This past weekend, Happy Joe had the opportunity to participate in an incredible event called Patriot Boot Camp that was created by the geniuses behind the Techstars program. Patriot Boot Camp requires military veteran entrepreneurs to apply and be accepted in order to attend the event. Happy Joe was chosen among the many entries and it was well worth our time and investment.
Patriot Boot Camp NYC Recap
Patriot Boot Camp included three days of valuable business advice, mentoring, resources, and pitching your idea to attendees and mentors. The event was hosted at Goldman Sachs HQ in the Wall Street area of New York City. It was a great setting and according to the PBC website, we had the following:
- 72 military veterans/spouses who participated in the event
- 59 unique startup companies were represented
- 34 presenters shared their expertise in web tech and investing
- 46 mentors volunteered their time to PBC
- 407 organized mentor sessions were held (each session was 20 minutes in length)
- 8100+ minutes of professional mentorship took place
This doesn’t include the many new relationships and connections that were forged during our three days together … or the beers, bagels, and donuts that were consumed! I was impressed that the Patriot Boot Camp was run like a well oiled machine and the overall quality of the program.
Business Sessions with an Impact
There were many great presentations to learn from and a wealth of information was shared. My favorites were:
- The PBC Alumni Perspective by Dave Cass, CEO of Uvize
- How to Rock the Pitch by Nicole Glaros, Managing Partner of Techstars
- Saturday Keynote by Shala Burroughs, Co-Founder of CloudPeeps
- Where to Go From Here by Taylor McClemore, Founder of Patriot Boot Camp
The other presentations were very good, but the ones above really spoke to me as I lead the mission at Happy Joe.
The biggest takeaway I learned was that I really need to work on my vision-casting and on pitching the idea of Happy Joe. As I leader, I need to be more focused and be able to tell people what we do in one minute or less with absolute clarity. This is an area I am investing in immediately.
Mentoring Sessions that Were Priceless
There were some amazing veterans and businessmen that I looked forward to meeting so I made sure to book my mentoring sessions when they opened up. Unfortunately my Google calendar messed up and made me miss my first appointments for the day, but I was still able to connect with them all.
- Brian Hollyfield, Co-Founder of Ayni Brigade
- Todd Connor, CEO of The Bunker
- Dave Cass, CEO of Uvize
- Mark Rockefeller, CEO of StreetShares
To be honest I wasn’t interested in “pitching” to these guys — I wanted to build relationships with them because I respect them and what they do. They gave me some incredible advice that I can’t wait to get started on. I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to visit with each one of them.
Great People and Sponsors
Patriot Boot Camp couldn’t have happened without the amazing people behind the event. I have to give huge props to Sean Maday and Charlotte Creech, as well as all of the volunteers who worked very hard to make this run as smoothly as possible. I also thank all of the sponsors for their generosity to make PBC available. All of you rock!
There were also plenty of incredible vetrepreneur attendees. I had the privilege of meeting Ken Seville of Democravise, Jennifer Pilcher of Military One Click, Deanna Cole of iVolunteerUniversity.com, Brittany Laughlin of USV, Rick Yost of VeteransList.us, and Wanda Petty of Employ Vets, to name a few people.
Patriot Boot Camp was an amazing time to get to know people in the military veteran and startup community. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and learned some business lessons that I need to take to heart. Being able to connect with people outside of my familiar circle was refreshing. PBC also gave me insights and ideas on how Happy Joe should run our own live events and how to deliver value to our attendees. If you are a military veteran or veteran spouse and you want to launch a business in tech, then make sure you apply to Patriot Boot Camp.