Rise of the Rest

The "Rise of the Rest" bus visited Salt Lake City in 2016.

What is Rise of the Rest?

Rise of the Rest is an initiative of former AOL co-founder Steve Case to find and fund startups in areas outside Silicon Valley. Begun in 2014, Rise of the Rest features a bus tour that makes daylong stops in select cities. 

What happens when they visit a city?

The Rise of the Rest bus visits five cities in five days and Steve Case personally invests a total of $500,000 in local startups.

As part of the visits, there are meetings with local policy and business leaders in addition to a pitch competition where startups compete for a $100,000 investment from Case.

Where have previous tours been held?

In the three years since the initiative began, Rise of the Rest has visited 26 cities across the United States.

While some larger metropolitan areas have been visited, the focus is on smaller cities such as Richmond, Buffalo and Des Moines as well as Kansas City, Madison and Nashville.

What types of projects win?

Rise of the rise has funded a diverse variety of startups. Here are three:


SolePower is startup in Pittsburgh that has a self-charging shoe sole that harnesses the kinetic energy of walking to charge mobile electronics.

Founded in 2013 with 5 employees, SolePower chargers are currently being tested with the US. Army.

SolePower got a $100,000 investment after a Rise of the Rest visit in 2014.


The Scholly Story from Scholly on Vimeo.

Scholly is a smartphone app designed to help students streamline the process of finding and applying for scholarships.

Christopher Gray, who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, created Scholly while he was a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia. 

Scholly got a $100,000 investment from Case after the tour visited Philadelphia in September 2015.

Sisu Global Health

Sisu Global Health is a startup medical technology company tailored to the developing world. Its products include  a surgical tool to recycle the blood of a patient suffering from internal bleeding

Sisu Global Health, founded in 2012 by three women, was singled out for the potential impact its Hemafuse surgical tool could have in emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa.

Sisu Global Health got a $100,000 investment after a Rise of the Rest tour in 2015.

How can I apply?

In order to be eligible, startups must be headquartered in one of the cities being visited on tour. Applications are available online here.