Case Says Better to Invest Outside Silicon Valley

Steve Case, co-founder of America Online Inc., said his venture-capital firm Revolution LLC will keep investing the bulk of its capital outside of Silicon Valley and New York to find innovative products and businesses.

While the U.S. technology and commercial hubs are still important, most advances are being made elsewhere in emerging markets, Case, 54, said at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing Summit in Half Moon Bay, California. More than 80 percent of Revolution’s investments are outside of those two locations, he said.

Revolution, based in Washington, has invested in coupon-site LivingSocial Inc. and car-sharing provider Zipcar Inc., which Avis Budget Group Inc. acquired for $491 million earlier this year. Case recently led a $20 million funding round in Lolly Wolly Doodle Inc., a kids’ clothing startup based in Lexington, North Carolina, that sells the majority of its products via Facebook Inc.

“Silicon Valley is awesome, and it’s the pride of America and the envy of the world,” Case said at the summit. “But it’s not the only place companies are. I think there’s too much capital and too much press attention focused on Silicon Valley.”

Case, who helped start AOL in 1985, also chairs efforts on entrepreneurship for President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

“Detroit 50 years ago was Silicon Valley. It was the hottest region for the hottest technology in the world, when automobiles were transforming society,” Case said. “So what happened? Global competitors stepped up their efforts, basically started stealing market share.”

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