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Applying Entrepreneurial Frameworks to Life and Career

Category: Grad News
Class Years:

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.

Episode Timestamps

(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
(42:39) Mentorship
(48:22) Segment: Giving Back

“I think you have to know yourself when you’re transitioning to know who you are and what you like. And, I hope that all the work we’ve done up until that point prepares us for that. So knowing yourself and who you are is really important because you have to be careful that you don’t choose something based off of other people’s expectations of what you should do. I see a lot of folks that are transitioning often that sort of have this expectation of what they’re supposed to do. You have to know yourself and kind of go through that process.”

— Emily McMahan ‘01

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The WPAOG Podcast is a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications to further inform Graduates on current AOG projects, events, and USMA updates. This customized content is mainly for USMA Alumni and the West Point Community solely produced by the West Point Association of Graduates. The Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Audible, YouTube Music, and iHeartRadio.

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