From Soldier to Startup: how TechStars Patriot Boot Camp rocket-fueled my transition

Almost one year ago I attended the inaugural TechStars Patriot Boot Camp in DC, flying over 3600 miles from London for an event which I had little to no expectations.  I only knew the TechStars brand, and tentatively thought that the interaction could benefit the startup I was working on.  It was a simple conjecture - nothing more, nothing less.

But what a year this has been.  My startups pitched at SeedCamp London and TechStars NYC finals, and won the Deloitte Innovation and Entrepreneurship Founder Awards.  I’ve been an advocate for veteran entrepreneurship, writing for Forbes on the issue, and sharing views with members from the US Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  I’ve gone deep into the industry and was a panelist at the Global Accelerator Network Founder’s conference.  And most recently, I started working for TechStars NYC, helping 11 awesome companies pack three years of growth into three months.  

In one sentence - TechStars paved my way into entrepreneurship.

How?  It’s like when I served with the Army, in the sense of giving me skillsets and knowledge on how to succeed in the military and in life.

It’s like when I attended the University of Chicago and London Business School, in the sense of branding and creating credibility in my qualifications.

Finally, it’s like family.  I know I have a strong community that will back me up, and equally I’m committed to backing others in our community.  Entrepreneurs and friends like Patriot Boot Camp founder Taylor McLemore, RisingStars Founder Tom Chikoore, RisingStars mentor Josh Emert from GoChime, Jonny Miller from Maptia, TechStars Comms Manager Clare Tischer, and TechStars NYC Program Manager KJ Singh.  Leaders like David Cohen, Nicole Glaros, Eugene Chung, Andy Sack, Jon Bradford, Chris DeVore, and Eugene Wan.

So if there’s one thought to veterans thinking about Patriot Boot Camp, it’s this - I owe a lot to the experience that essentially kickstarted my entrepreneurship journey.  I can’t forecast how that ride will be for everyone because it’s uniquely individual.  But if you pursue the opportunity to the ends of the Earth, TechStars will open doors to the unimaginable.