On Thursday, September 26, stock in the fitness company Peloton began trading on NASDAQ. It didn’t go that well.
The company-slash-cult, which sells expensive stationary bikes and treadmills equipped with screens for live-streaming intense fitness classes, wound up opening at $27 a share—a price that valued the whole company at close to $8 billion. It closed at $25.76—not a bonanza day. Still, everyone was cheering, not least because cheering is a reflex for a lot of people in the fitness world, and a number of the Peloton team members who had gathered in Times Square that morning are in the business of motivation. Mostly, though, they were cheering because predictions for the debut had been even worse. And because, even with that price decline, you’re still talking about a $7 billion company selling something not hugely different from the bike that sat unused for years in my grandfather’s Boca Raton apartment after he had a stroke. Which is all to say that, despite some negative press the next morning, Peloton’s prospects are still looking pretty good.
Peloton was founded in 2012 by John Foley, a Harvard M.B.A. and tech executive who had worked at Barry Diller’s IAC and at barnesandnoble.com. Foley and his wife both loved boutique fitness but realized, when their two children were born, that it might be years before they had time to go out for classes again.
The idea was a simple and somewhat obvious one in the a