Update from the Road: Steve Case talks Rise of the Rest in Chicago & Des Moines

Last week, our CEO, Steve Case, joined entrepreneurs in Chicago and Des Moines as part of two key stops on his “Rise of the Rest” trip, visiting promising ecosystems across the country that are nurturing high-potential young companies.

In Chicago, he joined the Startup America Regional Summit, a gathering that brought together more than 120 entrepreneurial leaders from 35 different states to focus on the importance of building successful local startup ecosystems and share best practices. Held at 1871, Chicago’s impressive new innovation center, Steve had a chance to share his thoughts on the essential elements for growing strong entrepreneurial communities – including new opportunities that innovations like crowdfunding will bring, the importance of strong leadership in developing these regions and challenges that come with trying to build new ecosystems. Here are a few tweets from his talk:

‏@startupamerica “The story of America is the story of #entrepreneurship,”@SteveCase #startupamerica

@Risbj @stevecase The reason why America is the leader of the free world is because of our entrepreneurs #startupamerica

@nsansatweets ‘The glass is always half full – it’s never empty when you bring an entrepreurial perspective’ @SteveCase #startupamerica

@startuptechguy #crowdfunding is going to be a big deal for regions that don’t have access to venture capita – @stevecase #startupamerica summit


That evening, Steve joined TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel on stage at Chicago Ideas Week, for the day’s Mega-Talk on “Disruptive Innovation,” where he was introduced by Stengel as the “original digital disruptor.”

In a packed theater filled with entrepreneurs, innovators and all around smart thinkers, Steve shared what he’s learned about disruption starting with the first days at AOL (key message: perseverance is critical) through today with investments in companies like Zipcar, LivingSocial and Echo360 that are breaking the mold to innnovate once-nascent markets. You can read more about the Chicago Ideas Week sessions here and here.

The final stop on the trip last week was in Des Moines, for the second annual Thinc Iowa conference, organized by one of the huge champions of entrepreneurs in the Midwest,Silicon Prairie News. Steve joined an enthusiastic crowd jazzed by the possibilities that the “Rise of the Rest” idea presents to entrepreneurs in Des Moines and in Iowa and the Silicon Prairie more broadly:

Case Foundation ‏@CaseFoundation
#Entrepreneurship is at the core of what makes America great. Not just a little side story. – @SteveCase #thinciowa

Renda Lutz in DSM ‏@RendaInDSM
@SteveCase praising @StartupIowa as a leader in @startupamerica& our Iowa startups! #thinciowa

Rass30 ‏@Rass30
Yep. “education and healthcare are ripe for disruption” @stevecase#ThincIowa

Karen Linder ‏@Kalinder
.@stevecase to investors:”Fish in ponds where fewer people are fishing.” Industries and regions. #ThincIowa

Kauffman Foundation ‏@KauffmanFDN
“Think what can you do in today, next week, next month to stimulate your startup community” @SteveCase #thinciowa

You can read a great recap of Steve’s Thinc Iowa talk and Q&A session here on Silicon Prairie News.

This week, Steve will be in Cleveland, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles, so be sure to follow him on Twitter for continued updates from the road!