|Founders||Elizabeth Cutler |
|Headquarters||New York, NY|
Number of locations
|Melanie Whelan (CEO)|
Number of employees
SoulCycle is a New York City-based fitness company with studios in 15 U.S. states and 3 studio locations in Canada. Founded in 2006, it offers indoor cycling (Not to be confused with "spinning") workout classes. As of June 2018, SoulCycle has 88 studios in the United States and Canada.
In 1996, drawn to the physical and mental aspects of spinning, Ruth Zukerman began teaching spin classes. In 2006, one of her students, former NFL football player Tiki Barber, proposed going into business together, creating a new studio based on Zukerman's teaching style and techniques. Although Barber withdrew from the business before it launched, the idea led Zukerman to co-found SoulCycle with Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice. Rice previously had worked as a talent manager for Benny Medina's Handprint Entertainment, and Cutler was a commercial real estate agent.
SoulCycle's first studio was on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. The three founders self-funded the venture, with a large amount of the money coming from money Cutler received as part of an investment in Izze Beverage Co. after its acquisition by PepsiCo.
Villency Design Group designed the signature SoulCycle stationary bicycle. The firm engineered the SoulCycle bike seat as a "split seat" to relieve pressure and discomfort found in conventional bike seats. In 2017, SoulCycle's redesigned bike, the Soul Bike Next Generation, was introduced. It has an aluminum frame, a carbon-belt drivetrain, and electromagnetic induction to supply friction, and keeps Villency Group's split seat design.
In 2009, Zukerman left SoulCycle and the next year founded competitor Flywheel Sports with Jay Galuzzo and David Seldin. In 2011, a majority stake in SoulCycle was acquired by the Equinox Fitness subsidiary of The Related Companies and it now operates as one of their brands.Melanie Whelan was named SoulCycle CEO in 2015. In 2016, Rice and Cutler sold their remaining shares in the company to Equinox, stepping down from their roles as co-chief creative officers.
In July 2015, SoulCycle filed to raise $100 million in an initial public offering under the symbol SLCY, at a valuation of around $900 million. The company paused the process in 2016, and stated in a May 2018 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was canceling the IPO, citing "market conditions."
In November 2017, the company announced SoulAnnex, an off-bike fitness studio, first testing the idea at a studio in Manhattan. SoulAnnex has similar branding, style and pricing to SoulCycle, but the workouts do not involve bikes, and also focus on yoga. In February 2018 SoulActivate was announced, an on-the-bike class that incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
In June 2018, SoulCycle launched a new media division that will create music, video and audio programming, and events. In July 2018, SoulCycle and Equinox launched a talent agency to represent their fitness instructors, with WME in an advisory role. In October 2018, SoulCycle announced a partnership with Apple Music, making available instructor-curated playlists and motivational audio. That same month, the company introduced the launch of an upcoming series of live concerts, Sound by SoulCycle, in tandem with traditional SoulCycle classes.
The firm operates on a pay-by-class model and does not offer memberships. The indoor cycling classes features spinning, as well as hand weights and choreography.
In October 2018, Whelan announced that SoulCycle will open in London in 2019.
In a 2011 Los Angeles Times article that James Fell wrote about SoulCycle, he approved of the company's approach to entertain and motivate its customers, saying he encourages "the importance of finding an exercise you love and embracing it with fervor." However, Fell gave the company "a failing grade for exercise physiology and biomechanics" and pointed out that the co-founders do not have certifications in any type of exercise. Elsewhere, SoulCycle has been noted for its mental health and wellness benefits and sense of community among its staff and riders. Devotees of SoulCycle typically refer to the exercise as a strong emotional experience.