New Venture Fund Locks Up Fast-Growth Prison Sector

The last few years established Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists as more than mere financiers. No, these were enlightened visionaries leading the new economy way to an unprecedented long boom. Well, the recent economic downturn seems to indicate that VC insight only works in a bull market. But one firm has emerged with a clear new vision. Binge and Purge Venture Partners (BPVP) today announced a new fund dedicated to investment in TechnoPrisons.

Managing Partner Dick Dickens explained the strategy. “BPVP is ready to take charge in today’s economic and political environment. There are an incredible number of benefits and efficiencies that technology can add to one of the most important growth sectors of the American economy: imprisoning our population.”

The TechnoPrison fund is designed to target companies developing core infrastructure technologies and services needed by prisons. The first investments will be in Skinner Plantation Networks and Digital Gulag, which develop security, infoshare management software, Pavlovian monitoring techniques, and a variety of death penalty and execution expediency technologies. “These technologies should be easily adopted by the incarcerated market, which is already experienced with sharing and control,” Dickens explains. “For example, if a prisoner needs to keep track of his punk’s schedule, it can now be shared among everyone he plans to share his punk with, and save him valuable time he could be use to smoke cigarettes or watch TV. Each of these sharing systems are infinitely scalable and can be used in any TechnoPrison or any of our licensed prison platforms.”

In order to encourage cross-company development and cost-savings, the companies will be incubated out of space rented on Alcatraz. Warden-in-Residence Martha Schlesinger explained that the benefits are more than financial: “We believe the environment of the old prison world will inspire programmers and designers to ask themselves ‘how can we do better?’ And at the end of the day, we let them out of the cells.”

All fund-backed ventures will focus on high-security facilities for long-term incarceration of the most dangerous inmates: murderers, thieves and marijuana smokers. Given conflict of interest sensitivities, the Technoprison fund will stay away from the white collar imprisonment sector. Such a focus would greatly limit deal and investment partnership prospects.

Dickens seems to be sticking to familiar Internet-era rhetoric about the focus: “We still don’t care about that bricks and mortar stuff. We’ve got plenty of Old Economy partners who know how to execute that real well. “Think of this as a Prison ASP. You build the outside and we take care of the rest.”

Analysts are optimistic about the Technoprison Fund’s prospects. “We anticipate a continuing increase in prosecutions and incarceration. With more support for privatization of social justice and entrepreneurship under the administration of Bush the Younger, things look good for BPVP” said Ima Pumper at Barney, Stanley, Morgan & Jeremiah in a statement issued earlier today. “Talk about a sticky community! Many of these prisoners will be Technoprison members for life. And each comes with an annual budget attribution and government backing.”

Hecubah Bludgett, of Smithson Robertson Samofson was equally enthusiastic about TechnoPrison Fund prospects. “We have a whole new paradigm of guaranteed growth here: night stick. It just goes up.”

Dickens shrugs off critics’ references to slavery and the 13th amendment, preferring to focus on the BPVP first-mover advantage: “Where other naysayers look at prisons and only see a threat to a true democratic form of governance and pain and human suffering wrought needlessly upon our community, we at BPVP see opportunity.”

And unlike many other infrastructure venture funds, BPVP has other information and content application opportunities that will stem from their control of the control market. Once again, Dickens refers to lessons learned from the early Internet years: “We have plans to bring the efficiencies of the web-based auction marketplace to the prison population. We’ll be able to offer our future portfolio companies the opportunity to bid in real-time over the labor output from prisoners. The sky is the limit. We already have digital cameras in every cell and a licensing deal with Fox for a new reality show.”