When I began my entrepreneurial journey about a decade ago, I wanted to make a difference in the world. Being born and raised in Silicon Valley, I witnessed the cutting-edge of innovation and how technology entrepreneurs were positively impacting society. It became abundantly clear that the only way to solve society’s biggest problems was to unlock the power of human potential through innovation and entrepreneurship. Since then, I have made it my mission to proliferate entrepreneurship on a massive scale.
As Director of Operations at the Founder Institute, our team has helped launch over 2,000 startup companies worldwide. Everyday, I experience the front lines of the global startup revolution. Previously, I served as a Staff Sergeant in the California Guard, which allowed me to observe the remarkable correlation between military service and entrepreneurship. Veterans possess an extraordinary depth of character and share the same core values as successful entrepreneurs, such as fortitude, leadership and tenacity. Veterans tend to be savvy business leaders with the ability to execute in rapidly changing, stressful situations. With this in mind, I set out on a mission to unlock the power of veteran entrepreneurs.
In 2012, I co-founded Vet-Tech, an accelerator focused on finding, developing and funding veteran-led startup companies. To date, we have helped over 100 veteran startups throughout the US with our top twenty portfolio companies having raised $10 million in investment capital.
At Vet-Tech’s genesis, Veteran unemployment was at an all-time high. According the Kauffman Foundation, 100% of net-new jobs in America are created by startups. We thought, “who better to solve the veteran unemployment issue than innovative veteran entrepreneurs?” The veterans we work with are mission driven and desire to continue serving when they leave the military. They stand up to challenges and want to make the world a better place. So why has America and the tech community done such a poor job of harnessing the immense power and drive of veteran entrepreneurs? I knew that if we could successfully tap into this power, we could drive technological and economic change on a massive scale.
Today, Vet-Tech is spearheading a brand new initiative with the Founder Institute called “100Vets.” Our mission is to unlock the power of veteran entrepreneurs by empowering 100 Vets each year to build technologies that will change the world. 100Vets is a partnership between Vet-Tech, the Founder Institute and other leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurship organizations that provide veterans with a fast track to success through our 100Vets Fellowship Program which allows them to join the Founder Institute for free. 100Vets Fellows join our vast, national network of startup resources, which includes funding, talent, mentorship, partners and services like product development and pro-bono legal work.
I am proud to say that LinkedIn has been an irreplaceable tool throughout my entrepreneurial journey by connecting me with the national veteran entrepreneur ecosystem. With LinkedIn, I have exponentially expanded my network to include Investors, Entrepreneurs and Corporate Sponsors. LinkedIn has played a direct role in Vet-Tech’s success today.
100Vets is officially launching this summer. I encourage every Veteran supporter to help 100Vets build the “Greatest Generation” of world and business leaders by unlocking the power of veteran entrepreneurs. Please contact me directly on LinkedIn if you are interested in learning more.