Oftentimes when we talk about the consequences of crime and the incarceration rate in America, we don’t put faces to the numbers. But more than 2.3 million people in prison have families and wish to see and hear about what’s happening on the outside.
With background knowledge of seeing prison from both sides of the bars, Frederick Hutson, a former inmate himself, saw an opportunity to keep inmates connected to their families and friends. The premise? Turn everyday posts from various social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into printable pictures mailed to inmates.Photo: Pigeonly
Their first product, Photos by Pigeonly, was tested on various beta users, including those that might not know another meaning for the # symbol. It had to be easy enough for all members, from kids to grandmothers, to use. Photos are only $0.25 each plus shipping, so as not to be a financial hinderance on families who might be facing difficulties with the loss of income at home.Photo: The Wire
Although black startups usually face an uphill battle in the sea of bright ideas, Hutson and his co-founder, Alfonzo Brooks, faced more hurdles than usual. But with hard work, determination and being able to show the overwhelmingly positive response from paying customers, including attorneys, using the locator service Haystac — they were able to tap into the basics of business: See a need and provide a solution.Photo: Pigeonly
Currently seeking to expand their company with the addition of a Content & Community Specialist, the company has been featured everywhere from Forbes, CNN Money and Huffington Post. On President Obama’s birthday, Hutson and Brooks attended White House Demo Day, where 30 companies from the across the country got to demonstrate and showcase their company and products.
From the trap house to the White House, Pigeonly is the little bird that could soar.
Technology has allowed us to communicate like never before. The world and the ability to share our lives is just at our fingertips. For most of us, our selfies, food pics and shares aren’t life-changing. But with Pigeonly, social networks, likes and shares take on a whole new meaning.