With all the buzz surrounding the on-demand car service space, often people don’t think about its impact on families. Is there a worthwhile service to help them transport their kids to and from school and extracurricular activities? HopSkipDrive thinks that its ridesharing platform can be the market leader, and today it announced it has secured $3.9 million in seed funding.
The new investment in HopSkipDrive was led by Upfront Ventures and included participation from FirstMark Capital, Maveron, Built by Girls Ventures, and others. As is the case with most companies, this capital will be used to scale operations, and will help expand to additional cities in the U.S., although HopSkipDrive did not disclose any specific markets.
Launched in March 2015, HopSkipDrive is a way families can schedule rides with experienced caregivers for children ages 7 and up. Families schedule rides in advance and can view their “CareDriver’s” picture and bio ahead of time. Parents arrange a code word with the driver as an extra measure of security and can also track the ride through their app, receiving a notification when their child has reached their destination.
Because there’s much more on the line with family transportation and children, HopSkipDrive says that it has a “15-point certification process” that includes background checks, vehicle safety inspections, monthly DMV checks, extensive reference checks, driver training, and meeting each potential driver in person. The company also provides insurance for transporting kids, fingerprints all of its drivers and makes sure they are TrustLine certified, and will monitor all the rides in real time.
The company was started by three moms to help juggle their busy days. While there should be an Uber-like model to transport kids, it needs to be handled responsibly — there’s so much at stake. And in light of the issues surrounding drivers and background checks for other ridesharing services, the caution is understandable. But it’s not the first service of its kind — it competes against Shuddle, Carpool Kids, and others. Even Uber was thought to be launching an “Uber Family” service.