Raymond Collazo says starting a business is like war. He'd know — he's been in both.
He deployed to Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in March 2012. His platoon was assigned to work with engineers in clearing roads of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). When he returned to civilian life, he decided to make a film of his war experiences.
"My cousin and I wrote a screenplay," Collazo said. "If it wasn't for the military, I would've never been inspired to write it. … The protagonist is a veteran returning from combat and entering a civilian life."
The challenges of making a film led him to a business idea. He founded a start-up called FilmLinkUp, a social media platform that connects students in film, media and theater. Collazo said to think of it as a mix between Facebook and LinkedIn for those looking to collaborate on television and film projects.
"Our pilot program is currently assisting students at the State University of New York Orange and the Digital Film Academy by providing job opportunities submitted by companies and production companies seeking assistance with their media and film projects," Collazo said.
Collazo was able to raise about $25,000 for his start-up from friends and family and is looking for another $23,000 from people who want to invest.