A long list of prominent American businesspeople have joined AOL co-founder Steve Case’s new Rise of the Rest seed fund for startups in the Midwest and other areas that are often overlooked by investors. Case told the New York Times that the fund has secured $150 million from backers including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet.
As The New York Times puts it, 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.” In addition to Bezos and Schmidt, it includes:
- Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz
- Fashion designer Tory Burch
- Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio
- Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert
- KKR co-founder Henry Kravis
- Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein
- Financier and philanthropist Michael Milken
- Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers chairman John Doerr
- Breyer Capital founder Jim Breyer
- Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker
- Spanx founder Sara Blakely
- Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Storm owner Jeff Vinik
- Banker Byron Trott
- Goldman Sachs leader director Adebayo Ogunlesi
- and members of the Walton, Koch and Pritzker families
The fund, which shares a name with Case’s speaking tour and startup pitch competition, plans to provide mentorship as well as financing to entrepreneurs located outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, Boston and other major business hubs.
Case told The New York Times that the Rise of the Rest fund isn’t a social impact fund, but instead seeks to increase investment in underserved regions by proving companies there can “generate top returns.”
Case is also a co-founder of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm that 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.
(Disclosure: AOL was TechCrunch’s parent company before merging with Yahoo to create Oath, which now owns TechCrunch.)