1871's new vets-only incubator beefs up its lineup and prepares for action

by Emerson Dameron
September 22, 2014

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The local startup hub 1871 is expanding its incubator and support program The Bunker, which is exclusively focused on veteran-owned startups and is the first of its kind in the nation. It is currently adding startups to 'C1,' the military-style name for its first cohort. The Bunker will open for business in a little over a month.

With their leadership and experience, veterans who move into the tech world have “a very high probability of success,” said Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871. Veterans have worked with 1871 in the past, he said, and "we were approached by a bunch of different organizations."

Todd Connor, who founded The Bunker and serves as its CEO, is a Navy veteran. “The Bunker sees the unmet needs around communications and technology to this military and veteran audience,” Connor said.

So far, the first cohort includes: 

  • [ibimage==40700==Small==none==self==ibimage_align-right]Strategic Spirits Activation, a marketing analytics platform for the liquor business. SSA will also host "Liquor Labs" events around Chicago.
  • [ibimage==40701==Small==none==self==ibimage_align-right]iPrevail, providing an interactive platform to monitor veterans' behavioral health. iPrevail's technology facilitates cognitive behavioral therapy and provides peer support.
  • [ibimage==40702==Small==none==self==ibimage_align-right]MARCH Marketing, conducting military affinity marketing across social and digital platforms, is the latest startup to join The Bunker.


“New technologies and social platforms are growing,” said Tom Aiello, president of MARCH Marketing “and it is important that our veterans and heroes at home and globally have early access. We are excited to be a member of the Bunker. Their visionaries and resources will help us take MARCH to the next level.”

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, an outspoken supporter of veteran causes, has thrown his weight behind The Bunker. In all, more than 300 people attended the program's recent launch party, including 1871 members, businesspeople, investors and veterans.

More startups will join The Bunker “in a variety of different areas,” said Tullman. C1 gets down to business on November 1st.

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