10 Things You Didn’t Know about Peloton CEO John Foley

John Foley is the CEO as well as one of the co-founders of Peloton. For those who are unfamiliar, the latter is a NY-based corporation focused upon bringing boutique fitness into the home. Peloton has managed to find a fair amount of success by this point in time, though said process hasn’t been without complications.

1. Went to Harvard Business School

For his undergraduate education, Foley went to the Georgia Institute of Technology, which tends to be called Georgia Tech for the sake of convenience. Said school’s main campus can be found in Atlanta, GA. However, it has satellite campuses in five other places such as Metz, France; Shenzhen, China; and Singapore. Later, Foley went to the Harvard Business School where perhaps unsurprisingly, he studied for a MBA.

2. Experienced Executive

There are some entrepreneurs who choose to start their own businesses as soon as possible. In contrast, other entrepreneurs wait until they have already accumulated a great deal of expertise and experience from working for someone else. Foley is an excellent example of the latter, seeing as how he was an experienced executive before he co-founded Peloton in 2012. On top of that, it is worth mentioning that Peloton wasn’t the first corporation that he co-founded.

3. Became an Entrepreneur to Solve a Problem

It is very common for entrepreneurs to become entrepreneurs for the purpose of solving a problem that they have come upon. In Foley’s case, he struggled to get into the boutique fitness classes of his favorite instructors at the most convenient times for him because he disliked booking in advance. As a result, Foley decided to start up a corporation focused on bringing boutique fitness to the home, meaning that he can be considered a tech entrepreneur.

4. Struggled to Find Funding

By this point in time, Peloton has managed to find a fair amount of success. However, it is interesting to note that Foley struggled to find funding, so much so that he has estimated that he contacted about 400 institutions as well as about 3,000 angel investors before he convinced about a hundred of the latter to provide the first $10 million. Moreover, this issue continued for some time, with the result that Foley had to clean the office bathrooms because he couldn’t afford to hire support staff on top of the engineers needed for his core operations.

5. Suffered From a Lack of Data

Initially, Foley was optimistic that potential investors would invest in Peloton because it was opening up a new market. After all, that kind of thing can prove to be very profitable because of a lack of competitors in a fresh market bursting with possibilities. However, a lack of data can also cause potential investors to back off because that means a lack of information with which to guide their investment decisions, which was what happened in this particular case.

6. Boutique Fitness Was a Blindspot

On top of that, Foley states that boutique fitness was a blindspot for the potential investors that he approached. This makes sense because it takes time for trends to spread from place to place, particularly when it comes to something that needs a greater expenditure of time, effort, and other resources. As such, Foley was struggling uphill by approaching potential investors in Silicon Valley when boutique fitness was taking off in New York City. In any case, interested individuals should know that boutique fitness studios are smaller gyms specializing in one or two aspects of fitness while having a strong focus on group exercise. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they tend to come with higher prices.

7. Has a Background in Manufacturing

Even though Foley is now a tech entrepreneur, he has no issues with the manufacturing components of his corporation because he has a manufacturing background. To be exact, when he was still a student, he spent time working at a Skittles factory for Mars. Later, when Foley had graduated with a degree in industrial engineering, he continued working for the corporation but on a separate product line. Thanks to the time that he spent working the midnight shift, he doesn’t find the manufacturing component of his corporation to be very intimidating.

8. His Corporation Covers Multiple Links in the Same Chain

One of the reasons that Peloton had problems finding funding is that it doesn’t do a single thing but rather a number of interconnected things. In short, it isn’t just manufacturing exercise bicycles with a fair amount of tech integrated into them, it is also running a fitness studio that can provide something similar to the boutique fitness experience while also providing the software needed to make that boutique fitness experience available through the aforementioned bicycles. Getting a single one of these functions off of the ground would have been a major challenge, meaning that handling all of them at the same time was that much more so. Something that daunted potential investors.

9. Some Have Given Peloton Credit for Inspiring More Innovative Home Exercise Products

There are those who have given Peloton credit for inspiring other companies to launch other innovative takes on home exercise products. In some cases, these products are very reminiscent. For instance, there is a New York City-based startup focused on a mirror meant to help out with yoga as well as pilates. Meanwhile, others are more out there, with examples ranging from the resistance set that can be mounted on the walls to the rowing machine meant to make its user feel more like they are out on the water.

10. Has Benefited from the COVID-19 Crisis

Foley is one of the parties that have benefited from the COVID-19 crisis. Simply put, more people being stuck indoors for longer periods of time means that the user base for his product has seen a huge explosion in size. However, Foley has admitted that he was caught off-guard by the crisis in the sense that he didn’t expect to see it in the United States. Never mind the impact that it has had and continues to have. In any case, he isn’t resting on his laurels. Instead, he is working to make his product available at a lower price, which would further increase his user base as well as his particular piece of the home exercise market.


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