Headshot of Cauldon Quinn, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bancroft Capital.
Cauldon Quinn, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bancroft Capital, shares how his military experience led to his business's mission. — Bancroft Capital

In forming Bancroft Capital, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Cauldon Quinn has focused on doing well and doing good. “We are mission-oriented and purpose-driven to provide restoration to veterans through financial independence,” Quinn said. Bancroft Capital is a certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) specializing in institutional brokerage and capital markets services.

Quinn was serving in Afghanistan in 2002, responsible for providing forward combat logistical support to surface, aviation, and coalition special force units operating in the country. As he was about to visit a Forward Arming & Refueling Point (FARP), a soldier asked Quinn if he could bring a birthday care package his family had sent.

Quinn promised he would and decided to carry the package with him on the flight to the unit. After he boarded the military transport aircraft, however, he realized he’d forgotten the package. “We were in such an austere, desolate setting. The soldier would be disappointed if he didn’t get the package,” he said.

Quinn disembarked, retrieved the package, and took the next flight an hour later. When he returned 36 hours later, Quinn learned the initial flight had gone down, taking the lives of everyone on it. “I realized God saved me to serve a purpose,” Quinn said.

Crafting a ‘meaningful business model’ to pay it forward

In 2010, when Quinn returned to the U.S. and medically separated from military, he identified his mission: to help service-disabled veterans earn sustained financial independence. “We don’t give the vets anything,” he said.

He is achieving his goal through Bancroft Capital, which he launched in 2018. It’s structured as a business, rather than a philanthropy. “I didn’t want to depend on charitable giving,” he said.

Through the company’s Veteran Training Program (VTP), Bancroft Capital provides education, knowledge and a skill set at no cost to them, he said. Veterans gain access to meaningful opportunities in the business sector. Quinn notes that many veterans head into government work, often because that’s what they know.

Within Bancroft Capital’s VTP, Quinn and his colleagues train and employ service-disabled military veterans. They pair each veteran candidate with a financial industry veteran who can transfer the knowledge they’ve acquired. The veterans complete a two-year rotation, in which they spend time in the various departments, including fixed income and equity trading, and in back-office operations.

Candidates in the program also can audit business classes at Villanova University and DeSales University; that is, they attend class and complete the assignments, but aren’t graded. Those who meet the criteria can also move into an executive MBA program, even without a four-year degree.

Many of us are doing it one step at time. Much like parenting, there’s no instruction manual. The important thing is to get engaged and take the first step.

Cauldon Quinn, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bancroft Capital

Actionable advice for entrepreneurs looking to ‘do good’

Since 2018, the firm has grown quickly. Quinn shared his advice for doing well and doing good:

  • Be passionate. “You’ve got to be passionate, committed, and willing to pay for it,” Quinn said. Anything less than absolute commitment, and the moment the business hits a rough patch, it becomes tempting to say you don’t have the money to continue your efforts. The program will die, and those who counted on it will find it yanked from them, he explained.
  • Meet people where they are. To identify veterans who might be a good fit for the program, Quinn talks with veterans in recovery centers and helps them broaden their idea of what they can do. Bancroft Capital will also modify the program schedule to meet participants needs, if they, for instance, need additional medical procedures.
  • Recognize you might not know what you don’t know. “Many of us are doing it one step at time. Much like parenting, there’s no instruction manual,” Quinn said. The important thing is to get engaged and take the first step.
  • Prepare for some to take a different path. Some veterans who work with Bancroft Capital ultimately decide the field isn’t for them. “That’s okay,” Quinn says. The program helped provide a pathway for them to create a better future for themselves, he adds.

So far, about 24 veterans have participated in the program.

Whether a business is selling popsicles or financial instruments, it’s possible to design a meaningful business model, Quinn said. “As business owners, it’s incumbent on us to create the mission and purpose within our organizations,” he added.

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