By Rebecca Heilweil
Peloton has built an empire selling fitness buffs high-end bikes and treadmills and a corresponding subscription to stream its coordinated classes. With [more than a million] (https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/14/18088390/peloton-hugh-jackman-spin-bikes-hydrow-tonal) users to date, the company has announced that it has filed for an initial public offering.
The details of the filing are confidential, which some companies are permitted to do if their revenues are below $1 billion a year.
Last August, the company raised more than $550 million, bringing its total funding to almost $1 billion, [according to Crunchbase] (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/peloton-interactive).
It appears that Peloton will be the first major fitness-tech startup to go public in recent years. Last year, the cycling fitness startup SoulCycle [backtracked] (https://money.cnn.com/2018/05/25/technology/soulcycle-pulls-ipo/index.html) on its plan to go public.
Peloton's still-private competitors include Flywheel, which offers remote cycling classes for the in-home bike that it sells and the fitness startup Mirror, which streams fitness media accessed through a full-size television-mirror. The latter is nearing [a $300 million valuation] (https://techcrunch.com/2019/06/03/fitness-startup-mirror-nears-300m-valuation/), according to TechCrunch.
Another company, Hydrow, is developing a similar model to Peloton built around a rowing machine, Engadget [reports] (https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/28/hydrow-rowing-machine-erg-first-look/). But how Peloton will fare in the public market will depend on whether it can convince investors that its growth is in is streamed content, and that its business model can transcend selling equipment.
"The CEO is claiming that they're really more of a media company than an equipment company," Lenore Hawkins, the chief macro strategist at Tematica Research, told Cheddar. "If they're going to be pushing themselves as a media company, they've got to have a lot more content."
"I would call it more of a media company. They're more like Netflix," said John Jannarone, the editor and publisher of IPO Edge. "I spoke to an investor who owned some pre-IPO shares and what he told me is that they're looking at about $900 million in revenue next year, and a big piece of that ー$250 million ー is recurring. It's a subscription."
The high price tag for its equipment might also make some investors wary. While the products have grown popular among higher-income users in major metropolitan areas, it's not clear whether the system will be adopted outside the demographic.
"You're getting the best instructors, and you're getting fantastic equipment, and you don't have to go to a class," said Hawkins. "The bicycles run for about $2,000, and you can get a really great, stationary bike, for less than $2,000. So it's very much on the high-end."
The cost for Peloton's treadmill begins at $4,300, and the corresponding flat monthly subscription is $39 a month. The company also has an app that streams fitness content through a digital membership for $19 a month.
But despite the costs, Jannarone also sees room in a global market where Peloton could see expanded adoption.
"Looking beyond the United States, there are people who have tried to buy these things in other countries when they aren't even allowed to because they don't have the music rights. There's no reason why something like this couldn't be sold all over Europe, Asia, and Africa," he said. "It's a very scalable business model."
"What we have is that the CEO has stated that the growth of the company has been about doubling every year," Hawkins added.
Peloton was unable to comment due to the quiet period mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.