Steve Case and the “Rise of the Rest” tour check in with Certify

Steve Case and the “Rise of the Rest” tour check in with Certify

It’s not every day that a world-renowned business leader and co-founder of one of the internet’s most storied companies stops by the office to hear about the great things you’re working on. But that’s precisely what happened last week at Certify headquarters when entrepreneur, investor and America Online co-founder Steve Case brought his Rise of the Rest tour to Portland, Maine.

Rise of the Rest Tour visits Certify in Portland, Maine

Joined by U.S. Senator Angus King, Representative Chellie Pingree, and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Mr. Case and the Rise of the Rest tour were in town to award a $100,000 investment to one of Portland’s innovative startups (congratulations Rapport). The awards presentation capped a daylong celebration of entrepreneurship in Maine, with Mr. Case and the Rise of the Rest entourage visiting Certify and two other successful area companies that were considered startups not too long ago.

“Rise of the Rest puts a spotlight on all the great innovation and entrepreneurship happening outside of San Francisco, New York and Boston, and we’re incredibly honored that Steve Case chose Certify as the first stop on the tour in Portland,” said Bob Neveu, president, Certify. “To meet and potentially learn from someone like Steve is just an amazing opportunity. And it’s really exciting to know we’re doing something with SaaS software in the expense management space that he found interesting enough to check out personally.”

After a quick business overview and tour of Certify headquarters at 20 York Street in Portland, Mr. Case, Senator King and Representative Pingree casually walked around the office to meet and talk with the more than 70 Maine-based Certify employees. Certify’s additional 20 employees in its San Diego office and field sales offices throughout the U.S joined the event via interoffice Skype.

“Having all these VIPs in the office was definitely not your average workday,” Carlton Parsons, marketing coordinator, Certify. “But everyone really went out of their way to stop by our desks, shake hands and say hello personally, it was just such a great thing to be a part of.”

Mr. Case started The Rise of the Rest tour in 2014 to highlight so called “second-tier” U.S. cities with thriving startup communities. And while business and economic development were definitely the focus of our visit, there was also time for the Rise of the Rest team to enjoy a little cultural experience, Certify-style. Never one to miss a chance for some friendly competition, Bob Neveu invited Mr. Case to join him at the ping-pong and foosball tables.

Steve Case plays ping pong with Bob Neveu on Rise of the Rest Tour

Who won? Honestly, we were all having so much fun no one kept score. But with such a tremendous show of support for entrepreneurism in Maine, it’s clear we all have something to be proud of here in the Pine Tree State.