Air Force Veteran Aims To Give Digital Identity Ownership By Creating An App For People To Manage Their Own Identity
Edward Hood, Air Force Veteran & Founder of Mass Address
Tell us about you and your military background:
My name is Edward W. Hood and I served in the US Air Force and Air National Guard between May 2004 and May 2021 with a 5-year break in service. I was deployed thrice on active duty and served twice overseas in the Inactive Ready Reserve.
United States Air Force and the Air National Guard
12 years of service- 6 years Active Duty and 6 years in the Air National Guard
The date of separation from active duty was 4 May 2010 and for the ANG it was May 2021
Highest rank was Staff Sergeant
2006 deployment to support Counter Terrorism Operations for the Qatari Government
2008 deployment to Africa to support Naval Special Warfare Operators conducting anti-terrorism operations
2009-2010 deployment to Afghanistan to support the Counter Insurgency Training Center in Kabul.
2011-2012 supported Joint Task Force Guantanamo with Line of Sight communications
Tell us about your business:
Mass Address was founded in 2016 as a Private Change of Address service which quickly morphed into a Citizen Identity Management(CIM) platform after the Equifax Data Breach. The purpose of Mass Address is to provide a place where legal US residents can manage their own identification without the risk of it being sold or compromised by 3rd parties. It is patterned after the US Department of Defense Special Access Program. The same program protects Top Secret information. I came up with the idea for Mass Address after I discovered a hole in our national security that allows anyone to obtain change of address information on people who change their address with the US Postal Service. You can literally track the moves of US DoD personnel completely under the radar. When we launch our platform, the service will be for any legal US resident who needs to change their name, address, phone number, or email address. The term Mass Address is an umbrella that covers all forms of address; name, physical and mailing, phone, and email.
Describe how you got the business started:
We went from idea to conception in 18 months. With about $1000 from friends and family, we got started. I used my 12 years of network and cybersecurity training and experience working with classified information to start reaching how the Change of Address process works at the US Postal Service. I also hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electronic Systems Technology as well as 5 IT certifications with 2 in Cybersecurity from NEXGENT.
Tell us why you wanted to become an entrepreneur:
I missed the feeling of being trusted to handle very important situations on my own and to work independently. I had a vision one day and entrepreneurship just found me. It was not something I sought out on my own. It kind of just happened.
I don’t like taking orders from people because many times the person giving you those orders is very closed-minded and cannot actually see the bigger picture. They are simply an assembly line of mental thought.
True leaders entrust their people to own processes and production to meet a common goal.
Describe how your military background prepared you for entrepreneurship:
Management, leadership, and critical thinking skills helped me get to this point in my journey. There have been many assignments or jobs where I was entrusted to take care of something completely alone with no support.
Tell us about some of your obstacles and challenges, and how you overcame them:
Fear is the biggest obstacle to your dreams.
“Fear has killed more startups than the competition ever will.”
You cannot let fear determine what you are going to do in your life. YOU MUST ignore it. You cannot be afraid as an entrepreneur or you will fail.
We still have not figured out what market segment we are going to target. We are trying to meet with the USPS to discuss our solution to this $20 billion national problem.
Describe how you're doing today and what the future looks like:
We have 500 people signed up for beta and the team is composed of myself and my CTO Ashton Jones. Our top goal is to integrate the service with the US Postal Service.
Our vision is to give digital identification ownership to the people of the world.
Share some advice with your fellow veteran entrepreneurs:
Start sharing what you are wanting to do. I know it’s REALLY scary. You will think, “They’re going to steal my idea”. Believe me, if you knew the pain and suffering that comes with founding a startup, you would not have that fear in your heart. Building a startup is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. If this is the road you are going to take, find a community and get support. Validate your market before you even spend 1 dollar or buy 1 domain.
Social Media is perfect for marketing. I also recommend using Every Door Direct Mail for service businesses. It’s cheap and the ROI is huge. I also recommend Startups.com, medium.com, and the Startups subreddit.
Where can we go to learn more: