Steve Case’s ‘Rise of the Rest’ tour to showcase Birmingham startups

Steve Case’s ‘Rise of the Rest’ tour to showcase Birmingham startups
The 'Rise of the Rest' tour bus is heading to the Magic City to check out its ever-hotter tech startup community and choose one business for a $100,000 investment. (contributed)

Birmingham’s technology startup scene is poised to receive a substantial boost from an initiative led by Steve Case, the founder of America Online and a champion of supporting emerging innovation ecosystems across the United States.

Case will visit Birmingham on May 9 as part of the initiative’s five-city “Rise of the Rest” bus tour, now in its fourth year. The visit is meant to showcase the city’s growing tech startup sector, culminating with a $100,000 investment from the Rise of the Rest Fund in a local business.

Steve Case, the founder of America Online, formed the ‘Rise of the Rest’ initiative to support the growth of innovative, tech-focused businesses across the U.S. (Bloomberg Finance LP)

“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,” said Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm whose mission is to build disruptive, innovative companies.

Since the tour launched, Case and his team have traveled more than 8,000 miles on a bus to visit 33 cities and invest in local startups, according to an announcement.

“It’s encouraging to see the interesting businesses and growth potential of startups in these cities,” said J.D. Vance, managing partner of the Rise of the Rest 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 tour stop in Birmingham also features Google for Entrepreneurs, a longtime Rise of the Rest partner, which will provide coaches to help startup founders with their investment pitches.

Other cities on the Rise of the Rest Tour are Dallas, Memphis, Chattanooga and Louisville.

The tour wasn’t the only good news for Birmingham’s startup scene this week.

Bronze Valley Corp., a nonprofit organization that aims to promote diversity and growth in the region’s tech startup sector, launched Wednesday with a conference featuring corporate executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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