Andre Peart had to make a change in his way of thinking and the choices he made. While serving a seven-year sentence — five in prison and two on parole — he knew the best option for him to earn an honest living was through technology.
Through his personal experience in the court system and his background in tech, Peart combined the two disciplines and created the tech startup companies ConConnect and Untapped Solutions. Recently, Google selected Untapped Solutions as a recipient of this year’s Black Founders Fund.
Peart recently stopped by rolling out to share his life-changing story and what Google’s assistance has meant to his business.
How have Google’s and the Black Founders Fund impacted your business?
Currently, there’s a lot going on. It’s a it’s a great thing.
Just being transparent, I’m a Black founder, so raising venture capital is a beast of its own. Anytime non-dilutive funds come in, that streamlines us dramatically. From bringing on new talent to taking on new territories, and new markets, we can build the AI we’re building even faster with that capital. … Google has that capacity. They have that technology. They have Google Bard using all that technology. Having them as a partner is a game changer right now.
What’s the objective of Untapped Solutions?
We’re empowering all, what we consider untapped people, untapped potential, [and] the formerly incarcerated. Initially, we focused on formerly incarcerated as [Peart’s first tech startup] ConConnect. With Untapped Solutions, we’re focusing on veterans, the BIPOC community, Latinx, and all of these people that have been considered “untapped.” We’re helping them reach the potential that’s inside through a technology using artificial intelligence helping them have case plans.
What did that exposure to tech at a young age do for you?
At an early age, I would think it was just sort of an option, right? That’s what I thought it was like, “This is another option. This seems a cool thing.” Honestly, you hear it makes the most money… now, as an adult, I’m really happy that, even through college, I chased tech and learned a little bit about it.
I did six years in state prison, and I did whatever was the closest thing to tech. At that time, it was just Microsoft Office. They were like, “Well, if you want a tech class, you can learn Microsoft Office and 365 spreadsheets.” That was all still great because today I came out of prison, I run a startup that’s doing very well, and I can say I knew a little bit about tech from my childhood. I knew about spreadsheets and all that stuff to make my business plan, Google Docs, [and] just making sure I chased tech and knew that importance. When I look back on it now I’m like, “All right, chasing it did some good and lined me up in some of the places that now, I need those skills in life.”