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Derren Burrell: Recognizing the Value of Military Experience, Training, and Character in Business Operations

GWBPC Stand To 2021. Photo by Grant Miller Photography

Veteran Ventures Capital (VVC), LLC is a service-disabled, veteran-owned growth-equity investment fund focused on military entrepreneurs. VVC interacts exclusively with companies that have military veteran leadership, recognizing the value of military experience, training, and character in business operations.

For more information, please visit www.veteranventures.us/

Tell us about yourself?

US Air Force Veteran with over 27 years of experience in financial & portfolio management. Founder and General Partner of Veteran Ventures Capital, an investment firm all about vetrepreneurs – a growth-equity fund & consulting firm focused on military businesses. Deployed over $40 billion to ensure combat capability in defense of the nation. A serial entrepreneur who scaled one business from $7M to $40M in 3.5 years using military principles outlined in structure, discipline, and execution.

VVC is the culmination of decades of service in both private and public sectors by its founders, Derren Burrell and Mason Rice, built on the foundation of military principles – integrity, discipline, and excellence. Derren founded Veteran Ventures Capital in 2017 to merge his two passions, financial management and veteran businesses.

VVC’s team is comprised of distinguished former military officers and seasoned financial experts from across the country.

If you could give one piece of advice to other investors, what would it be?

Don’t compromise your core values for short-term gain. Find the right partners and build the right relationships to ensure long-term success.

If you could give one piece of advice to startup founders looking to get funding from you, what would you say?

Keep mission-focused, and get things done — it’s all about execution and generating traction/momentum.

What do you look for in the founding team of the startups you invest in?

At Veteran Ventures Capital, we believe veterans make better entrepreneurs and business leaders (“vetrepreneurs”). While in uniform, their battle-tested leadership drives performance for our nation. After transitioning from military service, those same virtues and traits of successful veteran leaders drive performance and financial return in their business careers and civilian life. Veteran Ventures Capital invests and scales businesses led by those exceptional veteran leaders.

Is there a trait you have noticed predicts success in your investments?

The government spends billions each year developing the leaders of the military. These leaders are equipped to lead in a manner that is perfectly suited for entrepreneurship. There is a huge potential to the vetrepreneur seeking to scale. Our fund seeks superior, risk-adjusted returns focused on a historically under-represented group: veterans. We have a high-quality curated dealflow sourced via unique relationship base — governmental agencies, academia, and the private sector.

How has COVID impacted your investment strategy and existing investments?

We focus on the National Security/Defense sector, which has not seen a decrease in demand due to COVID. Our value proposition lies in our granular understanding of the military culture, significant connections within the federal government & defense industry, and working knowledge of the government procurement process.

What do you see as the emerging areas of technology that you are looking to invest in?

Security, Logistics, and Aerospace sectors are specific areas whereby VVC has subject matter expertise to scale veteran firms.

How do you source new investment opportunities?

We have strategic partnerships with various government entities, non-profits, and large investor groups across the spectrum to help ensure that our pipeline is robust with opportunities.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

Veteran-firms that are post-revenue are welcomed to submit a funding application through our portal here: https://www.veteranventures.us/contact. Potential investors are welcomed to email me for further information on how to join us.

Written by Mark Kendall

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