Ameelio

Software Engineer, Video Systems

Full-Time in New York City, NY - Remote OK

Ameelio has quickly established itself as the future of prison communication and virtual learning. We were recently chosen as one of Fast Company’s 2021 World-Changing Ideas and received a New York Times Good Tech Award.

Video lies at the heart of the Ameelio experience, providing a low-latency, seamless experience for incarcerated people and their families to connect. As we prepare to scale, we’re searching for a video systems engineer who is excited to develop a video service that will handle thousands of concurrent users across the entire country.

A few focus areas today we could use a hand with

  • Make the system better able to recover from various faults and errors
  • Increase the quality of videos we can reliably display to users
  • Set up metrics to get a better handle on what quality of service our users are experiencing, and to inform further improvements
  • Build automated tests to ensure the reliability and performance of our video infrastructure as we change it
  • Increase the quality of videos we can reliably display to users
  • Degrade quality more gracefully for bandwidth or CPU constrained devices, as well as better handling of spurious spikes in latency/congestion

    Who We're Looking For

    • 3+ years of experience.
    • Experience working on a large scale group video calling platform (e.g. Zoom or Google Meet)
    • Experience working with WebRTC, either directly or with libraries that use it (we use Mediasoup)
    • Intrinsic motivation and drive to solve difficult problems without guidance
    • Ability to ruthlessly prioritize in a chaotic and ambiguous environment
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

    Why You'll Love Us

    • A welcoming and collaborative environment with people who are dedicating their lives to fighting the commercialization of incarceration
    • Experience working closely with users who rely on our product to stay in touch with their loved one
    • An environment for rapid experimentation and ownership
    • Ownership of entire systems and features that deliver society-changing impact
    • Contributing to the foundation and culture of a young and growing organization
    • Generous PTO policy
    • An incredibly high bar for velocity of shipping and the quality of your work
    • Compensation: $90,000 - $150,00

    About Ameelio

    Ameelio is a nonprofit technology company that builds free technology to accelerate the creation of a more humane and rehabilitative justice system. We were recently chosen as one of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas. Our tools will enable 27 million Americans to communicate with their incarcerated loved ones for free, organizations to scale their social services, and educators to empower incarcerated people through virtual learning. We are a technological bridge that reconnects incarcerated people with their families and vital resources — for free. Our tools will help improve post-release outcomes, lower recidivism rates, and help America safely reduce the size of its prison populations.

    We’re backed by Schmidt Futures, Mozilla Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, Google.org, and Fast Forward accelerator. Our funders also include Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, and Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the founder of Khosla Ventures. Our work has been covered by Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and others.

    Company History

    Ameelio was an all-volunteer effort until late-2020. Since, we've built an A-team that brings together technical and criminal justice expertise, participated in Mozilla's Spring MVP Lab (won 1st place), Fast Forward Accelerator, Robin Hood BRL program, and Visible Connect's Accelerator. We’re backed by Schmidt Futures, Mozilla Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation, Google.org, and Fast Forward accelerator. Our funders also include Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, and Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the founder of Khosla Ventures.

    External References:

    Problem We're Solving

    The $1.4 billion prison communications industry generates obscene profits by charging extortionate prices to the incarcerated and their loved ones. Families spend up to $500 a month to stay connected to their loved ones inside. A 15-minute phone call runs as steep as $25. Our work has never been more important. Because of COVID, prisons have shut down all in-person visitation. Low-income families have few options to communicate with loved ones.

    Exclusive contracts leave prison telecommunications companies unchecked by competition: former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn called the industry “the clearest, most glaring type of market failure I’ve ever seen as a regulator”.

    Poverty and incarceration are viciously tied: over 50% of incarcerated people had no income eight years preceding their arrest. For-profit prison companies entrench this cycle. One in three families with incarcerated loved ones is forced into debt ( $13,000, on average) by the cost of maintaining contact.

    This is a social and moral disaster

    The Solution

    A suite of free prison communications and virtual learning tools that connect the incarcerated with their loved ones, service networks, and colleges, which will improve post-release outcomes.

    Connect: Video Conferencing & Virtual Learning

    Reconnecting the incarcerated with their loved ones and supporting the next generation of remote prison programming. We have secured our pilot facilities. By 2021, we will have launched the nation’s first free prison video conferencing and virtual learning platform.

    Letters for Families

    App that bypasses the absurdly high cost of making phone calls to prison by converting texts,photos, games & news to snail mail. We currently have over 110,000 users in all 50 U.S. states, and in 42 countries.

    Letters for Organization

    Web app that enables criminal justice orgs, reentry groups, voting rights, and legal clinics to extend their services directly to the incarcerated using our letters infrastructure. Our users include: the Marshall project, Connecticut Bail Fund, Pen America & Defy Ventures.