Former AOL CEO Looks to Make a Splash on the Space Coast
One of the most exciting opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs is coming to the Space Coast on the 30th of April. This investment mission is traveling around the country to identify and reward entrepreneurs. The Rise of the Rest tour, led by chairman and CEO of Revolution, Steve Case, and managing partner and author, J.D. Vance, is making its eighth tour since their 2014 debut in Detroit. From April 29th to May 3rd, Case, Vance, and their team will travel to Orlando, Space Coast, Tampa Bay, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to promote and engage with local startup companies and entrepreneurs with a goal to further enhance and develop these startup business ecosystems and ideas.
Case, the former cofounder and CEO of AOL, has invested over $1 billion in startup capital through Revolution since 2005. Revolution is a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm designed to help make catalytic investments in innovative companies located outside of the “big three” startup locations: Silicone Valley, New York City and Boston. About 75 percent of all venture capital investments occur in these three locations. Case says he and his team are working to invest 90 percent of their capital outside of Silicon Valley to encourage and help accelerate the Rise of the Rest phenomenon. Case is looking to promote the smaller, seed-stage companies located around the rest of the country, while shining a spotlight on the emerging startup ecosystems. The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund works to grow opportunities for new, budding companies. “It’s like planting a seed,” said Case in an interview with journalist Katie Couric during the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2018.
Capturing Overlooked Potential
Case and his team understand the innovation potential that is scattered around the country outside of the typical startup hubs. These unexplored locations provide compelling investment opportunities for the future. The tour hosts a pitch competition in each destination for individuals and organizations looking to display themselves and show their innovative concepts. Businesses specializing in many diverse areas including transportation, food technology, sports technology, AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (the internet of things), healthcare, education, Govtech and Urban tech, to name just a few, are encouraged to pitch their ideas.
The pitch competition on the Space Coast will center more on the space, drone, defense and aviation aspects our area offers. The winner of the competition in each location earns a $100,000 investment from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund to help grow their innovative ideas. This injection of capital can be just what an entrepreneur needs to bring their idea to life. Numerous influential investors have contributed to the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and former Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt are just a few of the highly acclaimed entrepreneurs and executives associated with connecting communities, entrepreneurs and investors.
Building Untapped Momentum
Not only is this a time for entrepreneurs to be recognized, it’s a time to represent the significance of the Space Coast and show why it is flourishing and drawing talent.
The Rise of the Rest tours are catalysts for building momentum in the cities they visit. The campaign creates a connection between city leaders, larger companies, academics and the area’s budding entrepreneurs. The connections, along with the publicity of the event, creates a platform for people to tell their stories and express their compelling ideas. “The goal is to level the playing field so everybody, everywhere, who has an idea, has a shot at building a company and the American Dream,” said Case in an interview with Christina Vega for Forbes. “We believe that supporting the growth of startup communities can help close the innovation gap between the coasts and the middle of the country.” The continuing growth of startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems works to create numerous direct and indirect opportunities for the communities in which they are located. This impact creates a ripple effect that helps to grow and transform the community. Join us this April to welcome the tour and meet the innovators in
Coming April 29 – May 3
For more information visit events.revolution.com.