Aimed at supporting veterans deploying into the world of entrepreneurship, Bunker Labs PHL’s Launch Lab provides 16 weeks of programming, mentoring and networking opportunities.
The 2018 slate of 13 companies launched last week with a discussion led by Houwzer CEO Mike Maher. The early stage startups themselves represent a broad swath of verticals: ecommerce, mobile apps, medical devices and consumer products.
For Will Woldenberg, having his startup — EnteGrit, a consulting and staffing firm — among the cohort is a chance to connect to Philly’s community of veteran entrepreneurs to find common ground and learn from those who have done it before him.
“I think it’s great for vets that don’t have connections in the biz community or are looking to get their business off the ground,” said Woldenberg, who was deployed to Iraq in 2010 as part of his service in the Army.
The veteran, a 33-year-old resident of Queen Village, is currently the sole employee of EnteGrit, founded in 2016.
Here’s the full list of startups on the cohort:
- Horn and Hardart Coffee: Founded by All Mazzone (Army), an online retail store selling coffee in real-time or signing up for a subscription delivery service.
- EnteGrit: Founded by Will Woldenberg (Army, Army Reserve), a management consulting and professional staffing veteran-owned small business (VOSB) and benefit corporation (B-Corp).
- NativX: Founded by Brenden Coleman (Air Force), an AI-powered mobile app that lets users get suggestions on restaurants, activities and hotels based on personality, values and needs.
- Frag Out Clothing Company: Founded by Nicholas Franz (Air Force), a veteran-owned-and-operated apparel company with a mission of hiring veterans and assisting with transition to the civilian life.
- TravStrat: Founded by Kieran Carroll (Navy), partners veterans with schools and businesses to provide safe international travel assistance for millennial and college-aged travelers.
- Alcove Media: Founded by David Arena (Air Force), a residential and commercial real estate media company providing photos, videos and digital marketing material to real estate agents, home sellers, and business owners.
- At Attention Dog Training: Founded by David Shade (Army), offers in-home dog training and pet services using positive reinforcement-based methods.
- Precision Rifle Superstore: Founded by Robert Forney (Marine Corps), an ecommerce store in the ballistics space.
- POWTI: Cofounded by Thomas Cavett (Army), an designing solutions and equipment for emergency healthcare and safety.
- Foxhole: Founded by Faith Leibman (Navy), makers of medical devices, like a patent-pending urine collection device.
- Marie’s Café: Founded by Felicia Bitner (Air Force) and Kevin Danley (Air Force), a Burlington County, N.J., spot for diners, stocked with healthy options for breakfast and lunch.
- Crash Spot: Individual rest pods for folks on the go, places in high-travel areas. Founded by Chantelle Bateman (Marine Corps).
- NYA Body Butter: An all-natural skin cream startup founded by Air Force vet Lola Freeman.
“There are thousands of military veterans and spouses here in the Philadelphia region who can take a problem and in turn do something great, with just a little guidance and encouragement,” said Joe Witte, executive director of Bunker Labs PHL, himself a former Army Captain. “Bunker Labs PHL helps veterans with education, resources and connections and inspires those who may be struggling to find a job, or have a big idea, to go for it.”
Per Witte, the 20 companies that have completed the Launch Labs program to date have gone on to hire some 150 employees and generated around $8 million in revenue by the end of 2017.
“We are excited for the newest cohort class and are eager to see what they can accomplish through our programming,” he added.
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