This Founder went to jail when he was 15 years old. That’s where he came up with the idea for a company now backed by John Legend.

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When Marcus Bullock was 15 years previous, he decided that might change the course of his life. He and a good friend stole a person’s automotive in a mall parking zone. He was arrested and sentenced to eight years in grownup most safety. . “I used to be in denial and really depressed for these first two years,” Bullock, who’s now founder and CEO of Flikshop, He says. “He could not course of and settle for the truth that he would find yourself having to serve the total eight-year sentence.”

Throughout a go to, Bullock’s mom made a promise to her son that might later function the inspiration for Flikshop. “Marcus, I’ll write you a letter or ship you an image on daily basis for the remaining six years of your sentence,” she advised him. Bullock credit her mom with saving his life. “These images, these letters, they saved me,” she says. “It was the small and large issues that he shared with me that gave me a transparent imaginative and prescient of what my life can be like after jail. My life was removed from over.”

flikshop is named after “fliks”, which is what Bullock and his associates referred to as photos in jail. He began Flikshop to do for a lot of what his mom did for him: preserve each individual in each cell linked to their household and different neighborhood assets, so that they, too, can visualize their life after jail.


The Flikshop cellular app and web site enable customers to ship a photograph and message to a beloved one in jail, which Flikshop will print on a postcard and ship on to the incarcerated individual. It prices solely $0.99 (together with postage) and is delivered on to them.

The postcard is perforated to allow them to tear out the message and preserve the observe personal. They’ll then share the photograph with others. At present, Flikshop has mailed postcards to all 50 states and linked greater than 170,000 households. John Legend is a monetary supporter of Flikshop via his group. #AMERICALIBREwho started to assist rework ‘s system.

Picture Credit score: Flikshop

“Pictures and letters are the one means for these in jail to know that there are nonetheless folks within the exterior world who care about them,” says Bullock. “For me, these letters have been a reminder of the life that lay forward of me.”

Listed here are three classes Marcus Bullock discovered from constructing Flikshop:

“I spotted that doing a TED discuss would change into my calling card.”

“From a really younger age, I used to be at all times a talker,” says Bullock. “My household at all times mentioned, ‘Marcus is at all times speaking about one thing!’ And in some ways, I am the identical Marcus right this moment.”

He recollects the joy he felt as a baby taking part in his annual faculty fundraiser. He was decided to speak to as many individuals as potential and promote as many chocolate bars as potential, which he did.

As a founder, Bullock underestimated how his fondness for narration it will assist him launch Flikshop. “After they requested me to do my first ted discuss, I used to be reluctant as a result of I did not think about myself a public speaker,” he says. β€œAfter which I spotted that this was an awesome alternative to share my story on stage and construct the Flikshop model. That TED discuss grew to become my final calling card.”

Bullock remembers being on that stage, publicly sharing his story of going to jail for the primary time. And he was scared. “My recommendation to entrepreneurs is to not let worry maintain you again. That TED discuss was my likelihood to construct empathy and understanding about an expertise most individuals do not overtly talk about: tips on how to help family members who’re incarcerated.” .

“I listened to all the recommendation alongside the best way.”

Bullock launched Flikshop in 2012 as a result of he needed to be extra diligent about his promise to ship his associates in jail images of his re-entry journey. “I had no thought what he was doing,” she says. “I by no means imagined I might launch a expertise firm. I googled ‘tips on how to construct a cellular app’ and the journey started.”

Bullock attributes his success to his starvation to be taught and to be open and hearken to all the recommendation he was given alongside the best way. He remembers attending workplace hours {that a} DC regulation agency was internet hosting for the founders. He confirmed up asking query after query and confirmed that he was genuinely open to all the recommendation he was given.

Attending these workplace hours was how he was launched to tech stars, a startup accelerator based mostly in Boulder, Colorado. “That funding and help allowed me to concentrate on rising Flikshop full time in 2018,” says Bullock. “I would not be right here with out all of the supporters who gave me teaching and steerage alongside the best way.”

“I am constructing generational wealth.”

Flikshop shouldn’t be Bullock’s first foray into . He constructed a profitable portray enterprise when he received out of jail and later based a building firm. He initially began up Flikshop, taking cash from his building enterprise to fund his mission. “My household noticed what I did with my companies, how profitable I used to be, and needed them to have the chance to be part of Flikshop,” says Bullock. “I knew this was our alternative to construct generational wealth.”

Bullock tells how he invited a number of members of his household to a convention room at his building firm. He reviewed his imaginative and prescient and three-year strategic plan for Flikshop. He requested if they might take part in this spherical of family and friends, and that they contribute no less than $1,200. Then he gave them a deadline. She waited anxiously and lots of of them got here again with checks.

“As founders, we will construct our imaginative and prescient with the help of our household and associates to assist change their lives, too,” says Bullock. “It is a imaginative and prescient made potential as a result of a mom by no means stopped believing in her 15-year-old son that she made a mistake that without end modified the trajectory of her life.”

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