|Born||1977 (age 39–40)
|Education||B.A. Babson College|
|Known for||co-founder of Zumba Fitness|
Alberto Perlman was born to a Jewish family in Colombia in 1977, the great-grandson of an immigrant from Israel. He has two brothers, Jeffrey and and Joel. His father owned a factory that made leather goods for export and operated a distribution center in the United States. In 1994, Perlman moved to the United States. In 1998, he graduated from Babson College with a B.A. in finance and information systems. After school, he worked as a management consultant where he analyzed the effectiveness of its TV advertising for a bank. In 1999, he and a partner organized a business conference in Miami sponsored by I.B.M., Telefonica, and others to bring together Latin American entrepreneurs with venture capitalists. In 1999, along with three partners, he then created a venture capital firm for Latin American internet entrepreneurs called Spydre Labs which funded Spanish-language clones of U.S. dotcom businesses which they then sold to the cloned U.S. company. They raised and invested several million dollars before the tech bubble burst in 2001.
Now unemployed, his mother suggested that he get together with fitness instructor and recent immigrant to Miami, Alberto "Beto" Perez - with whom she had taken classes in Colombia - and start a business to market his fitness routine set to Latin and international music that was very popular in Colombia. In 2001, they partnered with Perlman's childhood friend, Alberto Aghion, and founded Zumba Fitness. Initially, they were unsuccessful in marketing to the various fitness chains. In 2005, they changed their strategy and pooling their last $14,000, they targeted fitness instructors using direct marketing via videos and TV infomercials; their effort was quite successful with 450 people signing up for a initial $300 fee and a further $30 a month to become licensed Zumba instructors. The fitness routine became popular nationally and the Zumba Instructor Network grew; they then branched into direct video sales. As of 2010, Zumba Fitness is in 50,000 locations in 75 countries. In 2012, Insight Venture Partners and the Raine Group made an investment. In 2013, Inc magazine estimated the value of the company at $500 million. By 2015, according to Perlman, there were 14 million Zumba students in 186 countries. Bolstered by steady fee income, they expanded the brand into music collections, clothing, footwear, and video games (altogether about 50% of revenues are from ancillary products).
- [ New York Times: "Born for Business" by Patricia R. Olsen] May 22, 2010
- Wall Street Journal: "Zumba CEO: Every Time You Let Someone Go, ‘It’s a Scar’" By Leslie Kwoh March 20, 2013
- Financial Times: "The dance idea that found its feet" by Jonathan Moules February 5, 2013
- The Jewish Chronicle: "Bullied as a boy, now I own a bank - Joel Perlman grew up in crime-ridden Colombia, bullied by non-Jewish schoolmates and Jewish kids alike. But now he's a business success." by Charlotte Oliver March 20, 2017
- Healthy Magazine: "Meet Raquel Perlman, the Mother Behind Zumba Fitness" retrieved May 10, 2017
- "Zumba Fitness Announces Strategic Partnership with Top Media and Technology Firms" (PDF). Press release. March 7, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- "Twitter Backer Insight Venture Partners Sees Great Potential in Former Street Performer Behind Zumba Exercise Craze". Reuters. June 25, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- Crumpton, Mark. "zumba fitness CEO Perlman on Buisiness Model,Growth". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 October 2016.