2021 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Outlaws, Yale School of Management

Outlaws Inc.

Yale School of Management

Industry: Veteran Services and Workforce Development

Founding Student Name(s): Jon Miller (CEO, Yale SOM MBA ‘21)

Brief Description of Solution: We leverage benefit programs to create opportunities that directly address the most pressing problems for veterans and skilled-trade employers. For veterans, we create opportunities that combine income, skill training, and purpose. For employers, we build registered apprenticeship programs that reduce payroll expenses and employee turnover. Our tailored services establish meaningful human connections that form the basis of broader economic development.

Funding Dollars: Yale SOM Entrepreneurial Fellowship, Tsai CITY Spring 2020 Accelerator

What led you to launch this venture? During my first semester at Yale SOM, I attended a funeral for a former soldier. While reconnecting with the members of Outlaw Platoon, I sensed a disconnect between their success in uniform and subsequent struggle to reintegrate into society. Having recently completed my own transition to civilian life, I realized the world would be a better place if I could solve the problems of veteran reintegration in a way that created economic value and strengthened American communities. You can see the full story here.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with this venture? Mentoring a young veteran from unemployment to a supervisory role in a lucrative trade profession.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The MBA program forced me out of my comfort zone and gave me the foundational knowledge required to present my big idea to the world and pursue it wholeheartedly. I had no idea what was possible before I entered Yale SOM. Starting my own business wasn’t on the radar until I was surrounded by the invaluable support network created by phenomenal peers, faculty, and open academic borders.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Brittany Young, the founder of B360 embodies everything I aspire to be. Her venture unleashes human potential and transforms lives while changing long-standing paradigms about social policy; she imported STEM education into Baltimore’s street bike culture in a way that has elevated communities and improved lives. I believe her focus on community-driven solutions and individual empowerment is the future. I’m also striving to emulate her ability to connect direct impact in her community with institutions who traditionally overlook the more granular challenges of everyday people.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Without question, it was Urban Poverty and Economic Development, a class that examines America’s poor communities through a combination of history, philosophy, empirical analysis, and economic theory. Through the curriculum, I was able to build a framework for my business that linked my emphasis on direct impact to a broader economic development strategy. This class also illuminated the enduring connections between race and social mobility that are baked into the American cake. The Urban Poverty course broadened the scope of my mission to include addressing economic inequality and social stratification.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? I must thank Teresa Chahine and Tristan Botelho, my two mentors as part of Yale SOM’s Startup Founder’s Practicum course. I was very intimidated by entrepreneurship before both professors humanized the process and challenged me to stay true to my vision when I was concerned about looking like other startups.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? We are rebuilding the American Dream to be sustainable, just, and inclusive. We are starting with veterans—a proven workforce we care deeply about. We use their benefit programs to jump-start local economic development through human connection and direct placement. Over time, we will track our successes and failures, iterate, and scale by integrating into the military’s transition assistance program. Finally, we will replicate our success in the civilian labor force.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.