A new startup incubator for former troops launched in old-town Alexandria on Veterans Day. The Bunker, a Chicago-based enterprise launched earlier this month, announced its expansion to D.C. and six other cities on Tuesday.
“The real high-fidelity relationships that occur when you have people working in the same space,” said the local Bunker’s executive director Emily McMahan, will be enhanced by “bringing those veteran-owned startups together to really connect.”
The Bunker is a new initiative of the Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center, an organization created last year with the backing of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and the Alexandria Small Business Development Center. “The nuts and bolts of business, we have those as part of our entity,” said McMahan, an Army veteran.
To mark the launch, the center received a visit from Veterans Affair Secretary Robert McDonald. That’s a good primer for the incubator’s proximity to the military: the area is surrounded by bases, including the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Andrews Air Force Base, Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Belvoir.
McMahan also anticipates that it won’t only focus on tech, again reflecting D.C.’s sui generis economy. “Tech, health care, engineering and even retail” will most likely be represented among The Bunker’s D.C. startups, she said.
The Bunker is looking to offer about 20 spots and open in 2015. Details are still being sorted out.
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