Sam Cole

Co-Founder & CEO, FitXR

Sam is the CEO and a co-founder of FitXR. Sam began his career as a management consultant at PwC in Auckland, New Zealand and then worked in private equity after moving to London in 2014. As a firm believer of the benefits of regular exercise for physical and mental health, Sam has always kept fit. Since the conception of VR, he has had a vision of delivering immersive fitness through VR to motivate people to keep fit, by providing access to guided workouts and programs in a highly personalized environment. After meeting his co-founder Sameer Baroova at business school, they decided to launch FitXR to deliver this vision together. Sam holds a bachelor’s degrees in law and finance from Otago University. He earned his MBA from Cambridge University.

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

As a leader, I value leading by example and embracing a low ego mindset. In a fast-paced environment like FitXR, I seek individuals with a growth mindset, comfort with failure, and adaptability. Thriving in a high-growth startup requires humility and a willingness to stretch and grow. Not everyone is suited for this challenging environment. Screening for these values is crucial to avoid seeing individuals struggle.

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration lies in the power of FitXR’s mission. For us, it’s all about being a Movement for Movement and expanding the reach of exercise to a wider population. When everyone on the team is aligned and passionate about this mission, it truly becomes a superpower. Watching the team rally behind this shared goal, reminds me of the profound impact we are here to make.

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

There’s a tweet from Jean-Michel Lemieux, the former CTO of Shopify, that really stuck with me. He said that autonomy is enhanced by regularly seeking alignment.

I think a lot of people might think that having a super independent and autonomous culture like we do at FitXR, means not burdening your team or manager with the details. In reality, regular communication and alignment – even if it’s just a Slack that you give a thumbs up to – allows individuals to work independently while still maintaining a strong team dynamic.

4. What would you tell your younger self?

Everything takes longer than you expect. Embrace the long game, whether it’s building relationships or preserving your own well-being. I take my mantra from Naval Ravinkant: “All returns in life, whether in wealth, relationships, or knowledge, come from compound interest.”

Find what you love and do it passionately, even if there’s no immediate compensation. Don’t just grind it out for the paycheck. Seek environments that allow your true creative potential to flourish. Find your passion, be present with it, and strike a balance with other important aspects of life.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

That nothing is ever going to be perfect, and it’s not something we should be constantly searching for. I’ve come to understand that searching for stability and perfection can be overwhelming because there will always be a mix of red and green indicators along the way.

Instead of focusing on the snapshot of the present moment, I’ve found it more powerful to look at the gradient, the progress we’ve made over time. There will always be areas for improvement, but acknowledging how far we’ve come drives us forward.