Coming out of the army can be hard for anyone. However, twelve people in particular have become successful entrepreneurs after coming out of the army. We have put a list together of twelve people we think you should keep an eye on…
1. Shachar Bialik – Curve
- Served in the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)
- Curve was founded by Shachar Bialick in 2015, an app that puts all of your credit cards in one single place with added benefits
- Curve raised $55m in its Series-B funding round, taking the company value to $250m
- Curve prides itself on being an ‘over-the-top’ banking platform that manages all financial services
Shachar is the founder and CEO of popular fintech Curve, the banking platform that combines all your cards into one smart card and app. Shachar built Curve to simplify and unify the way people spend, send, see and save their money. Since its full consumer launch in 2018, Shachar has built Curve from a simple idea to a team of over 160 employees, a customer base of over 750,000, and a valuation of around $250m.
With over 750,000 users in 31 countries, Curve is continuing to expand globally. In March 2019, The fintech platform announced plans to open offices in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and Poland, as well as hiring six country managers to oversee the European expansion.
Curve is considered to be one of the UK’s fastest-growing FinTech firms competing with the likes of Revolt, Monzo and Transferwise. There are now over half a million active users from around the world and over half a billion pounds has gone through the Curve platform to-date. Recently, Curve raised £43 million in Series B that valued the company at £250 million. Following Series B, the startup announced Google Pay and Samsung Pay and wearable-tech integrations, enabling millions of users to be able to pay with Curve on their devices.
Prior to launching Curve, Shachar built and led a number of companies, across several verticals including healthcare, finance, e-commerce, mobile telecommunications and more.
2. Alfie Usher – Forces Compare
- Forces Compare was founded in 2019 by Alfie Usher after serving 7 years in the British army
- The website compares insurance, loans, refunds and claims for the serving military and armed forces
- Soldiers can save more than £250 on car insurance than other price comparisons
- The website is founded and run by veterans
About Forces Compare
Forces Compare, the very first military insurance comparison site in the UK, launched this 2019. Seeing a gap in the market, ex-soldier Alfie Usher decided to launch Forces Compare, which is run by ex-serving members of the Armed Forces and also works with other veteran-owned companies via the ‘veteran-owned’ network.
After serving 7-years in the British parachute regime and becoming a civilian or ‘civvy’ for the first time, Usher realised that soldiers were being overcharged for basic financial products such as credit cards, loans, and insurance.
Usher spent a year-and-a-half finding a range of partners that could offer policies and finance to soldiers and veterans with lower rates and higher approval. The site generates over 50,000 visitors per month and has underwritten over £250,000 worth of policies.
The website provides users the opportunity to compare hundreds of insurance policies specifically tailored to those in the forces needs: whether it is personal accident cover, contents, military kit, motor, and travel insurance. Forces Compare offers price comparison tables and live quoting systems.
3. Adam Singolda – Taboola
- Adam Singolda served in the IDF (Israel Defense Force) for seven years.
- Taboola, a discovery and distribution platform, was founded in 2007 by Adam Singolda.
- Taboola is reaching 1.4 billion people.
In the IDF, Adam Singolda developed many skills that helped him to develop Taboola, the content-recommendation engine. In 2007, Adam created software to create a discovery and distribution platform.
Today, Taboola is the largest discovery platform, with over 180 million uniques a month and serving over 450 billion recommendations of articles, blogs, videos, products and apps to over 1.4 billion unique users every month. Taboola serves personalized content recommendations, partnering with the world’s top publishers, brands and marketers to drive audience development, engagement and monetization.
Taboola also empowers editorial, product and sales teams with solutions built around real-time page optimization, robust native advertising offerings and more. Today, with over 1,000 employees, Taboola’s journey continues, building new technologies that will help people find what is interesting and new wherever they are.
4. David Atkinson – Senseon
- David Atkinson spent 15 years in the UK’s specialist military units
- During David’s time in the military, he was found jumping out of planes, diving out of submarines, helping to rescue hostages abroad, and conducting surveillance and reconnaissance in far and distant places.
- David Atkinson has a rich background in cybersecurity.
- Atkinson combined experience and technical abilities has led him to challenge the current approaches to cybersecurity and to create Senseon.
- Senseon was founded in 2017 by David Atkinson.
Founded in 2017, Senseon has developed an innovative and unique cyber defence platform. Using an AI-led approach, Senseon provides an advanced threat detection service, its technology is able to analyse in a human-like way and thereby go beyond the abilities of traditional threat detection tools.
The platform also negates the need for numerous different defence tools, providing an all-in-one approach for a company’s cyber defence. Through this, Senseon saves its customers time and money, helping them to focus more energy into their business’s objectives, all whilst advancing their cybersecurity capabilities.
Senseon’s unique ‘AI Triangulation’ technology emulates how a human security analyst thinks and acts to automate the process of threat detection, investigation and response. Capable of looking at the behaviours of users and devices from multiple perspectives, pausing for thought and learning from experience, Senseon provides accurate and context-rich alerts. These automated capabilities free security teams from the burden of exhaustive analysis, alert fatigue, and false positives. Senseon brings together cybersecurity experts, former government cyber operatives and applied machine learning specialists.
Senseon’s platform can be integrated into businesses of all different shapes and sizes, from the small, family-run operations right through to global organisations. Today, Senseon has customers in the US, Europe, the UK, and the Caribbean, ranging from FTSE 100 firms to small companies.
5. Oz Alashe – CybSafe
- Oz Alashe is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army and UK Special Forces.
- Oz Alashe was awarded an MBE for personal leadership in the most complex and sensitive of conflict environments.
- CybSAfe, a cybersecurity and data analytics company, was founded in 2015 by Oz Alashe.
- CybSafe helps organisations manage the human factor of cyber risk, looking at behaviour and engagement.
CybSafe was founded in 2015 and is a British SaaS tech company that is focused on addressing the people component in cybersecurity and positively changing behaviour rather than simply providing e-learning. It’s a leading-edge cybersecurity software platform that helps businesses reduce cyber risk with greater certainty, greater impact, and increased cost-effectiveness.
CybSafe builds incredible software that makes it easy to manage human cyber risk. The company is on a mission to revolutionise the way society addresses the human aspect of cybersecurity. Their technology uses science and data to help people when they need it most.
CybSafe’s software gets people engaged in security. It empowers them to make the best possible everyday-security decisions. The software uses behavioural science, data and reporting metrics to help security professionals do their jobs better and see their impact on people-related cyber risk.
Approximately 90% of breaches involve human error and so CybSafe is focusing on this human element of cybersecurity. The company has an intelligent cloud-based software platform, which increases in efficacy over time as it learns.
Since being in the market in April 2017, CybSafe is now a 40-plus-person team working with over 265 customers.
6. Lucy Wyndham-Read – YouTube Lifestyle, Motivator and Fitness Expert
- Lucy Wyndham-Read joined the army at the age of 19 and served for 5 years.
- Lucy is a qualified personal trainer who helped the nation keep fit during lockdown.
- Lucy is qualified in nutrition for weight loss, pre and postnatal fitness.
- Lucy is also an aerobics instructor, as well as a specialist in children’s health and fitness.
During Lucy’s time in the army, she learned about fitness, motivation, utter determination, and how to never give up. She created an online community #LUCYSSQUAD where she encouraged people to believe in themselves, shouting the words #YESICAN.
After being involved in the fitness industry for more than 25 years, Lucy knows exactly what works and how to get results. She has helped millions of people with workouts worldwide, in particular during lockdown. When people were stuck inside due to COVID-19, Lucy helped people to keep fit at home, becoming the most viewed workout channel during this time. Lucy’s YouTube channel has 1.59 million subscribers and over 214 million views.
Lucy Wyndham-Read has been the Fitness Expert for Woman & Home alongside her own column in Feel Good You Magazine and often appears in publications such as ELLE, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Red, OK, You, Stylist and many more. As well as this, she has frequently appeared on TV channels such as Sky News, BBC1, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. As an influencer on social media and a content creator, Lucy has worked on campaigns with many brands including Boots, Cancer Research, FitBit, Twitter, TedTalks, and more!
In the future, Lucy is looking to help children become healthier and fitter, encouraging people to use the effective exercise videos she has created which are available worldwide and are free to use. Alongside this, Lucy has written a series of children’s books that are full of adventures whilst also encouraging healthy eating and fun exercise.
7. PJ Farr – UK Connect
- In 2008, PJ Farr joined the British Army.
- PJ Farr was an inquisitive soldier, fascinated by how the army could maintain reliable connectivity in such isolated locations.
- PJ’s father-in-law struggled to gain a good connection on his construction site and this sparked PJ’s curiosity into improving connectivity.
- UK Connect was founded in 2013 by PJ Farr.
About UK Connect
Founded in 2013, UK Connect was formed by PJ Farr to provide anyone working on construction sites in the UK with access to full connectivity.
Today, UK Connect is the UK’s leading communications provider to the construction industry, looking after some of the UK’s most prestigious housebuilders and contractors. Dedicated to the construction industry, all UK Connect’s services are simple and easy to install and manage. UK Connect has a dedicated team of highly-skilled experts available to support their customers, helping customers to have their site up and running with broadband, Wi-Fi, and voice systems within 10 days – and if not, they will give you your money back.
PJ’s roots continue to be a huge part of the company’s culture and UK Connect is passionate about supporting ex-veterans. As well as this, X-forces has helped shaped PJ’s transferable skillset and business maturity which he is sharing with the rest of the company.
8. Ted Jones – Northcott Global Solutions
- Ted Jones joined the British Army in 1997
- From 1997 until 2004, Ted served in numerous operational tours around the world.
- Ted Jones has extensive commercial and operational experience in many parts of the world.
- In 2010, Ted Jones founded Northcott Global Solutions (NGS).
About Northcott Global Solutions (NGS)
NGS, founded in 2010, is a specialist evacuation company working to both direct clients and the international insurance community. Whether it is medical, political and civil unrest or natural disaster, the company prides itself on its depth of capability, its geographical coverage and a reaction time measured in hours rather than days. The company was formed to solve the structural and systemic problems within the traditional assistance industry and more specifically its failure to meet the demands of modern travel patterns.
NGS has saved thousands of lives from a child’s appendicitis to the results of terrorist attacks, from the Arab Spring to the London attacks, from the evacuation of $100m oil rigs in war zones to the return of a little girl’s teddy bear, the company stands alone in its field.
Northcott Global Solutions was launched to revolutionise the International Emergency Response industry and bring it up to date with modern travel patterns. The basic repatriation model of medical patients from one first world country to another was failing to keep pace with traveller needs either geographically or numerically. Very simply, people were having problems in places that needed more than a doctor on a plane in a week or two to sort out.
The company built and maintains a vast network of local and regional providers including medical, aviation, security, land transport, maritime, armed response, safe houses, logistics, legal, cyber, diplomatic, cash transit, tracking, travel management capabilities and more in order to meet their client’s individual needs around the world.
The company has grown 50% year-on-year. Starting with 6 employees, NGS now has over 50 full-time people in the UK with offices both in the City of London and Mayfair. In 2012, the company acquired a tracking and travel management arm which, when integrated to the original international response capability, saw NGS revolutionise the ‘Assistance’ industry.
9. Adam Neumann – WeWork
- Adam Neumann served in the Israeli Army for 5 years.
- Adam Neumann was raised on a kibbutz in Israel and moved to New York City in 2001.
- Krawlers, baby overalls with built-in knee pads, was founded by Adam Neumann.
- In 2010, Adam Neumann co-founded WeWork.
WeWork was co-founded by Adam Neumann in 2010 in New York City. Adam Neumann attempted to replicate the feeling of togetherness with WeWork offices, creating a coworking office space platform, mimicking the belonging he felt in Israel which he felt the West was lacking.
Adam Neumann built a beautiful, shared office space, building a community. WeWork has become a place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’. Their workspace design features private offices (for teams of 1–100+) with glass walls to maintain privacy without sacrificing transparency or natural light. Common spaces have a distinct look and vibe that will inspire different teams, as well as the guests that are brought into WeWork buildings.
Today, the company has 466,000 members across 28 countries, and it is valued at over $47 billion.
10. Jordan Wylie – Adventurer and Author
- Jordan Wylie was part of the British Army for 10 years.
- Wylie is the bestselling author and is an extreme adventurer.
- Jordan Wylie was one of the stars of Channel 4’s BAFTA-nominated and award-winning shows Hunted and Celebrity Hunted.
- Jordan Wylie holds a BA (Hons) and MA in the field of Security, Safety and Risk Management.
About Jordan Wylie
Jordan Wylie grew up on one of the largest council estates in the UK. After leaving school with no qualifications, early, Jordan joined the British Army at 16 years old. During his 10 years, he saw operational services in Northern Ireland and Iraq where he specialised in military intelligence, close reconnaissance, and armoured warfare operations.
After his time in the army, Jordan entered the world of maritime security, making headlines after armed Somali pirates boarded a ship that he was protecting. Jordan found himself in charge and forced to make critical decisions for the safety of his crew, using his skills that he had learned in the army. It was this experience that led Jordan to write his bestseller book in 2017 “Citadel: The True Story of One Man’s War Against the Pirates of Somalia”.
In 2019, Jordan became the first person in history to row, solo and unsupported across the most dangerous strait of water on the planet (Bab el Mandeb Straits) between the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Jordan has also successfully completed numerous major charity expeditions, including the highly publicised Running Dangerously, which saw him run through Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, and Barefoot Warrior which involved climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain, completely barefoot!
Jordan Wylie has raised over a million pounds for charity and some of his expeditions have been made into documentaries on Sky TV. Since his time in the army, Jordan has battled with severe depression, chronic anxiety, and more recently epilepsy, and now campaigns to remove the stigma from people suffering from mental illness.
In November 2019, Jordan released his latest book, ‘Running For My Life’.
11. Glenn Parker – Personal Trainer, Motivational Speaker, and Author
- At 18, Glenn Parker graduated from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
- After graduating, Glenn joined the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment with active service from 1999-2003.
- Glenn Parker was involved in a severe attack which left him spending the next year in Army Medical Care.
- Glenn Parker’s attack resulted in him not being able to serve in the army.
- Today, Glenn Parker is a personal physical trainer, motivational speaker, and author.
About Glenn Parker
After 4 years of serving in 16 Air Assault, Glenn developed epilepsy following an unprovoked attack in a night club, which left him in a coma with swelling on the brain and severe epilepsy. Faced with the choice of service elsewhere in the Army or medical discharge, Glenn preferred to be a civilian rather than move from the PARAs, so he chose medical discharge. The military career in the British Army he had dreamed of since a young boy had ended because of the attack.
Today, Glenn has built a business as a physical trainer, motivational speaker, and author. After recovering from the life-altering assault, he transformed physically. This fight came from the acceptance of the luck he had to be alive.
In December 2017, Glenn Parker hiked to Everest Base Camp with his partner Jessica, raising £18,000 for Help for Heroes. As well as other fundraising for military charities, he wrote a book called “After Everest”. Glenn Parker continues to motivate people through his blog, as well as regular appearances on podcasts and working on a new book.
Additionally, Glenn speaks on ‘Pathfinder’ courses for Help for Heroes, visiting Colchester, Tidworth, and Plymouth to spend the day with veterans. He provides encouragement and motivation through the telling of his own journey through life, describing some of the incredible lows and also fantastic highs he experienced.
12. Levison Wood – Author, Explorer, and Photographer
- Levison Wood is a best-selling author, writing 7 best-selling books.
- Levison Wood worked and travelled in over 100 countries.
- Wood produced six critically acclaimed documentaries which have aired around the world.
- A Major in the British Army, Levison Wood served in the Parachute Regiment for 13 years.
- Levison Wood is an elected fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club.
- Levison Wood is an ambassador and patron for a number of charities including UNICEF.
About Levison Wood
From 2013-2014, Levison walked the length of the river Nile, 4,250 miles, taking nine months, and was Channel 4’s most successful factual series of the year. His book ‘Walking the Nile’ became a Sunday Times bestseller.
In 2015, Lev walked the length of the Himalayas, a six-month journey of over 1700 miles from Afghanistan to Bhutan, and was televised on Channel 4 as a five-part documentary series, which aired in January 2016. His critically acclaimed book ‘Walking The Himalayas’ has been published worldwide and was voted Adventure Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards.
Levison published another book called ‘Walking The Americas’, after walking 1,800 miles along the length of Central America from Mexico to Colombia. This book became a Sunday Times bestseller. In 2017, Wood’s series ‘From Russia To Iran: Crossing The Wild Frontier’ aired on Channel 4. During this year, he published a book called ‘Eastern Horizons’ about travelling when he was 22 hitchhiking the Silk Road.
His latest book ‘Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East’, published in 2018, explained his journey of a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Iraq to Lebanon. Then in 2019, Levison walked across Botswana following migrating elephants and learning about conservation in the region. After this trip, he published a book called ‘The Last Giants’ on the plight of the African elephant and a documentary series followed his journey on Channel 4, named ‘Walking with Elephants’.
As a photographer and writer, Wood has contributed to some of the most respected publications in the world including the Times, the Telegraph, the Financial Times, BBC, National Geographic, CNN, Discovery Channel, Gentleman’s Journal, Metro and Condé Nast Traveller.