Health and Science

'We weren't greedy' — Peloton CEO says IPO 'left something on the table on pricing'

Key Points
  • Peloton CEO John Foley says he hopes to see "some momentum" in the company's stock in its market debut.
  • Peloton priced its IPO at $29 per share, the top of its original range of $26 to $29. But the stock opened at $27.
  • "We think we generally left something on the table in terms of pricing," says the company's co-founder. "I feel like we weren't greedy."
Peloton expected to be profitable by 2023: CEO John Foley

Peloton Interactive co-founder and CEO John Foley told CNBC he hopes to see "some momentum" in the company's stock in its market debut on Thursday.

"We think we generally left something on the table in terms of pricing" the company's initial public offering, Foley said, just hours before shares were set to begin trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PTON.

"I don't know whether I'm allowed to say that," he joked, and then added, "I feel like we weren't greedy."

Peloton on Wednesday evening priced its IPO at $29 per share, the top of its original range of $26 to $29. However, the stock opened lower Thursday at $27 per share. 

"We hope it prices up," Foley said on "Squawk Box" on Thursday morning, referring to the stock price. It closed at $25.76, down 11.17%.

The company's bikes and treadmills — with accompanying video screens to stream live and provide on-demand recorded classes — has earned loyalty among users who prefer to exercise at home instead of going to a studio.

The company says it has 1.4 million members — users with a Peloton account.

Growing membership helped sales grow to $915 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, up 110% from in fiscal 2018. However, net losses in fiscal 2019 widened five-times to $245.7 million.

Peloton expects profitability in fiscal 2023, Foley said, adding that investors should be focusing on growth over the next two quarters.

The company is building two large production studios in New York and London and is expanding elsewhere in Europe.

Foley sees the costs to build the business as "investments," stressing that "we're in investment mode" and "prioritizing growth over profitability."

Nasdaq President Nelson Griggs told CNBC in an earlier interview Thursday that as long as billion-dollar-plus start-ups have scale and massive growth, some public investors are tolerant about the pace to profitability.

"The profitability question is one we know investors tend to ebb and flow about how important it is to get to profitability and how quickly," Griggs said. "That changes pretty quickly."

Peloton is joining the ranks of fellow unicorns that have gone public by adopting a dual class structure. Most recently, the structure came under fire when the We Company attempted to go public and questions arose around former CEO Adam Neumann's special voting shares.

In its initial filing, Neumann controlled the majority of the voting rights through the company's Class B and C shares, with both classes carrying 20 votes per share compared with one vote per share for Class A. He stepped down as CEO this week after losing support from key backers.

Foley defended Peloton's move, saying that eight rounds of financing have "crammed down the team." He added that he holds less than 6% of Peloton.

"For better or worse, we've raised a billion dollars at Peloton. As of today, north of 2 billion," he said. "We're well capitalized."

"We couldn't do [a] 10-to-1 voting class because the leadership wouldn't have any control," Foley added. "We feel like we have the right, experienced leadership team in place. The board feels good about us. We feel great about the opportunity."

Peloton is a two-time CNBC Disruptor 50 Company. It is #9 on the 2019 list. It's the first company from the 2019 list to IPO, and the 40th IPO in the seven-year history of the Disruptor 50.

Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast-NBCUniversal is also an investor in Peloton.

Watch CNBC's full interview with Peloton CEO John Foley on the company's IPO