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The Story of Strava, the Social Network Used by Millions of Athletes, with Founder Mark Gainey

The Story of Strava, the Social Network Used by Millions of Athletes, with Founder Mark Gainey

On today’s episode of Gritty Founder, Kreig Kent talks with Mark Gainey about his journey as an entrepreneur and how he built Strava. Mark shares excellent advice on the importance of knowing your customer and going after niche markets.

Mark Gainey has been building successful companies for nearly 20 years. He currently serves as the co-founder and chairman of Strava, the social network for athletes. Founded in 2009, millions of athletes worldwide have joined Strava for the competition and camaraderie found in tracking and sharing their fitness activities. Mark also founded Kana Communications, an enterprise software firm, in 1996 and served in various capacities, including CEO, president, and chairman. He has offered his expertise to a wide array of companies over the years, joining the boards of Alter-G, BoardVantage, Daum, Clari, and Coaching Corps.

Some Questions Kreig Asks Mark:

– How did you get the idea for your company? (9:46)
– Can you share a story of failure in your entrepreneurial journey? (12:55)
– What is your advice for founders who are in the process of starting a company? (19:45)
– How do you manage all the different ideas from investors, employees, etc.? (28:48)
– At what point should founders start talking to venture capitalists? (29:05)
– What is the most important ingredient a founder needs to succeed? (32:22)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

– Mark’s background and how he became an entrepreneur (4:30)
– Solve a problem that you are passionate about (9:53)
– The story behind Strava (11:28)
– Why Strava started with an app for cycling (17:53)
– Whatever idea you start with is not going to be the one you end with (20:02)
– Establish leadership by going after a niche market (21:40)
– Don’t confuse go-to-market with vision (24:01)
– Figure out who is not your customer (27:45)
– You are always fundraising (29:30)
– The importance of patience, persistence, and perspective (32:39)

Connect with Mark Gainey:

LinkedIn
Strava

See Also

Also Mentioned on This Show…

Mark’s favorite quote:
“Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ―Abraham Lincoln

Mark’s book recommendation:
Built to Last by Jim Collins

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