At last week’s 1776 Challenge Festival Closing Keynote, Steve Case addressed the audience about his “Rise of the Rest” theory, and the belief that startups outside of Silicon Valley should have ready access to capital in order to match those companies in more-developed startup markets. Specifically, the AOL cofounder spoke on crowdfunding’s role as the great equalizer in the startup economy and his duty as an investor to make it easier for any entrepreneur – regardless of location – to a make a difference in the world. Yesterday, it was announced that Case will apply that theory to the Rise of the Rest Road Trip, a tour through four of these developing startup ecosystems – Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Nashville – aimed at bringing attention to startups outside of the Valley.
— Tech Cocktail (@TechCocktail) May 17, 2014
“It’s important to remember that America itself was once a startup, and became the greatest economy in the world thanks to the efforts of entrepreneurs who built not just companies, but entire industries in the heart of the country,” said Case in a press release.
The Rise of the Rest Road Trip will last four days – beginning on June 24th in Detroit, and ending in Nashville on June 27th. Case will visit local startups, accelerators, and incubators at each city, holding fireside chats along the way. Most notably, a startup pitch competition will be held at each stop of the tour, with the winner receiving a $100,000 investment from Case and a chance to pitch to Case’s Revolution for an additional investment.
“This journey – covering nearly 1,000 miles – will showcase emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems that will play a critical role in rebuilding the American economy and creating new middle class jobs.”
The tour is presented by Revolution, in partnership with UP Global (for which Case serves as chairman) and Google for Entrepreneurs. Interested startups can visit the Rise of the Rest Road Trip website now and apply to pitch at one of four competitions. Throughout the tour, Tech Cocktail will highlight the companies competing in each of the city competitions. In addition, readers will get the chance to vote on their favorite startups per competition. The winning startups in our readers’ choice polls will qualify for Tech Cocktail Celebrate this fall. Stay tuned for more info!