Peloton bikes were all the rage during the pandemic, making cofounder and then CEO John Foley a billionaire. And then, after people began venturing outside their homes again, Peloton struggled to keep its mojo.
Earlier this year, Foley left the company, losing 87% of his wealth on paper by the end of his tenure there. Now he has a new interest, and it involves rugs.
His venture, called Ernesta, will offer custom-made rugs starting in the first half of 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Having always loved interior design, Foley told the Journal that even before the founding of image-sharing platform Pinterest, he would rip the pages from design magazines to create mood boards of his visual ideas. He found that custom-fitted rugs were often expensive and that buying store-bought ones meant being stuck with only the specific sizes available.
With his new business, Foley wants to create a way for people to buy affordable rugs—they would start at $200, according to the Wall Street Journal—that could be made to fit different dimensions. The challenge, Foley said, is to convince shoppers they must invest in custom-fit rugs.
“The team here is earnest in its work to bring beautiful, custom rugs to your home in a timely, cost-effective manner,” Foley said on Ernesta’s website. The company’s name, Foley wrote, reflects his fascination with author Ernest Hemingway.
Foley cofounded Peloton in 2012 after raising $307,000 on Kickstarter to help build the exercise-bike startup. By January 2021, the company was worth nearly $50 billion, swelling Foley’s net worth.
But after the pandemic started ebbing, Peloton faced a reality check.
The bike maker underwent a restructuring in September, during which Foley and fellow cofounder Hisao Kushi resigned from their executive roles. In October, his stake in the company was worth $100 million, down from $1.5 billion a year earlier.
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