May 2, 2015
Steve Case is on the road again, leading the Rise of the Rest Startup Tour in the Southern U.S. Case will travel 1,200-miles from May 4th to May 8th, where he will personally invest a total of $500,000 in local startups and shine a spotlight on emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems in Richmond, Charleston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Raleigh-Durham.
Tech companies based in Raleigh-Durham have long benefited from being able to recruit talent from the three universities of the Research Triangle: Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But before Raleigh-Durham became a center of tech innovation, it was home to the largest tobacco company in the world, American Tobacco. By the late 80s, the tobacco industry had declined, and the American Tobacco campus was suddenly vacant. According to Business Insider, the Capitol Broadcasting Company acquired the million-square-foot facility in 2000, with the goal of transforming it into a mixed-use center with retail and office space. The project got a major backing from the city of Durham itself — by 2017, the city will have invested $30 million to rehab the campus. Small startups, accelerators, and venture capital firms have made their homes there.
During the tour’s stop in Raleigh-Durham on May 5th, Governor Pat McCrory will host Case for a breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion to discuss the importance of startups to the Raleigh-Durham region. This will be followed by a pitch competition, where eight local startups will compete in to win a $100,000 investment from Case at the Carolina Theatre at 3 p.m. EST. Case already has invested in the Triangle’s Mati Energy, Automated Insights, and Windsor Circle.
The eight startups competing include:
- Tom and Jennys – Cavity-preventing, sugar-free candy
- Personalized Learning Games – Social and emotional learning platform for K-8 students
- ELXR Health – Platform for behavioral patient consent and data exchange
- Archive Social – Social media archiving, monitoring, and analytics for legal compliance
- Stealz – Social media engagement tool that turns customers into brand ambassadors.
- Reveal Mobile – Mobile audience platform that improves mobile ad targeting
- Antenna – Platform to react to any content or product on the internet
- RocketBolt – Platform for intelligent lead tracking throughout a customer’s experience*
*Winner of Tech.Co’s informal reader poll
Guest judges include: Frank Stasio, NPR correspondent, and Sarah Yarborough, Raleigh Denim. Google for Entrepreneurs and UP Global as presenting partners for the tour. The tour also has the support from both new and previous tour partners including Salesforce for Startups, Engine, Startup Grind, Village Capital, Seed Here Studio and Tech.Co. Our very own CEO, Frank Gruber, will be joining Case in the tour.
So Tech.Co would like to know what you think: Which Rise of the Rest Startup is the Hottest in Raleigh-Durham?
Image Credit: Flickr/NCDOTcommunications
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