When Brendan and Andrew Reilly decided to launch a telecommunications business for veterans, Defense Mobile, the two brothers knew they were entering a highly competitive field. “If we were just trying to sell cheap phone service, chances are the big carriers would have crushed us, but we were creating something different,” says Brendan Reilly, CEO of Defense Mobile. “We only want to service less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. population. We want to help veterans, both active and retired, and they need help.”
Defense Mobile offers access to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to anyone that has ever served in the U.S. military. There are no contracts, you can switch among carriers if you move, and plans are cheaper than conventional ones (they start at $30). Plus, the service offers access to the best smartphones Apple, Motorola, and HTC have to offer. On June 1, all U.S. military commissaries and exchanges will offer Defense Mobile for sale, and there are plans to expand to over 20,000 retail locations across the country by the end of the summer.
Currently, 22 million vets reside in the United States, and Defense Mobile aims to provide returning troops a variety of services, more than just affordable mobile phone plans. And beyond Brendan’s years of experience working closely with the U.S. military and government, the company has the intel on what veterans want thanks to a 100 percent veteran-staffed call center based in Grand Junction, Colorado, and an advisory board that includes numerous generals, admirals, SEALS, and a Medal of Honor recipient. But mobile service is just the beginning. “Low-cost phone service is nice, but we always planned on offering much more,” Reilly says.
Enter miliSOURCE, a free app available to any veteran that helps them see which benefits are available, whether or not they use Defense Mobile. “According to Veterans Affairs, only 39 percent of veterans receive help from them and their $163 billion annual budget. We want to raise that number to 100 percent,” Reilly says. “Too many good men and women are not getting the help they need, due to not knowing what is available to them.”
miliSOURCE is a one-stop benefit marketplace app, and it offers an interface that locates any benefits from a comprehensive database of over 900 available programs (only 173 are from the VA). Sifting through state, county, VA, private, and non-profit groups, miliSOURCE uses your profile to notify users of any available benefits based on their location.
“miliSOURCE knows more about your benefits than the VA does,” says Captain Pete Wilkul, a 39-year Navy SEAL and member of Defense Mobile’s advisory committee. “It cuts through all of the red tape that so many returning soldiers must deal with, and helps them get what they are owed for their service to our country.”
The for-profit private company also donates 10 percent of their net profits back to groups that help vets. “Our goal is within three years to be donating $25 million yearly,” Wilkul says. “That is one of the main reasons I am involved — we help vets.”