Winning the West: Meet the Rise of the Rest 5.0 Pitch Competition Finalists

Two years ago, Steve Case got out of his office and onto a bus to see what was happening in communities of entrepreneurs across the country. Since then, he has visited 19 cities and invested more than $2 million in promising startups. Next month, Steve and the Revolution team will hit the road again with our partners for the fifth Rise of the Rest startup bus tour.  Together, we will traverse more than 2,100 miles to shine a spotlight on startup ecosystems throughout the Western United States visiting Omaha/Lincoln (Oct 3), Denver (Oct 4), Salt Lake City/Provo (Oct 5), Albuquerque (Oct 6), and Phoenix (Oct 7).

In each city, Steve Case will make a $100,000 personal investment to the pitch competition winner, investing a total of $500,000 in local startups during the five-day bus tour. Here are the 40 startup finalists who will compete to become part of the Rise of the Rest community and details about each leg of the tour:

The tour of the Western United States will kick off in Omaha and Lincoln, where the day will begin with a symbolic visit to Lauritzen Gardens, the original site of the First Transcontinental Railroad, constructed in the 1860s to connect to the Pacific coast.

Steve will meet with the founders of local startups including Hudl, ScoreVision, and Flywheel. Next, we will visit the Nebraska Innovation Campus with the leadership of Virtual Incision, Nebraska Innovation Studio, Spreetail, and Suji’s Korean Cuisine. Governor Pete Ricketts, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, Hayneedle CEO Jon Barker and other business, political and academic leaders will join throughout the day for discussions about the past, present, and future of the Omaha/Lincoln startup economy. The pitch competition at the end of the day will be judged by Steve, Beth Engel of Dundee Capital, Laura Classen of Nebraska Angels, Jim Linder of Linseed Capital and David Hall of Revolution.

Pitch competition finalists include:

  • Drive Spotter, Inc.— machine learning platform for training human and machine drivers
  • Gear Supply Co—psubscription guitar string plans and high quality guitar goods
  • LifeLoop—platform for senior living that connects staff, families, and residents
  • Nobl Health—building leading-edge solutions that improve communication, workflow, and processes for healthcare providers
  • Opendorse – enabling brand clients to easily secure sponsored social media activations with professional athlete
  • Places VR—VR & AR social platform connecting people and businesses.
  • Quantified Ag—Sensors and data platform for the cattle industry
  • RaceNote—amotorsports management platform that improves racing times

In Denver, the tour will make stops at HyprLoco, Turing School, Craftsy, and Battery 621.  We will be joined by Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, JB Holston, Tami Door, Bryan Leach of Ibotta, John Levisay of Craftsy and others. Steve and Brad Feld will be interviewed during a fireside chat by Linda Lacina of Entrepreneur magazine and then joined on stage by three rising female CEOs who will discuss their experiences launching and scaling businesses in Denver. Following his talk, Steve will join guest judges JB Holston of the University of Denver, Paul Washington of OEDIT, Philippe Bourguignon of Revolution and Lisa Edgar of Top Tier Capital Partners.

Pitch competition finalists include:

  • Airstream Health—on-call healthcare advocate and concierge
  • Bitsbox—monthly subscription box for kids ages 6-12 that teaches them to code
  • Couragion—an application that exposes students to STEM careers using videos, games, and self-reflection quizzes
  • DZee Solutions, Inc.—helping consumers plan, understand and manage healthcare expenses
  • Flytedesk— helping brands reach millennials on college campuses
  • FairWords–helping leaders assure their company’s stakeholders of openness and fairness inside the enterprise
  • Helper Helper– coordinating and tracking student volunteer hours
  • LoveTheWild Co.- an easy frozen kit of sustainable fish and bold sauce in the grocery store

In Salt Lake City and Provo the team will trek to local startups Cotopaxi, Sorenson Media, Spice Kitchen, and Rico’s. The tour will then head to Lassonde Studio for a gathering with entrepreneurs, faculty and students. Steve will interview four student entrepreneurs and share insights with the student audience on launching and scaling businesses that can help change the world. Later in the afternoon he will take the stage with Clint Betts of Beehive Startups who will moderate the Q&A. The pitch competition will then take place with judges Amy Rees Anderson of REES Capital, Aaron Skonnard of Pluralsight and Martin Frey, former Managing Director in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and a Guinness World Records holder.

Pitch competition finalists include:

  • Ardusat—open STEM platform for inquiry-driven experiments
  • Blyncsy—location analytics company that anonymously captures and visualizes data on the habits and trends of the real world
  • Harvest Lane Honey—nation’s largest wholesale supplier and manufacturer of beekeeping supplies
  • HelloEats—restaurant management system that unifies operations, communications, and payments
  • Noke Smart Locks—leading maker of portable smart locks
  • PK Clean Technologies—converting landfilled plastics into oil paving the way to zero landfill and energy independence
  • SimpleNexus—mobile-first platform for the mortgage industry that provides the best mobile app for loan officers, while keeping a close eye on compliance
  • Spero—mobile first platform that connects fighters, survivors and supporters of cancer, based on shared characteristics like cancer type, stage, age and location.

In Albuquerque we will host a Leadership Breakfast at the Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm before our startup crawl to Ideum, Pajarito Powder, LLC, the BioScience Center, FatPipe ABQ and more. The pitch competition and Steve’s fireside will take place at the historic Kimo Theatre where Steve will be joined by judges Bobby Ocampo of Revolution, John Chavez of New Mexico Angels and Ann Rhoades, who has served on the Board of Directors at JetBlue Airways and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.

Pitch competition finalists include:

  • Albuquerque Sol FC –seeking to elevate the game of soccer in Albuquerque
  • BabyPage—online and mobile platform that helps parents track their children’s milestones and create a modern baby book along the way
  • DermaTec—using biochemical technologies to reduce the rate of drunk driving and irresponsible drinking
  • EquiSeq—analyzing the genetic material of horses to improve breeding
  • InnoBright Technologies that dramatically reduces the time and cost to create quality renderings and other computer generated imagery
  • Pressure Analysis Co—the creators of SmackCap, a skullcap that detects impact in real time for football players on the field
  • ScoreStik— low-cost scoreboard technology that can be operated from a computer or mobile device
  • Slipstream ZLD— a fully automated and efficient wastewater evaporator and crystallizer package that takes untreated waste and seamlessly provides pure distilled water to reuse.

And in Phoenix, Steve will kick off the day of the tour with Mayor Greg Stanton before heading to visits with community leaders at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. Startups we will visit include: Local Motors, Tuft & Needle and WebPT.

Pitch competition finalists include:

  • AVA School Solutions—mobile-friendly health screening management system for schools that is easy to implement, eliminates paperwork and increases accuracy
  • CBL Worldwide II, Inc.—national membership-based sports league business for the amateur basketball marketplace with an experimental B2C marketing platform for national and global brands.
  • Crowd Mics Inc.—gives the audience a voice by turning their phones into wireless microphones for live events.
  • Hopscratch —helping entrepreneurs legally form their business, secure passwords, launch their website in less than two weeks
  • MSDx— precision medicine company developing blood testing products for monitoring neurodegeneration in brain diseases.
  • NeoLight— smart, simple devices that provide newborns with care rather than hospital treatment.
  • ReplyBuy— company that enables teams, clubs and venues to connect with their fans in real-time via mobile and also allows fans to purchase tickets to games or events instantly with a simple “reply” text message
  • SMART Brain Aging, Inc.— cognitive intervention program for adults in early stages of dementia  available in-person at a doctor’s office or independent/assisted living center.

We hope you can join us! We invite startup champions and the public to attend the firesides, pitch competitions and happy hour celebration in each of our cities throughout the week. RSVP to attend here.