Unless you’re Jaqueline Voorheese from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, chances are you’re not letting Uber drivers shuttle around your kids to and from school, practice, classes, etc. But that doesn’t mean there’s no need for a little transportation-based help with the little ones.
HopSkipDrive, a startup that just received $3.9 million in seed funding, is looking to hook up cautious yet busy parents.
The startup lets parents set up pre-scheduled pick-up times for their kids with trusted, thoroughly vetted drivers to help get kids around town when time simply doesn’t allow parents to do it themselves.
Here’s how it works:
Parents schedule a ride with a ‘CareDriver’ and are sent a short bio for that driver, a picture, and are required to enter in a code word for the ride. The parent then relays that information to the child, and then to the school or daycare organization from which the kid is getting picked up. That way, little Tommy or Patty knows how to identify their ‘CareDriver’ through both the photo and the code word.
Parents can track the ride in real time through the app and have multiple methods of contacting the driver at any time.
But HopSkipDrive goes far beyond that when it comes to security.
All of the drivers on the platform go through a rigorous, 15-point certification process. They must have at least five years of child care service experience, alongside passing a number of background checks, criminal background checks, as well as getting fingerprinted. HopSkipDrive also ensures that their drivers are TrustLine certified, which cofounder Joanna McFarland describes as the gold standard of childcare certification in the state of California.
HopSkipDrive currently has over 100 drivers on the platform, operating as 1099 contractors, and these drivers have completed thousands of rides, according to McFarland. The platform is operational across the whole of the Los Angeles area.
In terms of pricing, HopSkipDrive differentiates itself quite a bit from other transportation startups like Uber and Lyft, allowing parents to purchase one ride at a time for $20 or a package of rides, which can get the per-ride-price down to about $12. A ride is any trip that is less than five miles or 30 minutes, and anything that goes over that incurs an extra fee ($1 for every extra mile and $.50 for every extra minute).
The seed round was led by Upfront Ventures with participation from FirstMark Capital, Maveron, BBG Ventures, and Joanne Wilson among others.
If you want to learn more about HopSkipDrive, check out the website here.