Last year, former U.S. Army Company Commander Tim Horan became Veteran-in-Residence at American Underground, the largest tech hub in North Carolina’s Research Triangle. His mission: to build a pipeline of transitioning service members out of nearby Fort Bragg that could fill open jobs at AU’s 275+ startup companies.
It was a path he had himself forged — following eight years serving domestically and in Afghanistan, Horan transitioned into a fellowship role at a venture-backed startup through a personal connection. He eventually worked his way up to COO.
Horan realized how veterans and startups could benefit each other — startups provide exactly the kind of dynamic, fast-moving environment that former military members crave, while these individuals are dedicated, diligent employees.
“We want to inspire service members to go into tech and entrepreneurship,” says Horan, “so what better way to do that than to do it ourselves?”
Veteran Capital helps military personnel transition into the tech startup world through immersive, three to four-month paid Fellowships at high-growth startups. It is an official Army transition program, promoted to transitioning service members along with other programs that place veterans in large companies, coding bootcamps, and more.
Horan says it is the only official transition program focused on the technology entrepreneurship space.
Interested service members complete an application and conduct an interview with the Veteran Capital team. They receive resume help and interview coaching, and then are matched with a Veteran Capital partner company for an additional interview.
Once the service member begins their Fellowship, they continue to be paid by the Army, receiving the same standard salary based on military rank and position. Following the completion of the Fellowship, the goal is to acquire a full-time position at the startup they’ve been working with.
Horan says that in their first cohort, they’ve already seen Fellows turn into employees.
Today, Veteran Capital has announced a partnership with Google for Startups, the tech giants’ program to accelerate entrepreneurship across the country.
Google for Startups partners include tech hubs like American Underground, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and Atlanta’s TechSquare Labs, along with startup accelerators and other programs.
Veteran Capital will be the first veteran-focused Google for Startups partner.
“Veteran Capital’s unique Fellowship program is an important bridge connecting top talent among transitioning service members and their spouses with startups in the American Underground community,” said Genna Mckeel, Global Partnerships Lead for Google for Startups. “We’ve been a proud partner of American Underground since 2013, and we’re thrilled to double down on our support for this vibrant community and empower Veteran Capital fellows with the tools and resources they need to succeed.”
Through the partnership, Horan plans to accelerate the program’s expansion across the Southeast. He predicts they’ll be opening cohorts in Nashville and Atlanta within the year.
The partnership will also provide Veteran Capital Fellows with access to the additional resources and expertise that comes from being a part of this esteemed network.
The expansion to Nashville and nearby Fort Campbell is particularly exciting to Horan. He served at the Kentucky military base during his own time in the service.
“The Southeast should lead the country in veteran entrepreneurship,’ says Horan.