MiB: Steve Case on AOL, Startups & Venture


This week, we speak with Steve Case, co-founder of America On-Line (AOL), founder of investment firm Revolution, Chair of the Smithsonian, and author of The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream.

We discuss how he launched America Online in 1985 back when the internet was restricted to academia and the government. It took a full decade of hard and slow work before households became interested in getting online. AOL was the first internet company to IPO, and its merger with Time Warner was the largest merger in business history (at the time).

Following the merger, he established a family office to manage his AOL-Time Warner assets. That eventually became “Revolution” which invests in all stages of companies: The Rise of the Rest Seed Funds, Revolution Ventures, and Revolution Growth. He describes Rise of the Rest as “going beyond Silicon Valley and coastal dollars to find early-stage startups and invest in these companies.” Uniquely, ROTR set up a truly unique venture, using bus tours to visit dozens of cities in the heartland of America to run pitch competitions. Case has personally visited 43 cities and funded more than 175 companies across eighty locations.

He was the founding co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; he was instrumental in passing the JOBS Act and the Investing Opportunities Act.

His wife Jean runs the Case Foundation, and the two have signed the Giving Pledge. Their philanthropy focuses on inclusive entrepreneurship, impact investing, and civic engagement.

A list of his favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here this week.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with David McRaney, science journalist, blogger, podcaster, and author. He created the podcast You Are Not So Smart based on his bestselling book of the same name. His new book is “How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion.”



Steve Case’s authored books

The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream by Steve Case

The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case

Steve Case’s current reading

How to Invest: Masters on the Craft by David M. Rubenstein

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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