Revolution, Opportunity Hub (OHUB), and 100 Black Angels & Allies announced today that they are partnering to host the Equity Edition of Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Tour. This virtual event will take place from December 1-3, 2020, in partnership with Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL). The week will include a series of virtual panels with nationwide leaders on how to best support Black founders and a $2M virtual pitch event for Black-founded start-ups based in the U.S., but outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Founders can apply to pitch at tour.revolution.com until October 25.
"Revolution has long advocated for more funding for start-ups based outside of the coastal tech hubs, but we must do more to specifically level the playing field for Black founders, who currently receive less than 1% of venture funding. This tour is just one part of what must be a broader effort to scale and sustain inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem building in overlooked cities across America," said Steve Case, Chairman, and CEO of Revolution. "We first partnered with OHUB and its Co-founder and CEO Rodney Sampson to support entrepreneurs of color when Revolution brought the Rise of the Rest Bus Tour to Atlanta in 2015, and we are excited to join forces with them again to launch this powerful initiative."
Since 2014, Revolution's Rise of the Rest team has traveled more than 11,500 miles on a bus to 40+ cities to understand start-up communities between the coasts better firsthand. Rise of the Rest has deployed millions of dollars to start-ups throughout the country via their bus tour pitch events and reviewed thousands of pitch applications. The Equity Edition will adapt the Rise of the Rest's proven platform to this virtual environment in a continued effort to highlight the issues facing Black entrepreneurs.
"In 2000, my co-founders and I built a company to stream Black churches online, and bring millions of Black Americans online," said OHUB Co-Founder and CEO Rodney Sampson. "We quickly realized the venture capital we raised would put us in a disappointingly small group of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who had done the same. We launched OHUB to change that. Seven years later, the world is now paying attention. We've worked with Steve and his team to support racial equity in entrepreneurship, and this collaboration is the next big step to start, scale, and sustain inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems in under-tapped cities across America.”
The week's events will begin with virtual Town Halls on December 1st and 2nd, where nationwide leaders from cities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), start-up communities, and venture capital funds will discuss ways to support Black founders from across the country building the next generation of game-changing technologies and companies. The tour will conclude on December 3 with a fireside chat with Steve Case and Rodney Sampson and the virtual pitch event's finals. Three companies will receive a total of $2M in investments from Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Morgan Stanley's Multicultural Innovation Lab (each entity will invest $500,000 in the winner, $250,000 in the two runners-up) with additional co-investment from OHUB's affiliate 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund. Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has raised $300M to invest in early-stage start-ups outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. To date, they have invested in 150 start-ups across more than 70 cities; the companies selected for investment at the virtual pitch event will join Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund portfolio.
"When the Rise of the Rest Bus Tour visits start-up ecosystems, we are very intentional in creating a tour day and pitch event that is reflective of that city and takes into account the challenges diverse founders face," said David Hall, Managing Partner of Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. "With OHUB, 100 Black Angels & Allies, and Morgan Stanley's Multicultural Innovation Lab, we have an opportunity to champion Black founders who have the added challenge of being based outside the coastal tech hubs, for an audience of potential investors and start-up champions."
“We are excited to join the “Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour” as we continue to grow the reach of the Multicultural Innovation Lab leveling the playing field for women and multicultural entrepreneurs,” said Alice Vilma, Managing Director and Co-Head of Multicultural Client Strategy at Morgan Stanley. "We look forward to meeting founders and connecting with other organizations within the start-up support ecosystem to better serve multicultural founders from around the country."
In conjunction with the virtual pitch event, founders will receive access to several opportunities that underscore what's possible when various groups within the start-up support community collaborate:
First, Morgan Stanley's Multicultural Innovation Lab will offer the winner and two runners up access to the Lab's intensive 5-month accelerator program for tech and tech-enabled start-ups with a multicultural or woman founder. The Multicultural Innovation Lab offers capital, workspace, curated content, and connections to Morgan Stanley and external partner networks.
Second, OHUB and 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund will offer the first 100 pitch applicants access to its founder prep master class and 4-week pre-accelerator led by Dave Parker, a 5X founder, investor, and the author of Trajectory: Startup.
Third, the top ten pitch applicants will receive meetings with several investors from across multiple ecosystems, such as Greycroft, Cowboy Ventures, Lightship Capital, MaC Ventures, and Kapor Capital. All of them have committed to attend the pitch event and connect with founders. A full list of participating investors is included below.
Founded in 2013 in Atlanta, GA, as the first and largest multi-campus Black-owned technology and entrepreneurship hub in the U.S., OHUB has since expanded to multiple cities across the United States, partnering with major tech companies, public-private entities, and foundations to help bridge the wealth equity gap for under-tapped founders and technologies. Additionally, OHUB has accelerated hundreds of start-ups, re-skilled over 350 Black and Latinx persons as new full-stack software developers, launched the nation's first coding certificate boot camp at an HBCU, and placed over 1,000 BIPOC college students in their first technology internships via OHUB's HBCU@SXSW, an official partnership with SXSW. OHUB created the 100 Black Angels & Allies investment program and venture capital fund to train and develop Black angel investors and a new generation of limited partners to invest in the technology, start-up, and venture ecosystem.
Rise of the Rest and OHUB have been working together to support and lift up entrepreneurial ecosystems through the Rise of the Rest bus tour to Atlanta in 2015, HBCU@SXSW in 2017, and the Rise of the Rest bus tour to Central PA in 2017. We will continue to partner and highlight diverse founders and the organizations that support them across the country.