Second Revolution seed fund with investor dream team to back another 100+ startups outside of the coastal tech hubs
October 28, 2019 (WASHINGTON, DC)—Just two years after launching Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, the firm announced today a second $150 million fund, again backed by an extraordinary list of well-known entrepreneurs, investors, and executives, almost all of whom invested in the inaugural Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
The investor list includes returning investors such as Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely, Jim Breyer, Ray Dalio, John Doerr, Roger Ferguson, Dan Gilbert, Henry Kravis, the Koch family, Ted Leonsis, William M. Lewis, Jr., Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, David Rubenstein, Eric Schmidt, Megan Smith, and Meg Whitman, as well as new investors such as Joshua Harris, Bill Haslam, James Murdoch, Kevin Plank, and Intuit’s Brad Smith (a list of Rise of the Rest Seed Fund investors can be found here).
Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, launched in late 2017, has backed nearly 130 companies in nearly 70 cities across 32 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. The balance of its capital will be reserved for follow-on investments in these companies as many have grown faster than predicted, with nearly a dozen companies raising money at valuations above $100M. Investments in new companies will be made from the second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund announced today.
Starting with the Rise of Rest bus tours in 2014, Revolution has built a proprietary network of startup ecosystem relationships, including with over 200 regional venture firms, to help find the most promising companies in rising cities.
“At the launch of our first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, we were confident that we could identify a wide range of promising startups based outside of Silicon Valley,” said Steve Case, the CEO of Revolution and anchor investor in both Rise of the Rest Seed Funds. “But the results to date have exceeded our most optimistic expectations. We have made initial investments at a faster pace than we originally anticipated, and we’re seeing a stepped up pace of follow-on investments in companies that have scaled faster than expected. We were once a lonely voice in the venture world in touting this regional investment opportunity and are delighted to see the momentum now building in cities across the country.”
Leading the new fund as Managing Partner is David Hall, an investor at Revolution for more than a decade. Partners Anna Mason and Mary Grove will also have expanded leadership roles on the team. The diversity of the senior leadership at the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund will continue the effort to yield a portfolio with diverse founders that is reflective of the cities in which the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund invests.
“I have joined Steve and the team for every Rise of the Rest road trip since we started touring startup communities in 2014,” said Hall. “And while each city is unique, they all have one thing in common: they recognize the power of entrepreneurship to revitalize and grow economies by providing jobs and opportunity. I am thrilled to take this next step in backing more companies that will help cities outside the coastal tech hubs thrive.”
This announcement comes on the heels of waves of research detailing the challenges of scaling companies and achieving a quality standard of living in the coastal tech hubs. Most recently, a report from LinkedIn illustrated that the San Francisco-to-Silicon Valley hub is struggling to gain residents from other cities, due to housing costs that now exceed over half of residents’ income.
As the momentum around investing in rising cities grows, Revolution continues to look for ways to support the entrepreneurs building companies in those geographies. Earlier this year, the team completed its eighth Rise of the Rest bus tour, visiting Orlando, the Florida Space Coast, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Puerto Rico. The Revolution team has now visited 43 cities and logged more than 11,000 miles touring startup ecosystems. A ninth tour will be announced in early 2020.
Additionally, next month Revolution will host its second annual Rise of the Rest CEO Summit in Washington D.C., bringing together portfolio company CEOs to discuss best practices and lessons learned. The team has developed a portfolio support platform that has enabled companies to become even more capital efficient with access to software and tools at reduced rates and to connect to subject matter experts.
Case added: “We are incredibly pleased to have so many of our investors reaffirm the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund strategy and again commit to the idea that great companies can—and do—start anywhere. Through our network of relationships in startup communities across the country, we have a unique window into the next generation of successful companies. We believe that supporting their growth will yield success for our funds, and help level the playing field so that geography is no longer a barrier to the pursuit of the American Dream.”
About Revolution’s Rise of the Rest
Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Funds are investment funds that are part of a nationwide platform led by Steve Case focused on spotlighting regional startup hubs and investing in early stage, high growth companies across the country. The team executes a proven strategy of partnering with regional ecosystem leaders and co-investors to build and scale the next wave of transformational companies. The Rise of the Rest Seed Funds are backed by a group of iconic entrepreneurs and business leaders who believe that the next great startups are located outside of coastal tech hubs. The Rise of the Rest Seed Funds are headquartered in Washington, DC and part of Revolution’s family of funds including Revolution Growth and Revolution Ventures. Visit us online at revolution.com/rotr or @RiseOfRest.