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AOL co-founder hopes visit to York area spurs investment for startups

Written by Gary Haber/The York Daily Record | Jul 4, 2017 4:37 PM
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Steve Case, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm Revolution LLC and a co-founder of America Online, will bring his Rise of the Rest bus tour to York, Lancaster and Harrisburg on Oct. 10.(Photo: Revolution LLC)

 

(York) --  Steve Case has made it his mission to bring attention -- and investment dollars -- to parts of the U.S. that typically don't get much love from venture capitalists.

In the past five years, the America Online co-founder has taken his Rise of the Rest bus tour to cities where, he says, early stage companies don't draw the same level of interest from venture capitalists as do companies in coastal tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and New York.

Previous tour stops have included Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo.

York County Economic Alliance CEO Kevin Schreiber talks to YDR's Gary Haber about York's role in being selected to participate in Rise of Rest with Steve Case. The effort helps bring investment to high-tech industries. GARY HABER

 

Case, the CEO of Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm Revolution LLC, will be bringing the Rise of the Rest to the York-Lancaster-Harrisburg area on Oct. 10.

Case has an appreciation for cities outside the traditional tech hubs, having grown up in Honolulu and launched his career as a manager for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati and Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas.

He decided to bring Rise of the Rest to southcentral Pennsylvania because of what he called "a real sense of possibility, a real sense of momentum" in the region.

He also liked the idea of three cities collaborating rather than competing.

One of the highlights of Case's visit will be a pitch competition in which area companies will vie for a $100,000 investment from him.

Case, the author of the recent book " The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future," said he's looking for companies that are early in their development but far enough along to have customers, a management team and a product.

"It's got to be more than an idea," he said.

The entrepreneur who walks away with a $100,000 check from Case will also have to show perseverance and passion, he said.

Case isn't looking for companies in any particular industry. Previous pitch competition winners have come from the education, food and technology sectors.

"We're not focused on any one industry," he said.

Case said he hopes his visit will be "a catalyst" for local investors in York, Lancaster and Harrisburg to pick up the ball and invest in area startups and even help attract investors from outside the region.

If you want to apply to be part of the Rise of Rest pitch competition, apply online at riseoftherest.submittable.com/submit .

Applications are due Aug. 15. The companies selected for will be named Sept. 15.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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