AOL co-founder headed to RVA, investing $100k in deserving local startup – Winner announced

Steve Case’s “Rise of the Rest” bus tour will stop in Richmond on May 4th.

Update #1 — May 5, 2015; 10:31 AM

From yesterday’s press release:
We’re excited to announce that WealthForge is the winner of today’s Rise of the Rest Road Tour pitch competition in Richmond. The company will receive a $100,000 investment from Steve Case. Founded by Fred Bryant Jr. and Mat Dellorso, two University of Richmond graduates, WealthForge is the leading broker-dealer focused solely on online private placements. Their regulatory and transactional experience enables the company to scale and facilitate compliant transactions for investment platforms—at a fraction of the cost. Today, WealthForge offers a full suite of online investment products that touch on every aspect of the new, online private equity marketplace and more than $50 million dollars has been invested using WealthForge’s platform.

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Original — March 26, 2015

An entrepreneur who’s out to disrupt big, traditional business models is hitting the road to find other startups doing the same, and Richmond is on his radar.

Steve Case is perhaps best known for his role as co-founder of the once-behemoth AOL—everyone’s favorite early 2000s Internet provider. But it’s through his latest projects that Case hopes to disrupt global industries and invest in the technology leaders of tomorrow.

Following his retirement from AOL Time Warner in 2005, Case began a company known as Revolution—the mission of which is to support small, disruptive startups that offer people more choice, convenience, and control in their lives than large, traditional industries often times do. Revolution equips these startups with the resources they need to scale and distribute their innovative products and services to more people, and thus compete with these larger entities.

Last year, Case partnered with Google For Entrepreneurs and UP Global to bring a traveling tour across the country, celebrating and engaging with budding startups.

In what became known as “Rise of the Rest,” the tour rolled through nine cities in 2014, including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville, Madison, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

The tour returns this year and will span across the southern U.S. from May 4th to May 8th, where the group will invest a total of $500,000 in local startups in Richmond, Raleigh-Durham, Charleston, Atlanta, and New Orleans.

Rise of the Rest will kick off in RVA May 4th, bringing together local entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, government leaders, and other advisors to champion their startup communities.

“The Rise of the Rest bus tour is heading south to some of America’s oldest cities where entrepreneurs are creating some of the newest businesses, innovations, and jobs…” Case said. “I look forward to celebrating the promise of these rising communities, making investments in local startups, and shining a light on the importance of entrepreneurship in the American south and across the nation.”

During the tour’s Richmond stop on May 4th, Case and his team will visit local startups, accelerators, and incubators; hold a public event with local entrepreneurs, investors, elected officials, civic leaders and others to discuss the local startup ecosystem; and run a pitch competition with a panel of all-star judges who will decide which companies will receive one of five $100,000 investments.

The Richmond events have yet to be completely fleshed out, but details should soon be available on the Rise of the Rest website, where you can also apply to pitch your business or idea to Case and his team.

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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