Contour’s new owner is aiming to get the wearable action cam company back in the game — hiring an Apple veteran as its new CEO, bringing back one of Contour’s original co-founders as its technology chief, and restarting development on new versions of its products.
The move comes as Contour’s larger rival, GoPro, files paperwork for its initial public offering, which promises to further raise GoPro’s profile and give the San Mateo, Calif., company access to even more capital and marketing muscle to power further growth.
Contour’s new leaders say they are determined to compete. The company, originally founded in Seattle, closed suddenly in August but was later acquired out of receivership with a winning bid of more than $1.9 million from one of its investors, Clarke Capital Partners of Salt Lake City.
Danny Lysenko, Apple’s former director of worldwide reseller operations, joined Contour as its new CEO in December and moved to Utah to lead the company from its new headquarters there.
Jason Green, who founded Contour in 2004 in Seattle with Marc Barros, has rejoined Contour as its chief technology officer, working out of Seattle, where product development is expected to be centered. (Barros, the former CEO who left Contour prior to the closure, is no longer with the company, having moved on to his own new venture.)
So how will Contour compete?
“We have the best product,” said Lysenko in an interview with GeekWire this week, citing the form factor, rotating lens, and the instant-on experience. “These are all features that users love — we just need to do a much better job of telling customers about it, and letting people know who Contour is.”
That speaks to the challenge Contour has faced in the past, going up against GoPro’s giant marketing budget.
“We’re not the kind of group that’s content with being a niche player,” Lysenko said. “We’re going to put resources, people and innovation behind it, and we’re going to go back to where we were, as one of the big guns in this space, the pioneer and innovator.
Contour co-founder Green has been working since November to get product development back on track. It’s a chance for Green to follow through on the plans that had been in the works prior to the company’s closure. In an interview at the time, Green had said Contour’s development team wasn’t done showing the world what it could do.
“We’re trying to be very aggressive with this,” Green said this week. “We realize that part our comeback, so to speak, is going to be to deliver something new, and let people know that we’re here.
He added, “We intend to not just survive but thrive. Part of that is putting out new models that have newer features that are more competitive with some of the existing players. Even in the industry, there’s a lot that has changed in the last six months.”
The company declined to give a specific timeline for bringing new models to market, but James Clarke, the Clarke Capital CEO, said there were two new cameras getting close completion and launch at the time of the closure. “We’ve got some great IP in the works and a great pipeline that’s been built out,” Clarke said.
In the meantime, the company worked out a separate deal to acquire thousands of existing Contour cameras from PCH International, the product development company that oversaw the manufacturing of Contour cameras under a previous agreement. Retailers are being resupplied with Contour Roam 2 and Plus 2 cameras, and the existing models are also available via Contour’s website.
Contour has a relatively small staff for now, leveraging Clarke Capital executives and employees, but is looking to ramp up quickly. Some of Contour’s original employees were quickly snapped up by other companies, but Green said he’s hoping to bring back some other key team members as new product development continues.
The company says it’s also planning to make good on service requests and repairs that were in the works prior to the closure. Existing Contour customers who need support or customer service can contact the company via its website.