Office Hours: AOL and Revolution Founder Steve Case On Entrepreneurship That Makes A ‘Broader Impact’

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Office Hours: AOL and Revolution Founder Steve Case On Entrepreneurship That Makes A ‘Broader Impact’
Steve Case

When you think of thriving tech scenes, San Francisco and the Bay Area probably come to mind. Steve Case has spent most of his career working to expand the tech scene out of the Bay area bubble.

“I recognize great ideas are everywhere, great entrepreneurs are everywhere,” Case said. “But for a lot of people…they don't really have the opportunity to turn those [ideas] into companies.”

On this episode of Office Hours, AOL Co-founder and Revolution CEO and Chairman Steve Case talks about empowering tech communities through his work at Revolution and his entrepreneurial journey in founding one of the most important contributions to the internet – AOL.


“People didn't really believe that there would ever be a mass market for the internet,” Case said reflecting on his early career. “Of course, that proved not to be the case. And suddenly, I saw that same look [of judgment] in people's eyes 10 years ago, when we started talking about [The Rise of the Rest.]”

The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund is a Revolution initiative aimed at accelerating the growth of early-stage startups across the country. There is more opportunity for investors to back companies that aren't based in the Bay during their early stages, since valuation and arbitration are lower in less competitive sectors.

“I also think it's a great investment opportunity, because so much capital is focused in places like Silicon Valley,” Case said.

According to Case, most VCs are investing about 75% of all funds in only three states: California, Massachusetts and New York. But it’s getting better – with the pandemic and virtual conferencing becoming the norm, Case believes people are more open to listening to startups outside the major tech hubs.

Not to mention…the popularity of Case’s bus tours that started about eight years ago.

“We decided to hit the road to see for ourselves what's happening in some of these cities,” he said. “It's a way to learn about companies, learn about these cities and try to do what we can when we are there. It kind of is a convening platform — we invite people on the bus to meet each other and hopefully work with each other down the road.”

Case said community is critical to helping a city becoming a vibrant tech hub.

“The talent piece is obviously tied in with that, the community collaboration piece is critical,” Case explained. “But one of the things that was really catalytic — and you've seen this in L.A. — are these tentpole companies where there's a success of a company that people say, ‘Wow, I didn't know that was possible here.’ And then some of the people that were part of that company get experience in scaling companies and then decide they want to start some other companies.”

With tons of experience and expertise under his belt, Case compiled a lot of his learnings in his book The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream, which came out last year. In the book, Case details the importance of connecting entrepreneurs and shifting our stereotypical views on tech.

“Rather than start another company and have that be, you know, the next act…How do you create a platform that enables you to have a broader impact?” Case said.

dot.la social and engagement intern Gitanjali Mahapatracontributed to this post.

Want to hear more episodes? Subscribe to Office Hours on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

https://twitter.com/spencerrascoff
https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencerrascoff/
admin@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups
March Capital founder Jamie Montgomery. Illustration by Dilara Mundy.

Santa Monica-based venture outfit March Capital announced Feb. 3 that it raised its largest fund to date, a $650 million investment vehicle that will be used to back up to 15 startups focused on delivering new uses of artificial intelligence.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

The Three Best Ways to Work With Your Startup Board

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

The Three Best Ways to Work With Your Startup Board

When launching and running a startup, your board of directors is one of your most valuable assets. If you already understand why you need a board and how to structure your board, it may be tempting to think you can cross that item off the list. But building a board is just the beginning. Now you’ve got to get down to business—together.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/spencerrascoff
https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencerrascoff/
admin@dot.la

This Week in ‘Raises’: Saviynt Lands $205M, Pagos Secures $34M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Saviynt Lands $205M, Pagos Secures $34M
This Week in ‘Raises’:

While it was a slow week of funding in Los Angeles, security vendor Saviynt managed to score $205 million that will be used to meet the company’s growing demand for its converged identity platform and accelerate innovation.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending