Well, as someone who has fought this battle for a decade now.

1. The business model is human capital intensive and prone to volatile cycles. E.g. gulf oil boom 2012/bust 2020

2. Technology/content is the only scalable delta creator in this space.

3. The military/veteran community is highly knit in your demo but that's a very tiny percentage versus the larger military/National Guard who scatter to the winds.

4. You're competing against the military talent institution. 1. TAPS can't be changed without Congressional approval and the companies who own those contracts do not subcontract out even though the programs are trash. 2. Bradley-Morris who is PE owned, Orion, Lucas Group who was acquired by Korn Ferry, and Alliance are instutionalized groups that have the big recruitment marketing, branding, and long term relationships. 3. There's a couple of different routes: A. Startup space and provide Skillbridge. B. Skilled labor and apprenticeship (I'm very bullish on this), and student veterans into grad school or into the workforce. Many campus recruiting programs do NOT include the student veterans, especially with internships (82% conversion rates), coops(90% conversion) being a very high success metric for companies, universities and students. The Post 9/11 GI Bill and VRE is a $20B dollar benefit that isn't fully capitalized from a marketing, recruitment, and data perspective. (Imagine being able to provide a 1% increase in graduation rates for veterans. Or 10% more women into stem, or transitioning service members navigated towards skilled based training programs) I am hiring for 120 electric line persons.

4. There are 48k veteran based non profits. The majority of them are nothing more than TAPS enhancement programs.

5. I am bullish on you and Tim. This space is a great place for you to build out a small business that can get acquired by larger orgs like Bradley Morris acquiring MBAVeterans. Outside of that, I have little confidence that the 7 to 10 apps/platforms in our space will be able to empower and consolidate the entirety of our community.

I firmly believe that there is a massive disconnect in the career technology space. Why are we still using job boards to navigate our career search?

My apologies for the thesis. 😀

Expand full comment

Great background, Brendan. With regard to what should you allocate your time to, what are optimizing for? The cyclical nature of the recruiting/events business is tough and scaling seems to be a function of manpower.

I would allocate your time to the content production effort. It appears more scalable and offers more variety in revenue streams. Perhaps more importantly, content production can more easily serve those veterans who really need help transitioning to civilian careers the most (and who comprise a larger audience) - transitioning enlisted vets. The veterans pursuing MBAs that you currently serve already have significant resources at their disposal and a higher awareness of those resources. Perhaps content production will allow you to increase the reach of The Military Veteran to an adjacent but new audience.

Expand full comment

Great post Brendan! Agree this is a major challenge and very common in the Veterans space. Lots of pitfalls and difficulties associated with walking the line of recruiting for profit and a non-profit status for purpose. I’ve gone through this over the past few years with MedTechVets and other non-profits.

Recruiting is a tough business but sounds like you have a niche and some traction driving revenue. That will be scalable to a certain point but also will require optimization so that you are right sized and profitable.

The content side is also an opportunity but requires investment. You are killing it on LinkedIn and I think it has legs but it obviously takes time. Re monetization and value of this I think it helps fill your pipeline of both leads from the veteran and employer side.

Short summary of my experience recently is find your niche, set realistic and achievable goals, and stick with your plan to minimize shiny objects and pivots. Anytime you want to chat just let me know if I can be of service!

Expand full comment