Strava knows how to throw a party. Since 2009, the San Francisco-based tech company has grown from a cycling-focused ridesharing app to 1.8 billion activity downloads across more than 30 different activity types in 195 countries around the world. Strava has become not just an app to track your outdoor activities, but now a social network, a place where people meet, discover new routes, share useful information and find community.
On May 17, Strava hosted an intimate gathering in North Hollywood, Calif., inviting 300 athletes, media personalities, brands and others for a full day of corporate announcements and panel discussions. Notable people on the panels included co-founder Michael Horvath, popular podcaster Rich Roll, Charlie Dark (Run Dem Crew), Sabrina Pace-Humphreys (author and co-founder, Black Trail Runners), Guarina Lopez (founder, Native Women Ride), Caroline Gleich (ski mountaineer, endurance athlete and environmental activist), Adrian Ballinger (Big Mountain Climbers) and many more.
In panels centered on inclusion, environmental stewardship and how digital can connect us IRL, there were important announcements. Here are the main takeaways:
1. Strava partners with Nike
For the first time, athletes will now be able to share activities seamlessly across both platforms. Later this summer, the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps will have the ability to share activities on Strava. Nike will soon be hosting “Challenges” as well. This is part of a larger effort in which Strava has invested more in developing subscription-based Club features, to connect more like-minded people on their platform.
2. You’ll soon be able to play Spotify via Strava
Strava users now have the ability to link their Spotify accounts to Strava to play, pause and skip tracks directly from the Strava recording screen. This partnership is an attempt to make the experience of using these two popular platforms more seamless and integrated.
“One of our biggest goals at Spotify is to be wherever our listeners are,” said Ian Geller, Vice President of Business Development at Spotify. “This integration with Strava is another way to support our listeners and allow them to seamlessly connect to the music and audio they love.”
Expect to see more Strava user-generated playlists that are hyper-curated for specific workouts. Drake, Rihanna and Lil Nas X are already playlist curators on Strava.
3. FATMAP is timely
Strava acquired mapping giant FATMAP in January, and at Camp Strava they announced that their mapping technologies will be fully integrated by the end of the year. What does that mean? This means leaps of sophistication in creating 3D routes. This means more accurate heatmaps, real-time updates on snow and piste conditions. This means that Strava maps will offer layers of avalanche danger etc.
“We have a shared vision with FATMAP to inspire more people to get moving by allowing them to discover and experience the joy of the outdoors,” Horvath said. “For us, the ability to reimagine the purpose of maps and the way they inspire exploration is an outsized advantage for a differentiated outdoor experience.”
4. Groups and clubs are a top priority
Community and connection. If we had a penny for every time someone at Strava reinforced this priority of connecting people around the common goal of being healthy and active, we’d be a millionaire. In the coming years at Strava, we’ll see a lot more innovation and technological bells and whistles around Strava Groups, Clubs, and Challenges.
A panel at Camp Strava was entirely devoted to the questions and challenges raised by new technologies, and the distance many of us feel from our communities. Strava will completely revamp its groups, prioritizing less KOMs and finding segments, and more prioritizing the fulfilling connections that sustain us.
5. The subway is a cool way Strava is working with local planning
This Metro feature has actually been in the works at Strava for some time, but we found during a roundtable that Metro is a really compelling part of Strava’s work that has been less visible, but will grow in the months and years coming.
According to Strava’s website, “Metro aggregates, de-identifies and contextualizes (their) dataset to help improve communities for anyone who walks or bikes.” We work with city planners, trail networks, city governments and safe infrastructure advocates to understand mobility patterns, identify investment opportunities and assess the impact of infrastructure changes, all completely free.
What’s the takeaway for recreational athletes?
Strava continues to grow. Expect to see more sophisticated 3D mapping visuals being introduced later this summer and this year. Anticipate being able to connect with other runners, climbers, cyclists and recreational enthusiasts in your areas while finding creative new routes on the go. It’s an exciting time at the intersection of mapping, endurance, and community, and Strava isn’t slowing down in its quest to be the preferred tool for cultivating those experiences of bringing people to the outside.
RELATED: Be sure to check out our monthly column, in partnership with Strava, we take a deep dive into interesting data points that reveal the more human side of sport.