APDS, a New York-based public-benefit corporation providing an advanced career readiness platform, recently announced that it has raised $7 million in its Series C round.
The funding round was led by ETS Strategic Capital and New Markets Venture Partners, with participation 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.
With the new financing, the company plans to further scale its innovative services across correctional facilities nationwide while enhancing its proprietary learning platform, content offerings and strategic partnerships.
Co-founded by Christopher Grewe and Arti Finn, APDS is a Certified B Corp that provides a career readiness platform for all justice impacted individuals to attain a living wage job. The organization has proven success through its “Whole Human Framework” which is a proprietary curriculum delivering assessments and plans that motivate, engage, educate, and equip these individuals in their pursuit to empower themselves and strengthen society. The platform leverages innovative technology to create a managed learning environment that fosters growth and certifies career-readiness.
Through a digital learning platform and secure tablet hardware, APDS is creating better outcomes for incarcerated learners, returning citizens, and corrections staff through individualized education, rehabilitation, and reentry programming.
Commenting on the funding, Chief Executive Officer of APDS, Harris Ferrell, said:
“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.”
Ferrell further said:
“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.”
The firm 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. It is the only dedicated correctional EdTech provider that delivers technology and services for free to incarcerated learners.
ETS Strategic Capital Managing Director & Incoming APDS Board Member, Ralph Taylor-Smith, added:
“Our investment and role support the creation of innovative, quality educational opportunities for incarcerated people. 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.”
Responding to the latest move, General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners, Mark Grovic, said:
“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.”
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.
In June 2020, APDS had raised $5 million in its Series B funding round led by New Markets Venture Partners and Rethink Education. Other investors including Partnership Fund for New York, Converge Venture Partners, ECMC Group, New U Venture Partners and Strada Education Network, also participated in this round.