Strava searches for new CEO with co-founder Michael Horvath departing for a second time

Strava is on the hunt for a new CEO, after Michael Horvath revealed that he’s stepping down from the role for a second time.

Horvath co-founded Strava back in 2009, steering the company to become one of the world’s biggest activity-tracking social communities, passing 100 million registered users last year.

After leaving the Strava hotseat back in 2013 for family reasons, Horvath returned as CEO six years later, with his co-founder Mark Gainey also returning as executive chairman. Now, Horvath says that he’s stepping away from the CEO role and the company is actively pursuing a replacement, simply saying that he feels the company needs someone different at the helm to spearhead its next phase of growth.

“As co-founder and CEO, it’s only part of my job to ensure we are picking the right path to that destination,” Horvath said. “The other part of it is to ensure we always recruit and support the right leaders for the right times.”

Changing of the guard

While Strava is chiefly renowned for its use in the cycling and running spheres, allowing users to track and share activities, it has been looking to expand its appeal into tangential outdoor pursuits such as hiking as it chases further growth. Indeed, the company launched a new trail sports option last year, then a few weeks back it announced that it had acquired a European startup called Fatmap, which has created a 3D mapping platform for mountains. Strava is planning to integrate Fatmap into its core platform in the coming months.

Whenever there’s a changing of the guard at a big venture-backed tech company, this often signals something major is coming up on the horizon. Indeed, Strava has raised more than $150 million in funding over the past 14 years, securing big-name backers such as Sequoia Capital along the way, and it would make sense that Strava would have at least one eye on an exit. Horvath said last year that there were no immediate plans for an IPO, though he later clarified that he wouldn’t rule it out if it made sense at the time.

The official line for now, though, is that Horvath believes Strava needs a different skillset to take it to the next level — whatever that next level looks like.

“What got us here will not be exactly the same as what will get us there,” Horvath said. “I have decided that Strava needs a CEO with the experience and skills to help us make the most of this next chapter.”