Thursday, August 14, 2014


Applications open for first tenants of The Bunker, an incubator for veteran-owned technology businesses

CHICAGO (August 14, 2014)—1871 and The Bunker, the nation’s first veteran-focused incubator, announced today the formal opening of The Bunker’s application process. The Bunker was announced in June 2014 in conjunction with Mayor Emanuel, Governor Quinn and the Pat Tillman Foundation with the purpose of creating opportunities for veterans in the technology space.

“At 1871, we support companies that are striving to make a difference in the world,” said 1871 CEO Howard A Tullman. “We are proud to support The Bunker’s work in creating opportunities for the men and women who have bravely served our country. Veterans have precisely the set of skills it takes to become successful entrepreneurs, and we look forward to helping them create thriving technology businesses in Chicago.”

Last month, The Bunker announced that RideScout, an Austin-based startup founded by two Army veterans, will be the incubator’s first tenant. RideScout plans to hire several veterans to support its Chicago team, and will use its new location in 1871 to expand its presence throughout the Midwest.

“I'm thrilled for RideScout to join The Bunker because it serves two purposes,” said RideScout co-founder and CEO Joseph Kopser.  “First, it gives us access to amazing talent in one of the most exciting startup scenes in the United States.  Second, it gives us a chance to show veterans that they can create companies and solve problems without having to send out resumes.”

Following its acceptance of RideScout, The Bunker has approved applications from several additional veteran-owned businesses. These new tenants include Sky-Farmer, a personal unmanned aerial vehicle combined with software that allows farmers to gather data about their crops, as well as The Premium Post, which enables digital publishers to easily sell single articles of premium content from behind their paywalls. CreditServe, a peer-to-peer lending platform that gives active duty service members better access to capital, will also join The Bunker as a new tenant.

1871 and The Bunker will mark the formal opening of the application process with a Pre-Launch event in the 1871 space. The event is set to bring in hundreds of guests, including Senator Dick Durbin and John Edelman, President of the Daniel J. Edelman Family Foundation and Managing Director of Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility at Edelman. During the Pre-Launch event, Edelman will present a grant to The Bunker on behalf of the Daniel J. Edelman Family Foundation.

Vendors for the Pre-Launch include a number of businesses owned by veterans and dedicated to supporting veterans, including a veteran DJ, beer provided by Veteran Beer Company, catering by Johnny Van’s Smokehouse, Bunker apparel created by Rags of Honor, and an artist from Ink Factory Studio who will live-create a mural about veteran entrepreneurs.

"Today we not only announce the formal opening of the application period for startups to join The Bunker in October, but also the start of a new community here in Chicago of veterans working across sectors who are coming together to connect, engage, and create businesses,” said Bunker CEO Todd Connor. “The response and national interest has been extraordinary. Investors are excited at the experience and commitment of the founders that are reaching out to us, and the philanthropic community is seeing an opportunity to bring a new model online to leverage the strengths and entrepreneurial will of veterans."

Accepted applicants will join The Bunker in 1871’s new 25,000-square-foot expansion space, set to open in October. The Bunker will share the new space with a number of alumni companies, venture capital firms, and incubators.

About 1871
1871 is an entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, the soon-to-be 75,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

About The Bunker
The Bunker will be the nation’s first veterans-exclusive technology business accelerator and will harness the leadership experiences of veterans as a strategic differentiator for startup and early stage veteran-owned, technology-enabled businesses. It is a veteran-operated, veteran-focused effort with an emphasis on finding and offering entry points into the technology community. The Bunker looks to explore and tap into the significant resources already available to veterans from government organizations while emphasizing and amplifying the skills our veterans have developed while serving in the military.

About RideScout
RideScout is a technology platform that aggregates public, private and social rideshare on its free iOS and Android apps, allowing people to search and compare ground transportation options on demand and in real time. Hailed as the KayakTM of ground transportation, RideScout shows users transit, taxi, ride share, car share, bike share, carpool, walking, biking, driving and parking in one view. The company is based in Austin, TX, with a Washington, DC office at startup campus 1776.

About Sky-Farmer
Sky-Farmer provides an affordable software platform and a mountable hardware device that allows agricultural farmers to survey and gather data about their crops without leaving the ground. The Sky-Farmer solution may be most easily integrated with an affordable, personal unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Whether helping a crop grower identify areas that need additional hydration, diagnosing potential disease-risk areas, or simply providing high quality aerial photographs, Sky-Farmer allows a farmer to gather exceptional amounts of data and make timely adjustments to their crops. Accessing this data through Sky-Farmer’s user-friendly proprietary software, the farmer will save time, money, and produce higher yields.

About The Premium Post
The Premium Post allows digital publishers to easily sell single articles of premium content from behind their paywalls. The Premium Post allows publishers to start selling single articles in three easy steps: post, link, and sell. Users post a premium article to their Premium Post page, link it to their paywall, and sell it to the reader. The Premium Post Basic Service is free to use, or publishers can upgrade to Pro or Enterprise for additional services.

About CreditServe

CreditServe uses a peer-to-peer lending platform that leverages the relationship between America and its military to give active duty service members better access to capital and investors a great return on their investments. Using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates more than just traditional FICO scores, CreditServe aims to accurately determine creditworthiness of military members.  

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