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Steve Case on Investing and the Cities of the Future

Episode Nine of the Thesis Driven Leader Series

Steve Case has spent the past 40 years at the intersection of technology, cities, and innovation. He was one of the leaders of the internet revolution as the founder and chairman of AOL. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to investing in entrepreneurs and innovation as the founder of the venture firm Revolution. 

Along the way, Case developed a thesis for investment and economic growth that’s a little different than that of most venture investors: a belief in the emergence of places beyond traditional tech hubs—cities that haven’t traditionally been the focus on venture investment but have tremendous potential.

Through Revolution’s seed and growth funds, Case and his team have made “The Rise of the Rest” their guiding philosophy. They look for companies where place matters, and they like to invest in “Rise of the Rest” cities that are likely to benefit from increasing innovation and investment int he coming years. He writes all about this in The Rise of the Rest, a book he published in 2022. 

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This is a fast-moving conversation that covers a number of topics; we discuss the characteristics of rising cities and which ones get them particularly excited. We talk about innovation districts and their particular importance as talent disperses beyond traditional tech hubs. They discuss why the next wave of startups will all have a policy angle whether it’s healthtech, fintech, proptech or any other major tech sector.

We also go into more detail about what the Revolution team looks for in startups and how they run their investments—and how their unique thesis led them to launch a Rise of the Rest real estate investment vehicle focused on investing in brick-and-mortar assets in emerging cities.

With a worldview anchored in place and innovation, Case’s insights and predictions are invaluable to anyone with a stake in venture, real estate, innovation, the future of urban spaces and policy. 

As always, you can listen here on Substack or on the following platforms:


—Brad Hargreaves

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Thesis Driven
Thesis Driven Leader Series
At Thesis Driven, we research and write about trends in the built world. Join Thesis Driven founder Brad Hargreaves as he interviews the leading voices at the intersection of real estate, cities, innovation and technology. Guests include innovators like Zillow founder Spencer Rascoff, the renowned East Coast developer MaryAnne Gilmartin, AOL founder and real estate visionary Steve Case and many more top change makers in real estate.