Philly: Veterans accelerator The Bunker to launch in Benjamin’s Desk’s new Old City space

Posted on Jun 29, 2015

By Juliana Reyes / REPORTER

Michael Maher hosted a star-studded launch to his new project this morning, a local expansion of a Chicago business incubator for military veterans called The Bunker.Maher, a former naval officer, founded Center City coworking space Benjamin’s Desk in 2012 and recently gave the reins to his brother so he could focus on his real estate startup, Houwzer. He first announced his plans for The Bunker on Veterans Day.The Bunker’s launch coincided with Comcast’s announcement of a national sponsorship for The Bunker, one month after the media and telecom giant pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and their spouses over the next three years. (Comcast did not disclose details of the sponsorship.)

david cohen veteran

That’s why Comcast super-exec David L. Cohen was seated in the front row of Benjamin’s Desk’s eighth floor event space, next to the Bunker founder Todd Connor, Comcast Cable CEO and former Navy SEAL Neil Smit, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger and perhaps a bit surprisingly, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the daughter of a veteran, who spoke of the importance of small business. (She actually worked for the lone FCC Commissioner who opposed the Comcast/NBCUniversal deal.) The 3,000-square-foot room was packed, with the bulk of attendees standing.

The Bunker’s mission of supporting veteran-led businesses is close to Comcast’s heart because its founder, Ralph Roberts, who recently passed away, started the company after he left the Navy.

“We will be on the lookout for this generation’s Ralph Roberts,” said Bunker founder Connor.

The Bunker will launch with six startups, including Maher’s own, and will have a permanent home in Benjamin’s Desk’s second location: a 10,000-square-foot space on the top floor of the Curtis Center at 601 Walnut St.

Find a list of the startups, and their respective founders, below.

  • Houwzer, Mike Maher
  • Starchup, Dan Tobon
  • CauseEngine, James Brobyn
  • VetsForward, Dave Foster
  • Serve1, Chris Diaz
  • GoPaperboy, Jen Gallagher

Maher hopes to take on about six more startups by the fall.

Apply Starchup founder Dan Tobon, who was in the first class of the Bunker in Chicago and has since moved to Philadelphia, got the biggest laugh of the morning when he told the crowd why being an entrepreneur and being a veteran are so similar.

He said: “Everyone thinks it’s really cool when you tell them, but there’s no way in hell that they’ll do it themselves.”

Repost from

Recent Articles

These Full Service Agents Are Saving Home Sellers Thousands

These Full Service Agents Are Saving Home Sellers Thousands

Jan 07, 2019

Originally seen on: By: Ashley Weeks Have you ever wondered why it costs 6% to sell your home? That’s no small number. For a $600,000 home, that equates to $36,000 – more than the U.S. median individual income. If it seems like home sellers are being ripped off, it’s because they are. The Antitrust...
Read the Article

Houwzer Honored On B Lab's 2018 ‘Best For The World’ List

Jun 15, 2018

Houwzer is more than just an innovative, customer-focused real estate brokerage. We’re out to make the world better. It is our great pleasure to announce Houwzer made the 2018 Best For The World list, an honor given to the top 10 percent of B Lab’s 2,400 Certified B Corporations. Houwzer was recogn...
Read the Article