An orange strava logo with arrows on a black background
(Photo: Courtesy Strava)

Five Key Takeaways from Camp Strava 2023  

We traveled to Los Angeles to Strava’s exclusive event of panels and announcements. Here were some of the essential things we learned about where the tech giant is headed. 

An orange strava logo with arrows on a black background
Courtesy Strava

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Strava sure knows how to throw a party. Since 2009, the San Francisco-based tech company has grown from a cycling-centered ride sharing app to 1.8 billion activity uploads across over 30 different types of activities in 195 countries around the world. Strava has become not only an app to track your activities outside, but now a social network, a place where people are meeting, learning about new routes, sharing helpful information, and finding community.

On May 17, Strava hosted an intimate gathering in North Hollywood, California, inviting 300 athletes, media personalities, brands, and others for a full day of company announcements and panel discussions. Notable people on panels included the cofounder Michael Horvath, popular podcaster Rich Roll, Charlie Dark (Run Dem Crew), Sabrina Pace-Humphreys (author and cofounder, 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 others.

Tucked into the panels that centered on inclusion, environmental stewardship, and how the digital can connect us IRL, were some significant announcements. Here were the major takeaways:

1. Strava Is Partnering with Nike

For the first time, athletes will now be able to share activities seamlessly across both platforms. Later this summer, Nike’s Run Club and Nike Training Club apps will have the ability to share activities on Strava. Nike will soon be hosting “Challenges,” too. This is part of a larger effort we picked up on of Strava really investing more in developing the subscription-based Club features, to connect more like-minded folks on their platform.

2. You Can Play Spotify Through Strava Now

Strava users now have the opportunity to link their Spotify accounts with Strava to play, pause, and skip tracks right from the Strava record 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 everywhere our listeners are,” said Ian Geller, Vice President of Business Development at Spotify. “This integration with Strava is another way we’re moving with our listeners and allowing 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 featured playlist curators on Strava.

3. FATMAP Is Coming in Hot

Strava acquired the 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? That means leaps of sophistication in 3D route creation. It means more accurate heatmaps, real-time updates on snow and trail conditions. It means that Strava maps will offer avalanche danger layers, etc.

“We have a shared vision with FATMAP to inspire more people to move by empowering them to discover and experience the joy of the outdoors,” Horvath said. “For us, the opportunity to reimagine the purpose of maps and how 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 dime for every time someone at Strava reinforced this priority of getting people connected around the shared purpose of being healthy and active, we’d be a bazillionaire. In the coming years at Strava, we’ll be seeing a lot more innovation and tech bells and whistles around Strava Groups, Clubs, and Challenges.

A panel at Camp Strava was dedicated fully to the questions and challenges raised with new technology, and how distant so many of us feel with our communities. Strava will be fully revamping their Groups, prioritizing less the KOMs and segment-chasing, and more the fulfilling connections that sustain us.

5. Metro Is a Cool Way Strava Is Working with Local City Planning

This Metro feature has actually been in the works at Strava for some time, but we found during a panel discussion that Metro is a really compelling part of Strava’s work that has been less visible, but that will grow in the months and years to come.

According to the Strava website, “Metro aggregates, de-identifies, and contextualizes [their] dataset to help make communities better for anyone on foot or on a bike. We work with urban planners, trail networks, city governments, and safe-infrastructure advocates to understand mobility patterns, identify opportunities for investment and evaluate the impact of infrastructure changes—all completely free of charge.”

What’s the Takeaway for Recreational Athletes? 

Strava is continuing to grow. Expect to see more sophisticated 3D mapping visuals being introduced later this summer and year. Anticipate being able to connect with other runners, climbers, cyclists, and recreationalists in your regions while finding new creative routes when traveling. It’s an exciting time at the intersection of mapping, endurance, and community, and Strava isn’t slowing down in its pursuit to be the preferred tool for cultivating these experiences of getting people 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. 

Lead Photo: Courtesy Strava

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