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- ‘Really, Really Messed Up My Life’
CEO of Pigeonly
It seems fitting that during both the Digital Information Age and Black History Month, we’d have the pleasure to talk with entrepreneur, Frederick Hutson, CEO of Pigeonly.
Hutson got the idea for Pigeonly when he himself was incarcerated in federal prison and once released, he was able to work on that idea while in a Florida halfway house. He says prison taught him some valuable lessons besides it being a place he did not want to return.
“I learned how to exercise correctly, I got in shape while in prison. I also exercised my mind. Ironically, in prison the majority of guys were like me, thinking of their life, their goals.”
Today with a growing team, lots of great press and a million-dollar investment from venture capitalists, he’s making a impact on a market not quite yet saturated – inmates.
Pigeonly is a platform that uses algorithms to collect and organize data on the nation’s incarcerated, transforming it into usable information that benefit inmates and society.
Talking to Hutson you can hear ambition in his voice. He launched and sold his first business at the age of 19 while on active duty in the Air Force. He left the military with an honorable discharge to build his second business which he also sold for a profit. Today he has his sights on the growth of his company.
Hutson has launched sub-brands, Fotopigeon and Telepigeon, products that help inmates stay connected to the outside world by fulfilling printed photos from the mobile phones of their loved ones and providing cost effective VoIP phone calls.
Ironically, in prison the majority of guys incarcerated like me were like me who think of their life, goals, and while you are incarcerated you are thinking about the outside.
“Moving forward, I want to build the company as big as I can. I want it to be beyond me to have it take on its own identity. At the end of the day most guys don’t have life sentences and staying connected to family can mean the difference between being successful after prison and going back.”
Living the American dream with a million-dollar company, Hutson has this advice for other entrepreneurs; “Make sure you are working on a problem that people really care about. Be willing to adjust ad change. We started out as a photo company now we are a data company. Know the difference between a business and a product.”
Walker Tisdale is the Publisher and Editor of Healthyblackmen.org. He resides in Atlanta, GA.