September 2, 2014

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Article

A New Point of View

Contour Cameras Revived in Provo

By Alex Springer

September 2, 2014


In 2004, University of Washington classmates and avid skiers Marc Barros and Jason Green created a helmet-mounted camera for adrenaline junkies that could be used to capture and share action-sports videos. The Seattle-based company they subsequently formed, Contour, sold these sleek, easy-to-use, point-of-view (POV) cameras successfully for nearly a decade. By 2011, Contour had $27 million in sales and was considered one of America’s fastest-growing private companies, according to Inc. magazine. But competition from rival POV camera company GoPro forced Contour to close its doors just a short time later in August 2013.

But that wasn’t the end for these cameras.

Two months after the company shut down, Provo-based investment firm Clarke Capital Partners acquired Contour, moved it to Utah, appointed Danny Lysenko as CEO and brought Green back to the company as chief technology officer. Contour is now set to begin an aggressive marketing campaign to put its product back on the map. “It seemed like a really great challenge to revive the company and make it a great comeback story,” Lysenko says.

Making a Comeback

Moving Contour to Utah required a bare-bones approach to the company’s reorganization. “From a staffing perspective, it’s starting from scratch. We’ve kept two people from the original company, but the rest we’ve had to hire and grow organically,” Lysenko says.

Previous to joining Contour, Lysenko was the director of worldwide reseller operations at Apple. When Clarke Capital offered Lysenko the CEO position, he saw a chance to reinvent a product he loved in the state he loved. “We live in a beautiful state,” Lysenko says. “There’s skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer. If you look at what’s available here, it’s a perfect marriage between product and state.”

In addition to moving the company’s headquarters, Contour has also gone through a complete financial overhaul. Company leaders reorganized plans for new product innovation and are working to build a framework for improved product distribution. The company is also focused on regaining market share through distributors across the globe.

Because POV cameras have become an integral part of the extreme-sports community, Contour also established a partnership with Cam Zink, one of the pioneers of American freestyle biking. “Cam has been an ambassador for Contour in the past,” Lysenko says. “He was excited to get involved, and it’s been exciting for us to have him as part of the Contour team.” In addition, Contour secured a sponsorship with Wakeboarding magazine’s “King of Wake” event, an international wakeboarding competition.

A Dazzling Design

An integral part of Contour’s comeback will be the company’s products. Contour has plans to launch new cameras that showcase the same streamlined design that made the company popular for so many years, with features like a one-touch locking record switch, laser alignment system and 270-degree rotating lens.

“Because of the camera’s unique shape, we’ve been able to explore some exciting new markets,” Lysenko says.

The market for POV cameras remains competitive, which is why Contour continually emphasizes the durability and recording quality of its cameras. “It starts with the camera’s aluminum body, which is more durable than plastic. The camera is also waterproof without a case,” Lysenko says. The cameras were essentially designed to take a beating. “We’ve had people drop them while skydiving and find them, still working, after they touched down.”

When it’s time to upload the footage online, Contour created the Storyteller App, which is a video editing suite that allows users to put the finishing touch on their videos.

Ultimately, the future of Contour lies in its innovation. The new cameras are expected to deliver unmatched digital clarity and easy-to-use features that will ensure every adventure is captured in a variety of different ways.

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