Peart spent five and a half years in a New York State prison, but struggled to find a stable job after his release. That is a common reality for many who leave the American prison system and look for a fresh start. Upwards of 60% of formerly incarcerated people are jobless years after their release, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
ConConnect initially started in 2020 as a LinkedIn-style platform for those who were formerly incarcerated and are now looking for jobs and resources. The “second chance employment” platform also helps parole and probation officers manage their caseload and find essential housing, education, counseling, and job placement services all in one place.
The startup’s mission – and their early success with employers and nonprofits – caught the attention of Techstars Social Impact (a program based in Atlanta) and Venture Atlanta, the Southeast’s largest venture capital conference.
Changing The Narrative
As Peart explained on stage at Techstars Social Impact in 2022, the platform is “reentry done right.”
But Peart and his team saw a much wider opportunity that needed to be addressed. Specifically, there was not a great software solution for organizations helping other underserved populations get back on their feet.
“Going into customer talks with nonprofits, shelters, mental health agencies, and employers who used the [ConConnect] platform, we got a similar question from across the board: Does this work for my other clients? Can I get my clients healthcare, jobs and services through your platform?”
The job search can be difficult for veterans, the unhoused, those experiencing domestic abuse, and others who are part of a protected or minority group. Peart said he saw the need to create a “long-term solution” for all groups looking for a fresh start. So this month, ConConnect officially rebranded to Untapped Solutions.
“We have the same vision and same mission…just a broader population,” Peart told Hypepotamus. “We’re advancing impact through technology for all untapped communities. It’s a great expansion for us because now we’re not just dealing with the few hundred thousand organizations and a couple million employees that potentially would use the platform. Now we’re dealing with a lot more millions of employers and millions of social enterprises that are working with all these untapped populations.”
Google For Startups
Alongside the rebrand, Untapped Solutions also just announced it has been selected for the Google for Startups 2023 Black Founders Fund cohort, something Peart told Hypepotamus will help the startup grow its tech stack and increase its brand recognition efforts.
Google’s Black Founders Fund was started in 2020 with the goal of helping Black founders secure funding and “create generational change,” according to its website.
In addition to an equity-free investment of $150,000, Untapped will have access to Google mentorship, Google Cloud credits, and product support.
“Having that technology that you can scale on and having different AIs that can create case plans in one minute, can read a person’s criminal background and say this is the best job for [a person]…it’s very powerful. Google has that technology. And now we have Google,” Peart added.