Steve Case and his Rise of the Rest entrepreneurial tour through Middle America may be on to their next city today, but Pittsburgh is left with fond memories from the experience.
Steve, the former CEO of AOL, is on the road celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of four cities: Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Nashville. He received a taste of local innovation in Pittsburgh with visits to startup incubator StartUpTown, community workshop TechShop, and Urban Innovation21, a local economic development organization that supports entrepreneurship in underserved communities.
He later hosted a fireside chat at AlphaLab Gear to talk about the Pittsburgh startup scene, the troubles the city is facing, and the amazing things we’ve already accomplished.
Then the pitches began, with the opportunity for one Pittsburgh startup to take home a $100,000 angel investment.
Ten promising companies pitched their ideas to Steve and a panel of judges, including former Steeler Franco Harris. In the end, energy-generating insole SolePower and their terrific presentation won the grand prize.
While there was only one winner of the giant check, Pittsburgh as a whole deserves a prize. Steve praised not only the high quality of the Pittsburgh pitches, but the vibrancy of the local startup scene that has helped bring the Steel City out of the Dark Ages.
As a company deeply committed to the innovation happening around us, we certainly loved hearing this and are thrilled that Pittsburgh is getting this amazing recognition.
What was your favorite part of the event?
Here’s some more pictures from the pitches and the happy hour that followed at Thrill Mill.