(New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco), where there’s almost always
a trendy new fitness option.
Despite the ad’s vociferous stance
regarding soul versus cycle, the
campaign debuted just a month
before the company introduced a
major redesign of its signature Soul-Bike. “Our riders are getting stronger, physically and mentally,” says
CEO Melanie Whelan. “We want to
continue to evolve the equipment
and the workout for them.” In partnership with Colorado-based Stages
Indoor Cycling, SoulCycle focused
on making the bike more custom-izable, especially the handlebars,
which had been thick and static. The
new ones are thinner and can move
up and down, which makes them
easier to grip and adjustable for
different body types and exercises.
The bike’s ne w magnetic-resistance,
boutique fitness studios with 78
locations in 15 markets, launched
its first-ever brand campaign,
featuring a two-minute spot starring actual sweaty, attractive class
instructors. As the music swells,
they explain that SoulCycle—and its
cult following—is not about the bike
but rather about the rider. With the
company expecting to add another
15 studios this year, the ads target
both newbies and veteran cyclists
in the company’s biggest markets
carbon-fiber belt drive creates a
smoother ride while requiring
less testing, cutting 1,200 hours
of weekly maintenance by a third.
Meanwhile, small angle changes to
the bars correct posture by adding
wrist support. The new bikes rolled
out in New York studios in May, with
6,000 bikes to be replaced this year.
“We tested these at our New York
headquarters,” Whelan says. “Even
some of our master instructors were
sore for days after.” —Claire Dodson
MILES TONES SoulCycle just
opened its first studio outside the
U.S., in Toronto, with a Vancouver
debut planned for the summer.
CHALLENGES Stationary bike
maker Peloton has created an
on-demand, at-home spin experience to try to disrupt SoulCycle’s
so far in-studio-only offerings.
MILESTONES In a move
that could smooth the
way for an IPO, the music-streaming giant struck a
licensing deal with Universal Music Group that
will allow UMG artists to
restrict new albums to
paid Spotify subscribers
for up to two weeks post-release, making Spotify
more attractive to premium artists such as Taylor Swift, whose label Big
Machine is distributed by
UMG. Similar major-label
deals are likely to follow.
CHALLENGES Spotify still
needs to prove that it can
be a profitable streaming
service, which means
continuing to convert free
users into paid subscribers.
MILESTONES The new
Galaxy S8 smartphone
earned widespread praise
for its nearly bezel-less
design, which gives it one
of the highest screen-to-body ratios on the market.
CHALLENGES Samsung is
still mired in a corruption
scandal involving top
executives, like company
chief Lee Jae-yong, who
was indicted in February.
MILESTONES By summer, eBay will guarantee
delivery within three days
for more than 20 million
eligible items that are for
sale on its site. Many of
these items will also come
with free shipping.
CHALLENGES eBay is
playing catch-up with
Amazon and Walmart,
and it’s still struggling to
customize its experience
for individual users.
Whelan is rolling
out a new bike to
next phase of
MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES
Updates from the MIC alumni