On Monday, we observed Memorial Day in honor of fallen U.S. soldiers. But while many people spent the day grilling burgers by the pool, the holiday undoubtedly held a much different sentiment for those who have served in the military and those who have lost friends or family during wartime or in conflict zones.
Veterans often want to share and recall experiences with others who have served, and reconnect with fellow soldiers they’ve lost contact with; but popular social networking platforms like Facebook don’t fulfill the need, as someone’s highly personal photos or anecdotes from wartime could easily be sandwiched between an acquaintance’s “Business Cat” post and photos of drunk people they haven’t spoken to since high school.
After interviewing numerous veterans and identifying this need, local entrepreneur Eli Chmouni set out to find a team and create an online community geared toward those who have experienced military conflict. After much hard work, sleepless nights, two major awards and subsequent media attention, AlphaStripe is now live.
About the Platform
AlphaStripe is a global, online networking platform for military service members, military families, civilians, and humanitarian organizations to share war-time and conflict zone stories in video, photo, audio, and journal formats. Open to military personnel and civilians the world over, AlphaStripe has developed a detailed database of military branches and service units, enhancing the social connections made when members create profiles and upload content. AlphaStripe gives members an opportunity to save history, record memories and make connections through its unique combination of popular social media outlets.
This concept video provides touching examples of the types of stories veterans and their loved ones might share on the platform. It also illustrates how meaningful these stories are to both veterans and civilians alike, as many people who have no military experience themselves are still deeply affected by military conflict, whether they grew up in a conflict zone, provided aid/humanitarian services, or have friends or family who served.
Awards and Grant Funding
Although the company was founded only a few months ago, it has already gained strong community and financial support. In the last month, AlphaStripe won the community voting-based AppSumo Lean Startup Challenge, which landed the company $50,000 in prizes including software development and mentoring, and also earned a spot in the prestigious Edson Accelerator Program through Arizona State University.
AlphaStripe’s membership in the Edson program includes $12,000 in seed funding, a year of office space at ASU’s SkySong facility, and an intensive, mentor-led acceleration program. Students in the Edson accelerator also have access to seasoned entrepreneurs, industry mentors, and other ASU Venture Catalyst programs that enable them to advance their enterprises. AlphaStripe and the Edson program are a natural fit, as AlphaStripe’s team of co-founders includes both U.S. veterans and founders of previous Edson Student Startup companies.
AlphaStripe’s mission and achievements have already attracted a good deal of local media attention as well, including this Channel 12 News spot from Monday night:
AlphaStripe is now live for those who would like to sign up; the team plans to launch nationally by July 4 and internationally by the end of the 2012.
More About AlphaStripe
# of Employees: 7
Funding: Self-funded, plus $50,000 in prizes from AppSumo contest & $12,000 from the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative
Founders: Eli Chmouni, Matt Schmidt, Dawne Flanagan, Pete Chinnici
Phone: (480) 254-3718
Headquarters: ASU SkySong – 1475 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 200 • Scottsdale, AZ • 85257