Late this July, AOL co-founder and former CEO Steve Case called Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to announce that he will be visiting Phoenix on his Rise of the Rest bus tour. Yesterday he announced which eight local businesses will present during his Phoenix stop, and compete for one grand prize: $100,000.
Case’s annual tour will be making its fifth pass through the US this October. On his Rise of the Rest tour, Case finds one startup from each city in which to invest $100,000. His goal is to make venture capital more evenly available, and to shine the entrepreneurial spotlight on up-and-coming cities around the nation. More than half of past winners have boasted women or minority founders.
Phoenix’s eight confirmed finalists are:
Ava School Solutions, a mobile-friendly health screening management system for schools that is easy to implement, eliminates paperwork and increases accuracy.
CBL Worldwide II, Inc., a national membership-based sports league business for the amateur basketball marketplace with an experimental B2C marketing platform for national and global brands.
Crowd Mics Inc., the only live microphone app compatible with large audiences.
Hopscratch, who legally forms your business, secures your passwords, launches your website, designs your business cards, and more in less than two weeks with their “business in a box.”
MSDx, a personalized medicine company developing blood testing products for brain diseases.
NeoLight, who engineers and designs smart, simple, best-in-class technology solutions that treat infant medical conditions within the first few days after birth.
ReplyBuy, a service that allows you to buy sports tickets with just one text.
SMART Brain Aging, Inc., who uses engaging, social prevention and treatment therapies both in-person and online to reduce the onset and impact of dementia.
All eight companies had to apply to be considered for Rise of the Rest.
So why did Case pick Phoenix as one of this year’s five cities? “As we begin to connect with local leaders, we are finding common themes . . . [including] the support of influential university programming, like the SkySong Center & Furnace Tech Transfer initiative at Arizona State University,” Case mentions on his blog. This explains why Case, along with his own team of investors, will be partnering with Arizona State University and the initiators of #yesphx to help shape the tour.
“The inclusion of Phoenix in Rise of the Rest is a testimony to the vibrant entrepreneurial culture that is resident in this region. This is a great opportunity for our entrepreneurship ecosystem to showcase our work,” says Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU, in a statement by the City of Phoenix. “As the most innovative university in the country, ASU, together with our partners, has been a tireless advocate of the inspiring and diverse entrepreneurs within the university and in our community.”
Each city gets one evening of suspense. Phoenix’s evening (October 7) starts at 3 PM with a fireside chat with Steve Case. At 4 PM, guests will watch from the edge of their seats as Case selects one local startup in which to invest $100,000. The evening will end with a community party. Case’s Phoenix stop will be hosted by The Duce, a unique kitchen and lounge downtown.
City officials have expressed a great amount of pride after Phoenix’s selection for Rise of the Rest. “This opportunity is the result of our hard work and a groundswell of support from our local entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Stanton in a release. “The Rise of the Rest tour coming to Phoenix is a true testament to the progress of our ecosystem, and I’m confident Steve and his team will be excited to see the incredible talent and potential we have in our community.”
Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, a passionate backer of the #yesphx campaign, said to the City, “I’m excited for Phoenix to showcase why our city is quickly becoming a national destination for entrepreneurs, innovators and startups. Our ecosystem is driving our economy forward through attraction, retention and especially the development of talent, and we are looking forward to sharing our story on the Rise of the Rest startup tour.”
Tickets to the event are available now.
Congratulations to Phoenix’s eight finalists—and good luck!
All images by Rise of the Rest Road Trip with Steve Case.