Veterans Business Battle
It started with a handful of MBA veterans at Rice University. It has led to more than $3 million of investments in veteran-owned enterprises over the course of 4 years.
Now in its 5th iteration, the Veterans Business Battle (VBB) launched with the hope of bringing investors & capital to veteran-owned start-ups. Originally launched as the brainchild of the Rice Veterans in Business Association (ViBA) and the Houston Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), the ViBA, the first VBB was held in Feb 2015 bringing over $900,000 of investments. Since then, the ViBA has taken the lead for the VBB and continued to grow the event as the nation's leading veteran-only business plan competition.
1836 has played an active role in VBB and continues to do so beyond our financial sponsorship. Members of the 1836 network helped source, coach, screen, and evaluate companies who have made it to the semi-finalist stage. We were also successful in recruiting several key investors who attended and made investments thus working to further solidify Houston’s national leadership in veteran entrepreneurship.
This year, 1836 has been involved in sourcing candidates, screening applicants and attracting investors for the 5th VBB from April 12th-13th at Rice University. 1836 leaders will participate in the semi-finalist selection committee, as well as on the finalist judging panel.
Last year, over 80 companies applied with 18 advancing to the semi-finalist stage resulting in $550,000 of committed equity investments in five companies along with $11,000 of non-dilutive capital. Personally, we continue to be struck by the high quality of the entrepreneurs in the room. Every semi-finalist had a strong offering and a compelling story. A significant percentage of these companies had already raised outside capital; some of it from institutional investors.
“I have been to a few pitch events across the country and Veterans Business Battle was the best" said 2018 winner and Tenavox founder Marissa Limsiaco (Army). "It was very organized and the team was very engaging, professional, and genuine from the very first call we had with them. The investor attendance was from funds across the country, which made me feel extremely grateful for all the veteran entrepreneur support."