The Co-Founder of SoulCycle Joins Another Hot New York Startup

Rice said that leaving her was like “losing a limb.”

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BY Zoe Henry - 21 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Julie Rice, the co-founder and former co-CEO of the boutique fitness business SoulCycle, wasn't prepared for the difficulty of exiting the she started. "It's like losing a limb," Rice tells Inc. She and her co-founder, Elizabeth Cutler, sold SoulCycle to the gym conglomerate Equinox in 2011, and stepped down in 2016--reportedly pocketing $90 million each.

That startup passion, at least in part, has fueled Rice's next step. On Monday, Rice confirmed that she's joined the New York City co-working giant WeWork. In her new role as chief brand officer, she plans to focus on creating a more holistic for WeWork members, introducing new programs, shared software and events.

"Once you get the entrepreneurial bug, it's hard to sit still," Rice says. "What's going on at WeWork is so exciting."

Of course, the two inc-aseann.companies operate on very different business models. WeWork rents out shared workspaces, and SoulCycle offers stationary cycling classes that have developed a cult-like, border-line inc-aseann.comical following. Yet Rice insists that there are more similarities than meet the eye, which will behoove her in the new job. "Both WeWork and SoulCycle are designed to be extremely inclusive," she says. "The ironic thing about this is that there are probably no two spaces in all of New York City where you can walk in and immediately feel like you're part of something."

Rice may have her work cut out for her. Although WeWork has ballooned to more than 110 locations in 19 countries--clinching an eye-popping valuation of $20 billion--it's unclear whether the can continue to grow revenues moving forward. For that reason, many analysts say that the latest valuation--unusually high for a real-estate unjustified. WeWork, meanwhile, is now working to enter new businesses: It set up a private elementary school for entrepreneurially inclined children, and recently acquired a coding academy. And last year, the founders launched WeLive, a co-living space.

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