From Start to Finish: USAA Supports Veteran Entreprenuers

Community Manager
Community Manager



A common understanding among successful CEOs is that the best businesses are developed in stages.


From concept to launch, USAA invests in and supports programs that help active duty, reserve and veteran military service members – among the most entrepreneurial Americans – get their startups moving. Our time and investments not only further the mission but also align to our signature Corporate Responsibility cause of supporting military family resiliency as well as our strategic focus of fulfilling careers for veterans and military spouses.


USAA was one of three sponsors for Patriot Boot Camp’s technology entrepreneurship boot camp, which took place in San Antonio Feb. 16-18. The program was designed to engage, inspire and mentor military veterans and spouses who are launching or growing technology-focused businesses.


“We are humbled and proud to support nonprofit alliances like Patriot Boot Camp,” says Selene Martin, corporate responsibility director. “Through a combination of philanthropic investments and employee engagement, these organizations are better positioned to drive significant impact for those they serve.”


While Patriot Boot Camp is a key support mechanism for “vetrepreneurs,” there are other programs and tools that fit neatly into the various stages of business development that support veterans and their spouses.


“It’s understandable that every startup founder hopes to be funded, but for USAA, corporate responsibility means providing other kinds of support – top among them, mentorship and facilitating peer guidance,” says Marina Gavito, innovation business development director for USAA Labs.


Such USAA-supported networking programs for veterans include:

  • The CEO Circle – Regular sessions that pick executives’ brains on growth strategy.
  • Bunker Brews – Monthly brainstorming gatherings in a casual setting.
  • Bunker Labs – Programs to support throughout the journey of starting a business.
  • Philanthropitch -- A Shark Tank-like competition for nonprofit startups.

USAA also supports and subsidizes fees at Geekdom, a San Antonio co-working space available for use by veterans, their spouses and USAA employees. The combination of these activities reinforces USAA’s commitment to innovation – a key aspect of every leading tech company and critical to ensuring we continue to meet our members’ evolving needs.


Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Tom Burden, founder of Grypmat, can’t say enough about these programs that USAA supports.


"The networking and mentorship are amazing," says Tom. "I'm in Colorado, and I recently attended Bunker Brews with a couple of guys I met a year ago at Patriot Boot Camp. We still connect regularly to brainstorm and give each other advice. Patriot Boot Camp and the other programs helped me prepare to pitch my product. It's hard to place a value on that kind of grooming. It changed my life."


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