Entrepreneurship On Display: Seed Fund Tour Comes To Chattanooga

By Mike Pare
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Steve Case’s “Rise of the Rest” campaign is designed to promote entrepreneurship outside of California’s Silicon Valley. In its fourth year, the bus tour is powered by the investment firm Revolution, of which Case is CEO. The tour showcases founders in emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. This week the bus arrives in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

“Its an extreme validation.” Ken Hays, head of Chattanoogas Enterprise Center, on the Rise of the Rest seed fund tours visit to the city this week.

Jennifer Skjellum was heavily involved with the business startup scene in Birmingham, and she likes what she sees in Chattanooga now that she has moved here.

“It’s welcoming from a startup perspective,” she said about Chattanooga, noting that the Scenic City and Birmingham are each on stops for AOL founder Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest seed fund tour this week.

Skjellum and others said that the tour, during which one Chattanooga company will land $100,000 in new investment, is a stamp of approval on efforts to grow the local innovation ecosystem over the past decade.

“It’s an extreme validation,” said Ken Hays, head of Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center. “It’s a testament to the work the community is supporting.”

Tia Capps, chief communications officer for The Company Lab business accelerator in the city, said Rise of the Rest is “very much a defining moment” for Chattanooga in terms of entrepreneurship.

“So many people have come together to put resources in place to make starting a business easier for folks,” she said.

While in Alabama, Skjellum was president of TechBirmingham, which is aimed at promoting technology companies and helps to recruit and retain talent and entrepreneurs. She moved to the Scenic City after her husband, Tony, was named as director of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s SimCenter

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