Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Strava Now Allows Users to Post Live During Runs and Rides

Strava today will start to help the athletes who use its tracking apps to see live updates of how they compare to others as they’re in the midst of a run or riding their bicycles.

StravarealtimeThis is a premium feature — included in a bundle that costs $6 per month or $59 per year — and it’s one of the most requested by all users, according to CEO Michael Horvath.

Strava is purposely built to recreate the feel of training with a team, and many riders relish completing an activity and then uploading their GPS file to Strava to see how they compared on each segment — e.g., a particular climb or descent — with the larger Strava user base, with their friends and with their own past efforts.

Now they’ll be able to see on a segment-by-segment basis how they compare in real time. They’ll also be able to see other people doing almost the same thing at the same time nearby.

The feature is available for Android today, and a version that includes it has been submitted to the Apple App Store.

“This is the first feature Strava has built just for mobile,” noted Horvath, who has fostered a highly active and passionate user base, many of whom identify strongly with its brand, and even buy its apparel.

Probably some of you who are reading this story have never heard of Strava, and don’t ever expect to care about being quite so serious about how fast you run or ride. Others of you are obsessed with Strava, and have already stopped reading to go check on the new mobile app.

Horvath said the most important stat to understand Strava’s size is how often people actually use it to do something. The service currently gets 1.5 million uploads per week, which Horvath believes makes it the most active activity tracker in a very crowded market. “We have far fewer users, but more active users,” he explained.

Horvath said the average Strava user is connected to 10 other users, and often those are people they meet because they see their names over and over again on the Strava leaderboards (there’s actually no option to have an entirely private Strava account). For instance, he recalled a 2:45 marathoner who told Strava he found a running partner on a business trip to Arizona by looking at locals’ Strava splits.

“Strava is an interesting social network because you have to be off your computer to use it,” Horvath said.

San Francisco-based Strava, which has raised about $16 million in funding, employs 65 people and expects to be profitable next year, according to Horvath. It has “double-digit” conversion rates of free users upgrading to premium, he said.

What’s next for Strava? Horvath mentioned a platform for coaching, gear recommendations, event and race discovery, and eventually content — maybe even coffee-table books — about where to ride and run. But what the company won’t do is expand to non-endurance activities like snow- and water sports.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald