Silicon Valley based startup 70MillionJobs' main goal is to find employment opportunities for an estimated 70 million people in the U.S. who have a criminal record.
Finding a job when you have a criminal record is not easy, something 70MillionJobs founder Richard Bronson knows first-hand. Bronson is a felon — he was convicted of securities fraud and spent two years in prison in the early 2000s.
“I came out…essentially destitute, with no home, no money, no job, no prospects no future,” he said. “Everywhere I turned, I found doors slamming in my face.”
That lack of opportunities is something many formerly incarcerated people face. Nearly 80 percent of former inmates end up back in jail within five years of being released, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Bronson says that’s partly because they can’t find work.
His platform aims to help by matching former convicts with companies in need of workers. He says people with criminal records tend to make great employees — they work extra hard because they don’t take their jobs for granted.
Bronson founded 70MillionJobs this year in New York, but moved to Menlo Park shortly after getting accepted into startup accelerator Y Combinator — he’ll be pitching his company to potential investors next week at the firm’s demo day.
70MillionJobs has already been used by job seekers, browsing the 4,000 jobs on the platform so far. Bronson says he is finalizing a deal with Uber, who wants to use 70MillionJobs to find new drivers, and may eventually use the platform to fill its office jobs as well.