October Veteran of the Month: Brenden Coleman from NativX
Traveling to a new place can be an exciting yet busy venture, as planning for a getaway can involve lots of research on the best places to eat, stay, and explore. Often times, this results in booking popular locations in a city, which usually include similar chains of hotels and restaurants.
Air Force veteran and entrepreneur Brenden Coleman combined his military travel experience with his natural love of exploration to co-found NativX, a travel app that gives users a specialized travel itinerary based on their personalities and interests.
Brenden graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2016 with a degree in Business Management. He worked as a Space Operations Officer before launching NativX with Co-Founder Austin Cinalli in 2017.
While studying at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Brenden organized Student (ad)Venture, a weekend-long business challenge regarding innovation and entrepreneurship for students in the Colorado Springs area.
“I think I’ve always been entrepreneurial from a young age,” remarked Brenden. “Even while I was at the Academy, I was looking for ways to experience more in the world of start-ups.”
A close friend of Coleman’s at the Air Force Academy who grew up in Guam invited Brenden and a few of his friends to visit during one of their breaks. Brenden admitted he didn’t know much about Guam before the trip, but was happy to experience a new place.
“It turned out to be the most incredible trip I’ve ever been on,” Brenden explained. “Rico took us cliff diving, hiking to these hidden waterfalls in the jungle, and to this barbeque shack that had the best food I’ve ever eaten.”
Because Rico was a Guam local and knew the personalities of Coleman and his friends well, he was able to show the group places tailored to their interests and tastes.
“We wouldn’t have gotten to experience the island in the way that we did without him,” Brenden said. “That’s what sparked the idea for NativX.”
Brenden mentioned that travelers are often sent to a tourist district with hotels, clubs, and restaurants that are often quite similar across different cities.
NativX provides travelers a more in-depth exploration of the places they are staying, by creating a network of area experts, or “Natives,” in specific categories within the cities.
“Say you had a friend who was really passionate about coffee,” said Brenden. “We’re taking that person and making them a coffee Native, maybe as an expert on the best quality coffee in Philadelphia. We’d also then have another Native who would be an expert on the best coffee shop atmospheres in the city, which is a completely different aspect of the coffee category. NativX is encompassing all the factors that go into the coffee scene, in all kinds of industries.”
NativX currently targets Philadelphia, where Philly “Natives” cover everything from restaurants, to dive bars, craft breweries, coffee shops, date night spots, and many other categories. To learn more about the Native program, click here.
NativX was chosen as one of the Entrepreneurial Eight in the South by Southwest Student Startup Madness in 2016, and has been covered by publications like Forbes and Technical.ly Philly. Brenden and Austin participated in the 2018 Launch Lab X Cohort, and were recently accepted to the 2018-19 WeWork Veterans in Residence program.
“One of the best things about being in Launch Lab X was the high quality of the guest speakers. They focused a lot on things like team building, and how to bring military experience into the business world,” said Brenden.
“The Air Force Academy taught me a lot of skills that have transferred well into entrepreneurship,” he continued. “I think veterans in general are really well-equipped to deal with the hardships that come with entrepreneurship; the military teaches you how to face and overcome adversity which is a huge part of being an entrepreneur.”
NativX is available on the App Store for iPhone. To download the app, click here.