BBJ: AOL Co-Founder Steve Case on How Baltimore Can Build a Great Startup Economy
Friday, February 16, 2018
AOL co-founder Steve Case was in Baltimore two and a half years ago for his Rise of the Rest Initiative and left with two impressions of the city's startup ecosystem.
First, he thought there should be more collaboration among the different players in tech and between the area's big and small companies. And second, he thought the ecosystem should be more inclusive and representative of the racial, ethnic, gender and economic diversity seen across the city.
"I see progress here, but you've still got a way to go," said Case, who is CEO of investment firm Revolution.
Case launched Rise of the Rest as a funding effort aimed at bringing attention and resources to cities with great potential for startup growth, that didn't yet have the same clout or opportunities as a place like Silicon Valley. Case spoke to an audience of local entrepreneurs and investors about Baltimore's potential at the inaugural Anchor Ventures event Thursday, hosted by Johns Hopkins' FastForward incubator in East Baltimore.
About 75 percent of venture capital went to three states last year, and about 50 percent of it went to California, Case pointed out.
"We've got great entrepreneurs across the nation, but the reality is a small number of people in a small number of places are getting all the money," he said. Case said with Rise of the Rest, he is aiming to level the playing field in less-funded cities like Baltimore.
Baltimore can learn from what places like Silicon Valley do well, Case said, and build on its own strengths to drive the innovation economy forward.
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