August 4, 2015

AOL's Steve Case to invest $100K in Portland startup as part of bus tour

Steve Case (right), CEO of investment company Revolution, talking with Adam Arredondo, director of entrepreneurship and co-founder of CEED, during the Rise of the Rest tour in 2014 in Kansas City, Mo.

Steve Case, founder of AOL and CEO of investment company Revolution, will visit Portland on Oct. 2 as part of the Rise of the Rest bus tour that will invest $1 million total in startups.

The tour will visit 10 cities, starting in Baltimore on Sept. 28. Each city will host a pitch competition, and each winner will get $100,000.

Case was expected to announce the tour Tuesday during an event with President Obama at the first White House Demo Day. Case will visit 10 new cities, including Portland and Manchester, N.H. (on Oct. 1), and invest an additional $1 million in startups.

Revolution is backing startups outside Silicon Valley. Through Rise of the Rest tours, $1.5 million has been invested since 2014 in startup businesses across 14 cities including Detroit, Charleston, Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

"I'm honored to attend the first White House Demo Day in the nation's history, and I'm pleased to announce the expansion of our Rise of The Rest initiative to level the playing field for entrepreneurs everywhere," Case said in a statement. "I look forward to visiting Baltimore, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Manchester and Portland this fall as our bus travels through the Northeast to visit some of America's most iconic cities." Revolution is based in Washington, D.C.

A fifth tour, in 2016, will visit five additional cities in the western United States.

Joining Revolution as partners are Google for Entrepreneurs, Salesforce for Startups, Engine, Seed Here Studio, Tech Cocktail, Startup Grind and Village Capital.

During the fall stops, the Revolution team and partners will meet with local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profits, universities and public officials to discuss the opportunities and challenges of fostering startup growth;hold a pitch competition open to the public where a local startup will receive $100,000 investment; and host a happy hour party to celebrate the visit.

Applicants can apply to pitch at

Portland has been the target of a number of pitch competitions, the most recent being the upcoming "Greenlight Maine" TV show in which Maine entrepreneurs can vie to win a minimum prize of $100,000, and an open call for ABC's "Shark Tank."

"Building on the success of Blackstone Accelerates Growth, Maine Startup & Create Week and Greenlight Maine, the Rise of the Rest Tour is an incredible opportunity to showcase Maine companies and our growing innovation community to an incredible audience and a globally respected leader like Steve Case," Jess Knox, founder of Maine Startup & Create Week and statewide innovation hub coordinator for Blackstone Accelerates Growth, told Mainebiz.


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