Vetrepreneur of the Month: David Arena

Vetrepreneur of the Month: David Arena from Alcove Media


April 8, 2018

Aly Kuiken


The path to becoming an entrepreneur can be a bumpy one, with many different experiences, successes, and obstacles along the way. For many members of the Bunker Labs community, this path begins during or after a career in the military.

This remained true for David Arena, CEO of Alcove Media and this month’s Launch Lab Cohort Vetrepreneur of the Month.

It gave me confidence in a lot of was the first time I had set a goal and finished it, and that was amazing and I wanted to feel that way again.
— David Arena, on his military experience

David began his military career by joining the Air Force Reserves at the age of 18. For David, it was the first time he had been out on his own and away from his childhood home.

"The age of 18 is very impressionable,” he explained. “Most people’s perceptions about being out on their own and becoming an adult come from the college experience. But I didn’t have that, so the military was my first real taste of independence and adulthood.”

After completing the required 6 years of military service obligation in the Air Force Reserves, David worked in a number of jobs, ranging from car sales to banking sales, until he decided to pursue his dream of working for himself by becoming a licensed realtor.  

David was listing a home online when he came up with the idea for Alcove Media. The idea was born out of necessity: he needed to take photographs for the posting, but didn’t want to hire a professional photographer to do the job.

“I borrowed a friend’s camera and took the photos myself,” Arena said. “And I realized that there wasn’t anyone out there doing this type of work well enough.”

David began teaching himself everything he could about photography, by watching YouTube video tutorials and reading countless books on the subject.

I tried to learn everything I could, and taught myself real estate photography.
— David Arena, on founding Alcove Media

In just three short years, Alcove Media grew from a one-man show to one of the largest of its kind in the Northeast, a team of 15 employees photographing nearly 600 homes each month. Additionally, their services have expanded to include videos and 3-D home tours for their clients. David has been featured by Newswire and Small Business Majority for his work with Alcove Media.  

“My current role at Alcove is very different from when I started,” said David. “If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you eventually have to make the change into being a CEO when your company grows, which can be difficult at times. I have to limit my entrepreneurial side these days because I’m back to being an employee for a company, but this time I’m the CEO.”

David credits his drive to his time in the military: “It gave me confidence in a lot of ways. I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of accomplishment when I graduated from basic training…it was the first time I had set a goal and finished it, and that was amazing and I wanted to feel that way again. I think it’s contributed to my determination as an entrepreneur.”

After attending the 2017 Muster Summit, David began regularly coming to Bunker Labs PHL events to continue developing his entrepreneurial skillset.

“I’d never been a part of a group like that,” he explained. “Bunker Labs is a community of support from people who have gone through similar experiences as entrepreneurs. Having a group to share ideas and knowledge with has been really helpful.”

David is a member of our 2018 Launch Lab Cohort, and will be one of the panelists speaking about his experience at our April Bunker Brews on 4/19 (Register here). 

To learn more about Alcove Media, click here.