Bunker Labs & JPMorgan Chase Empower Veteran Entrepreneurs

Four months after launching veteran-focused startup accelerator Bunker Labs Nashville, the local non-profit has helped start and grow nine enterprises owned by veteran and active-duty military entrepreneurs at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

For the first time, those nine companies will present and pitch their ventures to local business leaders, government officials, investors and entrepreneurial advisors at the first interactive Bunker Builds Nashville Muster. Bunker Labs also will unveil a brand new start-up, which will be the tenth company to receive support. This first annual Muster event is part of the Bunker Builds America Tour, a partnership between Bunker Labs and JPMorgan Chase, which will announce a $100,000 grant to support the Nashville location.

“Veterans are uniquely poised to be successful in the entrepreneurial world because of their training, discipline and ability to execute under pressure,” said Blake Hogan, Marine veteran and Executive Director of Bunker Labs Nashville. “This tour is a deliberate step in creating the next Greatest Generation, men and women who are leaving military careers to become job creators andcommunity leaders.”

Following World War II, roughly 50 percent of returning veterans started a business. Today approximately 25 percent of post-9/11 veterans state a desire to start a business, yet less than 10 percent of small businesses are actually owned by veterans. Most veterans point to a lack of professional networks as a hindrance to launching a venture. Bunker Labs is changing this with its highly networked communities in key markets across the nation.

“The skills that veterans gain from their military experience – things like leadership, adaptability, and problem-solving – are critical to success as a small business owner,” said John Morris, Senior Banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Nashville. “Bunker Labs Nashville has created a critical network of support for our local veteran entrepreneurs, and we are proud to support it.”

Businesses to be featured at the Muster include:

Meund: an app allowing restaurant-goers with allergen or dietary restrictions to order smarter and live healthier, all from their own phone.
IShipdIt: a marketplace for small business owners to bid for better rates and enables truckers to benefit from a full load.
EarIQ: a technology to customize music based on the way our ears react to music and sounds.

Nashville-area veterans who are considering entrepreneurship can also gain access to potential resources, programs and community that will help transform their military experience into business success.

Statements of Support:

“We are proud that Tennessee is one of the top states for veteran owned business. Organizations like Bunker Labs and its Bunker Muster event will help us continue to grow veteran entrepreneurs and reach our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.

“Nashville has and will continue to be a veteran friendly city as evidenced by events like Marine week coming in September and our own Bunker Labs successful launch of its inaugural cohort,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Berry. “I look forward to seeing the impact the entrepreneurs of Bunker Labs will have throughout Nashville and beyond.”

Tennessee Senator Mark Green said, “Veterans have what it takes, and Bunker Labs taps into the entrepreneurial potential of the military experience and unleashes it in a powerful way. I know that my time in the Army is what molded me for success as a Tennessee Senator and the CEO of Align MD but, more importantly, it is our desire for continued service that will have the greatest impact on our nation.”