R3 Score was founded on the principle that your worst day shouldn't define who you are. Unfortunately, the background reports delivered by traditional background companies are 100 percent comprised of criminal records. That means that applicants with records rarely receive more than a quick glance when applying for professional, financial, and educational opportunities.
The data says nothing about the story or journey of each person with a past. It also doesn't show landlords, banks, and employers what you're capable of today.
R3 Score uses a sophisticated algorithm that includes many data points to create an accurate, real-time risk assessment for each person. We provide nuanced reports instead of simply labeling a background history as "good" or "bad." Decision-makers can draw from a multifaceted report that allows someone with a criminal history to be seen for who they are today. Both static and trending activities are taken into account to create a realistic assessment.
At R3 Score, we never sway or alter reports to create a "rosier" picture of a person's criminal background. However, we use data to create a truer perspective that highlights positive trends. We partner with investors, policymakers and tech innovators to change the imbalance that unfairly locks those with criminal pasts out of many opportunities and industries. It's personal to us because R3 Score was founded by someone who has walked the journey. Read our founder's story here!
I sat in prison with a sinking feeling knowing that technology was transforming the world, while I was left behind. I arrived in prison on January 3, 2007. Six days later, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, stood on a stage and presented the device that would change the world. He called it a 3-in-1 product “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device1.” He was correct; the device, the first generation iPhone, changed everything. Over the next few years, social media and technological advances forever changed the digital connectedness of the world; and for the first time in my life, I became a part of the digital divide.
I had the frame-of-mind to know what that meant in my life and what it meant to the future of my ability to work and keep pace with society. I also knew I was in prison with people who may not have seen the moment as I did and I knew for all of us who were incarcerated the digital divide grew wider. Tech advances and a changing society in so many ways means that individuals living with criminal records are facing more-and-more significant financial inclusion barriers.
It was for this reason that upon my release in 2012 I started a nonprofit, Mission: Launch, with my daughter and co-founder, Laurin Leonard. Mission: Launch is an ecosystem builder and works to support entrepreneurs living with records because we saw how small businesses could help improve outcomes for people starting over after serving time in prison or jail. Realizing that even if we organized our partners and delivered programming to entrepreneurs there remained a huge barrier to capital. I knew this hurdle existed and soon after I would be inspired to build a potential solution.
The idea for a product like R3 Score came from the CDFI community, more specifically the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) in the Washington, DC-Baltimore, MD metro region. It was one of their small business lenders that expressed an interest in being intentional about lending to people with criminal histories. This one person kicked off a ripple effect because several other community lenders would in short order approach me personally to help them find and qualify entrepreneurs with records for a loan. I was intrigued by these requests and set out to learn all I could about how technology could solve this problem.
Alongside an amazing team, I built R3 Score to enable mission-driven banks to better serve people living with records to help them one day enter into more traditional banking products and services. R3 Score is a first-of-its-kind tool that offers a data-driven path toward financial inclusion and economic justice. It was built to empower community loan officers and enable better community lending.
Our vision is for R3 Score to become the gold standard for how we underwrite individuals with criminal histories across the country. We seek to disrupt the status quo on all the ways a criminal record and a traditional credit score locks people out of opportunities to gain economic freedom.
Let’s work together to make financial inclusion for all a reality. The Path Starts Here.
Will you take the challenge and help us capitalize on 1,000 businesses?