Four Questions for Jeff & Brendan, Co-Founders of Anomaly Six
Anomaly Six received the grand prize of $3,500 in Capitol Post’s Pitch Competition, Startup Standup. The competition served as the culmination of Capitol Post’s fifth cohort of Startup School; a 9-week start-up school for military veterans and spouses. However, in a surprise turn of events, Anomaly Six handed their check over to Elizabeth Watson of ReMindful in support of her outstanding pitch. A class move for these two co-founders!
Q: Tell us about your military backgrounds and how it has prepared you to be an entrepreneur.
Jeff: I was an active duty psychological operations NCO (trained in Arabic) who spent my deployments in Iraq as part of a special operations task force. All of my experience was at the tactical level and I participated in a wide range of different activities while overseas. These activities ranged from training host nation forces and leading them on real-world missions, conducting diplomatic engagements with tribal leaders to build and strengthen relationships, developing economic-focused programs to help Iraqi businesses prevent foreign goods and services from dominating the market and collapsing the local economy, and some other stuff.
The most valuable thing I learned from my military experience is nobody ever does anything alone. Support is essential in everything and success is due to the efforts of countless people; even if they aren’t always openly recognized. I deeply appreciate and value the contributions by everyone who has added something to what we’re doing at Anomaly Six. This includes direct contributions like the lessons and discussions during Startup School or late night brainstorming sessions with friends, but also indirect ones like feedback from our fellow entrepreneurs in class, learning from them sharing their experiences, or family members and friends putting up with our long hours and general disruptions we bring to our (mostly their) lives. As we continue to move forward, it’s important for us to recognize everyone who plays a part in this journey because that’s a key component in how we’ll continue to ensure success along the way. Also, the military helped me appreciate the value of never giving up. Everything is a series of highs and lows and it’s important to stay focused and keep at it when you’re struggling or the future looks uncertain.
Brendan: As a career soldier and intelligence technician, I had to learn how to identify and process information for planning and decision-making. As an individual that often supported large organizations but deployed in a small team or as an individual, I became very self-reliant in planning and weighing risk and making decisions. As an entrepreneur, the skills of planning considerations, Murphy’s Law, and risk analysis help me take risks. Also, learning to trust your teammates is critical in the military and that is very similar to the start-up business by ensuring trust and solid relationships to help make your company successful is critical.
Q: How did you get connected with Capitol Post?
Jeff: My business partner, Brendan.
Brendan: I was connected to Capitol Post by a friend at Darkblade Systems as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Q: How has Startup School helped you?
Jeff: I knew our solution, but I did not think about everything that it took to support that solution going to market. Financials is a good example. We would have had to face that music eventually and would have certainly figured it out, but it would have been much uglier had we not spent a lot of time on the subject during Startup School. Also, although we’re not looking for money, the pitch feedback was great because we got to hear from many different perspectives. This helped us think about ourselves in different ways and tighten things up.
Brendan: Startup School asked very difficult questions and forced us to capture our thoughts and apply them to paper. This helped us realize items that we were not thinking about or areas that we had glossed over that are critical for clients, investment, or future growth. It also made us more comfortable pitching our ideas and verbiage.
Q: What have been some of the specific outcomes of being a member of Capitol Post’s Startup School?
Jeff: Startup School forced us to think about certain aspects of the business that have been essential in our initial deals. We didn’t anticipate closing business during Startup School, but due to the curriculum we went through (at the time) we already had what we needed to start generating revenue. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Brendan: Our ability to network is one critical area that helped immensely. Second, the ability to get us to critically think about our business and improve our formats, terms, knowledge to the business world. It also provided a dedicated time and space to improve ourselves and our business. Startup School helped us to close business and polish our processes to “wow” clients more effectively.
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