This is the second round of Bunker Labs Minneapolis’ 12 Week course titled ‘Entrepreneurial Program for Innovation and Collaboration’ (EPIC)’ and it’s off to a great start. 9 early stage companies were selected out of over 40 applicants in this initiative to pressure test entrepreneurs new ideas.
The chapter in Minneapolis, led by Tim O’Neil, Executive Director, has been up and running since last fall and as O’Neil puts it, “we have only begun to scratch the surface of both what we can do here locally to put wind in the sail of these military veterans in the early stages but also how we can become a beacon for those leaving the service — and begin to think of Minneapolis and St Paul as the ‘it’ place to go”. Bunker Labs Minneapolis is able to accomplish their work here locally as the result of community partnerships with Comcast, Lurie LLP, and Briggs & Morgan. The instructor for this EPIC class will be Toby Nord.
About Toby: Toby Nord is the Professional Director of Carlson Ventures Enterprise, a unique year-long program for full-time MBA students designed to teach entrepreneurial skill through experiential learning. He is also an MBA faculty member teaching Corporate Venturing, New Product Design and Business Development, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Design for Sustainable Development, START-UP, and Business Anthropology.
Prior to joining the University in 2006, Toby spent 20 years with various Minneapolis based companies including Best Buy, where he worked in Strategic Marketing, Business Development, Strategy and Innovation. Some of this work is highlighted in the Harvard Business Case Best Buy: An Innovator’s Journey. Toby also consults nationally, focusing on growth, innovation, business creativity and strategy. He received his MBA from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota and his BA from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
About the Companies Enrolled
Rausch Innovations, DBA Heavy Duty Bag | Founder: Jeremy Rausch
Big Bag is a company that produces a heavy duty bag for men or anyone who wants to use a large, sturdy bag that will not fail when shopping. The Heavy Duty bag is a large, sturdy, heavy duty bag intended to hold a large amount of items manufactured from rugged materials. I intend to market to strong individuals, stay at home dads, women wanting a large sturdy bag, and anyone who dislikes the current system of fragile paper and plastic shopping bags.
Veticiti | Founder: Mitch Popple
The purpose of Veticiti is to assist veterans in identifying and pursuing their ideal post-military career through the use of proprietary career assessment tools. This tool will not only determine potential career titles that match the candidate but also return actual job openings that match their ideal career.
VetNex | Founders: David + Jennifer Till
VetNex creates a standardized process of VA service connected disability claims with a software designed identify and link together Veterans current diagnosis and in-service stressors with validated web-based medical journal articles to support a nexus.
AL Property Services | Founder: Alan Clinard
The goal of AL Property Services is to provide real estate and property-related services. This would include property management, outdoor services, and HVAC / plumbing / electrical services.
Dust Drag-in | Founder: Mark Dragan
Offer a simple patented new product to solve chopsaw dust collection problem. The Dust Drag-in is the first really innovative mobile dust collection product to come out in years. The product has been contractor tested over the past two years. The Dust collection system provided by the saw manufacturers (which consists of a bag over exhaust tube) are virtually ineffective, (most contractors don’t even bother to use it them). The Dust Drag-in will capture around 85% to 90% of the dust created.
Parker Supervision + Consulting | Founder: Patrick Parker
Private Practice to provide, supervise and consult as a marriage and family therapist.
Mobility 4 All | Founder: John Doan
Mobility 4 All (M4A) is a start-up mobility management company, whose mission is to provide high quality, safe and cost effective transportation for people with disabilities and seniors. Unlike traditional ride hailing services offered by Uber and Lyft, our target riders are people with higher needs that can not settle for corner to corner service, but expect and at times require door to door and hand to hand service. We achieve this by having higher standards for training and certification of the drivers and vehicles as well as insuring and compensating the drivers for providing a higher level of trust and service.
Home Deconstruction & Recycling | Founder: Nick Swaggert
Home deconstruction services, The careful dismantling of a structure’s reusable finished and recyclable building materials in order to maximize its recycling and reuse
Artist Coworking | Founder: Sarah Swenty
Create an artist coworking space that operates more like a gym to keep the price point lower. Would also host a coffee shop/gallery space to get foot traffic in.
About Bunker Labs Minneapolis
The original Bunker Labs location was launched in June 2014 in Chicago, and today is expanding nationally through a chapter model. Bunker Labs in Chicago and each independent location is a 501(c)3 organization and chapters are currently active and operating in Raleigh-Durham, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, Seattle, San Antonio and Los Angeles. The most recent location to begin actively energizing the community is Minneapolis, led by Marine Corps veteran and entrepreneur Tim O’Neil.
EPIC is a 12 week instructional program where veteran led companies will participate in a series of in person classes meant to pressure test entrepreneur’s new ideas. According to O’Neil, “The EPIC Program, is a great way for military veterans, in a peer environment, to begin to test the underlying assumption of their business.” The course is offered in the evening and is targeted at veterans that have not yet made the leap from their day job but feel like they have an idea that warrants exploring.