Last June, Steve and several members of the Revolution team hit the road for the inaugural Rise of the RestRoad Tour – a multi-partner effort to shine a spotlight on high-growth entrepreneurship in regions of the country often overlooked by investors and national media. Our goal was to not only talk about entrepreneurship where it’s happening but accelerate it. To achieve that we held “Rise of the Rest” pitch competitions in each of the four cities we visited where the winners earned a $100,000 investment from Steve.
This past week, we invited those four startups plus one add-on winner we met to Revolution’s headquarters in Washington D.C. for a strategic dialogue and investor showcase held in partnership with our friends at 1776. The five winning startups that attended include: SocialProof (Detroit), SolePower (Pittsburgh), Frameri(Cincinnati), Checkd.in (Nashville) and Artiphon (Nashville).
Reflecting on the experience, Mike Butera – founder and CEO of Nashville-based Artiphon, our post-tour wildcard winner from the first Rise of the Rest Road Trip had this to say: “Our goal is not merely to make products, but to fundamentally change people’s behavior and opportunities. Music expression is only one example. It’s clear that the Rise of the Rest Tour was only the beginning, and part of a much larger movement to give startups the resources they need to innovate wherever it’s most appropriate in their field. Hanging out with the other winners this past week was a blast, and it was really encouraging to see the ongoing support from Steve and Revolution as we build this community.”
Over lunch with Steve, Nathan Labenz, founder and CEO of SocialProof added this: “As a startup that serves companies both big and small, we’re always struggling against the fact that we’re unknown and unproven. Perhaps more than any other proof point, winning the Rise of the Rest [pitch competition] in Detroit has given potential customers the confidence to go ahead and give us a shot.”
Collectively, these five winners are a testament to the belief that entrepreneurship can happen anywhere and that one does not need to be in Silicon Valley or New York to successfully launch a high-growth startup. At Revolution, this belief is foundational: it’s why we committed to investing 80 percent of our capital to regions outside Silicon Valley, and it’s why we are hitting the road again in October to bring the Rise of the Rest to five more cities.
To learn more about the upcoming road tour, or to see the highlights from our previous stops, go towww.riseoftherest.com.