Steve Case earned headlines worldwide last year when he hopped on a bus and visited cities like Detroit, Nashville, Des Moines and Madison, Wisc. promoting a “Rise of the Rest” in entrepreneurship and handing out hundreds of thousands of dollar investments.
Some of the companies that won pitch contests during those visits will appear on stage at Google Demo Day next month, competing for even more money from dozens of Silicon Valley investors.
Now, the Triangle gets a chance to vie for Case’s attention and wallet. His latest bus tour pulls into town May 5.
Case has already made a name for himself as the nation’s quintessential startup promoter after leading the Startup America Partnership. A key realization of the effort, which established statewide entrepreneurship networks across the United States before merging with UP Global in 2013 and going global, is that entrepreneurship can happen anywhere and it already is happening everywhere. The Rise of the Rest Tour, happening in partnership with his Washington D.C.-based venture fund Revolution, Google for Entrepreneurs and UP Global, is a chance for him to put his money where his mouth is. He’s already done it in many ways by establishing and keeping his fund in D.C.
During the Southern tour, from Richmond to Raleigh-Durham to Charleston to Atlanta to New Orleans, he’ll host fireside chats, judge live pitch competitions, and make $100,000 investments on the spot.
No further details have been revealed about a location or time (though we’re told he’ll make a stop at American Underground), but here’s how to apply. In addition to answering 23 questions about product, team, market potential and finance, you must send in a one-minute pitch video. There’s also an opportunity to submit recommendation letters.
Here are some of the headlines the previous cities (and winning startups) on the tour earned:
June 2014 Tour:
In Detroit, Forbes wrote: Steve Case Startup Tour Kicks Off in Detroit With $100K Prize. And the winner was Stik, a social media site for making referrals for doctors, lawyers, cleaning services, etc.
In Cincinnati, PandoDaily wrote: The best and worst of startup Cincinnati comes down to its Fortune 500s. The winner was Frameri, which makes interchangeable glasses frames for prescription lenses.
In Pittsburgh, the winner was SolePower—here’s a profile.
In Nashville, the Entrepreneur Center put together this video and social media recap. Case awarded funds to Checkd.in—here’s a profile by Southern/alpha
October 2014 Tour:
In Madison, the winner was SoLoMo Technology—here’s the recap.
In Minneapolis, wireless heating and cooling management company 75F took home the prize.
Here’s a bit of what happened in Des Moines, shared by one of its best known startups, Dwolla. The winner here was Bawte, which keeps track of the warranties, instructions and support for all your products.
Forbes covered the Kansas City stop, during its annual Big Kansas City startup conference. Winner here was a new search engine called Leap.It.