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Rise of the Rest Tour Swinging Through NWA in April


by Tyler Hale

Northwest Arkansas is one of five stops that the Rise of the Rest Road Trip will be making during its swing through the heartland of the United States.

From April 20-24, Revolution will be bringing its Rise of the Rest tour through Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Northwest Arkansas and St. Louis. During the tour, Revolution CEO and Chairman Steve Case will be meeting with entrepreneurs and local leaders and holding fireside chats.

At each stop, there will be a startup pitch competition. A total of $500,000 from the Rise of the Rest Seed Fun will be invested in startups with $100,000 being invested in a startup from each stop.

Steve Case

Case, the billionaire former CEO of AOL, says the tour through the American heartland ties back to his early career. This region, he notes, has a history of entrepreneurial activity, and the tour is designed to spur the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“As I have often referenced, my entrepreneurial roots are tied to the Heartland – and to Wichita specifically – where I worked early in my career as the Head of New Pizza Development at Pizza Hut,” Case said in a statement. “These regions have deep legacies of storied entrepreneurial successes. Through the tour, we want to help catalyze additional momentum to help the next generation of entrepreneurs in the places like Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, and with our recently announced second seed fund, invest in their future progress.”

When the tour swings through Northwest Arkansas, it will collaborate with the Heartland Summit. This summit, held April 22-23 in Bentonville, aims to “help change the narrative about the middle of the country and kick-start economic growth,” according to its website. Approximately 350 thought leaders will be present at the summit to discuss economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and more.

The Rise of the Rest tour has been making the rounds of the United States since 2014. Since its founding, it has been investing in entrepreneurs and working to develop growing startup ecosystems. Case and the tour have reportedly logged 11,500 miles while traveling around the country and made stops in 43 cities.

“The tour is a remarkable lens through which to view the past, present, and future trajectory of a city and its business community,” said Anna Mason, Partner on the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund who also leads the bus tour. “We view the trip as an opportunity to learn what is helping and hindering founders in cities between the coasts and help shine a brighter spotlight on how each city is helping to make their community a true home for startups.”

Part of the Revolution mission is investing in startups outside of the traditional startup and venture capital hotspots, such as Silicon Valley, New York and Boston. The company has established two $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed Funds to invest in companies.

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