On the front lines of tech: Bunker Labs ready to help veterans move from military service to startups
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On the front lines of tech: Bunker Labs ready to help veterans move from military service to startups

On the front lines of tech: Bunker Labs ready to help veterans move from military service to startupsNot everybody has the work ethic to be an entrepreneur — the lengthy hours, the dedication, the want to give attention to the lengthy recreation.

However Travis Stanley-Jones thinks one phase of the inhabitants is especially properly suited to the startup grind: military veterans.

“Veterans don’t have a 9-to-5 mentality. You’ll have months the place you simply work from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. on evening ops. That may be a regular course of enterprise,” he stated. “It’s not a 9-to-5 job, and entrepreneurship isn’t a 9-to-5 job.

Veterans’ openness to “placing in the work for minimal pay with a long-term perspective makes veterans a greater wager,” stated Stanley-Jones, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps for six years in the reserve, lively responsibility and officer coaching.

And now there’s a corporation that’s ready to help military veterans in Washington state who’re keen to attempt their hand in enterprise. Bunker Labs lately arrange store in the College of Washington’s CoMotion Labs @ Startup Hall. The group obtained $100,000 from Comcast NBCUniversal to launch the native effort. The objective of the nonprofit is to help folks transition out of the military and into entrepreneurial jobs in the non-public sector.

Bunker Labs is a “one-stop store the place folks can come and discover the proper assets,” stated Johannes Schonberg, a co-founder and government director of the Seattle chapter. Schonberg served in the U.S. Navy.

Bunker Labs was based in Chicago and has chapters nationwide. Seattle is quantity 15 and its latest location. Schonberg says this website may very well be the group’s most profitable location given the progressive startup tradition and quite a few military installations. There are roughly 600,000 veterans in the state and 16,000 service members transitioning out of the military, he stated. Bases embrace the Everett Naval Station positioned north of Seattle and Tacoma’s McChord Air Drive Base.

Many service members enter the military instantly from highschool, Schonberg stated. They study necessary “tender expertise” together with professionalism, being on time and accountable, persevering in troublesome duties, teamwork and the skill to adapt and pivot their focus. However at the identical time, the service is deeply hierarchical in construction and with orders handed down by superiors.

“You might have loads of entrepreneur features, however total it’s a Nineteen Fifties tradition,” Schonberg stated.

“We’re attempting to marry these tender expertise with the arduous expertise of entrepreneurship to be certain they’re profitable of their entrepreneurship journey,” added Jake Tozier, one other co-founder, Seattle’s program director and a U.S. Military veteran.

Bunker Labs supplies desk area and helps join veterans with mentors, monetary assets and different veteran entrepreneurs and enterprise folks. With their location at CoMotion Labs, veterans have the alternative to mingle with different entrepreneurs and see how the course of works. The group may also help prod veterans needing steering, supporting them in informational interviews and networking, and ensuring they’re following via wanted steps in growing a enterprise.

Bunker Labs is internet hosting professional roundtables. They’re organizing a sequence of night courses to stroll folks via the startup course of, together with working towards pitching to potential traders. There are month-to-month “bunker brews” for networking and socializing.

Stanley-Jones met with the Seattle co-founders a pair of months in the past and is ready to help with networking. “I do have a tender spot for the military and I really like entrepreneurship,” stated Stanley-Jones, who for 10-years has owned Mulleady’s, an Irish bar in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.

Final 12 months he took the plunge into the tech sector, launching Umami Jobs, a website for companies and staff in the restaurant and bar business to discover workers and jobs via video posts.

He likes what he’s seen with Bunker Labs — although he approached their effort with some skepticism.

“Entrepreneurship is tremendous common and it’s a snake oil that heaps of organizations promote,” Stanley-Jones stated. Corporations market entrepreneurship as a simple method to make a ton of cash — which is a gross misrepresentation.

“Bunker Labs was by no means selling that kind of stuff to military veterans,” he stated.

As well as to serving to veterans discover their concepts for beginning companies, the nonprofit additionally hopes to give a extra correct illustration of veterans. Too usually consideration focuses solely on homeless or troubled veterans, ignoring the profitable, well-adjusted majority, the co-founders stated.

“We’re attempting to change the stereotypes,” Schonberg stated, the concept “that all of us are damaged, that all of us have [Post-Traumatic Stress]. We’re working to rework that narrative from the damaged veteran to the empowered veteran.”

Bunker Brews are scheduled for April 13, June 8 and July 13. Contact Bunker Labs for areas and extra info, or test their Facebook page. On Might 5, Bunker Labs celebrates its launch at the UW’s Startup Corridor from 11 a.m-12:30 p.m. That afternoon they’re internet hosting their “Muster,” an occasion at Influence Hub from 1:30-7:30 p.m. showcasing veteran entrepreneurs.

Editor’s Notice: Article up to date April 20, 2017 to embrace info on the donation offered by Comcast NBCUniversal to launch the native effort.

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