For all the cutting-edge technology the U.S. military employs to fight wars, the process of transitioning from active duty back into the civilian world is decidedly low-tech. The startup community hasn’t been much help either, although that tide is starting to turn.
Former Marine and Victor app founder Greg Jumes is trying to change that.
Victor connects active duty service members and veterans with local military-friendly businesses and support programs. This ranges from restaurants offering military discounts to doctor’s offices with free check-ups, something that’s especially useful for those who don’t live near a VA hospital.
It differs from existing programs and services in that it's modern and mobile. It’s also open to more than just former and active service members.
“What makes us different from the other veterans service organizations out there is that we don’t just help the veteran, service member or their family,” Jumes said. “We allow service members to invite up to five people who were important to their military career onto the platform.”
Victor also offers career services, with businesses on the platform able to post jobs. There are plans in place to enable users to reach out directly to recruiters at large companies.
Companies pay to be on the app, although Chicagoland businesses can sign up and post jobs and discounts at no cost through 2017. Asking businesses to spend money to give things away for free is tough, but the app’s founder sees a unique value in this marketing expense.
“We’re going after a very elusive demographic but a very loyal one,” Jumes said. “We’re all used to going to certain places to get all of our services. People support the troops the way it is, but this is a way for us [the troops] to turn around and support those businesses.”
Victor is based in Chicago and has a current headcount of seven employees, three of which (including Jumes) are former Marines. The company’s future plans include rolling out an Android app, creating an analytics package for businesses, and adding geolocation and messaging features.
Funding for the startup has come from a few places, including a successful Indiegogo campaign. The company recently received a fresh infusion of cash after winning a WeWork competition. With that win, Jumes will head to New York in November to pitch Victor at the WeWork Creator Awards.
Image via Shutterstock.