Veterans helping Veterans become entrepreneurs!December 2, 2015 by Bennett Tanton | 1 Comment
SO! For those of you that do not know yet we here are fans of entrepreneurship. With that being said I wanted to take this time to introduce our fans to Bunker Labs. Some of you may know what Bunker Labs is but for you that do not watch this video by clicking on the logo.
Bunker Labs provides a peer-learning environment for veteran entrepreneurs.
Inside of Bunker Labs, veteran entrepreneurs and their key staff members learn from one another in an environment of peer-to-peer collaboration and accountability.
A mentor network with more than 300 pro bono experts
“Ride-along” advisors who provide industry expertise
An investor network composed of angel investors; venture capitalists, and institutional-lending partners
A national network of supporters, including the Veterans Leadership Council that can be leveraged for key introductions and market connection
Strategic partners, including nonprofit and governmental organizations, who can help certify companies as veteran-owned businesses, provide a ready pool of talent for hiring, and help prepare presentations to investors
Education & Training
Education and Training, provided through guest speakers, books, and expert assignments
So moving forward, there are currently 9 bunker labs locations and more opening in the future. We are going to focus for a second on the newest addition to Bunker Labs and that’s in Raleigh/Durham. This Bunker will be headed by Executive Director Dean Bundschu who spent several years in the military transition space at Orion International before founding several companies to include, PrepChamps which became one of the top companies in the high school sports recruiting space. Dean served 8 years as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army to include a combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can listen to Dean on Cigars & Sea-Stories episode 38 here is an interview we did with Dean.
C&S: How did your time in service inspire you to become an entrepreneur/business leader?
Dean: I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left the military. Initially I thought I would get a government job or some type of operations role at a Fortune 500 company. I met with a recruiter from Orion International and they offered me a job on the spot to join them as an Account Executive. Best decision I every made because it allowed me to help other veterans looking to transition from the military into corporate America and it opened my eyes to hundreds of companies in multiple industries. It is also where I got to see how a successful company is built and run. Orion founders, Bill Laughlin and Randy Nelson are two of my mentors who inspired me to become an entrepreneur and I also met my business partners, Hal Fischer and Jay Kerr while working at Orion.
C&S: What aspects of your service helped you the most in becoming an entrepreneur?
Dean: Perspective for one! Having the opportunity to prepare for and then lead a unit into combat taught me how to build and lead successful organizations. I also feel that the military helped me with my problem solving abilities, it taught me how to recognize opportunities and provided me responsibilities that most civilians will never have. I can now look back and clearly see how the many challenges in the military taught me how to quickly adapt to almost any business situation.
C&S: Who inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Dean: My partner Hal Fischer, Bill Laughlin, and Randy Nelson.
C&S: What was your biggest “OH SHIT moment” as an entrepreneur, where you had to rely on military experience to get you through a business problem or situation?
Dean: When I quit me job, took out a 2nd mortgage on my house, cashed out my 401K and dumped my life savings into my first company, PrepChamps. It was at that point that I was all in and knew there was no turning back. So I believe that the military helped me develop a high tolerance for risk, which I feel, is needed if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.
C&S: What is your biggest “claim to fame” while serving in the military?(Badass, hilarious embarrassing or stupid):
Dean: I had the honor to take part in a battle with local militia outside of Fallujah, Iraq on Memorial Day in 2003. I led a small team of 8 that was supporting a 6 man civil affairs team and we got into an engagement with what we thought was about 15 insurgents. The fight quickly escalated to the point where we became engaged with well over 70 well-armed militia who were in a fortified compound; we were able to hold off the initial assault and then quickly call for both MP and support from a nearby 3rd ACR unit who provided Brady and Abrams support. After the fight several members of my team were recognized for their valor. CW2 Simpson received a Bronze Star for Valor and SFC Waters received a ARCOM for Valor. Our unit suffered no causalities and the Civil Affairs team only had two WIA who later recovered.
The Bunker RDU is backed by a national support network of business incubators, led by The Bunker Chicago, which is headquartered at 1871. The Bunker RDU identifies, qualifies and equips high-performing military veterans and supports their entrepreneurial ventures. In alignment with The Bunker’s unique entrepreneurship education curriculum, highly qualified subject matter experts serve as instructors, mentors, advisors, investors and advocates.
This is just another organization and another example of vets helping vets. We can truly change the world or at least the space we are in, just push forward and do it. As the motto at Bunker Labs says
COME. CREATE. CONNECT.