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"Rise of the Rest" tour comes to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- A bus arrived in Cincinnati after stops in Detroit and Pittsburgh before going on to Nashville. 

But this bus was not a Greyhound. It was a job-hound.  The business called Dot Loop was one of several Cincinnati high-tech and Internet start-ups visited by AOL founder and venture capitalist, Steve Case and US Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker.

The idea was to let the country know that entrepreneurship is alive and well in the heartland.

"Of course Silicon Valley is great and New York City is great, but there are also a lot of great things happening in Cincinnati.  We want to shine a spotlight on it.  And from a personal standpoint it's good to be here because my first job out of college was at Procter and Gamble. I used to have lunch at Fountain Square often," said Case.

Dot Loop developed software to speed up real estate transactions. Instead of driving from the bank, to the title company and to the broker, everything can be done online.  Five years ago the company did not exist.  Now it has 120 employees.  A perfect example of home grown heartland high-tech.

Dot Loop chief operating officer, Michael Graham, said, "Here in Cincinnati there were enough talented people to grow the business and there were enough funding sources to get it off the ground."

Ironically the Midwest used to be the home to a lot of start-ups.  Steel in Pittsburgh, cars in Detroit, consumer products in Cincinnati; well guess what?  There are still a lot of start-ups in flyover country.  You just might have to take the bus to see them.

The "Rise of the Rest" tour also included a competition for people behind eight local start-up companies.  Each group will make a pitch to Steve Case and other judges.  The winner gets $100,000 and a chance to compete for more potential help from Case's venture capital business.


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