How this spinning startup is using technology to change the fitness industry

by Taylor Majewski
May 24, 2016

Back in 2012, John Foley founded Peloton with a mission to bring a tech boost into your home gym.

Peloton has seen rapid growth since its inception, with hefty investment bets to boot. To date, the company has raised over $119 million in venture capital and seen a fivefold increase in membership each year since it was founded.

While Peloton’s booming business is centered around cycling, and giving SoulCycle’s cult following a run for their money, the company’s technology is at the core of its success.

Instead of joining a class at a gym or studio, Peloton customers buy a $1,995 bike equipped with a tablet computer and pay a monthly subscription fee to follow exercise classes live streamed from its studio. If you can’t catch the live stream, you can also choose to cycle along to one of the company’s 3,000 prerecorded classes on-demand.

“What’s making Peloton work is that we care so much about the user experience,” Peloton CTO Yony Feng said. “We’re taking that user experience that we all care about in the indoor cycling space and we’re looking at how to use our technology to build a high quality experience.”

From a technical standpoint, Peloton’s live streaming offerings, real-time leaderboard and customized operating system for the bikes enable uninterrupted and engaging workouts. The combination of these factors helps Peloton stand out against its competitors, giving customers the ability to workout in the comfort and privacy of their own home.  

While Peloton’s competitors range from spinning companies like SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports to video content providers like Daily Burn, Peloton is unique with its high-tech features in the spinning space.

Peloton’s leaderboard harvests immense amounts of data, with a long-term memory that tracks anyone who has ever taken a Peloton class. While the leaderboard is ever changing in response to the progress of over 20,000 people, the technology is responding, in real time, to a rider’s rank.

According to Feng, the company’s tech team is also updating its software every few weeks, building a customized operating system to customize the bikes that every Peloton customer uses.

While Peloton is focusing on a cycling vertical that brings digital classes to your home, and uses the aforementioned tech to do so, you can also workout in the company’s physical studio in Chelsea. In this brick-and-mortar location you can use your bike's tablet to interact with other riders, view your stats and compete with everyone else taking the class.

To support the company’s extensive technology, Peloton has a robust tech team, including over 30 engineers who work across the website, the bikes, the iOS app, the data platform and e-commerce offerings.

According to Feng, Peloton’s technology team hires based on a candidate's ability to solve a problem they’ve never faced before. Throughout the interview process, candidates will be tested on their coding abilities over a collaborative editing tool, be presented with a series of short computer science focused questions, and problem solve during in-person meetings.

Looking ahead, Peloton is looking to offer other forms of workouts to help customers round out their fitness regimens. 

 

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