By Eric Posner, Co-Founder of SWERVE
SWERVE Fitness is one of the most popular cycling studios in NYC, and Eric Posner is one of three friends to co-found this fitness mecca. But long before SWERVE was an apple in their eye, Eric was on the fast climb through the NYC finance world. So what caused him to change gears, now officially a recovering finance guy? Eric talks about everything fitness, start-up, and finding your bliss.
You were on the fast track in the NYC finance world - what prompted you to switch gears?
I think it's best to first explain how SWERVE was born. I started my finance career in sales, and in a word, my job was to sell. I was pitching a platform in a fairly competitive market so I quickly learned that by really connecting with my clients, I could earn their trust and therefore be more successful.
My immediate connection to many of my clients was our shared passion for fitness, so I started taking them to fitness boutiques. Coincidentally, my childhood friends and soon-to-be business partners (JH and Chelsea) were in similar positions doing the exact same thing. We all became quite familiar with the fitness landscape and experienced success by building relationships in a fitness setting, so the three of us kicked around the idea of opening a studio of our own. Our vision was to create an experience that harnesses the camaraderie innate in working out with others… by working in teams. And that's how SWERVE was born! Together, we created the world's first team inspired indoor cycling studio.
Was the decision to give up finance a tough one?
Absolutely. In making this decision, I forced myself to step outside of my comfort zone and into the land of uncertainty. My parents thought I was crazy, but my partners and I believed so deeply in the team-based model and in each other that we knew the risk would be worth it. When we took the ideas to our clients, they were the first people to offer capital to back us. That definitely helped push us over the hump. Once we raised most of the capital needed and signed the lease, we gave our two weeks notice.
What do you think finance asked of you that you weren't wanting to give any longer?
It was never about not wanting to give, but making sure I was giving in the right place. The more time we put into our business plan for SWERVE, the more passionate I became about wanting to change the game in fitness. And when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, your “giving” becomes more and more meaningful. I've been playing team sports all my life and my parents run a Wellness Center, so I've always been privy to what's going on in the wellness space. I felt like it was my calling to spread health, wellness, and fun in NYC, and I knew that’s where I needed to be giving myself.
Do you consider yourself a recovering "finance guy" or are you now fully recovered?
Put it this way, you’ll never again find me behind a desk full-time. I love the life of an entrepreneur and the lessons that come from the everyday challenges.
What has been most rewarding about co-founding Swerve? Most challenging?
There are many rewarding things, but what tops the list is hearing all of the amazing stories that come from our riders and how fortunate we are to play a part in changing people's lives. From riders losing crazy amounts of weight, to quitting smoking, to going on dates at our studio, making new friends, training for their weddings, and people even changing their company culture because they now SWERVE together. I am also incredibly grateful for the positive people with whom I work on a daily basis.
The most challenging thing is keeping up with our growth. We started with the 3 founders and now we have 43 employees in less than 2 years. It's a lot of people and process management, but we’re learning as we go and always getting better.
You manage the financial side of Swerve, so this may be an easy question. What did you bring with you from the finance world that has been the most useful?
We learned a lot from our bosses in finance about keeping organized, promptness, and work ethic. That has been very helpful when running a business and wearing many, many hats.
Any advice or final words for readers?
Choose courage over comfort and uncertainty over unhappiness. Always think about the worst case scenario – it's never as bad as you think.
Eric Posner is a Co-founder and CEO of Swerve. Eric was born and raised in Huntington, NY. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Psychology and Economics while playing on the varsity lacrosse team. After graduating, he began his career at Investment Bank HSBC. Eric currently heads Finance and Marketing at SWERVE Fitness and was recently featured by the NY Post as one of NYC's leading Young Entrepreneurs. You can find him working out at 6AM every day of the week with his workout group called #TheProgram, eating at his favorite restaurant Hu Kitchen in Union Square, or sipping (double) espressos over ice at Coffeed around the corner from SWERVE's Flatiron studio.