AOL co-founder announces Dallas as first stop in Rise of the Rest tour

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL Time Warner and now CEO of Revolution, announced on Wednesday morning that Dallas will kick off the Rise of the Rest 7.0 Tour on May 7.

As in years past, this tour will consist of Case leading a daylong town meeting with different local startups. The day will end with a pitch competition where entrepreneurs compete to receive a $100,000 investment from the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, a $150 million fund started in 2017. Google for Entrepreneurs will provide coaches for pitches on the day.

Applications to pitch any live product, service or active beta are open now until March 20. Companies will be judged on the innovative nature of the idea, the opportunity for employment, the team, the execution, the business model and supporting documents.

“We’ve witnessed firsthand the potential for startup ecosystems to transform economies and believe by investing in these companies early we are capitalizing on long-term trends,” said J.D. Vance, managing partner of the Rise of the Rest Fund, in a press release.

Investors backing this fund include Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt, fashion designer Tory Burch and others.

While Dallas will be the first stop in the first tour of 2018, the tour will also include Memphis, Tenn. on May 8, Birmingham, Ala. on May 9, Chattanooga, Tenn. on May 10 and Louisville, Ky. on May 11.

Case has shown an interest in developing innovation outside of huge startup hubs like Silicon Valley since the founding of his investment firm Revolution in 2005.

However, in 2014, Case and his team took this mission on the road. Revolution and Case completed bi-annual Rise of the Rest road trips, visiting 33 cities to meet with local entrepreneurs and community members as well as to host a pitch competition with the chance at Case’s $100,000 investment.

At each event, startups compete for the chance to receive an investment from Case. Photo credit: Rise of the Rest Facebook Page

“Both the Rise of the Rest bus tour and fund are helping to raise the visibility of promising startups in cities across the country” said Case in a press release. “For the past four years, we have been encouraged by the entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders we’ve met on our tours and are excited to invest catalytic capital into these Rise of the Rest regions.”

Along with announcing the new tour, Revolution also released the first list of nine startups to receive investments from this Rise of the Rest Fund, which includes Austin-based ZenBusiness.

For more information on the tour, watch the video below or check out their site.

Jacquelyn Elias

Editor at Launch DFW | SMU senior studying journalism, creative computing and computer science graduating in May '18 | Twitter: @jacquieeli | LinkedIn: