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To celebrate Veteran's Day 2021, we are excited to release an updated version of the Veteran Startup Ecosystem Canvas, which is currently in v4 below! It was developed by the Founder Institute and Ryan Micheletti (Head of Global Operations at the Founder Institute, Co-Founder of Vet-Tech Startup Accelerator, and Partner at Shield Corps Security). It lists the prominent resources to help Veterans start companies in the United States, organized by the stage of company.

This is just a draft, and while we spent many hours on this research, more input is needed. Please leave your comments on this collaborative Google document, and it will be considered for the next update.

If you're interested in seeing some of U.S.A.'s most promising Vet-led startups pitch live to top Silicon Valley investors, then RSVP to The $100,000 Veteran Pitch Competition that will take place on November 17th, 2021. 

Text version included below, for ease of searching:

Startup Stages


There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common, sequential framework.

1. Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

A. Inspire

  • Veteran Startup Media: Centralized local information, listings, and news. (i.e. startup blogs/ publications/ lists/ FB groups/ newsletters)
    1. Vets in Tech Events
      1. Veteran Owned Business
    • Inspirational Veteran Startup Events: Open, inclusive startup events that often focus on ideation. (i.e. Startup Weekend, idea fairs, and inspirational meetups)
      1. Bunker Labs
      2. Operation: Start Up & Grow
      3. Startup Weekend Fredericksburg - Veteran's Edition

    B. Educate

    • Best Practices: Beginner knowledge-sharing tech events. (i.e. beginner events that serve to educate more than inspire).
      1. American Corporate Partners
      2. EBV Bootcamp
      3. McChrystal Group
      4. Veterans Business Academy
      5. Veterans Launching Ventures
      6. Veterati
    • Training & Feedback: Skill & Idea development events and startup bootcamps for entrepeneurs. (Includes comprehensive training programs, like Founder Institute, General Assembly, Lean Startup Machine, code camps, etc)
      1. Bloc Dev Bootcamp for Veterans
      2. Code Platoon
      3. Coding Bootcamp Scholarships for Veterans
      4. Founder Institute
      5. Kauffman FastTrac
      6. Operation Code
      7. Patriot Boot Camp
      8. Skill Distillery
      9. The Veterans Trust
      10. UTC Veterans Entrepreneurship Program
      11. VHA Innovation Ecosystem

    C. Validate

    • Team Formation: Events for Finding Co-founders.  (i.e. tech networking events or other resources that facilitate early-stage recruitment and cofounder matching)
      1. CoFoundersLab
      2. FoundersNation
      3. Hirepurpose
      4. Unite Us
      5. Veteran Owned Business
    • Build First Product: Hackathons & product events for Veterans.
      1. Needs work

    2. Launch Stage

    In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

    A. Start

    • Establish: law firms & banks for startups
      1. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
      2. Fenwick & West LLP
      3. Krause Law
      4. StreetShares
      5. Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
      6. US Bank
      7. USAA
      8. Union Bank
      9. Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
      10. Wells Fargo Bank
                        • Veteran Workspaces: Co-working and flexible workspaces for veteran startups.
                          1. Regus
                          2. Veterans Suite at WESST 
                          3. WeWork Veterans in Residence

                        B. Develop

                        • Formalize: accounting, development and HR tools for early-stage startups.  
                          1. Alliance Careers
                          2. Bradley-Morris Inc.
                          3. Chase Associates CPA
                          4. Hire Veterans
                          5. Lucas Group
                          6. Metova
                          7. Military Hire
                          8. Orion International
                          9. Recruit Military
                          10. Recruit Veterans
                          11. Semper Fi Web Design
                          12. Veterans Web Design
                          13. Web Design Melbourne Florida
                          14. Yellow Boxcar
                        • Veteran Incubators: Groups that prepare companies for seed investment and provide advanced mentorship. (i.e. advanced knowledge sharing, later stage events and resources)
                          1. Needs work

                        C. Launch

                        • Seed Accelerators: Seed funding mentor programs (Techstars-style programs that provide funding)
                          1. Needs work
                        • Pitch & Demo Events: Tech events that showcase veteran startups for investment.
                          1. Needs work

                        3. Growth Stage

                        Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

                        A. Recognition

                        • Veteran Investor Networking:  Events and groups that connect professional investors with founders.
                          1. VET-TECH 
                        • Major Media: Mainstream local business press that often showcase local startups.
                          1. Army Times
                          2. Military Times
                          3. Military.com
                          4. Our Vet Success
                          5. Stars and Stripes
                          6. US Veterans Magazine
                          7. Veterans Today
                          8. Veterans United

                        B. Funding

                        • Veteran Angel Investors: Seed-stage investors and micro-vcs.
                          1. Bradley C. Harrison
                          2. Bradley Rotter
                          3. Craig Cummings
                          4. France Hoang
                          5. Frank DeGeorge
                          6. J Whorley
                          7. James Schmeling
                          8. Jeff Kelley
                          9. John Sorgini
                          10. Kelly Perdew
                          11. Kyle Maggard
                          12. Paige Craig
                          13. Samuel Raiche
                          14. Scott Thompson
                          15. Wesley Viner
                        • Veteran Venture Capitalists: Series A and beyond
                          1. Academy Investor Network 
                          2. Arena Ventures
                          3. Hivers and Strivers
                          4. Moonshots Capital
                          5. Scout Ventures
                          6. Veteran Crowd
                          7. Vetted Capital

                        C. Growth

                        • Infrastructure: Office space, HR, local business insurance. (i.e. office space/ HR/ insurance providers for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)

                          1. 42Floors
                          2. AAFMAA
                          3. Armed Forces Insurance
                          4. Geico
                          5. Hicks Professional Group
                          6. Loopnet
                          7. OfficeSpace
                          8. TriWest Healthcare Alliance
                          9. USAA
                        • Expansion: Veteran Growth accelerators and consultants. (i.e. programs and business consultants for capital-rich companies to grow and scale)
                            1. Bain & Company
                            2. Duty First Consulting
                            3. KNR Consulting Group
                            4. KPMG
                            5. McKinsey & Company
                            6. Pathfinder Consultants
                            7. PwC
                            8. Sharp Decisions, Inc.
                            9. Task at Hand Consulting
                            10. VetsAmerica Business Consulting

                                            4. Veteran Startup Success Stories

                                            Successful homegrown companies that have raised significant institutional funding, employ a large workforce, or have achieved liquidity.

                                              1. 24 Hour Fitness 
                                              2. 7-Eleven 
                                              3. APX
                                              4. Ampsy
                                              5. Critical Intelligence
                                              6. GuideOn
                                              7. FedEx
                                              8. General Motors 
                                              9. Hirepurpose
                                              10. ID.me
                                              11. Johnson & Johnson 
                                              12. Life360
                                              13. Lockheed Martin 
                                              14. Procter & Gamble
                                              15. RallyPoint
                                              16. Reylabs
                                              17. Skinit
                                              18. TargetClose
                                              19. Team Rubicon
                                              20. TurboPup
                                              21. Unite Us
                                              22. Verizon Communications

                                            Supporters


                                            To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

                                            1. Veteran Startup Leaders

                                            Successful local founders who lead the ecosystem & frequently mentor newbies.

                                              1. Akili King
                                              2. Blake Hall
                                              3. Bow Rodgers
                                              4. Craig Newmark
                                              5. David Muir, Jr.
                                              6. David Rambhajan
                                              7. Dawn Halfaker
                                              8. Jack Cox
                                              9. Kelly Perdew
                                              10. Kevin Fray
                                              11. Matthew Thompson
                                              12. Michael Beirne
                                              13. Ryan Micheletti
                                              14. Todd Connor

                                            2. Veteran Government Startup Resources

                                            Public organizations that facilitate local economic development

                                            1. Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program
                                            2. Operation Boots to Business
                                            3. SBA Office of Veterans Business Development
                                            4. SBA Veteran-Owned Business Portal
                                            5. US Chamber of Commerce Foundation
                                            6. Veteran Entrepreneur Portal
                                            7. Veterans' Business Outreach Center

                                            3. Talent

                                            Major local business or tech universities and employers that attract and retain local talent.

                                            • Local Tech Universities (universities with prominent technical or business programs that support veterans)
                                              1. Best for Vets: Business Schools 2015
                                              2. Rice MBA Military Veterans Program
                                              3. The Citadel
                                              4. USC Master of Business for Veterans
                                              5. United States Coast Guard Academy
                                              6. United States Merchant Marine Academy
                                              7. University of Miami Master of Business for Veterans and Active Military
                                              8. United States Military Academy (West Point)
                                              9. United States Air Force Academy
                                              10. Virginia Military Institute
                                            • Tech Employers
                                              1. AT&T
                                              2. Amazon
                                              3. Apple
                                              4. Boeing
                                              5. CDW
                                              6. Cisco
                                              7. Facebook
                                              8. General Electric
                                              9. Google
                                              10. HP
                                              11. Intel
                                              12. LinkedIn
                                              13. Microsoft
                                              14. SalesForce
                                              15. Sprint
                                              16. Verizon
                                              17. Vets-In-Tech
                                              18. Workday

                                            *  *  *

                                            Learn more about the Startup Ecosystem Canvas here, and leave us your thoughts on this collaborative Google document (This is just a draft, and more input is needed!)

                                            If you're interested in seeing some of U.S.A.'s most promising Vet-led startups pitch live to top Silicon Valley investors, then RSVP to The $100,000 Veteran Pitch Competition that will take place on November 17th, 2021. 

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