Benjamin's Desk cofounder to launch incubator for veteran-led startups - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 12, 2014 10:29 am

Benjamin’s Desk cofounder to launch incubator for veteran-led startups

It's an idea that's long been in the works for Maher, a veteran himself. He'll lead the The Bunker PHL, a local offshoot of the Chicago-based incubator of the same name.

Mike Maher in Benjamin's Desk, before it opened as a coworking space.

(Photo by Yael Borofsky)

Mike Maher, cofounder of coworking space Benjamin’s Desk, is launching an incubator for veteran-led businesses. (That’s veterans of the military, not veterans of the entrepreneurship world, as we often use the phrase.)

The Bunker will be the local arm of a model first launched in Chicago last summer, Maher announced on Veteran’s Day. Philadelphia is one of six cities that The Bunker is expanding to.

A veteran himself, Maher said he’s heard from many local veteran entrepreneurs who were looking for something like The Bunker. The program, which will cost companies a “deeply discounted fee,” will help get businesses off the ground, Maher said. It’ll offer access to capital (Maher said the capital partner will be announced at a later date), as well as legal and accounting services.

He said he had been “building the infrastructure around doing this for the last two years” but that it made sense to partner with The Bunker, which is headquartered at Chicago coworking space 1871 (which is part of the coworking network that Benjamin’s Desk belongs to).

The Bunker will be located at Center City’s Benjamin’s Desk while Maher searches for a permanent space. It’ll start accepting applications in early 2015 and accept at least five companies, according to a release.

Maher will be executive director and plans to hire staff, he said. There will be an operating budget of about $500,000 that Maher plans to raise.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

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