AOL co-founder Steve Case is leading a venture capital ‘revolution’ beyond Silicon Valley

For nearly a decade, America Online co-founder Steve Case has been traveling the U.S. on bus tours, visiting cities outside of traditional tech hubs, looking for innovators and entrepreneurs to bring back through his DC investment firm, Revolution.

He found a lot of them. So much so that some other big names in business have joined his mission, and he’s written a book about the experience called The Vacation Boom: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places Are Building the New American Dream.

Steve Case

AOL co-founder Steve Case is leading a movement to invest in offshore startups. (revolution)

Revolution launched two raises of $150 million Rest Seed Funds to invest in early-stage companies intercoastal (the first $150 million fund opened in 2017, the second in 2019). The investor group backs funds, CEOs and founders including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Sarah Blakely, Henry Kravis, Eric Schmidt, Tory Burch and John Doerr.

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To date, The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has invested in nearly 200 companies in over 100 cities.

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Case says he and his fellow investors recognized that over the past decade, there has been friction and disparity in how capital is distributed, with 75% of venture capital raised in just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts.

Steve Case

Steve Case during a stop on the Rise of the Rest bus tour in Louisville, Kentucky on May 11, 2018.

“First and foremost, we think the best way to bring more capital to more people and more places is to make a profit, which really gets coastal investors to pay more attention to the cities in the middle of the country,” Case told FOX Business.

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He added that they also recognize that the mission has a “broader impact as it is able to create more jobs and opportunities and many towns in the middle of the country that have felt marginalized and left behind.”

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While the pandemic slowed Revolution’s bus trips, it fueled his mission as a whole.

Case says the pandemic served as a catalyst for what he sees as a tipping point in how people think about remote work and flexibility, and at the same time venture capitalists realized they could host pitches with entrepreneurs outside their backyards.

Steve Case

Steve Case donates funds to a startup in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the Rise of the Rest bus tour.

This new era of people being able to work from anywhere also has the potential to end the “brain drain” that occurs when skilled workers or entrepreneurs feel they have to leave their communities to become part of a startup that is essential to the workplace. for creation. United States

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Case says it’s already happening across the country, with entrepreneurs disrupting key industries in places people might not have expected, and that makes him optimistic about America’s future.

“There are many things that separate us,” he told FOX Business. “This is a question that can bring us together: How do we maintain our global leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship? How do we do that in a more inclusive way? And how do we write this next chapter of the American story, which is really one that focuses on for new ideas?With pioneering spirit and innovation.

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