This episode features a conversation with Emily McMahan ’01, General Partner & Co-Founder of Academy Investor Network.
This episode features a conversation with Emily McMahan ‘01, Co-founder and General Partner of Academy Investor Network, a seed-stage focused venture fund that invests in dual-use technology and military veteran-led startups. She has a passion for working with startups and connecting people, technologies, and companies solving tough national security, civic, and social challenges for good.
Before founding AIN, Emily was a startup founder. She led a military veteran-focused incubator, Capitol Post, that advised hundreds of startups to leverage the region’s strong business and startup community. Emily holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating from West Point two months before 9/11, she was commissioned as a U.S. Army military police officer and deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle.
In this episode, Emily talks about her experiences at West Point and in the military, and how they impacted her professional work and focus after transitioning into civilian life. She discusses the successful path she followed in her post-military career in entrepreneurship and being a venture capitalist. Emily also emphasizes the importance of creating a space where service academy graduates and the entrepreneurial community can deeply connect, listen, learn, and ultimately support each other.
(02:18) Segment: AAR – Emily’s decision to attend West Point
(04:35) Cadet type
(05:19) Walking hours
(05:56) Classes and studies
(06:39) Mentors at the academy
(08:20) Choosing a branch
(10:58) First OBC assignment
(11:21) Emily’s military career
(13:50) Segment: Sit Rep – Emily’s civilian career
(16:01) Starting Capitol Post
(16:55) Merging Capitol Post with Bunker Labs
(17:45) Co-founding the Academy Investor Network
(23:41) Leveraging and investing in opportunities at the network
(31:00) West Point Entrepreneurship Summit
(34:10) Lessons from volleyball at West Point
(36:33) Segment: SOP – Routines for success
(40:34) Day-to-day in venture investing
(48:22) Segment: Giving Back