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Veteran Entrepreneurs


Herman DeBoard III


business and finance

Herman DeBoard is a speaker, author and successful entrepreneur building and selling companies in the technology and entertainment spaces. He has built technology used by organizations such as Sony, Warner and Universal Music Group. He is a Decorated Veteran of the United States Air Force and is currently working towards the goal of connecting the world like never before through his virtual surrogate travel app called Huvr.

Many studies show that Veterans make great entrepreneurs. But in today’s atmosphere of volatility with banks and VCs, in order for Veterans to get their startup funded, they need to focus on 3 strategies: proving their product, building a board, and pitching with passion.


As a Veteran Entrepreneur who has built and sold multiple companies, I speak from experience regarding the repeatable methodology required to make a startup work. And… In the volatile market in which we live, veteran entrepreneurs need to stay laser focused on three key aspects of building their business.

1.      Proving their Product

o   The most important thing you can do is to build your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and see if you can build interest around your product without much funding. While you may need some early funds from friends and family, make sure all of this money is put towards building and testing the market viability of your product. This will give you the confidence to move to the next step. Resources to help you build your MVP really depends on what your product or service is. You may need a tech develpment firm, or a franchise broker. Regardless, the Small Business Administration can help you find the resources you need to get your MVP up and running.

2.      Building a Board

o   At this point, you will want to start networking to find yourself what I lovingly refer to as “The Council of Gray Hairs”. I do not mean gray hair physically… instead, I am referring to people who have built businesses on their own and have been successful doing so. At this point in your company, I would recommend you use Stock Options as early compensation and see if you can get people who like you and your product and who can do two things… help introduce you to larger investors and help introduce you to potential clients. Building a board like this simply requires Networking. You have to be relentless with asking everyone you know for referrals until you find the right people. LinkedIn can also be a good resource for finding your advisors.

3.      Pitching with Passion

o   At this point, you will want to get your pitch game in order. Make sure your materials are killer. It’s not that difficult to buy existing pitch deck templates and edit them in Power Point. Make sure you include enough… but not too much. Then… get to work on your actual presentation skills. Many people think they are great communicators… but as someone who has given over 1000 public presentations and raised over $40M for my companies… get a second and third opinion. Your pitch is everything. And don’t be afraid to start with your own bio… after all… investors for early stage companies invest in people first… so use your military resume and leadership experience to your advantage here. For your picth deck... you may want to use sites like to find pitch deck templates for sale. And to hone your presentation skills, I recommend recording yourself and sending it to a few friends for helpful critiques. I personally teach Public Speaking at several colleges and universities, and I always have my students video themselves. 

Once you have these three steps in place, you will be off to the races in a strong way and will be on your way to making your startup a success.

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