Chicago-based startup Edovo, which provides tablet-based education to inmates in an effort to reduce recidivism, has raised a new round of funding to help it expand its program to correction facilities across the country.
The company raised $9.8 million in a Series A round from several social impact investors, including Impact Engine, the Lumina Foundation, Sustain VC, the IDP Foundation, Series Change Investment, Evolve.Foundation, Kapor Capital and Ekistic Ventures.
“This investment powerfully reflects impact investors’ commitment to using markets to drive real change in challenging areas,” said Edovo Founder and CEO Brian Hill in a statement. “We’re excited to put these funds to work to build our team, expand our software capabilities, and find new ways to serve the diverse body of those affected by incarceration.”
Edovo, founded in 2013, helps inmates learn vocational skills, academics, life skills training and other useful knowledge that could help reduce their chances of returning to prison once they are released. The startup also helps facilitate communication between inmates and their loved ones.
The startup makes money by charging correctional facilities for the tablets. Usually, facilities either use county funds to pay for them or money from inmate spending budgets.
In February, the startup announced that it landed a $250,000 investment from Twilio, a publicly traded San Francisco-based cloud communications platform through its Impact Fund, and in 2016, it raised $2.25 million. Edovo’s total funding now exceeds $15 million.
Edovo has expanded to 22 states and has reached over 50,000 incarcerated individuals. The company says there has been a measurable decrease in incidents of violence in facilities where Edovo’s program is used.