The new program, which will be announced Thursday during a launch event at WeWork Domain, provides 10 veteran entrepreneurs with six months of sponsored workspace, which includes access to all of WeWork’s amenities and services, a unique lounge and meeting space for program members and access to a network of veteran founders.
Ahead of the launch, Austin Inno chatted via email with Nathan Lenahan, WeWork’s head of operations in the southern U.S. and a decorated US Army veteran.
A bit about Lenahan: He started at WeWork in 2016 after launching and selling a real estate and property management company, Redleg Property Group. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was a facilities manager at Lockheed Martin. And, before that, he served 13 years in the US Army, completing two combat deployments in Iraq. Lenahan has received numerous medals, as well as the Soldier of the Year designation in 2004. He is currently a field artillery platoon sergeant with the Texas Army National Guard in Austin. He lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his wife and four children.
AI: Why is it important to provide a specialized bootcamp for veteran founders?
Lenahan: As both a veteran and an entrepreneur, I understand firsthand how uniquely prepared veterans are to build a successful company. During your time in the military, you experience the power of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles through the incredible communities you build. Unfortunately, long hours, demanding clients, and lean staffing often leaves entrepreneurs feeling like they’re building their business alone, missing the communities that helped them overcome their toughest challenges.
WeWork is grateful for this opportunity to partner with Bunker Labs and Patriot Bootcamp to support our nation’s heroes with the space, skills and community needed to create their life’s work.
AI: Any word on how many founders will be from the Austin area?
Lenahan: The first cohort includes ten Austinites from a wide variety of industries including software consulting, tech, film, advertising, media, nutritional education for children, real estate and sports.
AI: What are the most important things veterans are likely to get out of this?
Lenahan: Community. Beyond their immediate 10-person cohort, each veteran will also have access to WeWork’s global community of 175,000 members both via the WeWork digital member network and our 200+ physical communities around world. In addition, they will also be able to connect to the thousands of veteran entrepreneurs participating in other Veterans in Residence programs across the U.S. In Austin, Bunker Labs and Patriot Bootcamp will also organize city-wide monthly professional and social events at WeWork to bring together leaders from the local veteran and business communities.
AI: Any parting thoughts?
Lenahan: The program is open to veterans and military spouses who are exploring starting new businesses, looking to build their network, and/or trying to find their next career. You do not need to be a WeWork member. We invite people to apply for the next rotation at www.wework.com/veterans-in-residence.