Alumni Profile: Kyle Bergman (STERN ’19)
April 15, 2021
“One of the main reasons I wanted to get my MBA and go to Stern was the opportunity to expand my network, and meet amazing people. I can safely say that plan worked out beautifully, and I’d go back and do it 100 times again if I could—but maybe without the statistics class,” says Kyle Bergman (STERN ’19).
Bergman is a bit of a renaissance man. Before graduating from NYU Stern’s part-time MBA program in 2019, he’d competed in the World Lacrosse Championships and generated six figures in profit within the first year of launching his startup. And he accomplished all of this while working a full- and part-time job.
Then, less than a year after Bergman’s graduation from business school, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Though he lost his part-time gig teaching fitness classes, the rise of the “stay at home” lifestyle was a boon for his product Swoveralls (essentially sweatpant overalls) and inspired his newest venture, Sweat from Home.
Like many entrepreneurs, Bergman is using his companies to support the causes that are important to him, including NYU’s Alumni Global Days of Service (GDS) taking place April 17–25, Young Survival Coalition, 1% for the Planet, and Urban Pathways. Read the full interview for more, including how Sweat from Home is participating in GDS and incorporating giving as part of its overall mission, and the one thing he’s looking forward to crossing off his to-do list.
You have quite a unique bio, having earned your MBA at NYU while working full time for Birchbox and part-time as a group fitness instructor. And you’ve played for the Israeli National Lacrosse team.
You’re also an entrepreneur whose solo venture, The Great Fantastic (maker of Swoveralls), has earned seven figures since launching in 2017. Now you’re behind another successful startup with Sweat from Home. Did we miss anything?! And can you talk about the influences that drove you to pursue your career path?
It’s kind of a lot, isn’t it? Another (and very important) activity I’m involved with right now is teaching. I’m currently an adjunct professor at NYU Tandon where I teach an undergraduate introduction to supply chain management course. It’s been an incredibly humbling and rewarding experience with its fair share of imposter syndrome moments. Luckily, I’ve had teachers and coaches along my journey who’ve not only taught me things, but, more importantly, have also inspired me to share entrepreneurial war stories and use the lessons and experiences I’ve had along the way to educate, and, hopefully, motivate students.
Two huge influences related to my career path were my parents. Both are driven, hard-working individuals who set amazing examples for me and my sister. I am definitely a product of my environment, and owe a lot of my work ethic and mindset to them. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
From a psychographic standpoint, I think a recurring influence for me was a feeling of frustration. I started The Great Fantastic because, at the beginning of the process, I was frustrated that sweatpant overalls didn’t exist. And I just wanted a pair!
Additionally, I started teaching group fitness part-time in NYC because I was frustrated at how expensive boutique fitness classes were. I also knew that with my background in athletics, I could not only deliver a quality workout experience but also work out for free, if I was coaching at a studio. That led to Sweat from Home, which was born out of the frustration of the pandemic and getting let go from my previous coaching gigs.
Tell us how the events of 2020, particularly the Covid-19 pandemic, impacted you as a business owner and gave rise to Sweat from Home?
2020 was a bittersweet year. On one hand, we had a global pandemic—need I say more? On the other hand, The Great Fantastic had its best year ever, and we created Sweat from Home despite the challenging circumstances.
In March 2020, I was laid off from both of my coaching gigs at Orangetheory and Flywheel—two fitness studios I loved working at—due to the pandemic. Seventeen minutes later, my then coaching colleague (and now co-founder) Brendan texted me with the message: “You get that email too? Ok, what business are we starting?”
Since then, we’ve brought on our third co-founder, Bethany, as well as nine other coaches. Between our coaches and operations team, we’re now a family of 19 team members, providing 60+ Sweat from Home’s mission is to provide the world’s best two-way, interactive, and inclusive workout from the comfort of wherever you are. We’re democratizing the premium boutique group fitness experience with our unique giveback program where we donate a class credit for every class credit purchased. Additionally, we also hold weekly donation-based classes with 100% of the proceeds going to nonprofit partners.
All of our classes are held in real-time with coaches who can actually see you, and thus, provide a sense of personalized feedback and encouragement that’s impossible to get through an on-demand workout. The interaction and live aspect of our classes has created an incredible and loyal community. There’s nothing like a coach personally acknowledging the great work you’re doing, in real-time, and in a group setting. That dopamine rush is the driving force behind everything we do.
Tell us about how Sweat from Home is participating in this year’s NYU Alumni Global Days of Service.
Sweat from Home is pumped to provide three of our signature total body bootcamp classes during NYU Alumni Global Days of Service. The classes will be open to the entire NYU community, and we’d love for everyone to come and get a great workout with us from wherever they are.
The workouts will be 45-minute total body challenges. No weights are required and the class programming is high-intensity interval training with moderate to short breaks. Exercise options are always provided for athletes of all skill levels, and no equipment is needed. However, a towel, mat, and water are recommended. It’ll be very interactive, very fun, and very sweaty!
What’s one thing you haven’t tackled yet that’s still on your to-do list, short- or long-term?
I signed up for a half Ironman race that’s coming up October 2021 in Tempe, Arizona! One of my best friends from high school asked if I’d like to do it with him, and we signed up together. It’ll be the first time either of us have done a half Ironman.
I’m a little nervous, but also really excited to be training again. It’s been refreshing to work towards an athletic goal/challenge, which is something I’ve missed since retiring from lacrosse.
The world looks much different for today’s college students versus when you graduated from Drexel University in 2012 and NYU Stern in 2019. If you could give one piece of advice to NYU students, what would it be?
Get outside and as close to nature as often as you can. The pandemic aside, getting outdoors for at least two hours a day can do wonders for both your physical and mental health (says the WSJ).
Hey, look I get it. You’re a smart, driven, and young whippersnapper hustling in the greatest urban jungle in the world. But take time for yourself. Find a nice spot in the grass somewhere, take a look up, and just breathe.
Share your most memorable moments at NYU.
I had such a blast during my time at Stern. Above any particular moment were the great people I met: professors, administrators, and staff members. And most importantly, my classmates—some of whom are now, and will be, lifelong friends of mine.
Looking back, some highlights were (in no particular order): the study abroad experience I had in Tel Aviv; the time I got to pitch Mark Cuban (again) and give him a pair of Swoveralls in the Hamilton auditorium (Spoiler alert! He didn’t invest. Again. Ha!earing purple Swoveralls under my purple gown on graduation day; and being crammed in a small room working on some group project for some class late at night or on a weekend (Crazy, I know. In spite of how painful it was at the time, I do kind of miss it!). And so many more.
NYU alumni receive a 25% discount on virtual workout classes and memberships with Sweat from Home by using code NYU25 at checkout.
The NYU Alumni Global Days of Service initiative is an opportunity for alumni to make a difference by participating in community service projects online and across the globe. As we all do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, volunteer opportunities are designed to offer assistance to charitable organizations that align with the NYU Alumni Association and allow individuals to give back to their communities in a meaningful, virtual, and socially-distanced way.