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Revolution’s Rise of the Rest announces second $150 million fund

Revolution announced Monday it closed its second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, raising another $150 million that will back startups in emerging markets throughout the U.S.

The fund’s goal is to invest in companies outside of Silicon Valley, Boston and New York, where less venture capital is available.

Revolution’s first Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, launched in late 2017 and has backed nearly 130 companies in nearly 70 cities across 32 states. The remaining money from the first fund will be reserved for follow-on investments in those companies. Investments in new companies will be made from the second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund announced this week.

Revolution said that the remaining balance from the first fund will be reserved for follow-on investments. All Investments in new companies will come from the new fund.

Revolution’s Rise of the Rest movement got its start nearly five years ago when the firm began traveling around the country and hosting pitch competitions that awarded prizes of up to $100,000. Led by former AOL CEO Steve Case, the movement quickly gained local and national publicity.

Case last visited Des Moines in September 2018 to make the case for investing in startups in places like Des Moines and other cities in the middle of the country.

Earlier this year, Rise of the Rest completed its eighth bus tour, visiting Orlando, the Florida Space Coast, Tampa Bay, Miami and Puerto Rico. The Revolution team has now visited 43 cities and will announce the stops on its ninth tour early next year.

Previous coverage

Steve Case makes the case for investing outside of Silicon Valley -Sept. 20, 2018

Rise of the Rest: How Des Moines can bring it back -Sept. 25, 2017

Revolution’s Rise of the Rest announces second $150 million fund | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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