“Entrepreneurs do change the world. We want to make sure that entrepreneurs everywhere have that opportunity.”
The Rise of the Rest startup tour began in 2014, started by AOL co-founder and Revolution CEO Steve Case. It’s essentially Christmas for startups in America, where Case and his squadron travel across the country in a bus, dispensing wisdom, investing money (in $100K increments), and highlighting entrepreneurial hotspots outside the national view. So far, the Rise of the Rest has encompassed four different tours, spanning 4,000 miles and a total of $2 million invested in 20 startups throughout the USA.
“We fire up our Rise Of The Rest bus to shine a spotlight on great entrepreneurs building great companies all across the nation, not just in Silicon Valley,” Case wrote in a blog post. “Last year 75% of venture capital went to just three states — California, New York and Massachusetts — and we aim to change that. We know there are a lot of terrific entrepreneurs building great companies in those three states, but we also know — and want others to know — that there are also awesome entrepreneurs in the other 47 states, too. Our goal is to do what we can to help level the playing field, so any entrepreneur, anywhere in the country, has a real shot at the American dream.”
The stops for the fifth official Rise of the Rest tour have been announced and wouldn’t you know it, Utah made the cut. It begins on on October 3 in Omaha/Lincoln and goes as follows: Denver (October 4), Salt Lake/Provo (October 5), Albuquerque (October 6), and Phoenix (October 7). So what does it all mean? Is the entire Utah startup scene going to hang out inside a bus on October 4? Is your startup eligible to apply for a $100K investment? Will there be any selfie opportunities for yourself and Case?
We’ll start with the bus question. No, you probably won’t be hanging out inside the bus, but it will be driving around all day and visiting local startups, incubators, and accelerators. There will also be a public event to connect everyone and allow the startup community to discuss whatever is on their collective mind. At the end of the day, an after party/networking event will be held and if you’re super lucky, that’s when you might get to hang out in the bus.
For the prospect of having $100K invested in your startup, the process is simple. There will be a pitch competition held to determine who is worthy of investment, where startups will demonstrate their virtues before a panel of judges with the winner receiving a personal investment from Case. If this sounds like something you are interested in, you can apply for the pitch competition anytime between now and September 7.
“Entrepreneurs do change the world,” wrote Case. “We want to make sure that entrepreneurs everywhere have that opportunity.”