Edovo has stretched its spring funding streak to three years.
The company, which develops tablet-based educational programs for incarcerated individuals, has raised a $9.8 million Series A round. Edovo raised $2.2 million last march, and in February 2016 the company closed a $2.25 million round.
“This round will help us make a greater impact in the criminal justice space and in the lives of those impacted by incarceration, both here at home and nationally,” said CEO Brian Hill. “Most of the funding will be used to develop new solutions to drive better results for those returning home from incarceration.”
Edovo's platform is designed to reduce recidivism by providing educational, vocational and life skills training to those behind bars, with entertainment options and certificates encouraging users to continue taking additional lessons. Edovo is in corrections institutions across the country and counts about 62,000 people among its users, a figure Hill expects to more than double by year's end.
This round will help us make a greater impact in the criminal justice space and in the lives of those impacted by incarceration.”
In addition to providing educational opportunities, Hill said Edovo also wants to make it easier for incarcerated individuals to stay in touch with their families. The price of making a phone call varies wildly by both the location and type of correctional institution. According to an article from The Intercept, a 15-minute phone call in West Virginia costs $0.48 cents and $3.90 in Texas.
“We’re building tools that both improve outcomes and public safety and that allow people to stay in touch with their families in a significantly more affordable way,” said Hill, who graduated from Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law and attended entrepreneurship courses at the Kellogg School of Management.
Hill also shared that over 30 investors participated in Edovo’s Series A, including Impact Engine, the Lumina Foundation, Sustain VC, the IDP Foundation, Evolve.Foundation, Kapor Capital and Ekistic Ventures. He was quick to note that many of the investors were foundations making program-related investments or PRIs. Foundations must give away five percent of their endowments each year. This is typically done through grant giving but can also be accomplished through PRIs.
“Our PRIs contain certain stipulations, including that we continue to push for impact and that we have specific guidelines for the impact we’re trying to make,” said Hill. “More than anything, what this group of investors represents is our commitment to driving impact, in addition to driving returns.”
Along with developing its technology, Edovo will be growing its team. The company has a headcount of 25 and will be hiring for its customer satisfaction, data analytics and engineering teams.