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Applications open for “Rise of the Rest” stops in Chattanooga and Memphis

Rise of the Rest FundBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

As noted in this recent teknovation,biz post, Steve Case is bringing his “Rise of the Rest Road Trip” to two Tennessee cities in May. He’ll be in Memphis May 8 and Chattanooga May 10, and both cities are recruiting start-ups to apply to pitch.

For entrepreneurs located in parts of East and Middle Tennessee, the Chattanooga stop is the best opportunity.

“We’re recruiting start-ups within 100 miles of Chattanooga, and we want to get as many applications as possible” Tia Capps, Communications Director for CO.LAB, told us. Her organization is coordinating plans for the Chattanooga visit, and the roughly 100-mile requirement is one of several criteria established by Case and the national “Rise of the Rest” team.

Others include applicants must: (1) have a live product or service or an active beta underway; (2) have measurable performance indicators such as revenue, customers, or successful beta results; and (3) be raising or plan to soon raise an early stage round of funding.

In Memphis, coordination is through the Epicenter which, along with CO.LAB, is part of Launch Tennessee’s statewide network of start-up accelerators.

The same criteria apply to applicants in both Chattanooga and Memphis. Eight finalists will be selected to pitch.

“Whoever wins gets $100,000 plus an incredible network,” Capps said. That’s $100,000 in each city!

Application deadline for both Chattanooga and Memphis is March 20. Here’s a link to the application site. As noted on that webpage, applicants will be judged on these criteria:

  • Bold Idea: Does the idea “swing for the fences” and have the potential to disrupt a big industry, affect your community, or even change the world?
  • Jobs: Will the idea, if it scales, employ a large number of people?
  • Team: Does the team have the skills and leadership to move forward on this idea?
  • Execution: Is there strong customer growth or revenue?
  • Business Model: Has a revenue model been defined and is it realistic and sustainable?
  • Supporting Documents: The quality of the application responses and other supporting materials such as pitch deck, company website, product demo, video introduction.

Tennessee is in a unique position among the 50 states. When Case visits Chattanooga on May 10, it will mark the third Volunteer State city to host him, the only state in the union to claim that many stops on the “Rise of the Rest Road Tour.” Nashville was a stop in 2014.


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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