SoulCycle Founders Launch New Emotional Health Concept

Peoplehood

The co-founders of SoulCycle are back with an entirely new concept: boutique support groups.

Spirituality-as-a-service

The concept, called Peoplehood, combines aspects of group therapy, mindfulness, spirituality, and community into one 55-minute session. These “gatherings” are led by guides who’ve had weeks of in-house training and feature segments of breathwork, active listening, and stretching.

Created by SoulCycle visionaries Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice—who both left the helm of the cycling studio chain in 2016—the new company’s first classes have hosted nearly 1,000 participants, both at its HQ in Manhattan and remotely.

The opportunity. Building community is what keeps SoulCycle’s wheels turning — they sell connection. This time, instead of fitness, Cutler and Rice are fostering a community centered around mental and emotional health. To that end, Rice added:

“We are modern medicine for the loneliness epidemic.”

A growing crisis, 41% of Americans report symptoms of depression and anxiety, and 60% never seek out therapy. The promise of a support network and mindfulness toolkit—without the stigma of seeing a therapist—could appeal to countless first-time help-seekers.

TBD. Peoplehood guides aren’t therapists. The startup will need to clearly draw the line between mental health and wellness — as Julie Rice put it: “it’s vitamins, not medicine.”

The founders have also declined to name a price for a class. Of note, a single SoulCycle session costs $34+. And Peoplehood’s type of betterment isn’t covered by insurance.

Wellness Together

Turning to the church of wellness, people are seeking a sense of belonging in social experiences. The latest sect features startups gathering in the name of mental fitness:

  • Othership is building community-based studios using guided ice bath, sauna, and breathwork sessions.
  • Coa provides live therapist-led classwork for mental and emotional fitness.
  • Membership club Remedy Place blends social mingling with recovery services.

Takeaway: Believing “relational fitness” can follow SoulCycle’s playbook, investors have already signed onto the Peoplehood concept. Group therapy on-ramp or expensive mindfulness cult — time will tell.