Get to Know These 15 Justice Tech Leaders & Innovators This Second Chance Month

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Celebrate Second Chance Month by exploring the pioneering figures and groundbreaking leaders and innovations within the Justice Tech ecosystem in the United States. Discover the visionaries working to reduce inequities and create opportunities for justice-impacted individuals and communities to thrive.

April is Second Chance Month – a time dedicated to recognizing the advances and urgency to build more fair, equitable civil and criminal justice systems and create access to opportunities for justice-impacted individuals and communities. The US’ high incarceration rates are marked by systemic issues — such as deeply embedded biases, over-policing and over-surveillance, and expensive and extortionary cash bails — disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and low-income communities. 

Since 2020, in partnership with American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact (AmFam) and Dream.Org, Village Capital has been pioneering the Justice Tech ecosystem to support innovation, disrupting and reimagining the often less-than-just systems for individuals and communities impacted by the criminal and civil justice system to thrive. 

Justice tech continues to gain momentum and interest from investors. As Dream.Org founder Van Jones asked, “What if we could create an ecosystem that meant people could make money helping people stay out of prison and helping people get on their feet when they came home? What if instead of having an incarceration industry, you had a decarceration industry?”

Blog_15 Justice Tech Leaders_Van Jones

In light of the broad ecosystem needed to create this change, we are highlighting 15 ecosystem leaders, including startups, ecosystem builders (organizations), and investors working to build a more equitable civil and criminal justice system in the US:

Startups 

  • FRSH, Village Capital Justice Tech 2022 alumni, is a personal financial management platform dedicated to helping people who have historically not had access to modern banking products and services.
  • Good Call Technologies, Village Capital Justice Tech 2022 alumni, is a company building tools to improve access to legal representation for vulnerable communities.
  • Honest Jobs, Village Capital Justice Tech Advisory Board 2022, is the nation’s largest fair-chance employer platform dedicated to helping individuals with criminal records find better job opportunities without fear of discrimination or rejection. 
  • Rasa, Village Capital Justice Tech 2022 alumni, is a legal tech company on a mission to make the process of clearing a record simple and affordable for everyone.
  • Untapped Solutions Village Capital Justice Tech 2022 alumni, connects justice-impacted people with service providers and employers through a justice-tech platform offering professional networking technology tools.

Ecosystem Builders

  • Justice Tech Association includes companies and programs that create technology solutions to help people navigate legal matters to foster hope, independence, and self-empowerment to contribute to a fairer legal system.
  • The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL) is a civil society organization based in the Hague that is committed to people-centered justice. Their Justice Accelerator is a startup program entirely dedicated to access to justice and directly supports startups in their growth journey as their innovative services impact people in their regions by preventing and resolving justice problems.
  • Gener8tor is a nationally-ranked venture capital firm and accelerator that brings together startup founders, investors, corporations, job seekers, universities, musicians, and artists. The gener8tor platform includes more than 75 programs spanning startup accelerators, corporate programming, speaker series, conferences, skills accelerators, and fellowships.
  • Dream.Org closes prison doors and opens doors of opportunity by bringing people together across racial, social, and partisan lines to create a future with freedom, dignity, and opportunity for all.
  • Village Capital (VilCap) is a pioneering global nonprofit organization at the forefront of early-stage impact investing and ecosystem building. VilCap leads the growth of sustainable and impactful businesses by unlocking social and financial capital for early-stage entrepreneurs building emergent solutions for environmental, social, and economic challenges.

Investors

  • Decarceration Fund invests in and supports innovative enterprises working to alleviate the suffering caused by the US criminal justice system.
  • Stand Together Ventures Lab is an investment fund and founders’ studio that stands behind entrepreneurs transforming society. They fuel founders and their early-stage organizations that are dismantling barriers that keep society from moving forward.
  • The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact (AmFam Institute) invests in visionary entrepreneurs who are building scalable social enterprises in the following areas: economic opportunity for all, healthy youth development, equity in education, and resilient communities.
  • Kapor Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in industry-transforming startups, redefining what venture capital is capable of by prioritizing a new outcome: a more fair, just, and equitable society for low-income communities and underrepresented communities of color.
  • The DRK Foundation is a global venture philanthropy firm that supports early-stage, high-impact social enterprises. It believes that with early funding and rigorous support, exceptional leaders can make the world a better place by tackling some of society’s most complex problems.    

Take a look at Village Capital’s comprehensive Justice Tech ecosystem map, which includes inventors, nonprofit organizations, startups, and other resources to learn more about the available resources and important leaders in the space. 

If you are new to the Justice Tech community, take a moment to look at our Justice Tech report defining the justice tech sector and the investing framework or watch our Justice Tech Community Convening series.

We are actively looking at ways to build out our Justice Tech ecosystem, we encourage you to join us on this journey. Reach out to Elizabeth Nguyen at elizabeth.nguyen@vilcap.com to help build the ecosystem.