A new private prison startup that has raised $30 million from investors including billionaire Mark Cuban and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched an initial public offering, its founders said on Tuesday.
The New York-based company, Soma Private Prisons, which also operates in Arizona and Utah, is aiming to be the largest private prison operator in the country by 2021.
Soma will seek to grow its business by offering low-cost, state-of-the-art facilities, including the construction of large cells in the Arizona desert and a large facility in New Mexico.
The company said its new business will create 1,000 jobs, including 515 at the Arizona facility and another 1,400 at the New Mexico facility.
It also aims to hire 3,000 inmates by 2021, the founders said in a statement.
While the company does not have a direct tie to the president, the president is listed as a co-founder and a shareholder, and his wife, former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, has served as a board member.
In the announcement, Somesay CEO and co-Founder Anthony Zilberman said the company aims to expand beyond private prisons and help people get out of debt and get back on their feet, with a particular focus on job creation and community revitalization.
Zilberman and his partners are raising money on the New York Stock Exchange and are working with investors including Andreessen Horowitz, CVC Capital and others.
They also will be selling their shares, which include about 50% of the company, for a flat price of $3,000 each, according to the company.
“We are confident that by bringing together the right partners and investing in the right places, we can take Soma to the next level,” Zilman said in the statement.
Somasay’s first major investment came from Mark Cuban, who is one of the president’s closest allies.
In March, Cuban donated $50 million to the startup, and he also recently launched the Cuban American Chamber of Commerce in New York.
Cuban has been one of Soma’s top executives and had served as an advisor to the founders.
Cuban said in March that he believes Soma could help Americans find jobs and pay down debt, but also said the private prison industry needs to focus on providing better services.
“I think the most important thing we can do is to be more focused on the job creators in our community,” Cuban said at the time.
“The jobs that are created will help us to create more jobs in our communities.”
The president is expected to announce his next big investment in the company’s new venture in June, the statement said.
Follow Associated Press technology reporter Justin Tuck on Twitter: @justintuckAP