Learn how Strava Co-Founder Mark Gainey
went from "niche-app" to 40m users at Hustle Con
Meet the leaders of Strava, Calm, thredUp, hims and more... Hustle Con Early Bird Tickets on sale now!
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How Strava attracted 40 million athletes with a niche go-to-market strategy.
Strava — strive in Swedish — started out catering to one audience and one audience only: cyclists.

Today, more than 40 million athletes spread over 195 countries — doing just about any kind of workout — are logging 15 million activities a week on Strava. 
Mind Candy
An early version of the app.
Of course, the jump from spandex-clad bikers to a legion of worldly athletes wasn’t easy – especially when neither founder was a die-hard cyclist.

So, how and why did they do it?
The road to owning social fitness
Co-founder Mark Gainey, a speaker at this year’s Hustle Con, first dreamed up Strava back in the 90s with his Harvard crew buddy, co-founder Michael Horvath.

It wasn’t until 2009, though, that the timing was finally right to launch their MVP: A simple website.

You may remember that 2009 was the year wearable GPS devices were taking off, and Twitter and Facebook were no longer dorm room fantasies. For Gainey and Horvath it was perfect timing.

By 2011, Strava had gone mobile and users were busy racking up the miles.
“Apple and Android devices came to have a strong enough battery life and a strong enough GPS chipset to be viable tools to use,” Gainey tells Cyclist.co.uk. 

“That changed the game for us, enabling us to grow the network more effectively.”
Strava addicts.
Niche as a go-to-market strategy
While Gainey never considered himself a hardcore cyclist, he and Horvath instinctively understood the advantages of going niche.

“We did see an opportunity in the market where there was a group that really wasn’t being served well by any of the other products that were out there, and a chance for us to work with the devices that the cyclists were using,” tells Men’s Journal.

Focusing on the needs of serious cyclists, Strava built momentum by reaching out to cycling groups, teams and clubs, getting the word out through local ambassadors and developing targeted marketing campaigns.

Word of mouth began to spread, with cyclists touting how the authentic brand not only gave them a way to share routes and rides with each other, it opened up a world of camaraderie and connection.
Taking the app to the next level
It wasn’t long before the company added runners — a natural fit for its tech — to the mix. And began laying out plans to expand beyond endurance sports. Today, the app is used by swimmers, rock climbers, windsurfers, yoga practitioners, Peloton fanatics, you name it.

We saw the power of being focused on something niche,” founder Mark Gainey tells Outside Magazine of his company, now valued at $350 million. “But in doing so, you develop leadership and the credibility to build it into a broader market.

Outside Magazine chalks up Strava’s popularity to its ability “to combine the best aspects of other fitness apps—plus some distinctive features of its own—in a sleeker, more satisfying user experience.”

Those distinctive features are a combination of cool performance metrics and positive social motivation not found on other social sharing sites. Last year, athletes shared 3.6 billion kudos on Strava.

And thanks to its users sharing their route heat maps as works of art and marriage proposals, even less athletically inclined people are familiar with the brand.
Art is (leg) pain.
Staying focused on an athlete's needs
With 42 million accounts — and about a million new ones being added every month — Strava is poised to achieve its goal to become the defacto social fitness platform for all athletes, not just runners and cyclists.

But unlike its competitors, the company doesn’t plan to grow through acquisitions. (At least, not yet.) Instead, Strava will continue to focus on individual athlete’s needs, just as it did when the company launched 10 years ago. 
Want more? 
Want to learn other growth tactics Mark and his team used to grow Strava?
How about... 
  • Hear founding stories from the Bay Area's top founders.
  • ​Learn specific startup growth tactics you can use immediately.
  • Network with early stage entrepreneurs, investors, and creators. 
  • ​Get the inside-track on yet-to-be tapped growth channels.
  • ​Have the time of your life with the people who can help further your career.
Join Michael and 29 other successful founders as they share their stories, tactics, and learnings at Hustle Con, December 2-3rd in Oakland, CA. 
Register below to see tickets:
What's Hustle Con?
What's Hustle Con?
Hustle Con is a two-day startup event where the world’s most successful founders:

Hustle Con is a two-day startup event where the world’s most successful founders:
  • Tell their origin stories
  • Teach the practical tactics they used to start and grow their startup
  • Share behind the scenes insights on their wins and losses
How does it work?
Hustle Con works like business school: you show up and are taught strategies for starting and growing your company. Except at Hustle Con, you’re not paying $100,000 to attend.

We’ve gathered the founders of the fastest-growing companies to give 20-minute keynotes on actionable tactics for launching and growing your business. You’ll learn how they got started, how they grew, and what they learned along the way.

The conference will be at the Paramount Theatre – an art deco masterpiece of a theatre in Oakland, California (across the bridge from San Francisco). Capacity is 2,500 people and we sell out every year.
Who should come?
This conference is for you if:

• You want to start a company
• You already have a business that you want to grow
• You want to sharpen your non-technical skill set
• You’re technical and want to find a non-technical co-founder
• You're interested in rubbing elbows with founders, investors, and creators. 
• And/or you love hanging out with inspiring and fun people.

In any case, Hustle Con is the must-attend event for people who want learn tactical and actionable advice and join an amazing community of sharp, ambitious do-ers.
How does it work?
Hustle Con works like business school: you show up and are taught strategies for starting and growing your company. Except at Hustle Con, you’re not paying $100,000 to attend.

We’ve gathered the founders of the fastest-growing companies to give 20-minute keynotes on actionable tactics for launching and growing your business. You’ll learn how they got started, how they grew, and what they learned along the way.

The conference will be at the Paramount Theatre – an art deco masterpiece of a theatre in Oakland, California (across the bridge from San Francisco). Capacity is 2,500 people and we sell out every year.
Who should come?
If you want to learn from the best founders in the world and hear their stories, then you should come.

If you want to learn non-technical tactics (growth, marketing, hiring, getting started), then you should come.

One attendee last year said, “You guys rocked my socks off… I literally had to buy new socks.” If you wanna get your socks rocked by a bunch of entrepreneurs, then you should definitely come.
What's the schedule? 
Day 1 - Keynotes
December 2, 2019
  • 8:00 am: Doors Open & Exhibits
  • 10:00 am: Keynotes from Speakers
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch & Exhibits
  • 1:30 pm: Keynotes from Speakers
  • 5:00 pm: Hustle Con After Party
Day 2 - Workshops
December 3, 2019
  • 8:00 am: Doors Open & Exhibits
  • 10:00 am: Breakout Sessions
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch & Exhibits
  • 1:30 pm: Breakout Sessions
  • 4:00 pm: Hustle Con Wrap
Confirmed Speakers
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
HILARY COLES
Founder, Hims
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
AMY ERRETT
 Founder/CEO, Madison Reed
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
MARK GAINEY
Founder, Strava
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
GUNNAR LOVELACE
Founder/CEO, Thrive Market
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
JAMES REINHART
 Founder/CEO, thredUp
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
ERIC RYAN
Founder, Method & Olly
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
KAT SCHNEIDER
Founder/CEO, Ritual
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
MICHAEL ACTON SMITH
Co-Founder/CEO, Calm
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
TOBY SUN
Founder, Lime
CUSTOM JAVASCRIPT / HTML
HEIDI ZAK
Co-Founder/Co-CEO, ThirdLove
Want to nominate a speaker? Use this form. 
Confirmed Speakers
Hilary Coles
Founder, Hims
Amy Errett
 Founder/CEO, Madison Reed
Mark Gainey
Founder, Strava
Gunnar Lovelace
Founder/CEO, Thrive Market 
James Reinhart
Founder/CEO, thredUp
Kat Schneider
Founder/CEO, Ritual
Michael Acton Smith
Co-Founder/CEO, Calm
Toby Sun
Founder, Lime 
Heidi Zak
Co-Founder/Co-CEO, ThirdLove 
  What people are saying 
“I learned more in one day at Hustle Con than I did in 4 years of business undergrad.”
“An "un-conference". Super laid back, cool people, great vibe and actually fun to attend, unlike most conferences which are really stuffy and kind of miserable.”
“I loved Hustle Con! I was blown away by the speakers, their great advice/insights, the venue, sponsors, freebies, drinks, attendees, staff, organization, headshots. It. Was. Fantastic.”
  What people are saying 
“I learned more in one day at Hustle Con than I did in 4 years of business undergrad.”
“An "un-conference". Super laid back, cool people, great vibe and actually fun to attend, unlike most conferences which are really stuffy and kind of miserable.”
“Like Comi-con for Entrepreneurs”
Past Sponsors 
Want to sponsor? 
Past Sponsors 
Want to sponsor? Click here
Why This Is Easily The Best Investment
You’ll Make In Your Business All Year…
Why This Is Easily The Best Investment You’ll Make In Your Business All Year…
Hey there reader,

Sam here, CEO of The Hustle.

In 2014 my co-founder John and I wanted to start a company but weren’t sure what to start.

A web app for finding the perfect fitting jeans? Software for the trucking industry? A daily deals site?

Uninspired with our ideas, we asked a few successful founders how they started.

And that, my dear friend, is how we came up with the idea for Hustle Con.

That spring we wrangled together 15 highly successful founders. Like John and I, most of them weren’t technical and didn’t know how to code. They were hustlers. They had figured out how to get prototypes out the door, find customers, hire a team, and scale their company.

At Hustle Con they explained their company’s founding story and the tactics and strategies they used to scale.

And Hustle Con was born.

Since then, we’ve grown from 400 to 2,000 attendees.

And now, in 2019, we’re hosting the 5th annual Hustle Con in Oakland, CA in December and I’d like you to come.

Here’s why attending will be the best money you’ll spend all year:

The strategies: Speakers dive deep on a specific strategy and tactic they used for starting and growing their company. You’ll get a look under the hood on how they made success happen and their behind the scene stories. Our speakers are not professional speakers. They’re full time operators who we’ve convinced to tell their stories. They’ve built massive businesses and have accomplished a lot of the things you want to do.

Your network: 2,000 people travel from around the world to attend. Attendees range from first time founders to CEOs of large corporations. We’ve set up opportunities for you to meet your fellow attendees. Attendees have met business partners, customers, friends, mentors, and everything in between.

Guaranteed consumption: With so many distractions out there it’s nearly impossible to focus. Getting out of the office, away from your normal day to day, will set you up perfectly to learn and improve yourself and your business.

See you in December,

Sam Parr
CEO of The Hustle
© 2019 The Hustle. All rights reserved.