It is not uncommon for military veterans to struggle to reacclimatize to civilian life once their service ends. Veterans’ time serving often leaves them with demonstrated mission-oriented leadership, strong planning and an ability to perform under pressure. Those skills may transfer to a range of civilian careers—particularly when veterans receive the right kind of support.
Unfortunately, that support is often weak, opening a gap for impact investors to step in. For example, in February, Craig Newmark Philanthropies announced a $2.95 million grant to the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). The grant aims to improve the foundation’s Got Your 6 Network of nonprofit organizations that provide business grants for veterans and other support. This is but one of many opportunities for impact investors to support veterans.
Using a proprietary methodology to identify companies that support veterans, VETS Indexes aims to help investors achieve superior returns via financial products linked to its indexes. It offers a path to social impact through public companies that support hiring and professional development for US military veterans.
For instance, the Veterans Select Index measures the performance of publicly traded companies that support US military veterans through employment. The index typically includes around 60 constituents, incorporating well-known blue-chip companies across a variety of sectors. Member companies currently include the likes of General Motors, Home Depot, and Bank of America.
Veteran Ventures Capital
This investment fund and consulting firm exclusively supports businesses with military veterans in leadership. The team at Veteran Ventures Capital focuses on making investments in veteran-affiliated companies, including new businesses that offer promising technology, an innovative business model, or existing businesses seeking rapid growth within their sector. Current portfolio companies include HavenLock, a security company that claims its locks are 10 times stronger than a deadbolt.
This veteran-led venture capital firm seeks to invest in high-performing and commercially tested former military and national security leaders. TFX Capital places a focus on building early-stage technology and technology-enabled businesses. Current portfolio companies include GoodUnited, which offers nonprofits a complete social fundraising solution to grow relationships at scale through software-driven peer-to-peer giving campaigns.
Stony Lonesome Group
Venture capital firm Stony Lonesome focuses on making early-stage investments. The firm invested $20 million across more than fifty early-stage portfolio companies, with a strong focus on entrepreneurs who are military veterans. Current portfolio companies include NeuroFlow, a platform that streamlines the collection of behavioral health insights at scale.
With more than $250 million in assets under management, Moonshots Capital seeks to invest in firms founded or run by military veterans. Its current portfolio companies include AgentHero, a nationwide network of real estate agents who have all served in the military.
Helping past and present members of the military discover careers, Shift specializes in providing veterans free career development to acquire new skills, embark upon new job experiences at top-quality companies, and connect with emerging leaders and industry experts around the US. Shift uses its dynamic and predictive models to improve how it matches military backgrounds with career opportunities. Current investors in Shift include venture capital firms Structure Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
Utilizing Military Veterans’ Advantages
One common theme in veteran-related investment is not just giving back to veterans but also harnessing the benefits of military leaders. Many skills veterans learn during their military career can take on new applications afterwords in the boardroom and beyond, particularly when it comes to leadership and teamwork. Tapping and channeling these qualities can create impact across the board, while addressing ESG issues like diversity and inclusion, as just over 31% of active members of the US military are racial minorities. Supporting these veterans in particular can impact issues like restorative economics and equity in the innovation economy.