John Foley is the CEO and cofounder of Peloton, a fitness startup whose US$2,000 stationary bicycles and high-energy classes have gained a cult following since its founding in 2012. Peloton is a rare New York–based “unicorn” — in August it raised $550 million at a $4 billion valuation. It has thrived by focusing on every aspect of its business so that it can provide an immersive customer experience: software, hardware, world-class instructors, an expanding retail footprint, and its own logistics network. Peloton has sold hundreds of thousands of bicycles and counts a community of 1 million users. In 2017, its revenues ($400 million) more than doubled from the previous year. Foley, a cycling enthusiast, is a tech industry veteran with stints as CEO of Evite and president of barnesandnoble.com. In an interview withstrategy+business at his midtown Manhattan office in November, Foley discussed Peloton’s counterintuitive business model, the challenges of scaling a unique culture, and the prospects for growth outside the United States.
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