Steve Case, J.D. Vance and team to head to Birmingham, Chattanooga, Dallas, Louisville, and Memphis in May
February 14, 2018, Washington, D.C. – Today, Revolution announced its first round of investments from the Rise of the Rest Seed fund (“ROTR Fund”) and the next five cities on its seventh Rise of the Rest bus tour. Revolution’s ROTR Fund is a $150 million fund launched last December by Steve Case and J.D. Vance and backed by a group of iconic entrepreneurs, executives and investors, which now include new investors Michael Bloomberg, Roger Ferguson, Reid Hoffman, and Megan Smith. This announcement also follows the news that Google for Entrepreneurs Director, Mary Grove, has joined the investment team as a partner.
In its fourth year, the Rise of the Rest bus tour is a nationwide effort powered by Revolution to showcase founders in emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. Since the tour launched, Steve Case and team have traveled more than 8,000 miles on a bus to visit 33 cities and invest in local startups.
This spring, the bus tour will make stops in Dallas on May 7, then head to Memphis on May 8, Birmingham on May 9, Chattanooga on May 10 and will finish up in Louisville on May 11 to showcase emerging startup ecosystems and invest $500,000 from the ROTR Fund ($100,000 will be invested in a local startup at each stop). Google for Entrepreneurs, a longtime Rise of the Rest partner, will again provide coaches to help founders with their pitches.
“Both the Rise of the Rest bus tour and fund are helping to raise the visibility of promising startups in cities across the country—we could not be more excited to announce our new investments and the next five stops on the bus tour,” said Steve Case the Chairman and CEO of Revolution. “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.”
“It’s encouraging to see the interesting businesses and growth potential of startups in these cities,” said J.D. Vance, managing partner of the ROTR Fund. “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.”
The first startups to receive an investment from the ROTR Fund represent cities across the country from Pikeville, KY to Columbus, OH to Salt Lake City, UT. These companies are further proof that there are compelling businesses starting and scaling outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston.
The list of the new investments includes:
AppHarvest (Pikeville, KY) is building and operating large-scale, high-tech greenhouse farms to cut distance from the produce supply chain.
Catalyte (Baltimore, MD) uses artificial intelligence to identify anyone who has the aptitude to become a great software developer, regardless of background.
Cotopaxi (Salt Lake City, UT) designs and produces innovative outdoor gear and apparel. Through its supply chain, retail sales, and experiential offerings, the company helps fund social impact projects.
ENGAGE Talent (Charleston, SC) develops AI recruiting technology for companies to identify and engage with passive candidates.
Losant (Cincinnati, OH) is an IoT enterprise platform that makes creating end-to-end experiences easy.
SafeChain Inc. (Columbus, OH) is creating a 30-second property transaction using blockchain technology.
SEEVA (Seattle, WA) creates visibility systems for vehicle mobility with applications for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems for passenger and trucking vehicles.
ZenBusiness (Austin, TX) makes it free for anyone to start a business as a LLC or Corporation and ensure it’s easy and affordable to manage it year-round.
Zylo (Indianapolis, IN) is a SaaS optimization platform that enables companies to discover, manage, measure, and optimize cloud subscriptions across the enterprise.
The new ROTR Fund investments join a strong list of Rise of the Rest investments made over the past four years by Steve Case personally through the Rise of the Rest pitch competitions and related activities.
A Washington, D.C.-based investment firm founded in 2005, Revolution’s mission is to help build disruptive, innovative companies that offer consumers more choice, convenience, and control in their lives. The new ROTR Fund complements the existing Revolution Growth and Revolution Ventures funds. Revolution’s funds now exceed $1.3 billion and are positioned to back startups at nearly every stage of their lifecycle. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com or follow us on Twitter @Revolution.
About Rise of the Rest
Rise of the Rest is a nationwide effort powered by Revolution to invest in and work closely with entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems. Since 2014, Steve Case and the Revolution team have logged more than 8,000 miles touring entrepreneurial communities by bus in 33 cities. In 2017, Case and JD Vance announced a $150 million ROTR Fund, backed by a group of iconic entrepreneurs, executives and investors that believe the next great startup investments are located outside of coastal cities. The ROTR Fund invests catalytic capital, often alongside regional investors, to the most promising early stage investments in Rise of the Rest cities. Through our bus tours and summits, we look to create a more connected community of entrepreneurs and investors in cities outside of Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com/rotr or follow us on Twitter @RiseOfRest.