Could Peloton Do For Fitness What Apple Did for Technology?

Peloton co-founder and CEO John Foley doesn't think goals should be achievable

ByABC News
May 5, 2016, 2:59 PM

— -- John Foley, the co-founder and CEO of Peloton, launched the company in 2012 with a corporate mission to create a “world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."

Foley founded Peloton with his wife, Jill, when they both saw the need to find a workout that fit consistently into their schedules, and that was also challenging and engaging. Out of necessity, the idea for Peloton was born.

Foley was no stranger to the business world when the duo began kicking around the idea of Peloton. In 1990, he began his career as an engineer for Mars Inc., and he then made the switch to the technology world in 1997 when he helped to build He then went on to become CEO of in 2002, and later co-founder and CEO of, as well as president of the Barnes & Noble e-commerce division in 2010.

Foley and his wife began a Kickstarter campaign, asking people to commit $1,500 in exchange for the potential of getting a Peloton bike in the future, if the company did, in fact, succeed. While the Kickstarter campaign didn’t end up being a financial success, it did raise awareness about Peloton. It caught the attention of multiple investors, notably, the private equity firm Catterton, which invested $75 million in growth capital enabling Peloton to become a competitor in the indoor cycling market.

The company, headquartered in Manhattan's Silicon Alley, boasts that it represents the evolution of the at-home fitness market. This includes a stationary bike equipped with a 22-inch high-definition, sweat proof touchscreen that connects riders to on-demand classes taught by instructors. It claims to be the first and only fitness bike to fully “integrate a home workout machine with live group cycling classes, allowing for interaction and competition with fellow riders across the country and real-time instructor feedback, while monitoring an array of output metrics," according to a company news release.

Foley recently sat down with Rebecca Jarvis on “Real Biz With Rebecca Jarvis” for a conversation about Peloton and disrupting the fitness market. Below are excerpts from the conversation. For more of Foley’s interview with Jarvis, watch the video above.

Rebecca Jarvis: In your Kickstarter campaign you raised $300,000. But what you actually raised was awareness about the product?

John Foley: Exactly. It was unsuccessful from a financing perspective but I would say you’re absolutely right.

Rebecca Jarvis: What type of company do you think would do really well with a Kickstarter campaign?

John Foley: Certainly the as-seen-on-TV style products that are unique and interesting and in a category that everyone can relate to. The lower price point products are going to do better on Kickstarter because you don’t want to give $10,000 and be the turkey that gave your money away and the company folded six months later.

Rebecca Jarvis: What do you do to motivate your employees?

John Foley: I try to lead from the front with the can-do attitude, the hard work, the team, team-iness, if that’s a word, because I think if you can get the best people, you can build the best products and you can have the best brand and it’s just a virtuous cycle right? What I do to motivate is just surround myself with fantastic people that are better than me, that are smarter than me. I think I’m an OK leader and I think I’m a not a very good manager because I don’t like to manage. I like to hire fantastic, hardworking, self-managed people and get out of their way.