AOL founder Steve Case and “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance are headed to the southern United States to find the next big startups. They’ve got millions of dollars to invest from 38 of the country’s highest-profile investors, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman.
Case and Vance are overseeing the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, through Case’s Washington, DC-based venture capital firm Revolution. Vance joined the firm last year, and Case announced the fund in December.
Revolution began Rise of the Rest bus tours in 2014 as a way to initiate relationships with American startup communities outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, or Boston. Revolution announced Wednesday that the upcoming seventh tour will take place from May 7-11 and include stops at the following cities:
- Dallas, Texas
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Louisville, Kentucky
In each city, Case, Vance, and other members of the Revolution team will meet with local political and business leaders and host a pitch competition. Google for Entrepreneurs is providing pitch coaches for all participants. The winners will receive $100,000 from the seed fund.
Case and Vance told Business Insider that the purpose of the tours is to raise publicity and interest around the startup communities in these cities and start a dialogue among the entrepreneurs and Revolution that will continue in perpetuity.
Case briefly explained to us why he and his team chose each of the cities for the upcoming tour.