Ben Faw is the Co-Founder and COO of BestReviews, a technology startup that has helped over 180M users by simplifying their purchasing decisions. BestReviews was recently acquired by tronc (formerly known as Tribune Publishing) for $110M. He started out at West Point, and served in the US Army for 4.5 years as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, and Aide-De-Camp. After his military service he got his MBA from Harvard Business School and worked at LinkedIn as a Marketing Solutions Account Executive.
Why Listen: Ben has been incredibly successful as an entrepreneur, having sold his first startup for $110M. He talks about his previous experience at business school and LinkedIn, and advice for other Veterans thinking of starting their own company.
Donnie works at ConsenSys in the Office of the Founder. ConsenSys is a blockchain venture production studio. Our global team is building an ecosystem of consumer-centric products and enterprise solutions using blockchain technologies, primarily based on Ethereum. [Software Industry, Founded in 2014, Almost 1000 EE on LinkedIn]. Donnie started out at West Point, served as an Army Intelligence Officer for 5 years, attended Harvard Business School, and has worked at Google, Qualtrics, and Future Finance.
Why Listen: This is the first time I've had a guest on for two episodes. In my previous conversation with Donnie, he offered to come back on the show to provide a primer about blockchain, crypto currency, and etherium. In this episode we dive into this, as well as why the space may appeal to mission and purpose-driven Veterans.
Hector Rosekrans is the Director of Policy and Operations at Messari, which is building an open data library to enhance transparency for the cryptoasset industry. Prior to joining Messari, Hector worked at JP Morgan in capital markets operations and technology, where he researched tokenized securities for the Broker Dealer and Custodian. He developed a proof of concept smart contract for asset management on an Ethereum-based enterprise platform. Hector served as an Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, and has worldwide operational experience. He holds an MPP from UC Berkeley, where he studied cybersecurity and strategic deterrence, and a BSc from the US Naval Academy.
This is the second interview I've done about Blockchain and Crypto currency. It's a great primer on this technology as well as operations and startups. Hector is great at explaining each of these, as well as how he got his first job through Twitter! He also talks about why Veterans may have an unfair advantage in the emerging blockchain space.
Stephanie Vaughanis the Vice President, Head of Capital Markets at Block X Ventures, a premier boutique crypto-agency advisory firm. Block X Venturessupports leading Blockchain companies worldwide, serving as a strategic and financial advisory for token generating events. She started out at the Naval Academy, after which she served as a Marine Corps officer for over 5.5 years. After her military service, she earned her MBA at Columbia Business School, worked as an Investment Banking Associate at Houlihan Lokey, a Venture Capitalist at LunaCap Ventures, and as Director of Capital Markets at StreetShares. She is a contributing writer at theBlockchain Times.
Charlie Kelly is the Managing Director of the Colorado Technology group at Silicon Valley Bank, where he leads a team focused on providing innovative financial services to high tech companies in the seed / series A through cash flow positive stages of development headquartered in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. He started out at Duke University, after which he served as an officer in the Navy onboard Submarines for almost five years. After his military service, he earned his MBA at the University of Colorado Boulder. He then joined SVB, initially as an associate with the Private Equity Banking team, eventually leading SVB’s team in the Central U.S. He has worked at SVB for over 11 years now.
Thank you to all of you who completed my survey in March about what type of guests you would like to have on the show. The #1 requested career path was Venture Capitalist... and it took me a long, long time to finally connect with a Veteran in this career path. We talk not just about Venture Capital and entrepreneurship, but we talk about topics relevant for veterans in every career path: networking, risk taking, and more.
Many guests on my show in the past have advised those on Active Duty to take care of their finances so that they have the time they need to find their ideal career. Well, today’s guest, as a financial advisor, has made it his profession to help people take control of their finances. He talks about financial advising as a career path, as well as what it has been like to start his own company.
This is a must-listen-to episode. Patrick covers so much ground in this interview - we talk about choosing a team that is lean and mean; we talk about his experience not being sure of what to do for 5-6 years, wandering from business school to consulting to ultimately finding a place he passionately calls home; we talk about work and life balance and how to think about this as an entrepreneur; and we talk about finance and entrepreneurship. There is so much great advice in this interview!
Andrew never considered a career in the Financial Services industry until a friend contacted him and told him he should apply for a position... where the application was due in just 18 hours. This led Andrew to learn everything he could about Goldman Sachs and a career as a Private Wealth Advisor. Andrew does a great job of explaining more about the Financial Services industry, and why this may be the ideal career for a military veteran.
There are so many reasons to listen to today’s episode. First, finance. Wes was introduced to me by a Wall Street Journal article that my brother-in-law Matt Dankner sent me and said basically, ‘Check this guy out, you need to get a hold of this guy’. I’m still blown away that Wes has taken the time to speak with me. The Wall Street Journal article talked about how successful Wes has been in starting and growing his own asset management firm, which is extremely difficult to do. We talk about so much in the episode. We talk about how when Wes was in the midst of his Ph. D. he joined the Marines. We talk about how that experience has helped him get this far. We talk about why vets are well-suited for fundraising. We talk about how to sell with a passion and how to find a mission you’re excited about. And most importantly we talk about the very simple secret to create success which is to grind every day. I think you’ll find Wes’ experience motivating and inspiring.
Forrest anticipated his transition very early on and prepared for starting his own company in a very proactive way. This is also my first interview with a financial planner, and may be an interesting career path for other veterans.
Jason Hodell is the CEO of Skullcandy, which markets headphones, earphones, speakers and other products. Skullcandy was founded in 2003 and acquired in October 2016 by Mill Road Capital for $200 million. Jason started out at West Point, after which he served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army for five years. After the Army, he picked up his MBA at Wharton.He had an impressive career prior to Skullcandy, which we’ll discuss in the interview, and joined the Skullcandy team initially as their CFO & COO. Since that time the company has grown revenue from $210M to approximately $300m, and he was appointed as the CEO of Skullcandy about one year ago.
Patrick is the Founder and Managing Partner at High Ridge Global, which is a private investment and advisory firm. He started out as a ROTC student at the University of Southern California, after which he served as a Signal Corps Officer in the Army for four years. After his service he got his MBA at Georgetown. He has worked at JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, was part of the Founding Team of LiveOps (a company that grew to over $100M in revenue), and has founded, invested in, and served on the board of multiple companies.
Matthew Caldwell is the President and CEO of the Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment. Matthew started out at West Point, after which he served in the U.S. Army for five years, conducting combat operations in Iraq and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. Matthew worked as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Management Division, and then transitioned to Chief Operating Officer for the Panthers before being elevated to President and CEO. Matthew holds a JD/MBA from Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management
Christopher Perkins is the Managing Director and Global Head of OTC Clearing at Citi and founder of Citi’s Military Veterans Networks. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over nine years. After the Marine Corps, Christopher worked at Lehman Brothers as their US Head of Derivatives Intermediation. He is also the co-founder of Veterans On Wall Street - an initiative dedicated to honoring former and currently military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry.
Jacob Martinez is the President of Market Traders Institute, a trading technology and education company with over 200 employees. Jacob started out in the Army, where he served for 4.5 years in military intelligence achieving the rank of sergeant. He started out at Market Traders Institute as Vice President of Managed Accounts and has held virtually every position in the company.
Phil McConkey is the President of Academy Securities, our nation’s first and only post 9/11 military veteran and disabled veteran owned and operated investment bank and broker dealer. Phil has served in this capacity for the last 6 years. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served for five years as a Naval Aviator. After his military service, spent 6 years in the NFL, with the Packers, Cardinals, Chargers and the Giants - where he won the Super Bowl.
Chris Dattaro is an Operations Manager at Lyft in Washington DC. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served as a Surface Warfare Officer for five years. After departing the Navy, Chris participated in the Goldman Sachs 3 month Veterans Integration Program, before joining FBR, an investment bank, in an Institutional Equity Sales role. He briefly worked at Trustify as the Director of Recruiting before joining Lyft. Chris is married to an active duty Lieutenant and HR Officer and he is also active in his spare time coaching veterans about their career transition to the civilian workforce and working with veteran entrepreneurs.
Doug Nordman is an early retiree, who has found financial independence far before he thought it possible. He is the author of The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement - a book where all royalties are donated to military charities. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served on submarines for 20 years. Since retiring from the Navy, Doug has worked to help other veterans reach financial independence, for free. Doug's spouse is a Navy Reserve retiree, and his daughter is about to start her 2nd Surface Warfare Officer junior officer sea tour on the USS GERALD R FORD. He holds a Masters in Engineering Science/Computers/Weapons Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Ryan is the Founder of Cash Money Life & The Military Wallet - two websites that focus on helping people better manage their finances by offering informational articles, tips, tutorials, and product and service reviews. He has run these sites for over nine years and been featured on publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and LifeHacker. He started out in the Air Force, where he served for six and a half years as an Electrical-Environmental Specialist. After transitioning from the military, he worked at BearingPoint as a Management Analyst and then at the Computer Sciences Corporation as a Business Process Modeler. In addition to running his websites, Ryan currently serves in the Illinois Air National Guard.
Ashley Snyder is the Global Process Manager, Finance Operations at Google. She started out at the US Air Force Academy, where she studied Operations Research and was a Distinguished Grad. After the Air Force Academy she went on to MIT, where she earned her Masters in Operations Research, while also serving at Draper Laboratories as a Operations Research Analyst. She then served for five years in the Air Force in a variety of capacities as part of the Medical Services corps, including positions as
John Quarles has served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for two different startups, where he has raised over $150M of equity and debt for his companies. John is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served as a Navy SEAL as part of SEAL Team 8. After transitioning from the military, he worked as a consultant at Accenture for one year prior to attending Harvard Business School. After HBS, he entered the Finance Industry and began his progression towards CFO.
Steven Muller works at Google as a Global Strategic Business Development for Google Play. He started out at the Naval Academy,after which he served in the Navy for four years with the Submarine Force as part of the USS West Virginia. After transitioning out of the Navy he worked for 5 years in the Finance Industry: first at Barclays Capital as their Associate Director - Head of Derivative Client Valuations, North America; then at Deutsche Bank as a Vice President. He then transitioned to Google, where was a Finance Manger for 4 years before his current role. Steven holds an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business and a Master’s Degree of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University
Frank Van Buren lives in North Carolina and works at Wells Fargo in their High Yield Sales & Trading Group. Frank started out at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he did Army ROTC, after which he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the National Guard/Reserve, and then decided to become a Chief Warrant Officer on active duty in the US Army, where served as a Blackhawk pilot for six years. After his transition from the Army, he earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked at Wells Fargo for the last 18 years, first as part of their Investment Banking group and then as part of their Fixed-Income Sales & Trading groups. He also runs the site, AdviceForVets.com.
Eric Hulbert is a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in their Atlanta Office. He started out at the Naval Academy, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in History. After that he served for over 11 years as a pilot, Wing Asst Training Officer, Maritime Watch Officer, and ROTC instructor. After his transition from the military, Eric worked in the Finance Industry at Bank of America - as a Vice Principal of Strategy Analyst. Eric holds an MBA and a Masters of Science in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the University of Florida
Lee Haney works in Business Operations & Strategy for the COO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He graduated in the top 5% of his class at the Naval Academy, and served in the Marine Corps for five years as a Human intelligence Officer, with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After transitioning out of the military, Lee attended the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Since getting his MBA, Lee has worked in the Finance Industry with Goldman Sachs as an Investment Banking Associate, before transitioning to HPE. Lee is also the CFO for Service to School, which regular listeners will remember is the non-profit organization that I have a love affair with - they provide FREE service to any veteran to help you get into your ideal college or grad school program
Vic Perez graduated from the Naval Academy with a BS in Economics with Merit. He served in the Navy for 6 years - first as an officer onboard nuclear submarines as part of the crew of the USS Cheyenne, and after that as an instructor at Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame, Victor somehow found the time to earn his MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an emphasis on Finance. Not only did he do that while teaching at Notre Dame…he did it in just two years instead of the traditional 3. Vic now works in the Financial Services Industry with Wells Fargo as part of their new Veteran Internship Program. His current role is as a Credit Derivative Swap Trading Analyst