At 22 years old, Dean Bundschu was promoted to platoon leader in the U.S. Army making him responsible for training and leading 40 soldiers.
November 11, 2015
11th U.S. Bunker Labs Accelerator Will Serve N.C.’s Veteran Entrepreneurs
Research Triangle Park will house a new branch of Chicago-based Bunker Labs, a startup accelerator for veteran-run businesses
By 30, he was commanding a 122-soldier organization with only a couple months to prepare the entire unit for combat in the Iraq War.
Leadership was one skill he didn’t need to be taught after leaving the military and founding his first company. But what he did need were the mentors, customers, partners and investors who could help make his venture successful, and the tactical business-building tips typically offered by an accelerator or incubator.
Though curriculum will be provided by the Chicago headquarters, the program will include many local partners. Bunker will spend every Thursday off site, visiting local startup campuses like American Underground and HQ Raleigh or learning from professors and entrepreneurship experts at the local universities. Many veteran entrepreneurs are also involved as mentors or experts.
Bundschu hopes to eventually bring on local funders, in hopes of offering $15,000 to $20,000 in seed funding to each entrepreneur and to expand to serve even more vetrepreneurs. He’s already planning for 3,000 square feet of space in RTP’s new development. Subchapters in other parts of the state are also part of the plan.
“We want to secure more local support, fine-tune the program and then we’ll really expand over the next year,” Bundschu says.
Driving him are those leadership skills learned at a young age, along with a relentless pursuit of his mission.
“In the military, we do whatever it takes to figure out how to make something happen, because failure isn’t an option,” Bundschu says. “When given a mission, you have no other choice but to accomplish it.”