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Fund Finances Start-Ups Outside Main Tech Hubs

Rise of the Rest Fund executives

Rise of the Rest Seed Fund executives, left to right: David Hall, Mary Grove, Steve Case, Anna Mason (Revolution)

29 Oct. 2019. A venture capital company unveiled a second seed-stage fund that finances start-up enterprises in the U.S. outside of Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley. The company Revolution in Washington, D.C. says its second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund plans to invest $150 million, following a similar venture fund begun in 2017.

Rise of the Rest Seed Fund says it supports new businesses with disruptive technologies in major industries including health care, food, agriculture, and transportation, particularly those aimed at a “tipping point” in changing an industry’s practices or culture. The new Rise of the Rest Fund is led by managing partner David Hall, with Revolution partners Anna Mason and Mary Grove, who are also seeking a diverse set of entrepreneurs.

Revolution says the company provides its expertise and contacts to help portfolio start-ups get off the ground, as well as thrive over the longer term. Among the steps offered to its portfolio companies, says Revolution, are building a management team, collecting a board of directors, and helping forge alliances with other enterprises and institutions.

“At the launch of our first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund,” says Steve Case, CEO of Revolution in a company statement, “we were confident that we could identify a wide range of promising start-ups based outside of Silicon Valley. But the results to date have exceeded our most optimistic expectations. We have made initial investments at a faster pace than we originally anticipated, and we’re seeing a stepped up pace of follow-on investments in companies that have scaled faster than expected.”

Case is the founder of America Online and currently chair of the Case Foundation. The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund is backed by investors including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Starbucks’s Howard Schultz, author J.D. Vance, and members of the Koch, Walton, and Pritzker families.

The first Rise of the Rest fund, according to Revolution, is backing 130 companies in some 70 cities in 32 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico. Revolution says it plans to invest its remaining capital from the first fund into follow-on investments in start-ups that grew faster than expected.

Revolution literally takes its message on the road, with eight bus tours across the U.S. since 2014, where the company seeks to make direct contact with entrepreneurs and build alliances with local and regional organizations. The latest tour, completed earlier this year, went to Orlando, the Florida space coast, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Puerto Rico. The company says its bus tours so far visited 43 cities, logging some 11,000 miles.

“I have joined Steve and the team for every Rise of the Rest road trip since we started touring start-up communities in 2014,” notes Hall. “And while each city is unique, they all have one thing in common: they recognize the power of entrepreneurship to revitalize and grow economies by providing jobs and opportunity.”

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