Why a jail is a bad place for tech founders
A prison in Texas is not the ideal place to build a startup.
But it’s an interesting place to study and work.
In a prison, you don’t have to worry about what to wear or how you look.
Instead, inmates are expected to learn the skills they’ll need to be productive members of society.
It’s a more challenging environment for the young people who want to get involved in the tech industry, said Adam Green, the executive director of Techstars, a prison tech incubator.
A good start in prison is to spend time learning new skills and making connections.
The same is true for a tech start-up.
“If you’re really young and you want to do it, go to prison,” Green said.
Techstars has helped thousands of young people build startups.
The program’s goal is to give tech startups a foothold in Texas by making the most of the prison system.
The inmates get to work in the computer labs, run their own computers, and have access to the internet.
The only thing they don’t get to do is play video games.
They get to go outside and learn how to make phones, he said.
And they can learn new skills like building a smartphone app.
“You can see the value of prison for the tech community.
They’re going to be able to go out and build companies,” Green told Ars.
TechStars’ goal is for a few hundred people to stay at the facility for five years before moving to other prisons.
But the program isn’t perfect.
There are more than 100 inmates in the facility, and there are still issues with safety and housing.
Inmates in Texas who are sent to Techstars are supposed to be given a six-month stipend, but the stipend isn’t always paid out.
In addition, they’re supposed to spend at least two weeks a month in a rehabilitation program.
The prison system doesn’t provide enough space for that.
The prisoners are also supposed to stay out of the media.
And the prison doesn’t have many job opportunities.
“I think this is a very good program, but it’s not perfect,” Green acknowledged.
A prison tech startup can get a chance at a job if it can get the state of Texas to fund the program.
It has to apply for a $25,000 grant and then make it to the next phase.
If the company is successful, it will then have to get $10,000 from the state to keep up with the program’s costs.
TechStar has done a lot of work to get people involved in tech in the prison.
The startup is called T.L.E.T., or TechLeverage, after the prison’s technology rehabilitation program, and it’s run by an executive director named Adam Green.
“The tech community in Texas should be very excited to see that we have a good startup program,” Green explained.
The tech community is a key part of TechStars program, he added.
A tech startup would need a network of volunteers to stay in touch and get the most out of their time.
“It’s a very diverse group, which is something you need to have in your industry,” Green added.
The first TechStars inmates who successfully made it to TechLets program are already working at a local restaurant and a tech startup is working on an app for a mobile device called Pouch, which allows a person to control a smartphone from a remote location.
They’ve also found other opportunities to connect with other inmates and to work with mentors.
It can take a while to find the right fit, but if you have the right mindset, you can make it work, Green said, adding that the prison can help with the process of setting up the startup.
Green said TechStars has helped tech companies from start to finish, including Uber, which has built a network in the Texas jail.
“We’re excited to have Techstars as part of our team, but they have a long way to go,” Green noted.
“When you’re young, there are many things that you can learn, but you need a certain amount of education to be successful.”