July 13, 2022
The following is a press release from APDS.
APDS, a public-benefit corporation whose advanced career readiness platform helps incarcerated individuals attain a living wage after release, today announced that it has raised $7 million in new funding during the Series C round. The capital will allow the company to further scale its innovative services across correctional facilities nationwide while enhancing its proprietary learning platform, content offerings and strategic partnerships.
"APDS is poised to transform the correctional system. The momentum is growing across the country to rethink our society’s approach to incarceration and preparation for reentry. Just last month, the Biden administration promised $145 million to develop ’reentry plans’ for incarcerated persons. APDS has been a leader in this process through our Whole Human Framework approach to education,” said Harris Ferrell, APDS CEO. “We use our proprietary curriculum, assessments and plans to equip these individuals for long-term success. We can only accomplish this mission with dedicated investors who are double-bottom line oriented. This fundraising round will contribute directly toward continuing to develop our product, supporting the momentum of sales, and connecting our learners with the resources and support they need to obtain living wage jobs.”
APDS currently serves learners in more than 110 correctional facilities across 17 states. The rapid adoption of APDS is in part due to their learner-first business model. The company is the only dedicated correctional edtech provider that delivers technology and services for free to incarcerated learners.
ETS Strategic Capital, a division of ETS focused on equity investments, growth partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, co-lead the Series C round. ETS is aligned with APDS in their shared goal of advancing educational opportunities for all learners. ETS Strategic Capital invested $2 million into the Series C round to help further the group’s goal of breaking the cycle of incarceration through education and advancing ETS’s integration as an assessment partner.
“Our investment and role support the creation of innovative, quality educational opportunities for incarcerated people,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, ETS Strategic Capital Managing Director, and incoming APDS board member. “We are excited to bring the power of assessment to APDS to drive second-chance opportunities, create new pathways for those reentering society and to reduce recidivism. Expanding access to quality education for all people is the heart of our mission at ETS and we are proud to partner with APDS to advance this shared goal.”
New Markets Venture Partners, focused on innovative technology-enabled, mission-driven companies driving sustainable social impact, co-leads the investment round.
“We are very excited to support APDS as it scales an increasingly efficacious solution to dramatically improve outcomes for returning citizens. The management team is best in class and APDS is exactly the type of high impact and commercially successful investment New Markets strives to enable,” stated Mark Grovic, General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners.
The APDS Series C round also saw the return of investments from Converge Venture Partners, ECMC Group’s Education Impact Fund, Juvo Ventures, the Partnership Fund for New York City, Rethink Education, and Strada Education Network.
To date, APDS learners have a 20% increase in post incarceration employment. Students utilizing APDS have a 130% increase in high school equivalency (HSE) pass rates and are about 70% more likely to complete their post-release reentry plans than their peers, demonstrating a long-term reduction of recidivism through education.