AmFam Institute and Village Capital Partner for Justice Tech 2023

A continued collaboration to foster dialogue around Justice Tech and cultivate connections between ecosystem players in the space

Washington, DC; June 15, 2023Village Capital and the American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact announced a new initiative to further build and strengthen the justice tech ecosystem, as part of a continued partnership stemming from 2020. 

For the past few years, the partnership has focused on finding and supporting innovations that address challenges faced by justice impacted people and communities. This year’s initiative, Justice Tech 2023, will be focused on spurring further discussion and collaboration among various stakeholders interested in advancing solutions that will foster a more equitable justice system. 

Village Capital and AmFam will continue supporting the Justice Tech space through three work pillars: 1) a series of community convenings, where they will host conversations centered around topics like supporting & investing in justice tech founders, and climate justice, among others; 2) a series of founder workshops to train a group of pre-seed Justice Tech founders; and 3) building an ecosystem map with a list of community organizations, investors, startups, and advocates in the space.

1. Community Convenings

From June to November 2023, Village Capital and AmFam Institute will host a series of monthly community convenings to gather investors, founders, and other key stakeholders in the justice tech space. Community convenings will be virtual roundtable-style discussions and panels where attendees will learn more about the current justice tech landscape, how accelerators and investors can support founders working in this space, how to increase access to justice through community, and how to advance climate justice for the formerly incarcerated. Whether deeply immersed in the justice tech ecosystem or curious to learn more about it, we invite you to register to attend the virtual convenings here.

The virtual convenings will also be co-led by Dream.Org, Gener8tor, Jobs for the Future, and Justice Tech Association. The goal of these gatherings will be to build stronger lines of communication and collaborations with innovators, advocates, and community partners in the space. 

2. Founder Workshops

Six startups from the US have been selected to take part in a series of five monthly founder workshops. They are working to reduce barriers in the criminal and the civil justice system were nominated by Village Capital’s ecosystem partners including AmFam Institute, Dream.Org, Justice Tech Association, and Gener8tor. 

The selected group – composed of six startups, with 83% of the cohort headquartered outside of US’ tech hubs (CA, MA, NY), 50% led by a female founder or C-suite member, and 100% led by a BIPOC founder or C-suite member – are building solutions that include improving public safety, access to legal assistance, and access to bail support after an arrest, among others:

  • BailBondsNow (San Antonio, TX) provides a marketplace that enables an arrestee’s family to request and receive competitive bids from bail bond companies, thus helping bonds be made.
  • Citizen HQ (Raleigh, NC) is poised to transform the legal landscape with its innovative AI-powered mobile app, delivering affordable and accessible legal services to low-income individuals and those in need of emergency legal assistance through video conferencing technology. 
  • Cocoon (Cleveland, OH and Detroit, MI) is a software company that prioritizes the safety of all community members by offering progressive and humane tech solutions to improve public safety and policing.
  • De-bias (Pittsburgh, PA) is an equity-focused platform integrating research, predictive analytics, and solutions to mitigate the impact of business outcomes on marginalized populations.
  • LawWurk (Victorville, CA) is a disruptive legal directory that connects the public with affordable and alternative (nonlawyer) paraprofessional legal support for various cases, using innovative technologies and state-specific resources.
  • Layman's (New York, NY) is a Collaborative AI Legal Librarian to help those trying to become better advocates.

From May to September 2023, the selected startups will participate in five online workshops. With support from Flikshop School of Business, founded by Marcus Bullock, startups will delve into topics such as creating a pitch presentation and professional branding. Startups will also be introduced to Village Capital’s award-winning investment readiness curriculum and have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with an investment analyst for feedback and support. Upon completion of all workshops, each company will receive an equity-free participation stipend of USD $1,000 provided by AmFam and Dream.Org to further scale their solutions.

3. Ecosystem Map

The ecosystem map was built out with the goal to identify, centralize, and connect the existing Justice Tech community. With support from Dream.org and the Justice Tech Association, data on investors, beneficiaries, nonprofits, advocates, and other resources were collected and mapped out visually on Village Capital’s website for the wider public to access. The map is meant to be used as a central point of reference for anyone interested in learning more about the key players and resources available in the space. The map will be updated routinely, as the Justice Tech space continues to expand and more companies as well as other entities emerge. Learn more or contribute to the map here.

For more information, reach out to Sofía Candano at Village Capital (sofia.candano@vilcap.com).

About Village Capital 

Village Capital is reinventing the system to back the entrepreneurs of the future. Known for its groundbreaking approaches to supporting founders who are building solutions to emergent social, economic, and environmental challenges, VilCap unlocks critical social and financial capital for early-stage companies to maximize business and impact growth. Village Capital has operated in the US since 2009 by running over 45 accelerator programs. VilCap has supported more than 897 startups from over 43 states and 23 entrepreneur support organizations (ESO) working in sectors such as financial health, health equity, justice tech, and sustainability. Learn more at www.vilcap.com and follow @villagecapital. 

About the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact

The American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact is a venture capital firm and partner of choice for exceptional entrepreneurs who are building scalable and sustainable businesses in a long-term effort to close equity gaps in the U.S.

We also believe in capacity building and supporting organizations which are working tirelessly towards creating resilient communities, healthy youth development, economic opportunity for all, and learning and academic achievement.

Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin with portfolio companies and partners nationwide, American Family Institute was established as one of the first public benefit corporations in Wisconsin — and one of the first among the Fortune 500 group of companies nationwide.

About Dream.Org

At Dream.Org, we bring people together across racial, social, and partisan lines. Through our Justice, Tech, and Green For All programs we are working towards an America with fewer people behind bars, less pollution, and greater opportunities for underserved communities. 

Learn more at Dream.Org.