Summit Partners has named Melanie Whelan as executive-in-residence. Whelan is the former CEO of SoulCycle.
BOSTON, MA and MENLO PARK, CA — Global growth equity investor Summit Partners today announced the addition of Melanie Whelan, former CEO of SoulCycle, to the firm’s Executive-in-Residence (“EIR”) program. In this role, Ms. Whelan will work closely with the Summit team to identify new investment opportunities in high-growth consumer and specialty retail brands, and to serve as an advisor to Summit.
“Melanie is a builder and leader of companies that thrive on unique consumer experiences and shared community,” said Greg Goldfarb, a Managing Director with Summit Partners. “She understands how modern consumer businesses build and leverage passionate online and offline communities, and she is deeply invested in developing exceptional leadership teams. We are thrilled to bring her perspective and experience to Summit as an EIR.”
Ms. Whelan joined SoulCycle in 2012 as COO and spent three years building and leading the operation before her promotion to CEO in 2015. Under her direction, SoulCycle grew from eight NYC-based studios to nearly 100 studios in 18 markets across three countries. Over the last two years, she led the company’s diversification efforts, which included expanding the retail business through launch of a vertically-integrated, direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform and building a media division to drive audience and revenue growth strategies, including a 24/7 SiriusXM channel.
Prior to joining SoulCycle, Melanie led Business Development for Equinox where she was part of a team that executed a multi-brand strategy with the U.S. launch of Pure Yoga, the creation of Blink Fitness and the acquisition of SoulCycle. Earlier in her career, she was a member of the founding team of Richard Branson’s U.S. air carrier Virgin America and worked in corporate development at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Today, Melanie serves on the Board of Directors of Chegg, the publicly traded education learning company, and the GO Project, a non-profit focused on education inequity in New York.
“Summit has a strong history of partnering with innovative, high-growth consumer businesses that are leveraging technology and the power of community to expand their reach,” said Ms. Whelan. “I’ve long admired Summit for their focus on brands and management teams and the firm’s long-term approach to partnership. I’m excited to work alongside the Summit team to identify the next great entrepreneurial opportunities and to serve as an advisor to the firm.”
Summit has been active in the consumer sector for more than three decades, with a focus on specialty retail and high-growth consumer brands. Summit has partnered with more than two dozen companies across the e-commerce and consumer landscape, including Club Champion, Morphe, Philz Coffee, Quay Eyewear, Reverb.com, Sezane, onXmaps, TinyPrints and Physicians Formula.
Summit’s EIR program is an established element of the firm’s growth-oriented investing strategy. Since its inception, the program has facilitated collaboration between seasoned industry executives and Summit’s investment teams, working to identify sector-specific opportunities in which EIRs may support companies in an ongoing capacity through board or leadership roles.
About Summit Partners
Founded in 1984, Summit Partners is a global alternative investment firm that is currently managing more than $19 billion in capital dedicated to growth equity, fixed income and public equity opportunities. Summit invests across growth sectors of the economy and has invested in more than 500 companies in technology, healthcare, consumer, financial and business services, and other growth industries. Summit maintains offices in North America and Europe, and invests in companies around the world. For more Summit stories and to learn more about #TheSummitPartnersNetwork, visit www.summitpartners.com or follow on LinkedIn.