Marcus Bullock seeks to help those locked behind bars stay connected with the outside world. To achieve that end, the innovative entrepreneur created Flikshop, a mobile app that provides inmates with the ability to receive mail every single day from their loved ones and by doing so, makes it easier for them to re-enter society upon release. Bullock calls his platform the “Instagram for the incarcerated,” allowing individuals to send messages printed out as picture postcards and mailed to inmates at roughly 2,200 prisons and jails nationwide. Today, his enterprise continues to grow in impact, grabbing the attention and financing of celebrity investors such as former NBA star Baron Davis and Grammy Award-winning artist and prison reform advocate John Legend.
Bullock, 37, developed the concept based on his own experience. Sentenced to eight years in prison at age 15 after a 1996 carjacking, he endured prison life with fortitude and hope—byproducts of his mother’s unyielding commitment to remain in constant contact. “My mom would send me the funniest pictures in hindsight. She would send me a photo of a cheeseburger or a mattress at a department store, with a promise that read, ‘Hey Marcus, one day you’re going to enjoy this fat, juicy burger,’ or ‘You’ll sleep in a comfortable bed one day.’ It allowed me to be able to see what the future of my life could look like,” he says. “While the country has been big around creating moments that we can share on our social networks, we’re forgetting about a huge prison population of millions who would never be able to make that connection. We made a way for that to happen. It was great to be able to know that we were building the technology that allows people to share moments.”
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