May 8, 2015
A Rise Of The Rest Southeast Tour Recap in Stories, Videos and Social Media
Steve Case tour highlights in Raleigh-Durham and the rest of the rest in Richmond, Charleston, Atlanta and New Orleans.
Come Saturday, Steve Case and his crew at Revolution will hit the road back to Washington D.C. with hundreds of new connections in five key Southeast cities and five new portfolio companies. Those five companies will use their winnings to make key hires, grow their marketing activities or expedite product development. And the 35 companies that didn’t walk away with Case dollars still got the chance to showcase and get feedback on their young businesses.
The media frenzy around the tour was enough of a benefit for the Triangle region—The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Upstart Business Journal, Tech Cocktail and Forbes covered the events. The news also hit more than a dozen smaller news outlets in the five cities. That doesn’t even include social media buzz.
So how to fully understand the tour’s impact and reach? Here’s our attempt at cobbling it all together in one big dump of Rise of the Rest goodness.
If you didn’t get the chance yet, read our recap of the day and its local impact by writer Amy Huffman. And here’s a video recap created by Verge of Indianapolis but with footage from ExitEvent videographer Ryan Timms. It was included in a piece by Verge today in Forbes. Check out the 8 pitches here.
And here’s what happened along the other stops.
The Virginia Governor, Richmond Mayor and other dignitaries joined Case for breakfast in Richmond Monday, kicking off a day of startup buzz with a plea from Case to continue to invest in young companies. He made stops to the region’s most active venture capital fund, had lunch with 30 investors and entrepreneurs, visited a high-end shirt-making startup and a wireless power-charging business and heard eight pitches. He invested $100,000 in WealthForge, a crowdfunding startup that helps businesses, real estate companies and private equity firms raise private capital online. The company is off and running with 35 employees and $51 million raised via the platform. Here’s a recap from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Amid meetings with the South Carolina governor, Charleston’s mayor and a handful of startups in town, Case heard pitches aboard the USS Yorktown on the Charleston harbor on his third stop on the tour. The $100K winner that day was Bidr, which turns fundraising at events from a paper process to a digital one. The company’s target market are nonprofits, schools and companies who hold live auctions, raffles and other sorts of fundraising events. Bidr lets event registration, check-in and bidding for auction items or raffle entries happen via text messaging. The company graduated from Charleston’s Harbor Accelerator last year, and a week ago took home the top prize in the Dig South Wild Pitch event.
According to The Post and Courier’s coverage, Case called Charleston a “borderline” pick for the tour. In Raleigh/Durham, on the other hand, he said “There was real…momentum.”
Case hit up the Atlanta Tech Village in the center of Atlanta business activity known as Buckhead and then headed south to the Opportunity Hub, a place making sure all populations are included in the city’s startup ecosystem. He stopped an up-and-coming new real estate development, visited with Atlanta Journal Constitution owner Cox Enterprises and met with MailChimp and Cardlytics, big Atlanta startup success stories. Village Capital’s Ross Baird gave the best overview of the day for Southern/alpha.
The $100K winner in Atlanta was PartPic, which makes it easy to find replacement mechanical parts by snapping photos of the parts that need to be replaced using an iPhone. The company also made headlines when it participated in the SXSW Accelerator in March and won “Best Enterprise Disruptor” at TechCrunch Disrupt last Fall. Groundfloor, a company that started in Raleigh and moved to Atlanta last year, also pitched on Thursday. Here’s a story on its Case pitch by WRAL TechWire.
Aboard a Mardi Gras parade float, Case named GoToInterview his final $100,000 winner. The startup makes it easier for high turnover workplaces (like restaurants, banks and hotels) to interview and vet potential employees by having them respond to initial interview questions via video. According to a story by NOLA.com, it already has customers like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s and is negotiating with “a major airline based out of Atlanta.”
Case’s visit also included a meal with the mayor, local craft beer with the business community and a fireside chat with Walter Isaacson, author of “The Innovators”, former editor of Time and former CEO of CNN. According to NOLA.com, Case was most impressed by the city’s diverse group of startups and people.
Finally, here are some highlights of the social media buzz generated by the tour in the Triangle and beyond.