We’re excited to announce Steve Case and JD Vance will sit down for a fireside chat at Disrupt SF this September. There’s plenty to talk about, too, including the pair’s latest venture: A massive $150 million seed fund backed by an impressive group of investors that are targeted at startups outside of Silicon Valley.
As The New York Times put it after the fund’s announcement, the complete list of investors in the Rise of the Rest fund “may be the greatest concentration of American wealth and power in one investment fund.” It includes among others Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, John Doerr, Jim Breyer, Dan Gilbert and members of the Walton, Koch and Pritzker families.
This fund is core to what Case and Vance are championing at Revolution. The Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm primarily backs companies outside of major tech hubs. At Disrupt New York in May, Case told the audience that many regions are overlooked simply because investors can’t “get in their cars and drive to those companies” and he wants to convince other VCs to look outside of their comfort zones.
In August of 2017 Steve Case, founder of AOL and Revolution, tapped JD Vance to run Revolution as its Managing Partner.
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to be comfortable with being the media-dubbed spokesperson,” Vance told TechCrunch at the time. “But I do think you can talk about the issues and try to raise awareness or you can do something about the issues — my goal here is to try to do both. There’s an opportunity I’ve been given here with the platform the book has afforded.”
Vance is seemingly of the same mind as Case. In his book, which is a must read by the way, Hillbilly Elegy, he lays out his upbringing in Appalachia’s working class and explains the importance of striving to overcome obstacles — and startups outside the Valley have different obstacles to overcome than those located around San Francisco. As the managing partner of Revolution, we hear he has a keen focus that resonates with founders. Vance served as a Marine in Iraq, eventually graduating from The Ohio State and Yale and went on to serve as a law clerk and a principal at Peter Thiel’s VC firm, Mithril Capital Management LLC.
Steve Case spoke at Disrupt NY last year about his current passion in shining a light on startups outside traditional tech hubs.
“It’s worth remembering that Detroit 75 years ago was like the Silicon Valley,” said Case at Disrupt NY in 2017. “At the time, it was the hottest innovation city in the country, because the automobile was the hot new technology at the time. Silicon Valley was like fruit orchards. These things change. But they lost their way. Detroit lost 60 percent of its population in the last 50 years and they went bankrupt because they lost their entrepreneur mojo.”
Case’s fireside chat was fascinating and we’re thrilled to have him back with Revolution’s managing partner, JD Vance. While Disrupt SF happens in the heart of Silicon Valley, there are plenty of founders, developers and investors who are constantly looking for opportunities in new regions — just like Steve Case and JD Vance.
If you’re looking to purchase tickets to Disrupt, you can grab those right here.