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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 7, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Seattle camera maker Contour shuttered, apparently

Seattle sports camera maker Contour apparently has closed, laying off around 60 employees.

Contour was a homegrown startup that emerged from a University of Washington business competition in 2004. Founders Marc Barros and Jason Green are avid skiers who developed helmet-mounted cameras used for capturing and sharing action-sports videos.

By 2011 the company had annual sales of $15 million and was named one of the most promising companies in the country by Forbes magazine. But it struggled to compete against category-leader GoPro and other companies such as Sony that offered  similar, wearable cameras.

I’ve been hearing for several days that the company held a meeting Friday and informed employees the business was closing, but executives and investors didn’t return calls or messages seeking to confirm the situation.

“We’re all unavailable to comment on it at this time,” said Annie Johnson, who handles investor relations at Seattle venture firm Montlake Capital, which contributed to a $5 million funding round for Contour in 2010.

Contour is no longer listed among Montlake’s portfolio companies on Montlake’s website and references to Contour were removed from the page of Managing Director Dale Vogel, who had been on Contour’s board.

Barros, who stepped down as chief executive in February, confirmed the closure, saying he’s talked to a number of employees about what has happened.

“From what I can tell everybody’s out of a job,” he said.

“It’s sad to see it go. People spent a lot of time building a great company,” he said. “Watching it disappear is sad.”

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