WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Revolution announced that three dozen of America's most respected entrepreneurs, investors and families have joined together to back startups outside of Silicon Valley with a $150 million Rise of the Rest Seed fund. Investors in the new fund include legendary entrepreneurs Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely, Tory Burch, Dan Gilbert, Ted Leonsis, Sheila Johnson, Joe Mansueto, Sean Parker, Eric Schmidt, Howard Schultz, Romesh Wadwhani, and world-class investors and executives such as Jim Breyer, Ray Dalio, John Doerr, Henry Kravis, Michael Milken, Adebayo "Bayo" Ogunlesi, David Rubenstein, Byron Trott, Jeff Vinik, Meg Whitman, William M. Lewis, Jr., and members of the Koch, Pritzker, and Walton families.
"We're pleased so many of America's most iconic investors, executives and founders have joined with us to invest in Rise of the Rest cities," said Steve Case, the CEO of Revolution and the anchor investor in this new fund. "Their support validates our hypothesis that there are great startup investment opportunities all across the country, and that by leveling the playing field we can help more entrepreneurs in more places build companies that can improve our lives, and create jobs that can help lift up our communities."
Leading the new fund as Managing Partner will be J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling book, Hillbilly Elegy, who joined Revolution earlier this year after serving as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. Vance leads the dedicated Rise of the Rest investment team that now includes David Hall, a longstanding Partner at Revolution, and Anna Mason, who joined Revolution last year as Director of Investments for Rise of the Rest.
"I've seen first-hand the incredible entrepreneurs trying to build great businesses outside of Silicon Valley," said Vance. "They often possess all the ingredients for success, but struggle to find enough investment capital to break through and have a positive impact on their region. This fund can help change that dynamic. We're now positioned to partner with the dozens of regional investors we've met and join with them in backing the next generation of entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas."
Last year, three states (California, New York, and Massachusetts) received 75 percent of all venture capital funding, leaving the other 47 states to compete for the remaining 25 percent. However, recent demographic shifts and infrastructure growth have positioned rising cities for success: the steady increase of accelerator and incubator programs (now in at least 35 states), more startup-friendly public policies, and the institutional knowledge and partnership opportunities provided by the concentration of Fortune 500 companies, 85 percent of which are located outside of the traditional tech hubs.
For the past four years, Revolution and Steve Case have made bi-annual Rise of the Rest road trips to shine a spotlight on emerging startup ecosystems across the country. The Rise of the Rest bus has visited 33 cities to date. In each city, Revolution's Rise of the Rest team has visited startups in various stages of growth and invested $100,000 in at least one local startup. The new seed fund will set out to amplify this investment strategy by applying it at a larger scale and actively seeking out and investing in companies year-round. The fund plans to make initial investments of up to $1 million, in partnership with regional investors. The fund will not lead rounds or serve on boards, as it wants to work with other investors as an ally and catalyst.
Case added: "This new fund will enable us to back more than 100 promising startups taking on some of society's biggest challenges, in sectors such as healthcare, education, transportation, energy, financial services, food and government services. We want to help accelerate the growth of companies we invest in by building a network that links them to other people and organizations that can help catalyze their growth."
A complete list of investors can be found at: https://www.revolution.com/entity/rotr.
A Washington, D.C.-based investment firm founded in 2005, Revolution's mission is to help build disruptive, innovative companies that offer consumers more choice, convenience, and control in their lives. The new Rise of the Rest Seed fund complements the existing Revolution Growth and Revolution Ventures funds. Revolution's funds now exceed $1.3 billion and are positioned to back startups at nearly every stage of their lifecycle. For more information, please visit: www.revolution.com or follow us on Twitter @Revolution.