Rise of the Rest Bus Tour Stops at Innovation Depot
Birmingham’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape is in the spotlight as Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest bus tour passed through the Magic City, where it made stops at the National Civil Rights Institute, the makerspace MAKEbhm, downtown business incubator Innovation Depot, and healthcare startup PackHealth.The initiative is led by Steve Case, the founder of America Online and the chairman and CEO of the Washington D.C.-based investment firm Revolution, which seeks to help build disruptive, innovative companies. The tour features a pitch competition and a $100,000 award to a promising startup. Since 2014, Case and his team have traveled more than 8,000 miles touring entrepreneurial communities in 33 cities.
Last year, Case and JD Vance, Revolution managing partner, announced a $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Fund to further the program’s goal of supporting emerging startup ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston. “Both the Rise of the Rest bus tour and fund are helping to raise the visibility of promising startups in cities across the country.” Case said. “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.”
A VIP Leadership breakfast with Case, Vance, and local business and civic leaders was held at Post Office Pies, and the group had lunch at Sloss Furnaces, which is also the site of the pitch competition. Others expected to participate in today’s events include Chris Moody of the Foundry Group, Ann Florie of Leadership Birmingham, Jared Weinstein of Thrive Capital, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, the University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray Watts and John Hudson of Bronze Valley – Alabama Power. Google for Entrepreneurs, a longtime Rise of the Rest partner, is again providing coaches to help founders with their pitches.