Vetrepreneur of the Month: Kieran Carroll from TravStrat
By Aly Kuiken
Traveling abroad can be a big production. Between organizing flights and public transportation, exchanging currency, or just finding somewhere to eat, there are lots of things that can go awry. Kieran Carroll wanted to find a way to help people prevent international travel mishaps. He combined his training from the Navy with his experience working in cybersecurity at the Pentagon to co-develop TravStrat, a travel risk management training program for students, businesses, and non-profits.
Kieran grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2007. He has over 10 years of experience as a Naval Officer and has conducted operations specialized in counterterrorism and surface warfare in over 30 countries. He worked at the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon before completing his Masters Degree in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management from George Washington University in 2018.
Kieran co-founded TravStrat in 2016 with former Navy SEAL officer Dustin Kisling, after realizing travel safety was an underdeveloped industry.
“One thing about being in the special operations community in the Navy is that you travel a lot,” noted Kieran. “People would always ask me and Dustin, ‘When I’m overseas, what can I do? How do I stay safe? What can I do to improve my situational awareness?’ We realized this system of creating an action plan for traveling abroad wasn’t in place at a lot of schools and organizations, so we developed TravStrat.”
TravStrat offers a 12-module seminar program aimed at students and millennials that covers travel safety topics ranging from basic situational awareness, to political unrest preparedness, and even navigating the U.S. State Department’s STEP program. The seminars also cover best practices for medical situations as well as social media and cybersecurity while traveling internationally. To learn more about TravStrat’s study abroad seminar program, click here.
“A lot of schools tell their students to have a plan when something goes wrong while studying abroad, but they don’t cover how to formulate that plan,” Kieran explained. “That’s where TravStrat comes in.”
Kieran learned about Bunker Labs in 2015, at the same time that he was beginning to launch TravStrat.
“It had to be fate,” he remarked. “I happened to be starting a company when I heard about Bunker Labs, which was exactly what I needed as a transitioning veteran looking to become an entrepreneur.”
At that time, Carroll had transitioned into the Navy Reserves. After attending a Bunker Brews event, Kieran became involved with the Bunker community and eventually joined the 2018 Launch Lab X Cohort.
“I was actually deployed twice during the time I was involved with Bunker,” mentioned Kieran. “But I still maintained contact with the organization and joined the cohort as soon as I got back.”
As a member of the 2018 Launch Lab X Cohort, Kieran joined twelve other veteran-founded companies in a 16-week seminar program that covered a range of business and entrepreneurial development topics.
“It’s an incredible group of people. It was really fascinating to see how these companies came from all different stages of development and grew so much during the program.”
Currently, Kieran works as a Strategic Consultant at Pricewaterhouse Cooper in Philadelphia.