There might not be a better time to be a military veteran with an idea for a new business.
As we celebrated and commemorated our military service members this month, one group of angel investors is looking to help make an even larger commitment to those who have served: They’re going to fund their startups.
A group of ten veteran-led startups pitched their ideas to a group of angel investors at Microsoft’s Kendall Square offices on Nov. 12. The Angel Capital Association hosted the event, and Marianne Hudson, the association’s executive director, said that in addition to the pitches, the panels were “aimed at helping investors understand what makes veterans successful as entrepreneurs.”
Hudson explained that it often takes some convincing among angels that investing in a veteran is a solid business move. “A lot of people come in with the idea that military folks aren’t really entrepreneurs because of their reliance on bureaucracy,” she said. In fact, many have acquired incredible training in small group settings, she said. “They are the kinds of folks who can really execute on a business plan.”
These sentiments were recently mirrored by Army General George Casey in a missive to military service members that he wrote for the RallyPoint blog — the local startup created by two veterans which acts as a networking site for veterans (it’s also a perfect example of the type of idea possibly worthy of funding). As he suggested steps to transition back into civilian life, Casey noted that veterans shouldn’t undersell their skill sets.
“[T]he reality is that you already have the skills that CEOs are looking for,” he wrote. “The Conference Board, a business intelligence company, surveyed a group of CEOs several years ago, asking them what skills they were looking for in their employees. Here’s what they said: good work ethic; good values; ability to work as a member of a team; good written and oral communications skills and ability to solve complex problems. Sound familiar? You’ve already got the hard-to-train skills.”
David Verrill, chairman of the Angel Capital Association, echoed Casey.
Janelle Nanos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.