Silicon Valley definitely gets a lot of love as the mother ship of all things tech. So when I read about efforts highlighting entrepreneurs and startups outside The Valley, I have to share.
I found these two gems today.
First up: The Rise of the Rest is a bus tour spearheaded by Steve Case, chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based investment firm Revolution. The idea is to shine a light on the startup revolution that is currently happening in some less expected places (Excuse me while I go tidy up the guest room).
Sadly Bend is not on the four-stop tour, which was in Detroit yesterday, and stops in Pittsburgh today. The busload of entrepreneurs will meet with some local startup stars and Case will host a pitch competition for budding businesses. The winner receives $100,000 in investment and guidance from Revolution execs. The bus tour then heads to Cincinnati and Nashville.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
If highlighting cities such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cincinnati and Nashville, Tenn., brings awareness to the value that exists in the Midwest and surrounding area, Mr. Case believes investors will be more than willing to follow the money into previously uncharted territories across the country.
“Rise of the Rest is founded on the belief that great entrepreneurs and companies can come from anywhere and the bus tour supports that philosophy,” he said in an email statement.
Case is speaking our language. Now turn that bus around because Oregon is rising too.
Next up: Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee, serial entrepreneur and a Stanford alum, wrote about attending the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He left Silicon Valley. And he met entrepreneurs (who are killing it btw) from other places.
He learned a few things including the fact that many bootstrapped their way to billions:
In the Silicon Valley community where we are constantly celebrating new financing announcements, it was surprising to me how many of these successful entrepreneurs bootstrapped their businesses. The global Entrepreneur of the Year winner was Uday Kotak of India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank, and he started his company with less than $250,000. Today it operates more than 500 branches and generates over $2 billion in revenues.
And he also recognized the value of opportunities in “unsexy” industries.
Given how many new startups in Silicon Valley today are focused on apps, it was refreshing how many of these entrepreneurs also built large companies in “unsexy” industries. For instance, one was the largest manufacturer and technology leader of sewer-cleaning vehicles. Another specializes in making kitchen and living room furniture. It was a reminder that building a great company isn’t about doing the cool thing – it’s about being the best at what you do.
Because even sewers need cleaning. I especially appreciate this last point, given proclivity of startups here and around Oregon to find success in quiet spaces, serving businesses or niche industries.
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].