Strava's CEO is 'keeping a close eye on' potential acquisitions

StravaStrava CEO James Quarles.
  • Strava’s CEO said he is watching his space to see if any interesting acquisitions come up.
  • He said his Strava’s board is very supportive.
  • One company that Strava may look to acquire is Zwift, which is a massively multiplayer online cycle training program.

Fast-growing activity tracking app Strava is keeping an eye out for potential acquisitions, according to the company’s CEO.

Strava is an app that has become wildly popular with fitness enthusiasts who wish to record their runs and bike rides. The app shows them how far they have been, where they went, and what activities their friends have been doing, among other things.

James Quarles, who took over as Strava’s CEO earlier this year after holding executive roles at Facebook and Instagram, told Business Insider that he is considering potential acquisitions in the next few years.

“We’re keeping a close eye on our space and looking for either teams or technologies that could help us accelerate us towards our vision,” he said. “I think our board are very supportive. If we could find something that qualifies in what we’re setting out to do in the next 2-3 years we would consider it but [there is] nothing in pursuit at the moment.”

One potential acquisition that might make sense for Strava is Zwift

One keen cyclist I know said he’d be interested to know whether Strava has any plans to acquire Zwift. [He’s a Zwift/Strava user himself.]

Zwift is a little like a giant social network for cyclists who are training indoors on their bikes. It’s become more popular with bike enthusiasts in recent months, who often share their Zwift rides to the Strava app.

Quarles didn’t rule out a Zwift acquisition when Business Insider asked him about it. Instead, he talked up the Zwift platform, which upped its prices from £7.99 to £12.99 a month in November.

“Zwift are a great partner of ours, you know, for several years now, giving people the opportunity when it’s cold and wet outside to come indoors with their training,” said Quarles.

“We’re also seeing a lot of people choose Zwift becuase it’s more convenient frankly during the week. You’re not taking the time to get all kitted out for an outdoor ride.”

In order to use Zwift, riders must connect their turbo – a machine that cyclists use to train indoors – to a power meter or bluetooth sensor that links to the Zwift app on their mobile, tablet, or computer.

Once this is done, riders can create an avatar in the app and kit them out with their favourite cycling gear and a dream bike, before entering virtual races against other Zwift users. The races take place in virtual worlds (Watopia, Richmond, and London [representations of both real and fantasy places]) and they can be displayed on a TV in front of the turbo. Many riders link Zwift accounts to their Strava accounts to keep track of their training.

Quarles added: “I think as we continue to expand from cycling to running and now from running into indoor, you’ll see a lot more partners like that, that don’t rely on the GPS track.”

Strava has raised $US70 million (£52 million) from big name investors including Sequoia Capital, which has made a name for itself after spotting the potential of Apple and Google in their early days and investing in them. The company employs approximately 150 staff in San Francisco, with smaller teams in New Hampshire and Bristol, in the UK.

Zwift did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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