ImpactAlpha, April 10 – If three makes a trend, startups aimed at reducing overincarceration are onto something. The most recent to raise capital is Edovo, based in Chicago, which aims to reduce recidivism with educational, vocational, and rehabilitation programming, as well as communication tools and re-entry resources. Edovo says it provides its tablet-based educational and training courses to more than 50,000 people in 22 states.
- Other criminal-justice focused startups… include Pigeonly, which has raised more than $5 million to dramatically cut costs and hassles for friends and families in keeping in touch with inmates; and Promise, which raised $3 million for its alternative to traditional bail, including from musician and businessman Jay Z.
- Mission-driven investors… backed Edovo’s Series A round, including SustainVC, Impact Engine, Kapor Capital and Ekistic Ventures. Foundations, some of which made program-related investments, included the Lumina, IDP and Evolve foundations. In February, Edovo raised $250,000 from cloud communications company Twilio’s social impact fund. Kapor Capital is also an investor in Promise and Pigeonly.
Edovo says its programming, delivered over a secure network, has measurably decreased violence and increased safety in the facilities where it is used. Edovo CEO Brian Hill says the company’s new investors reflect the company’s “commitment to driving impact, in addition to driving returns.” The funding, he says, will help the company “find new ways to serve the diverse body of those affected by incarceration.”