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🎥 Steve Case, Chairman & CEO of Revolution and Co-Founder of America Online, on revolutionizing the world on purpose with passion

Ep. 89 with Steve Case, Chairman & CEO, Revolution; Founder & Partner, Revolution Growth; Co-Founder, America Online; Chairman, Case Foundation

Welcome back to the Alt Goes Mainstream podcast.

Today’s episode with an internet legend provides an illuminating window into how the past can help inform us about the future.

Steve Case is a pioneer and a visionary. He built one of the foundational companies of the internet, AOL, that brought America and the world online. As one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, Steve has spent the past 39 years building, investing in, and shaping business policy for many industry-defining companies.

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His entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded America Online. Under Steve’s leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company. AOL was the first internet company to go public, and one of the best performing stocks of 1990s, delivering 11,616% return to shareholders. At its peak, nearly half of internet users in the U.S. used AOL.

Clip #1: Building an internet company when only 3% of people were online 1 hour / week.

Steve has since built another successful company, Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm that backs entrepreneurs at every stage of their development. Revolution Growth has invested nearly $1 billion in growth-stage companies including Sweetgreen, Tempus, Tala, DraftKings, and CLEAR. Revolution Ventures has invested in almost 30 companies, including Framebridge and SRS Acquiom. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has invested in over 200 startups in 100 US cities, building critical ecosystem development for entrepreneurship across the country.

Clip #2: What happens when the internet meets the real world?

Steve’s passion for helping entrepreneurs has extended to the policy world. He was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership, an effort launched at the White House in 2011 to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship around the country. He was also the founding co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, where he chaired the subcommittee on entrepreneurship. He was also instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act and the Investing in Opportunities Act. He’s also the Chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife, Jean, in 1997 and together in 2010 they joined The Giving Pledge.

Steve is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future and The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the American Dream,” which has ended up serving as a fantastic blueprint for the next wave of the internet.

Steve and I had a fascinating and illuminating conversation, full of lessons learned from building the first wave of the internet that can be applied to building and investing in companies today.

We discussed:

  • How Steve and his team built AOL into the world’s largest and most valuable internet company at a time when 3% of people were using the internet for 1 hour a day.

  • How revolutions happen in evolutionary ways.

  • The three waves of the internet and why Steve believes that the third wave is much more complex and will require the ability to navigate policy and partnerships.

  • Lessons he learned as a founder to build a successful and diversified investment firm in Revolution.

  • How emerging technology ecosystems can build thriving startup communities, starting with “tentpole companies.”

  • How the things that happen to you shape how you live your life and on “living a life that’s full with passion and urgency.”

Thanks Steve for coming on the Alt Goes Mainstream podcast to share your wisdom, lessons learned, and visionary views of the future. It was an honor and a pleasure to have you on the show.

Clip #3: Revolution, “investing where the puck is going.”

Clip #4: Giving rise to the rest.

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