Longtime tech and finance guy (and Boulder resident) Taylor McLemore is the grandson of career airmen and got to wondering whether the tech community could do more to help veterans. In 2011, he tweeted his thought to Techstars cofounder David Cohen -- and a year later, the first Patriot Boot Camp was held in Washington, D.C. (#24 on our list).
The boot camp is a three-day intensive of education and mentorship, and McLemore believes veterans are uniquely suited to take advantage of its lessons. “They’re dynamic problem solvers,” he says. “They know what risk is. They know how to achieve a mission. And they know that dedication to the team is the only way to be successful.” In just a few years, vets and their spouses have proven that true: More than 500 have taken the boot camp, collectively raising $31 million in capital for their tech startups.
The training is valuable, but McLemore says that making it work in any city is also a critical component. The boot camp has also traveled to Chapel Hill, N.C. (#5 on our list), Phoenix (next door to Tempe, #34) and Detroit -- giving vets outside Silicon Valley and New York a local network to lean on. “Location can be a competitive advantage,” says McLemore. “Especially if you have a very flexible mental perspective, rely on local advantages and connect nationally.”