Hundreds of thousands of veterans are coming home over the next several years as the U.S. scales down its presence in the Middle East.Brittany Laughlin, an entrepreneur in her late 20s who’s already literally been around the world, wants to put some of them to work.
Laughlin is the kind of person who tends to set lofty ambitions, both personally and professionally, and then reverse-engineer a way to achieve them.
She gave herself a personal goal, for example, of travelling to all 7 continents by age 25, which she accomplished last year.
She’s also the CEO of Incline, a new startup that takes tech-savvy military veterans, puts them through an ‘introduction to web development’ class that’s a few weeks long, and then connects them with companies looking for tech talent.
Through Incline, Laughlin essentially has created a portal for veterans to find jobs after they get home and for employers who need to fill programming jobs.
“Companies looking to hire talent out of the class pay a discounted recruiting fee, and Incline will help them claim tax credits up to $5,600 offered by the U.S. government for hiring a veteran,” Laughlin said.
Incline, which is based in New York City, is partnering with the General Assembly incubator, to host its classes, the first round of which just ended a few days ago.
Laughlin calls herself a Navy brat “three times over.” Her grandfather, father and brother all have worn the Navy’s blue and gold.
Entrepreneurship also is in her blood. Several family members also have started businesses of their own.
After graduating from NYU, Laughlin worked at American Express for a time. She also did some writing for Forbes.
She says the corporate world didn’t ultimately didn’t prove fulfilling.
While working at Amex, she kept trying to improve herself on the side. With a degree in marketing, she quickly realised there weren’t many opportunities for the life she wanted to have – that of a startup founder.
She went into research mode. She set up several industry-specific Twitter streams to follow, for example, and plowed through as many of those as she could each day.
She met a Harvard student, and the two of them began talking about fleshing out a startup. They ended up grabbing the top spot at the 2009 Harvard College i3 Innovation Challenge and founded the Lightbank-banked travel startup Gtrot.
Laughlin then transitioned to Incline, merging her startup experience with the first-hand military family experience she has.
“Our company is pretty unique, but it’s the students in our first class who are truly amazing,” Laughlin said.
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