AOL’s cofounder is touring the country to fund startups outside Silicon Valley. Here are the next states he’s visiting, and how entrepreneurs can vie for a chunk of $300 million.

Revolution CEO Steve Case

AOL cofounder Steve Case’s venture capital firm, Revolution, has been running “Rise of the Rest” bus tours since 2014. In 2017, it raised a complementary $150 million Rise of the Rest seed fund, and last fall raised another of the same value.
The next Rise of the Rest bus tour is setting off on April 20 and will visit Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Northwest Arkansas, and St. Louis.
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If you’re an investor looking for some high growth startups, you’re not going to immediately think of searching Kansas and Missouri. Steve Case wants to change that.

Case, an AOL cofounder and its former CEO, has been leading his Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm, Revolution, on “Rise of the Rest” bus tours since 2014. He and his team have been operating on the premise that there is huge potential outside of where, traditionally, 75% of all venture capital has gone: Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston.

On Tuesday, Revolution announced that ninth bus tour will take place from April 20-24 and go through Wichita, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; northwest Arkansas; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Revolution raised its first $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund to accompany the trips and their underlying thesis, in 2017. It raised a second $150 seed fund last fall and has limited partners like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio, and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman.

So far, the Rise of the Rest team has built a network of 200 coinvestors and invested across 43 cities in the US. At each bus stop, the team meets with local entrepreneurs and community leaders and ends the day with a pitch competition, where the winning entrepreneur will receive $100,000 from the seed fund. The tours are meant to raise awareness of each region’s startup scene, and the Rise of the Rest team maintains its relationships with each of the locales throughout the year, and will continue to make investments.

We asked the Rise of the Rest crew why it chose the heartland as its the next destination, and a spokesperson sent us the following, a collection of insights from the investment team.

Wichita, Kansas

“In addition Wichita’s rich history of entrepreneurship through the founding of companies like Koch Industries, Pizza Hut, and Rent-A-Center, there’s a lot of momentum in the local startup community in regard to talent. This is further augmented by the anchoring presence of Cargill’s protein business (a multi-billion dollar unit of the MN-based company) paired with the efforts of local universities like Wichita State, startup support organizations like e2eAccelerator, and the Accelerate Venture Partners angel network, which are working in tandem to mobilize the community and empower entrepreneurs.”

Tulsa, Oklahoma

“There are robust efforts by community leaders in Tulsa focused on continuing to improve the quality of life while addressing local talent-development issues. Because of …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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