Uptrust closes on $2 million to develop technology to help lower incarceration rates
Funding Will Enable Uptrust to Expand Into Probation; Reach 10 Million Justice-Involved People by 2025
Uptrust, the civic empowerment technology company working to keep people out of jail who shouldn't be there, today announced the close of its $2m seed financing round, backed by investors the De-carceration Fund, Luminate, and Stand Together Ventures Lab.
Uptrust is a cost-effective and user-first communications platform that provides justice-involved individuals with accessible tools to avoid violating their probation or supervision by staying up to date on their appointments and obligations.
A pioneer in bringing technology solutions to criminal justice challenges, Uptrust is disrupting the mass-incarceration model that has propelled the United States to become the world's largest jailer by providing a cost-effective communications platform that helps justice-involved people avoid technical violations of their probation or parole. Uptrust's simple, scalable smartphone app that connects clients to their public defender or probation officer has already helped to ensure that 250,000 individuals nationwide were able to attend their court dates, marking a 50% reduction in failures-to-appear and millions of cost savings.
"We started Uptrust to focus on a particularly avoidable and egregious pain point in the criminal justice system: missed court dates that result in hundreds of thousands of people going to jail each year. As we have grown, we've seen that there are countless other types of preventable technical violations that ultimately cost local governments over $10 billion per year, with even more devastating costs for people and their families," said Jacob Sills, Uptrust Chief Executive Officer and co-founder. "This needs to change — Uptrust is dedicated to making that change happen, raising this round from leading funders to support this growth."
Uptrust's user-first solution works by charging local governments a nominal monthly fee for the service — never the end-user. This not only reduces the workloads of severely overburdened public defenders and probation officers, but significantly reduces overall costs: Uptrust is 90% less expensive than electronic monitoring and 99% less expensive than incarceration. Uptrust currently operates in 547 counties in 27 states, including 16 of the 25 most populous counties in the country, such as California's Los Angeles County, Arizona's Maricopa County, and Florida's Miami-Dade County.
"As impact investors, we are constantly looking for opportunities to secure both positive social impact and profit. Uptrust has identified a solution to a systemic flaw in the criminal justice system that through improved communication can accomplish both. We are proud to invest in Uptrust and play a role in this positive systemic change. For every positive intervention we can make in someone's life, helping them to avoid technical violations and hold onto their housing, their job, their childcare, we are moving the needle on improving the U.S. criminal justice system," said Chris Bentley, Managing Principal of the De-carceration Fund.
About Uptrust Based in San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA, Uptrust is a cost-effective and user-first communications platform that provides justice-involved individuals with accessible tools to avoid violating their probation or supervision by staying up to date on their appointments and obligations. Uptrust has proved to keep low-income defendants out of jail on bench warrants and technical violations, while also saving attorneys time and reducing the cost to the municipality or county.