AOL co-founder Steve Case is turning his attention to the Silicon Prairie on his “Rise of the Rest” tour. Lincoln and Omaha have been selected as stops on the latest tour, where Case will invest a total of $500,000 into regional startups. Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Parnership for Economic Development president Wendy Birdsall was joined by city Mayor Chris Beutler and NMotion Accelerator Managing Director Brian Ardinger for a press conference Thursday morning to deliver the news. All three made mention of the high honor this is for the city.
“When you get the attention of Steve Case, you know you are doing something right.,” Beutler said.
Case began the “Rise of the Rest” tour in 2014 with the intention of directing attention and support to cities that are outside of the California and New York startup hotbeds. This tour is designed to bring financial boost to five outstanding startups as well as to energize the entrepreneurial ecosystem and bring exposure to the city’s most innovative members. A pitch competition will be held in each city with a grand prize of $100,000. In total, Case has invested over $2 million in 19 cities.
Hundreds of cities were nominated and only five stops were chosen: Denver, Salt Lake/Provo, Albuquerque, Phoenix and our own Lincoln/Omaha. Hosting a stop on Case’s tour signifies that a city is a true player in the world of technology and innovation.
“We are thrilled for Lincoln to host the Rise of the Rest Tour and for the huge impact this can have on our city and our local entrepreneurs,” said Birdsall. “We know high-growth companies can start and scale anywhere, but we want them to make Lincoln their home and expand here.”
Startups can apply online for a spot in a pitch competition where eight to 10 applicants will pitch to Steve Case himself to win the $100,000 prize. The Rise of the Rest pitch competition will serve as the kickoff to Lincoln Startup Week that runs October 3 – 8, 2016.
RSVP to Rise of the Rest events here.