Steve Case, the well-known investor and co-founder of America Online, will be traveling to Portland this fall to highlight – and potentially invest in – the area’s entrepreneurs.

Case is scheduled to arrive in Portland on Oct. 2, as part of his national Rise of the Rest bus tour, designed to highlight startups and entrepreneurs in a diverse array of “rising” startup cities, according to an announcement on the website.

As part of the daylong visit, Case, currently CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he founded in 2005, will visit with local entrepreneurs, businesses, public officials and other stakeholders in Portland’s entrepreneurial community to discuss the opportunities and challenges of fostering startup growth.

He’ll also host a pitch competition open to the public in which a local startup will receive a $100,000 investment, the release says.

“As we hit the road in late September and early October I look forward to discussing … how Portland’s continued effort to build upon one of the country’s most authentic buy-local movements, a highly educated population, and a strong tourism base is creating a startup ecosystem rich with doers, innovators, and new businesses in the northeast,” Case wrote on his blog.

This is the fourth leg of Case’s Rise of the Rest bus tour, an initiative he began in 2014. According to a video on Case’s website, he initiated the tour after realizing that 75 percent of the venture capital in the U.S. goes to three coastal cities. To date, he’s visited 14 cities and invested $1.5 million in the startups he’s met along the way.


Portland is the final stop on this leg. Case will begin in Baltimore on Sept. 28, before traveling to Philadelphia on Sept. 29, Buffalo on Sept. 30, and Manchester on Oct. 1.

Jess Knox, a business consultant with Olympico Strategies and statewide hub coordinator for Blackstone Accelerates Growth, is the local coordinator for Case’s bus tour. He said he is “incredibly excited” about the announcement and Case’s plans to visit Portland.

“Many people are working hard to build this authentic community of innovators and entrepreneurs and this is validation of that work,” Knox said Tuesday morning. “This visit is an incredible opportunity to showcase our community and our great companies. The ROTR tour is just the type of jet fuel needed to expand existing efforts to build world class companies and to build our version of a robust startup and innovation community right here in Maine.”

Case is expected to announce the bus tour today as part of the first-ever White House Demo Day, an event designed to highlight the achievements and opportunities for entrepreneurs in the United States.

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