In June, AOL founder Steve Case and his team got in a bus and hit the road to visit four cities with developing startup ecosystems, and now they’re doing it again. Case calls the tour, “The Rise of the Rest”-  the “rest” being the cities of American heartland, somewhat in the shadow of Silicon Valley and New York City. What he has found is that in “the rest”, the startup revolution is thriving. The vision of the tour, as Case highlighted in a video, is to “showcase emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems that will play a critical role in rebuilding the American economy and creating new middle class jobs.”

Next month, Case and his team are continuing the tour and hitting five major entrepreneurial hotspots: Madison, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Besides offering a fireside chat with himself and other innovators and a startup happy hour presented by Google for Entrepreneurs, Case will also host a pitch competition at each city where five startups will be selected to present their ideas, with the winner getting a 100K investment. Only four days remain to apply, so apply now here.

“Every one of the 50 states has a great entrepreneurship,” Case said in a video. “You want to tell those stories, so that people recognize that what’s happening in this rise of the rest is a central part of the future of the country.”


The tour will be hitting these cities on the following dates:

Madison, WI – October 6

Minneapolis, MN – October 7

Des Moines, IA – October 8

Kansas City, MO – October 9

St. Louis, MO – October 10

Watch Steve Case talk about the Rise of the Rest tour here.


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Marisa Jackels