founders forgetting about the people that got them there, it appears that Woodman’s relationship with Dana has never been better.
Now that the both of them are rich the two longtime friends can enjoy the fruits of their labor together. GoPro is now trading at over $50 per share, and has been as high as $98.47 in the past year, so don’t expect these two to go broke anytime soon; their story is one of true friendship, and hard work paying off spectacularly.