Angel investors look to fund veteran-led startups

Marines Marching in Veteran's Day Parade
Marines march in 2011 New York Veterans Day Parade. By Flickr user DVIDSHUB

As we celebrate and commemorate our military service members this Veteran’s Day, 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 will pitch their ideas to a group of angel investors at Microsoft’s Kendall Square offices Wednesday. The Angel Capital Association is hosting the event, and Marianne Hudson, ACA’s Executive Director says that in addition to the pitches, there will be several panels “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 military 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 he penned for the RallyPoint blog—the local startup created by two veterans which acts as a networking site for vets (it’s also a perfect example of the type of great idea that deserves angel funding). As he suggested steps to transition back into civilian life, the general noted that veterans shouldn’t undersell their skill sets:

[T]he reality is that you already have the skills that CEOs are looking for. 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.

“Veterans have a unique advantage as entrepreneurs, and the goal of this event is to show just how valuable they are as business leaders to the investment community,” David Verrill, Chairman of the ACA said in a statement. “Our service men and women have been trained to remain calm under pressure and adapt quickly to changing environments. Combine these important attributes with the incredible economic opportunities veteran owned ventures are afforded, and it’s a recipe for a success from an investor’s perspective.”

Janelle Nanos can be reached at janelle.nanos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @janellenanos.
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