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AOL Founder Makes His Case For Atlanta's Hot Startup Status

AOL founder and Revolution CEO Steve Case talks to local entrepreneurs during a May 7 "Rise of the Rest" event at Atlanta Tech Village. (Photo courtesy Revolution.)

The Internet may have provided the foundation for many a Silicon Valley company, but the web services giant that helped many people get online in the 1990s was never based there.

For most of that time, America Online - later to be known as AOL - was based in the suburbs of Washington D.C.

AOL co-founder Steve Case engineered the famous merger with Time Warner in 2001, and then started his own investment firm, Revolution, in 2005, with the intention of providing startup money to tech companies that were outside the established tech-friendly confines of Northern California. That effort continues in the spring of 2015; Case is hitting the road to visit several Southeastern cities to find the hottest startups and, in some cases, award them some funding.

Revolution's "Rise of the Rest" tour stopped in Atlanta May 7. Case started at Buckhead's Atlanta Tech Village, home of nearly 200 young companies, and included visits to white-hot startups Yik Yak, Roadie, Cardlytics and MailChimp. The day ended at Opera nightclub where Case and others helped judge a "Shark Tank"-style pitch competition.

In this audio podcast, I ask Case about what sets Atlanta's startup community apart from others, what mistakes entrepreneurs should avoid and whether the region, known for its business-to-business companies servicing financial tech, marketing and security, needs more consumer-style firms like social media network Yik Yak.