Best known for co-founding one of the most recognized brands, America Online (AOL), internet pioneer Steve Case will address Babson’s undergraduate Centennial Class of 2019 as its Commencement speaker on Saturday, May 18.
During the 10 a.m. ceremony, Case also will receive the honorary doctor of laws degree from Babson.
“As we celebrate our historic Centennial Commencement, we are thrilled to welcome entrepreneur, internet pioneer, and AOL co-founder Steve Case as our undergraduate speaker,” said Babson College President Kerry Healey. “Steve shares Babson’s belief that entrepreneurs are everywhere, and has a profound understanding of the power of entrepreneurship to grow economies, solve social problems, and transform communities. His visionary leadership inspires our global community, and we are so excited to welcome him to Babson.”
An Entrepreneurial Icon
Steve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs, and a pioneer in making the internet part of everyday life. He is also the author of The New York Times bestselling book The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future.
As chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, Case partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build significant “built to last” businesses. Revolution invests in and actively helps build companies leveraging technology to disrupt existing markets. This includes both early- and mid-stage growth companies through both the Revolution Growth fund, created in 2011, and the Revolution Ventures fund, launched in 2013. Revolution has backed more than 30 companies, including sweet green, Zipcar, Revolution Foods, DraftKings, Uptake, and Framebridge.
In 2014, Case and Revolution launched the Rise of the Rest, a platform to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs who are starting and scaling businesses outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Case frequently tours the country by bus to meet with civic leaders, founders, investors, and local corporate executives to champion citywide efforts to jumpstart entrepreneurship. Case announced The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund in December 2017 as part of the initiative.
Case’s entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded AOL. Under Case’s leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society. AOL was the first internet company to go public and the best performing stock of the 1990s. At its peak, nearly half of internet users in the United States used AOL. In 2000, Case negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner in a transaction that gave AOL shareholders a majority stake in the combined company. To facilitate the merger, Case agreed to step down as CEO when the merger closed.
Case’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. In 2011, he was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. Case also was 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.
Case has been a leading voice in shaping government policy on issues related to entrepreneurship, working across the aisle to advance public policies that expand access to capital and talent. He was instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, and is active in advocating on behalf of immigration reform and legislation that supports and accelerates the emergence of startup ecosystems in rising cities.
Case is also chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife, Jean, in 1997. Together the Cases have invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives, and partnerships with a focus on leveraging the internet and entrepreneurial approaches to strengthen the social sector. In 2010, Steve and Jean Case joined The Giving Pledge and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
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