With more than 50 million users and another 1 million joining each month, fitness social network Strava—which allows runners, cyclists, and other athletes to upload and share workout stats and routes—knows all the best trails and circuits. But instead of selling targeted ads, the company makes money through premium subscriptions that include services to help users reach training goals and analyze health data. Strava also sells access to the world’s largest anonymous active transportation data set to city planners, who use it to make “cities better for cycling and running so more people can participate,” says Strava cofounder and CEO Michael Horvath. At the end of last year, Strava updated its Metro tool, making it easier for local governments to discover the most popular bike and walking commuter routes. London, Helsinki, and several U.S. states’ transportation departments use Metro to help improve existing infrastructure, such as identifying where bike racks would encourage more ridership.
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A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.