Being a Vetrepreneur: How 7 Vets Found Success

Being a Vetrepreneur: How 7 Vets Found Success


By Aaron Saari
Special to In Military Education –

Starting a business is hard. Really hard. So sometimes you need a little inspiration to push yourself harder, faster, farther. The best place to find that inspiration? Other veterans just like you. Here are 7 young veterans whose businesses have blown up over the last 3 years.

Paul Szoldra (Marines), Duffel Blog

Duffel Blog. Heard of it? If you haven’t, you must have un-friended all your veteran friends on Facebook. Duffel Blog is the leading satire site for the military with headlines like “Army Plans ‘Dad Bod’ Physical Standards For Males With Dependents” and “Gronk Spikes Nuclear Football”. Paul Szoldra, Marine veteran, started the site in 2012 while attending college. Fueled by controversial headlines that you’d expect to see on The Daily Show, the site has quickly grown to nearly 5 million monthly readers in three short years.

Lesson: Be bold and creative. Taking shots at the military isn’t hard – we all did it when we were in. But taking those shots publically can rub some the wrong way. But if you understand your audience and boldly say the words they want to say, you can quickly grow a following around your product.

Blake Hall (Army) & Matthew Thompson (Army), ID.Me

Tons of companies, like Under Armour and Home Depot, have discount programs for veterans but no way to verify that you’re actually a veteran. Blake and Matthew, both Army vets, originally developed verification technology for their company, TroopSwap, where they sold daily deals for veterans. Soon large companies were knocking on the door asking to use the same technology, so they pivoted in 2012 to focus solely on verification services. Since then, they’ve raised over $18 million from various investors.

Lesson: Keep your eyes open for opportunities and be willing to make huge changes to grow your business. Transitioning from daily deals to government verification can’t be easy, but it paid off in about 18 million ways.

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