AOL co-founder Steve Case is leading a venture capital ‘revolution’ beyond Silicon Valley

For nearly a decade, America Online co-founder Steve Case has criss-crossed the United States on bus tours visiting cities outside of traditional tech centers in search of innovators and entrepreneurs to back his D.C.-based venture capital firm, Revolution. has done.

He found a lot of them. So much so that some other big names in business joined his mission, and he wrote a book about the experience, The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Amazing Places Are Building the New American Dream.

Steve Case

AOL founder Steve Case is leading a movement to invest in offshore startups. (Revolution)

Revolution launched two $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed funds to invest in early-stage companies intercoastal (the first $150 million fund launched in 2017, the second in 2019). Funds, executives and founders are backed by a group of investors including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Sarah Blakely, Henry Kravis, Eric Schmidt, Tory Burch and John Doerr.

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So far, The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has invested in nearly 200 companies in over 100 cities.

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Case says he and his fellow venture capitalists have noticed an imbalance in where capital is distributed over the past decade, with 75 percent of venture capital going to just three states, California, New York and Massachusetts.

Steve Case

Steve Case during a stop on his ‘Rise of the Rest’ bus tour in Louisville, Kentucky on May 11, 2018.

“First and foremost, we think the best way to get more capital to more people and more places is to create returns that really attract the attention of coastal investors to the midlands,” Case told FOX Business.

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He added that they also know that the mission has a “broader impact in terms of being able to create more jobs and opportunities and a lot of inner cities that felt left out and left behind.”

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While the pandemic slowed Revolution’s bus tours, it set his mission on fire as a whole.

Case says the pandemic served as a catalyst for what he sees as a turning point in how people think about remote work and flexibility, and at the same time, venture capitalists realized they could get special sessions with entrepreneurs outside of their own backyards. Have.

Steve Case

Steve Case funds a startup in Minneapolis, Minnesota during a “Rise of the Rest” bus tour.

This new era of people who can work from anywhere also has the potential to end the “brain drain” that occurs when skilled workers or entrepreneurs feel they have to leave their communities to be part of a startup—which for Job creation is essential. in America

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Case says it’s happening across the country right now where entrepreneurs are disrupting big industries in places people don’t expect, and that makes him optimistic about America’s future.

“There are a bunch of things that separate us,” he told FOX Business. “This is an issue that can unite us: How do we maintain our leadership globally, around innovation, about entrepreneurship? How do we do it in a more inclusive way? And how do we write this next chapter of the American story that Really? Focusing around new ideas? With spirit and pioneering innovation.”

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