Side Note

Running is the new networking sport for the start-up set

Dust off your business cards and stick them in your sneakers, because running is apparently the new networking sport of choice for the start-up set. Every Thursday morning at 7 a.m., according to a recent trend piece in the Boston Globe, a group of biotech employees, investors, and bankers don brightly colored t-shirts and fancy running shoes for a 4.5-mile run along the Charles River. Bruce Booth, a partner at Boston-based investment firm Atlas Venture, launched the weekly jogs in 2015, with the intention of building “deeper bonds of connectivity” in the local biotech community. According to The Globe, “Discussions during runs have led to job offers, new sources of capital, different approaches for doing business, even the birth of companies.”



Exercise networking is nothing new. In 1901, J.P. Morgan bought out Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel on a Westchester golf course, consolidating the land of fairways and birdies as the defacto schmoozing ground for powerful men. More recently, Fast Company heralded the arrival of “sweatworking,” or networking during more intense exercises like running or weightlifting. In techie communities from Boston to Silicon Valley, nothing — not even cycling or playing basketball — is sacred. The New York-based career management company Right Management wrote in a blog post that by breaking a sweat with someone, “you skip the artifice and immediately get down to what’s real.” Booth, who started the #RunningAtlas club in Boston, has a name for this: "Inspiration through perspiration."

Of course, for anyone who has pretended not to see a passing acquaintance mid-run in a bid to avoid an awkward, breathless exchange, drenching yourself in sweat in order to whip out the logline for your new app is the stuff of literal nightmares.