Free Enterprise Staff  | April 29, 2015

Is the Future of Working Out Staying In?

It’s become more difficult to get people to leave their homes. Why go out for dinner and a movie when you can just order take-out through Seamless and stream Netflix? The boutique fitness company Peloton is betting that working out will similarly head in this home-centric direction. Based on their success so far, the company seems to be on to something.

Like such chains as SoulCycle and Flywheel, Peloton offers spin classes at its only brick-and-mortar studio in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Yet the company differentiates itself by selling its specially designed spin bike on its e-commerce site. After they’ve purchased the stationary bike, Peloton customers then pay a monthly fee to ride along with any class they want.

That’s because embedded in every Peloton bike is a 22-inch tablet computer through which users can stream classes. Apart from its large display, the waterproof console also offers features like heart rate monitoring. The idea behind the bike is to deliver the same in-class experience to anyone, regardless of location or schedule.

Founded three years ago, Peloton was born over a meal between John Foley and Tom Cortese. According to the health and wellness site Well Well Well: “Mr. Foley wasn’t just interested in catching up with a friend—as an avid cycler, he saw an untapped market in the fitness industry that had three obvious problems: a lack of innovation in cycling equipment, the inconvenience of traveling to, and reserving a spot in, a great indoor cycling class, and the overwhelming cost of boutique spinning classes.”

This unique approach to working out has earned Peloton thousands of devoted fans, while also attracting a lot of interest from the business community as a whole. This past month, the company said it had raised $30 million from private investors, bringing its total fundraising haul to more than $40 million, according to The New York Times.

Now flush with cash, Peloton plans to aggressively court consumers who like the idea of attending boutique fitness classes in their own homes and according to their own schedules. If its vision for the future of working out proves prescient, Peloton—which Foley told the Times will likely earn more than $50 million in revenue this year—could soon provide a model for other fledgling fitness startups. Still, the question remains: Will it?