Revolution CEO Challenges Investors and ‘Rise of the Rest’ Communities to Help 13 Participating Startups Raise $1M in 100 Days
WASHINGTON, D.C. & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Today, at the fourth annual Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day, Steve Case, CEO of Revolution LLC and co-founder of AOL, committed to investing $100,000 in all of the 13 participating startups, provided that the startups raise $1 million each in 100 days. For the Judges’ Favorite Award, Atlanta-based Stackfolio, Case promised to fund 20% of the company’s $1 million seed round.
The challenge from Case aims to catalyze at least $13 million of investment. He hopes this challenge will encourage investors and startup communities in ‘Rise of the Rest’ regions to support the startups on their quest to raise $1 million.
The 13 startups that participated hail from around North America, including several “Rise of the Rest” cities including Atlanta, Detroit, Durham, and Nashville. The audience favorite at Demo Day was Waymark, a startup from Detroit that Case invested in as part of the Rise of the Rest pitch competition in 2014.
Revolution’s ‘Rise of the Rest’ with Steve Case is a nationwide effort to invest in and support entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems similar to the majority of the cities represented at today’s Demo Day. Since launching the initiative in 2014, Case and the Revolution team have visited 26 cities and invested in startups located outside of the well-known Silicon Valley and New York areas, not including previous investments Case has made in participating Google Demo Day companies.
Today’s announcement follows commitments that Case made at previous Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Days in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In 2014, he surprised the ten participating entrepreneurs with a $100,000 investment in each of their companies, and in 2015, he announced $100,000 surprise investments in the four female-founded companies participating that year. In 2016, Case also committed $100,000 to every participating startup that raised $1 million in 100 days.
“Last year, more than three-quarters of venture capital investment went to three states: California, Massachusetts and New York,” said Case. “I’ve seen firsthand that the next wave of transformative startups can come from anywhere in the US. I am hopeful that my challenge today will shine a spotlight on the great companies in Rise of the Rest cities and further catalyze investment in companies based outside of the coastal tech corridors.”
This year, Google for Entrepreneurs partnered with 12 tech hubs around North America forming its North American Tech Hub Network. Each Tech Hub was responsible for nominating startups from their community to pitch their companies to an audience of investors, and receive feedback from judges, which included Case, Di-Ann Eisnor, Director of Growth at Waze, and Bedy Yang, Managing Partner at 500 Startups.