Jan. 3, 2021

Episode 50: Mark Gainey - Co-founder & Chairman of Strava

Episode 50: Mark Gainey - Co-founder & Chairman of Strava

Today’s guest is Mark Gainey. Mark is the co-founder and Chairman of Strava, the leading social platform for athletes. Mark grew up in Reno, Nevada and was slated to run cross country for Harvard. However, after being sidelined by an injury,


Today’s guest is Mark Gainey. Mark is the co-founder and Chairman of Strava, the leading social platform for athletes. Mark grew up in Reno, Nevada and was slated to run cross country for Harvard. However, after being sidelined by an injury, he then got recruited to join the crew team where he would meet his Strava co-founder, Michael Horvath. It would be many years before they would start Strava, and Mark’s first job after graduating college was at the growth equity firm TA Associates. While at TA, Mark spent nearly 5 years talking with entrepreneurs and learning about their businesses. He wanted to be on the other side of the table. And so, Mark and Michael reconvened in the mid-90’s and began brainstorming a business that would eventually become Kana Communications, an email management software company. Kana became wildly successful and Mark left the company after four years. After several years of advisory type work, Mark was itching to start something again and thought back to the idea he had of somehow re-creating the team-like atmosphere he experienced while on the Harvard Crew team. He then reached back out to Michael Horvath and they began creating what would become Strava. In this interview, we discuss Mark’s time growing up in Reno, Nevada, his experience on the Harvard Crew team, his time talking with entrepreneurs at TA, Kana Communications, and of course, Strava.

Timestamps

00:02:53 Growing up in Reno, Nevada

00:07:00 Path to Harvard

00:09:50 Harvard Crew Team experience

00:16:01 Career ambitions while at Harvard

00:17:35 Time at TA Associates

00:20:57 Launching Kana Communications

00:23:14 Kana overview

00:28:51 Unfinished business with Kana

00:33:40 Strava overview

00:35:33 Genesis of Strava

00:38:26 Go an inch wide and a mile deep

00:42:12 How the Strava user base has grown

00:44:46 Strava's business model

00:47:31 Building community at Strava

00:50:12 Ultimate vision for Strava

00:54:07 What he wants to create 5 years from now

00:55:40 Time in Strava app vs. time spent being active

00:59:23 His daily routine

01:00:50 His driving force

01:02:24 Advice for the aspiring entrepreneur