Impact Tech | August 15, 2023

The De-Carceration Fund raises $8.5 million to invest in ‘justice tech’

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, August 15 — Extractive products and services that have grown up around the US criminal justice system cost families billions of dollars a year. ‘Justice tech’ entrepreneurs remain underserved, but impact investors are slowly moving in, The De-Carceration Fund’s Chris Bentley told ImpactAlpha.

“As far as I know, we’re the only ones that are 100% focused on this space and what that means is when we get involved in deals, we have the ability to pull dollars from those other folks that are interested but might not know the ins and outs,” Bentley says.

The De-Carceration Fund is looking to raise up to $25 million to back between a dozen or more justice tech ventures with initial checks of up to $500,000, as well as follow-on investments in select portfolio companies.

Prison break

“We’re looking for tech startups that are focused on preventing people from going into the criminal justice system, reducing suffering for people while they’re in the system, and creating better outcomes for people when they come home,” said Lawrence Williams, who co-leads The De-Carceration Fund alongside Bentley.

The fund has backed four early-stage companies, including Black-led Uptrust, which helps defendants keep contact with public defenders, probation officers and family members. Untapped Solutions (formerly ConConnect), also Black-led, provides reentry services to formerly-incarcerated people.

Half of De-Carceration Fund’s investment committee is made up of formerly-incarcerated professionals; the other half are impact investors.