Startup America is holding their fourth quarterly “regions summit” in Chicago Illinois at 1871. The summit brings together nearly 150 regional Startup America influencers, commonly known around these parts as “Champions”.
Startup America champions from as far away as Puerto Rico arrived in the windy city last night for this three day conference meant to bring together regional startup leaders to share best practices, triumphs and even failures that each region can learn from.
To kick off the summit attendees were treated with a Case Triple Threat. Startup America CEO (and founding CTO of Priceline.com), Scott Case, kicked off the festivities. Case and Startup America’s Donna Harris have been busy over the last year flying around the country helping to launch Startup America regions. Scott Case (not related to the other two Cases) spoke briefly welcoming everyone to the event.
The first talk of the morning was a fireside chat between Harris and Startup America Chairman, and AOL Founder, Steve Case .Case has been traveling the country on his own talking to startup and entrepreneur communities throughout the United States. At one point Case pointed out, if you make great products no one cares where you’re from.
Case is no stranger to starting a company and raising money outside Silicon Valley. He’s started companies in Detroit Michigan before, but of course he’s most known for his little internet startup that launched out of Tyson’s Corner Virginia (a DC suburb) before anyone even knew what the internet was. Case told the familiar story of how no one really understood the internet back than and how it was just for a “bunch of geeks”.
Steve also brought home the point that Startup America, in it’s current form, is on a SWAT team mission to launch regions across the country over the next three years, and build growth within the organization. However the mission for Startup America is to have the regions function independently during that time. After that, the Startup America national office will function more as a support piece rather than a mouth piece.
The work the team at Startup America has done is nothing short of greatness though. With the addition of Startup Utah, just yesterday there are now 30 Startup America regional partners.
The third case of the morning was just before lunch. That’s when Case Foundation CEO and Steve’s wife, Jean Case came and spoke about her fearless movement within the Case foundation. The foundation just launched an initiative across the country looking for fearless people who will be the cornerstone of startups, and the economy to come.
Check out our video of Steve Case wrapping up his fireside chat with Harris below: