By Nihal Mehta
“One run can change your day, many runs can change your life.” — Unknown
#PitchandRun has come a long way in the last few years — something I’ve been reflecting on after Ryan Deffenbaugh joined us for a recent run and wrote about it in Crain’s New York.
Why put pitching and running together? We started the group in 2019 as a way for founders and investors in New York’s tech community to speak freely, get to know each other, get feedback, and PITCH (!) outside of a four-walled conference room, all while getting exercise. We were partially inspired by Hot Ones on YouTube — we’re not quite as extreme, but we also believe that when a little sweat hits the brow and heart rates increase, so does the conversation.
Then after the pandemic hit, the running group grew dramatically as people became lonely, craved more community and outdoor exercise, and still wanted an opportunity to meet new people in a safe environment. Now dozens of us run through the streets of NYC every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.
Some serendipitous outcomes from #PitchandRun so far:
- Founders have gotten funded.
- VCs have gotten funded, including Avantika.
- Companies have had exit opportunities, created by Denis.
- Parents share how to be better parents.
- Many have been inspired by the group to make positive transitions in their careers including Austin and Tejpaul.
- People have created strong new friendships.
- Kevin, Oleg, and I co-founded the Help Main Street initiative after discussing it on a run.
- We’re super proud of one of our members, Wilson, as he climbs the highest seven peaks in the world and shares his stories.
- Many of us have kept in shape, hit running goals of 500–1,000 miles per year, and run multiple half and full marathons — all while using #PitchandRun as our foundation. Karen is a 10x marathoner who runs with us, and Arianne is a Steeple Chase Olympian competitor!
- And we have our vibrant group chat (you get invited to after five runs), where we talk about anything but running!
And I’m not the only one who loves #PitchandRun. Arianne (Perry, of SVB) shared some thoughts:
Startups are driven by the mission to solve a major problem or improve people’s life experience in a meaningful way. #PitchandRun is no different. The result of our weekly runs is improved life experience through meaningful personal and professional conversations, connections, and sport — mental and physical exercise! This is a group of people committed to self-improvement, who define their success by their ability to help in the success of others and the community. This shared value extends to our professional lives as investors, bankers, founders, and operators. What could be more important than shared values, when selecting a friend, running partner, business partner, investment, or investor?
Steve Jobs was known for his “walks,” where he forged deep relationships, developed profound realizations, and made critical decisions. He was on to something. Lose the notes, the presentation, and the formality and what’s left is what’s most important.
Come join us! Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9am at Chelsea Piers/22nd St. Follow us on Twitter and look for other cities opening up across the country soon!