One of the things Marcus Bullock realised during his time in jail was just how important it was to stay connected with loved ones.
According to CNN, Bullock had served eight years in maximum-security prisons after being convicted for carjacking, attempted robbery, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony at the age of 15.
While incarcerated, Bullock’s favourite time of day was mail call. The photos and messages from home gave him the motivation and support he needed to get through his time in jail.
When Bullock was eventually released from prison in 2004, he got a job at a paint store and worked his way up to his own building remodeling contracting company. But a few years later, Bullock decided to shift gears and apply his entrepreneurship to the tech world.
Having learned the importance of receiving photos and messages from friends and family, Bullock decided to create an app to do just that.
He created Flikshop, a free iOS and Android app that lets you take photos and write messages. But what makes Flikshop different than any old Instagram or Snapchat clone is that you can pay $US0.99 to turn the images and messages into a physical postcard, which can be sent to prisons across the U.S. It’s similar to Apple’s retired Cards app.
Despite Bullock’s hard work, it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing trying to launch Flikshop.
“I’ve faced a ton of adversity,” Bullock told CNN. “I’m a young black kid talking about launching a tech company with no VC backing, I didn’t have any background in tech … no one took me seriously.”
But he’s persisted, and with the help of partnerships with prisoner advocacy groups Bullock is slowly making an impact.