Business owners pitch ideas to win big on the "Rise of the Rest" tour

Business owners and entrepeneurs gather on the Rise of the Rest tour.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — You may have seen an unusual bus making the rounds in downtown Indianapolis Thursday.

It's the "Rise of the Rest" bus and while it certainly draws attention, the passengers may actually draw a little more.

Included on the bus are AOL co-founder and former CEO Steve Case and author JD Vance.

It is all part of the Rise of the Rest tour — the brainchild of Case. Local businesses and entrepreneurs make their pitch for a chance to win a $100,000 prize.

"This is Columbus. We are opening today. We've had six orders," ClusterTruck CEO Chris Baggott explains.

Baggott is making his case for why he deserves the $100,000. His store is a unique delivery-only restaurant that operates in downtown Indianapolis.

"You are secretly taking over the country," Case said to Baggot.

"Well that is the problem," Baggot said. "That is why we have to move quick."

Case explains why he has undertaken this project.

"Last year, 75 percent of venture capital went to three states: California, New York and Massachusetts. Seventy-five percent. Indiana last year, in aggregate, got 1 percent," Case explains. "We don't want to have a country where the benefits in terms of jobs and growth go to a few people in places on the coast. We want to create a more inclusive innovative economy."

"We need to get out and talk more about the tech community in Indianapolis and really go out to Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas and New York and really sell that Indianapolis is the place to start a company," Bob Stutz the CEO at Salesforce added.

The ultimate goal is to get more entrepreneurs on the Indiana bus.

"We want people to know Indianapolis is open for business and great place to start companies," Case said.

At the end of the night, the winner of the $100,000 investment from Case was 120 Water Audit, a female-led startup that helps organizations check their water systems for contaminants.