Strava Hires Taco Bell Executive to Lead Marketing Efforts

Strava Inc. said it had named Zipporah Allen the company’s chief marketing officer as the fitness startup seeks to grow its customer base.

Ms. Allen is Strava’s second chief marketing officer, filling a position that had been vacant since the company’s first CMO, Erik Joule, left in 2015. Marketing had been led since then by Gareth Nettleton, vice president of marketing, until he left Strava in June.

Ms. Allen previously served as chief digital officer of Taco Bell, where her work included a taco subscription program that the fast-food chain launched in January.

Strava is a fitness-themed social network that allows users to track their workouts and share information about their activity with others. Membership is free, but an optional $60-per-year subscription provides access to maps and activity analytics. It says it has 40 million activity uploads per week and has raised $180 million in funding since its founding in 2009.

The San Francisco-based company revived its CMO position with Ms. Allen’s hire to help pursue a much bigger user base, said

Michael Horvath,

Strava’s chief executive and co-founder.

“We were looking for someone who had been operating at a scale in a setting that was well beyond where we are,” Mr. Horvath said.

Zipporah Allen previously led Taco Bell’s digital initiatives, including a taco subscription program that was introduced in January.


Rebecca Dever Thacher

Strava wants to improve its community relations on its app, find other ways to engage with users and find new users, said Ms. Allen.

“We’ve got a really active and engaged and passionate community around the brand,” Ms. Allen said. “And so how we communicate that to build more users onto the platform, how we actually leverage our community to show up in the world…that’s the work that we’re going to get started on.”

Strava’s new CMO arrives as competition increases in the connected fitness space and the reopening of society means people have more alternatives to working out.

Peloton Interactive Inc.,

a maker of connected fitness equipment, has hired new leadership and will test a new pricing program as its share price continues to fall. Gyms and studios have adopted a hybrid approach since last summer, teaching clients over video calls and in-person.

But Strava’s goal isn’t to get users to buy a piece of equipment, Mr. Horvath said, noting that the company works with several connected fitness companies.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]

Corrections & Amplifications
Marketing had been led since then by Gareth Nettleton, vice president of marketing, until he left Strava in June. An earlier version of this article misspelled Mr. Nettleton’s name as Gareth Nelson. (Corrected on March 17)

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