Jon Congdon ’81s company has been among the fastest growing in the United States since it was founded in 1998. Congdon is co-founder and president of Product Partners, LLC, the company which owns Beachbody, Breakthrough in Beauty, and the wildly popular P90X
plan. In the past two years, the mega-brand P90X has become a household name, and sold more than 2 million units.
Congdon’s company now has over 650 employees and annual revenues of over $400 million. Congdon says he was always entrepreneurial. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in political science, he found himself at Proctor and Gamble which he described as a “little too big and corporate for me.” Though he liked the company, he left after a year to try his hand at a number of occupations – he was a parking valet in Beverly Hills, he traveled to Guatemala to learn Spanish, and eventually, he returned to the states and became a school teacher. After three years teaching, he left to help run a division of Guthy-Renker, one of the world's largest direct response television companies.
At Guthy-Renker, he met Carl Daikeler, and the two men launched a national computer dating service and built a revenue sharing network of more than 100 radio stations to promote the concept. That unit was later sold to a unit of Cendant, a global leader in consumer and business services. The pair then decided to start their own company.
“We determine a need and try to fill that need,” said Congdon of their progress. In 2005, Congdon and Daikeler were finalists for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The P90X in-home extreme fitness program is described on its' website
as a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping workouts, designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days. “Anyone who wants to get in shape can accomplish that by going to BeachBody.com
,” said Congdon. Beachbody is one of the nation’s most successful companies at creating and marketing in-home fitness and weight-loss programs. The Santa Monica, California, based company is still expanding with plans to develop healthy skincare products and promote fitness programs for seniors and children.
Congdon has also developed a “coaches network,” where Beachbody enthusiasts can earn money by helping their family, friends and neighbors get fit. “Our customers are like walking billboards” for the fitness programs, he said.
Congdon describes himself as “still good friends” with many of his Webb classmates. His roommates at UCLA included Michael McDermott ’83, Suneel Ratan ’81, Chris Brown ’81 and Tom Courts ’81. As he was starting his own business, Congdon said he often consulted with Webb friends Courts and Brown.
He also looks back fondly on his teachers and mentors at Webb, citing in particular, Larry McMillan who taught Individual Humanities, a year-long literature course that culminated in a theses-style biography that was due at the end of the year.
“Our teachers kept us focused on the future,” said Congdon. “Even after I left school I remember running into Henry Sharp at an alumni event. At the time I was in my globe wandering phase, and I remember him saying ‘you know Jon, when you jump back in, you’re capable of doing a great deal with your life.’ At the time I was a little hurt, but he was just still being a Webb teacher, helping guide me in the right direction.”